Howard Firkin
(Permission to be ugly)
You may be ugly here: let out your belt.
Don’t wash or shave. Don’t brush your teeth or hair.
It’s London, and it isn’t going to care;
indifference so great it can’t be felt.
This town is built on artefact and bone.
We crowd the streets and pavements, busses, tube:
the locals, buttoned up, eyes down, take strides,
map-flappers gosling shuffle after guides;
it’s all the same for born-and-bred or newb:
eight million people, each one on their own.

The timeline’s skyline changes by the yard,
and nothing dominates or lasts—no dome,
cucumber, tower, spire, clock, eye, shard—
all come and go. It’s ugly. Welcome home.