In The Snug
Little man, you are my grinning birthright,
frog-faced in your better bookie’s coat.
You lean against the ale-damp bar of England
and stroke the giggling landlady’s chubby hand,
cooing words that stick in bigots’ throats.
Little man, you are my chortling birthright –
An army of nothing waits on your command,
as you feed us one more slightly racist joke
and lean across the sticky bar of England
to pinch the fascist barmaid’s arse. This land
is randy for the fear that you invoke.
Little man, you are my smirking birthright –
chief soother of our small, yet viscous band
that sneers at Johnny Foreigner, would gloat
to see him dashed against the rocks of England.
In the snug, your fog-horn voice demands
our rapt attention – true and piercing note
that holds us to you, little man. Our birthright
soaks into the blood-warm bar of England.
David Clarke’s pamphlet, Gaud, was joint winner of the Flarestack Poets competition in 2012 and went on to win the Michael Marks Award 2013. His first collection, Arc, will be published by Nine Arches Press in September 2015.