Read Kae Tempest's Let Them Eat Chaos

An extract from Kae Tempest's new long poem Let Them Eat Chaos.

Extracted from Kae Tempest's Let Them Eat Chaos. The album of the same name by Kae Tempest has been shortlisted for the 2017 Mercury Music Prize.

The squats we used to party in

are flats we can't afford

The dumps we did our dancing in

have all been restored

Pints are up two quid

the staff are beautiful and bored

You think it's coming round here?

It's falling on its sword.

It don't feel like home no more

I don't speak the lingo.

Since when was this a winery?

It used to be the bingo.

I've walked these streets for all my life

they know me like no other.

But the streets have changed.

I no longer feel them


Alright alright, I get the gist.

Whose city is this?

It doesn't want me no more.

I've had a glimpse

into the future.

It stinks.

London's a walled fort,

it's all for the rich,

if you fall short you fall.

You know where the door is.

Board up the broken,

do it up,

sell it back

make it bespoke.

It's all out in the open.

It's fine, man,

hike the price right up

and smile with your friends

in the posh new nightclubs.

My streets have been dug up.


New routes for commuters.

The landscape has changed

I'm looking for the old tags,

the graffs that once meant

safe territory

but it seems

every hieroglyph gets whitewashed


The musical publishing rights to the album Let Them Eat Chaos are owned by Domino Publishing Company Limited.

This extract is taken from Kae Tempest's new long poem, written for live performance and heard on the album release of the same name, which has been shortlisted for the 2017 Mercury Music Prize.

As Kae describes it,

This is not a transcript of the album, but a companion to it, in the same way that the text of Brand New Ancients works as a companion to a performance piece. I enjoyed the challenges of asking the page to support the words and asking the words to support themselves without music. I hope the poem works as a poem, and holds its own.'

Let Them Eat Chaos

by Kae Tempest

Book cover for Let Them Eat Chaos

Let Them Eat Chaos is a call to action, and, both on the page and in Tempest's electric performance, one of the most powerful poetic statements of the year.