1983 and faux anarchic romanticism
seduces me. Squatting for peace
dreaming that the threat
of Threads is gone and Barefoot
Gen can sleep unhindered; ashen
shadows confined to graffiti.
The love of peace instigates
war and the dreamers
look to an El Dorado in the far
north; a land of milk, honey
and gold not spent; the convoy
takes the high road, to high ground.
The reluctant child the Pied Piper
left behind stares as the tail lights
pass into fog, moving from protest
to communal perfection.
2019 and for the first time
I visit the fabled site. Far from
a radical El Dorado, it peddles
alternative therapies, spiritual
retreats crystal bracelets. Tents
and benders, yurts and buses
replaced by identikit mobile
homes and permanence; radicalism
by concession; anarchy
by capitalism. I leave as
the tide edges from the bay.
Gulls and oystercatchers
scouring the mud for anything
that will sustain them. I watch
as a detectorist, head down,
blind to the world, deaf to all
but the swooshes and wails
in his headphones, sweeps
across the sand and silt in search
of his own treasure. His own
El Dorado. Forlorn, he leaves
with a handful of rubbish –
dreams of wealth departing;
dashed against material rock.