My poem, this sand this solid foundation, has been published on Stride today.
$This is my silencer.
$This is my passport.
$This is my stolen car.
$This is my sweet tooth.
$This is my chainsaw.
$This is my mountain.
$This is my coat of arms.
$This is my railroad.
$This is my paycheck.
$This is my ghetto.
$This is my gold mine.
$This is my blood test.
$This is my faded tan.
$This is my win-win.
$This is my tailspin.
$This is my violin.
$This is my Marilyn.
$This is my blindfold.
$This is my tightrope.
$This is my prairie.
$This is my [Answer B]
$This is my pool hall.
$This is my record deal.
$This is my church of Christ.
$This is my stage door.
$This is my honeymoon.
$This is my lynchpin.
$This is my spare bill.
$This is my old car.
$This is my new car.
$This is my puncture.
$This is my alias.
$This is my lying tongue.
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“I would fain know what we have fought for, and this is the old law of England and that which enslaves the people of England that they should be bound by laws in which they have no voice at all.”
Thomas Rainsborough, The Putney Debates, 1647
…They were told, above all
that they would be able to pass
and in the interests of
the people of this country…
Except for those who find themselves:
in poverty, detained
relying on food banks
under sanction and
those engaged in all kinds
of untoward shenanigans…
…This campaign should be about
opportunity and hope,
to be more nimble and dynamic,
a chance to do things differently…
We all begin on a level playing field
of burning injustices,
walk among the wastelands, slums,
leafy suburbs, ivory towers
and heaps of broken images…
…And what we are looking at
is measures to….
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“Thy subjects blood
With fire and sword
Cries vengeance Lord.”
Parliamentarian motto from ‘The Great Eclipse of the Sun’, 1644.
“Hate begets hate;
violence begets violence;
toughness begets a greater toughness.”
Dr Martin Luther King, 1958
like someone forgot to turn the key, shoot the bolt,
guard the cage door and now its loose, running wild,
raging on pent-up retribution for its incarceration;
not hiding in the undergrowth, a hole in the ground
but behind a look, beneath a word, within a promise
travelling in a crowd forming clusters along chains
of transmission, hitchhiking on breath and bodily fluids,
a stowaway in an attitude, an illegal immigrant riding
the virulent fear of itself gone viral, breaking-out
with a swelling of symptoms: the sharpened accusations
of ‘susceptibles’, slammed doors, raised voices, dog shit
through the letter box, broken windows, burning homes,
a contagion of tears, smoking guns, targeted spot-checks,
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“The whole village was roused; some fled, some attacked me,
until, grievously bruised by stones and many other kinds
of missile weapons, I escaped to the open country…”
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein – 1818
The monster recalls the Godly mob
ablaze with righteous indignation
at indulgences wilfully practiced
under licence of permissible leisure;
pointing the finger, stabbing the sky,
lighting torches, spitting shrapnel,
igniting The Book of Sports
in preparation for wayward bodies,
to reform the borders of acceptability,
rectify the correct codes of conduct,
to take back control, and thereby hand
it over to our duly elected legislators
deemed above all to know best
through disguised impartiality;
so, she kept her pretty head low,
held her breath in the priest hole
flinched as they tore down the May Pole,
up-turned the market stalls, bellowed
for blood, she spied devils in their frenzies
‘though they claimed to do Christ’s work.
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I need sad days to write sad words
and deaths to rhyme of death
floods to speak of horrid waves
and the drowning of children
the nothingness of floating dolls
and blinded fools upon the stage
fill my page.
I saw a photo in the paper,
you running naked, your dress blown off.
Because you were covered in dust
you seemed not injured,
until I caught
your frozen eyes,
lost in the inferno back the way you’d come,
careering out of the molten fire town,
flying on spindly child legs,
your mouth a cavern that roared its fear.
That was over forty years ago.
Burned history still maps your skin.
Dustless, I imagine you are a mother
and a grandmother, that you laugh a lot,
chat with friends,
walk the green love light avenues,
and only on occasion
does your mind go back to the day you faced the devil.
Whether theirs or ours,
you were too young to know,
and, anyway, all planes
have the same underbelly when birthing bombs.