The River Neckinger 

rises at St George’s Fields


except now it’s called 

Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park 

and there’s little sign of water


we find a manhole cover

and press our ears to the cool stone 


the river is here

but it’s buried deep

Once I lived on Brook Drive

but the river eluded me


now it’s in my dreams


the newsagent

the bread shop

the corner shop

the Two Eagles pub


back in the ‘80s

the Dexys sang Come on Eileen


right here

At the centre of the Elephant and Castle

lies a terrible void 


so huge, it’s almost impossible to mention


here in Southwark, as in all London

the land is under constant scrutiny

from the gentrifiers and developers

with their neoliberal agendas


as hoardings replace buildings

we struggle to recall

which part of ourselves

was just cauterised


in this shifting world

Down Meadow Row

the land dips into the 

Rockingham Anomaly



ice age


of peat

Walking the city

is to internalise the terrain


until we become

almost interchangeable


like Flann O’Brien’s story 

of a bicycle intermingling with its rider


our memories

our grasp of the city 

merge with its materiality

The demolished estates of Southwark


North Peckham




Gloucester Grove

Bermondsey Spa


Coopers Road








13,000 council homes lost since 1999

De Quincey would navigate his way home

through the tangle of Soho’s streets


fixing his eye on the pole star 

seeking ambitiously
for a north-west passage


we too, align our compass north-west

finding our own way home

The River Neckinger

buried, culverted and diverted

through the mud and muck

of north Southwark


to barely a trickle

at St Saviour’s Dock


remains beautiful

in its sublime resistance


we walk the hidden river

to reclaim

this territory

as our own