Niall O’Sullivan is a poet, editor and event host. He has performed poetry across the UK and Europe and has published three collections of poetry, you’re not singing anymore (2004), Ventriloquism for Monkeys (2007) and Sonnet Hack (2010). He was highly commended by the 2008 Forward Prize judges for his poem The Father in Law and featured on BBC radio and television during his residency at the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championships. In 2011 Niall worked as a resident poet on a housing estate for the South Kilburn Speaks project. He currently hosts Poetry Unplugged, London’s premier open mic, at Covent Garden’s Poetry Cafe.
The Aesthetics of the Estate
Forget burlesque portrayals by RADA grads,
hoodies and baseball bats, spitting yesterday’s slang;
or the grime soundtrack from a dealer’s tinted window,
as he finger salutes the passing patrol car.
Instead, survey the empty street, or the cleaner
cutting through from the supermarket;
the squirrels scratching the metal bin’s insides;
sodium yellow lamplight sharpening branches.
Even the car that burned so quick and short
is now a gentle, blackened thing. You’ll never
know a quiet like this, framed by the gentle glow
of so many living room windows. The domestics,
bass boxes and screeching tyres are quick to fade,
all gone by the first chirp of morning song.
Show me your rudest, meanest street soldier—
I’ll show you another life slipping away in silence.