Viva la Revolucion
Rain concentrates itself on the pylons
and railway lines - nature's one inch punch
that batters away until there is rust.
Weeds undermine tarmac, headbutt
a path through concrete; push towards
their rendezvous with grass and nettles.
Wild horses hold their position
a mile from Newmarket, synchronise
hooves, reconfirm the plan of attack.
Bees make a grenade of the hive.
Sheep realise the power of numbers,
face down the sheepdog, march on the shearer.
The cattle uprising is swift and bloody,
abattoir visceral with human remains.
The McPeople Burger, fatty and tasteless,
is served with a side order of had-it-coming.
Look to Windward
i.m. Iain (M) Banks
Whitman's learn'd astronomer overlooked the stars'
mystery and beauty, the infinite poetry of the universe.
The firmament seems muted tonight. A sense of loss
settles like snow. Loss of a voice, an artist; loss
of an imagination that surged beyond the stars,
exploding narratives against the backdrop of universes
known or unknown: stars as starting points; universes,
the storyteller's playground. Now the balance of loss
and legacy, light still reaching earth from fading stars.
The stars are dimmer, the universe registers a loss.
But what happens to the rats
after they desert the sinking ship?
And why does no-one notice
the missing lifeboat? And for that
matter, how do they manage
to row or navigate? Putting aside
such concerns, let's assume the tide
deposits them on the shore of a strange
new world - a world without drains
or sewers, or midnight snacks
in alleyways strewn with trash;
without the familiar slash of rain
or the comforting sump of disease.
A world devoid of habitation
and unpolluted by infestation.
A world defined by sand and trees.
What next, after they've gnawed
the lifeboat to matchwood,
unable to satiate on meat and blood?
Only one thing: a rodent House of Lords,
a snout-twitching parliament.
With no excrement to despoil the beach
or discolour the sea, they reach
instead for the filth of government.
Friends in Low Places
To the nights held up like an x-ray to the moon
(that ghostly mark, the thought of tomorrow);
to the void that suddenly opens in a life
and the four walls that pretend to contain it;
to all the fears that would, if voiced,
be too easily dismissed or rationalised -
talked through and filed away
like a set of case notes -
a raised glass, here, in this shitty dive of the soul,
where the jukebox chops out twelve-bar blues
and some guy called Lenny is the demon prince
of the back room, anything you want for cash
and a guaranteed case of buyer's remorse;
this shitty dive where the spit missed the spittoon
and the sawdust the floor, and even the cockroaches
wear brass knuckles; this roadhouse
of the lower intestine, where the pool table
is the province of fat men in denim
with skull-buckled belts and yankee bandannas
who look like they'd rather shove a cue up your ass
than use it to sink the black; here's a raised glass
from the biggest shithole in the human psyche,
a toast to the lost, to the lonely,
to the battered parade of forgotten faces:
here's to the black dog, the hard slog,
and the dubious company of friends in low places.