Poems for Purdah: Paul Summers

the sleeper wakes

it is almost

drown out
by the drone

of our shopping
channel juicers

the bleat of our trauma
our narcissist blurt

the quiet slaughter
of the fattened poor


to my kingdom

to the fag-end
of its progress

a slow-mo flash-fire
of bubbling tar

consuming the fibres
of jaundiced filters

this autumn air
our breath incendiary

we live off fear
& borrowed hate


& nothing
will grow

in the shadow
of our romance


way off-camera
beyond the reach

of news cycles
& investigative minds

the death toll is rising
the body count grows

bruised hearts
& airless lungs

clogged arteries
& petrified tongues

passion corroded
empathy eroded

asphyxiated dreams
statistics & lies

& god is dead
the faithful fucked

their currency
devalued or defunct

our father. oh father
grant us each day

our daily pills
our snidey tabs

our red-tops
& the strongest drink

our multipack crisps
our poundshop ket

our smack & crack
our poppers & skunk

deliver us our bargain hunt
& the great british bake-off

imprison us with labels
cage us in our minds


we live off fear
& borrowed hate

i will smear my cell
with dogma & lard

unleash a plague
of thankless hope


it is almost

through the drone
of this chatter

the movement of traffic
the transit of hours

the rumble of hunger
the hiss of the rain

the dirge of defeat’s
monotonous refrain

durer’s horsemen
braying at the door

the quiet slaughter
of the fattened poor

Paul Summers lives in North Shields. His last couple of books are Union (New & Selected) & Primitive Cartography. His latest collection Straya appeared in March 2017. (All titles with Smokestack Books.)

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