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MEN Arena.jpg

(Manchester Arena: Image by Pitt-yacker at



In Hope Street they manufacture nuts, bolts…

The company is even called ‘Nail It.

(Man United usually does just that.)

Salford, Manchester, Blackburn, Ormskirk,

Rochdale, Preston – all ‘nuts and bolts‘ places.

Their people are frank and they don’t quibble

over distinctions between flange and jam.

They vote ‘righty-tighty; lefty loosey.

At weddings there’s no ‘dockyard confetti

and shrapnel is small change in a pocket.

They know their hardware inside out and don’t

excuse idiots who have a screw loose.

They expect ‘Salman’ to mean a ‘blessing’:

that’s what the etymology suggests.

But they can differentiate as well –

Dangerous Woman‘ is just a concert

and not a female suicide bomber.

When someone with internal fixation

and tensioned beyond proof starts to behave

in a counterclockwise manner, they know

that it’s not about connection, coupling,


But they had no time to crack

a nut who suddenly raised his own head;

someone whose helical rage respected

no one else’s DNA – who spiralled –

blasted into Jahannam’s lowest pit,

not in a blaze of glory, but in shards

of eye, shoulder, thumb, rib neck and hex bolts.

Human being‘ needs a modifier.

We need to qualify with retronyms:

compassionate‘, ‘decent‘ or ‘evil,’

for we no longer know what is ‘human‘-

neither do straight-forward Mancunians.

Yet their gimlet eyes saw glimmers of it

in the selflessness of those who helped them.