With an epigraph from a Pears’ Soap advert from 1899: The first step towards lightening THE WHITE MAN’s burden is through teaching the virtues of cleanliness.

A right savage I was – sozzled
to the nose with sprightly
Muldoon, squeezed into the communal

sweat of a Saturday tube home –
I’m up to p. 388 of his sharp lemon-skinned
Collected Poems

when some scruffy looking git pipes to his crew
Some Paki shit, like,
eee’s loookin into!

My blood rising, especially when my head’s
done in with words like
‘Badbh’ … ‘Cailidin’ … ‘Salah-eh-din’,

I nearly get blunt, as one of them –
Well mate, this Paki’s more British than that inde-
cipherable, impossibly untranslatable

sod of a Paddy –
only I don’t ‘cos I catch my throat gungeing
on its Cromwellian vile, my tongue foaming for soap…

from Look We Have Coming To Dover! (Faber & Faber, 2007), © Daljit Nagra 2007, used by permission of the author and publisher; Recording from the audio CD Look We Have Coming To Dover! (Faber & Faber, 2008)

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