Down the Dene

Ellen Phethean

five tab ends in the dark
Shabber, Scotty, Lee, Dez and Sean
hustling and bustling
clicking sticks
buzzin and whizzin
jabberin and jokin
rapping and rhyming
throwing out lines:

'Coming on strong
with a bucket, and a bong
got the boosh, got the booshwah
got the tack, the weed, the ganj
for a smoke, minna moke
got the dope, got the rope,
got the skins, getting skinned up, way up high
laughing, off it,
getting wrecked, well stoned,
getting chongo, monged
chongofied, chinkified
we're laughing laughing can't stop laughing'.

Bushes rustle
stones click
a flick of the head
jumpin, on a skitz
the bizzies are buzzin
round the dene
it's the pigs, the polis,
radios jabber
lads all scatter
gotta Nash, gotta dash
coke bottles, plastic,
ripped Rizla packets
lighters, grass
everything trampled
only footprints

Ellen Phethean

Ellen Phethean is a co-founder of Diamond Twig; there is more information about her on her own page in this site. Down the Dene comes from Wall, her verse novel for teenagers, published by Smokestack Books. She explains:

In 2003/04 I was writer in residence for Seven Stories / Writing on the Wall, and I worked with all sorts of people from Byker and Walker.
I spent quite a lot of time with the Byker Neighbourhood Youth Project. It was all young girls of 14 - 16 and we talked a lot about their experience of life on the estate and their expectations.
I also happened to have a 16 year old son who hung around the same areas that these young lasses did - Jesmond Dene, Heaton Park, and who listened to the Hard Core music. At 16 none of them were old enough to go into pubs and there were few places for them to socialise, so they ended up sitting on the steps of the pavilion drinking the cheap wine - Lambrusco or Bella Brusco, hence their name for themselves, The Bella Brigade. Or if they were smoking dope, they'd hide under cover of the leafy rhododendron bushes. This was the inspiration for the poem Down the Dene.
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Down the Dene © 2007 Ellen Phethean: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.

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This page last updated 20th February 2007