Thursday, 31 March 2011

Renaissance Men




















As Davey and Will did their thuggery
And George sat and smirked in his smuggery,
The Office for Art
Did its humble wee part,
And cut British culture to buggery.

© Philip Challinor

Arts Council funding decision day: as it happened
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Weblog: The Curmudgeon - You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry.
Books: Philip Challinor's Books

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Speak Other Voices

Speak Other Voices

(The last Poetry Now Festival, Dun Laoghaire, March 2011)



Speak other voices

From other mouths,

Mouths that shape the language

Of other countries, other lives.



We know nothing about each other

But we know these words -

The ones that makes the sssss

The ones that make the oooos –



The suck and pull of sibilants

The essence of the vowels

The soft touch of emotion

The sucker puncher verbs



The humour and the sorrow

Self-deprecating veins

The quick flick of an eyebrow

The slow burn of the page.



We are always, always watching

And listening for the sign.

Here, we find the signals everywhere

Their words, your words, are mine.

©  Helena Nolan

Heaney wins 'Irish Times' poetry award
------------------------------------------------
Helena Nolan's poems and short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies and literary magazines including; The Stinging Fly, Abridged and The Moth, as well as on the Spoken Ink audio website and The Guardian Poetry Workshop. Last year she was shortlisted for Strokestown, runner up in the Fish poetry competition and came second in the Patrick Kavanagh Award. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from UCD (2008).

Monday, 28 March 2011

Glummery

The Hawkesbury Hills are mysterious
as reflections on this terminating year.
Mists freed from the clutch of belong
eddy and tease
blur edges of truth.

The dreariness
where sex between consenting adults
is front page news.
There's nothing to soothe the soul of discontent,
the burgeoning belief that nothing
ever will get better
as resources drain to puddles
with ever increasing need.

Space dwindles,
contracting to make more room fit in it.
There's little left for creatures
condensed to extinction, the weather
is full force extreme leaving destruction.

Religion and sport our primary halos
make us believe there is worth in their worship
they're icons that keep nations focused
and both should be sainted as
beacons of reason for why we are here.

With television as mentor
we learn what to eat, how to appear,
to wear pretence as a veil
of itself and believe it is real.

and now we cannot touch children
must warn them always to be afraid,
to play outside has dire warnings
enclosed they socialise on their computer.

If as is said, witchery survives, cover your hair
red heads will again become victims of fire
from lack of comprehension.

© Susan Adams

We had sex on Premier's desk: waitress
-----------------------------------------------
Susan Adams is an Australian poet who has been published in anthologies, online and print literary journals both in Australia and internationally. She has been read on ABC Radio National 'Poetica', All in The Mind' and '360'. Recent publications have included Eureka Street, Nth Position (UK), Great Works (UK), Eclecticism, Sugarmule (USA), Bacopa (USA), Hecate, Social Alternatives.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Gaddafi, Scrambled Eggs and Capital Gains

Ghosts of past plagues
Swarm between the words
Of printed paragraphs
Portraying pariahs in military boots.
Soles imprinted
Into cracked foreheads and
blood stained soil
Front page black and white
By morning halogen overhead
Lamp light.

Rise, fire drenched slogans
Burn in the shadows
Of oil field infernos!
March down streets pock marked
And scarred
the face of a nation
Scathed and battered at dawn,
Awaken.

On the television screen
Another dictator’s eyes
Attempt to glow omnipotent
Covering up an exasperated impotence
the morning news rattles on
the weatherman shares his forecast
a chance of democracy
with partial clouds
and intermittent showers of bombs.

Protestors take to the streets
A revolutionary sunrise
While western nations scramble eggs
And wonder about capital gains.
Imported coffee brews in the pot
Steam rises and escapes,
while yet another nation swipes
the butter knife blade
back and forth
across the aching neck of another
slice of toasted regime.

© Joshua Baumgarten

Libya: Allied air strikes secure Misrata for rebels
-----------------------------------------------------------
Joshua Baumgarten is an ex-pat New Yorker living in Holland. He organises the Irrational Library evenings - nights of poetry, rock n roll and casual chaos, and performs as a Standup Spoken Word artist.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Dear Liz...

Dear Liz,

I saw you at the Roxy,
You autographed my heart.
After that, I chased you,
Through Raintree County
And straight across William's
Hot tin roof.
Suddenly, last summer,
You were the bridesmaid
Once again.
Butterfield 8
Was worth the wait.

I left you in your prime,
Long before RB
For the second time.
Take five,
Your life is in the can.
Sincerely yours,
From the edge of my seat
…a fan.

© Martin Hodges

Dame Elizabeth Taylor dies at the age of 79

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Cowboy Dave

Ol' Davey's a chubby-cheeked cowboy
And the common folks all love a war;
Teach them Ayrabs a lesson right now, boy
And show 'em respect for the law.

Them Ayrabs was fussin' and sassin'
They showed no respect for the Man;
While the Chinks and the Rooskies was gassin',
Ol' Dave had to do what he can.

The Colonel was shootin' and foamin'
And poundin' folks into the sand;
Till Dave moseyed out of the gloamin'
And showed where the righteous folks stand.

Ol' Dave wasn't one for the throwin'
Of stones that was first to be cast;
But a man's gotta make a good showin',
So he give all them Ayrabs a blast.

Ol' Davey he done did the doin's,
The Colonel was righteously vexed;
Them Ayrabs they stood in the ruins
Sayin' what the hell do we do next?

Them Ayrabs they now are confessin'
This ain't an ideal situation,
But ol' Davey's taught 'em a lesson:
Don't let cowboys build you a nation.

© Philip Challinor

Libya: military action necessary, legal and right, says David Cameron
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Weblog: The Curmudgeon - You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry.
Books: Philip Challinor's Books

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Morning Walk in Bliss

dim sun behind heavy curtain, mist
field sparkles with dew, river Ruairi
rushes to the sea, chimes the wind

moist air traces an oriental smile
On the other side,
talking to the swelled up moon

thousands of bodies washed to shore
people who have little donating food,
t-shirts, nappies to help the trapped

Here I do follow this morning land
as long as allowed – too aware
how precious - and eternal the smiles

© Csilla Toldy

Japan will overcome crisis - IAEA
------------------------------------------
Csilla's stories and poetry have appeared in The Black Mountain Review, Southword, Fortnight, Poetry Monthly, and Strictly Writing Award. For more information, visit the website: Csilla Toldy

Monday, 21 March 2011

This Is Going To Hurt

George is one of those guys
With that dead callous look in his eyes.
He'll catch you and skin you,
His cuts will continue,
No matter how loud the cries.

© Martin Hodges

2011 Budget: Osborne says 'huge mistake' to slow cuts

Sunday, 20 March 2011

To an Untrustworthy Arab, in Great Moral Perplexity

Iraq disarmed? O say it isn't so!
Friend Curveball, we're not mad but disappointed.
If only we had known the things you know,
George Bush and poodle Blair, the Lord's anointed,
Might never have embarked on their crusade
To cleanse of terror your oil-troubled lands.
Friend Curveball, all those stories that you made
Have left you with much blood upon your hands.

We wanted our ex-ally's reign to cease;
There's no denying he'd become erratic.
And so we fibbed and bullied, bugged and spied;
We've lost count of the miles we went for peace,
To keep your people well and democratic.
Yet, oddly, it was mostly they who died.

© Philip Challinor

Iraqi defector 'Curveball' Janabi denies WMD claims
----------------------------------------------------------------
Weblog: The Curmudgeon - You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry.
Books: Philip Challinor's Books

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Quality



















Underwriting is not exciting.
Underwriting is exacting.

Calculating risk
with the precision necessary
to allow a person to
do what they
want or need to do.

If they were not underwritten,
their more limited lives
might be wrecked
by overwhelming consequences
from an unforeseen event.

An underwriter is not driven by testosterone.
Underwriters do not hone reflexes
with an adrenalin fix.

The data of a lifetime of claims
The judgement of a reasoning mind.
The quality of a professional hand
The premium.

Quality is unlawful now,
e-quality is enacted.
Under the writing of the judges
I am retired
and it is to them
the future is ensured.

© Malcolm Saunders (Malpoet)

ECJ ruling to outlaw gender inequality a "horrible mistake"
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Retired, cantankerous, libertarian and occasionally a poet, I am probably malodorous, but seek to avoid being malicious or malevolent so I vent malapert musings through malpoetry. Malpoet blog

Friday, 18 March 2011

Bottom Feeders in Slumburbia

It won't take long to tour
Foreclosure Row. Cul-de-sac
of lost gambles, vanished
neighbors, untended lawns.
Paradise for profiteers
and vagabonds who may yet
prosper. See this
kitchen, stainless-steeled and
backsplashed, where
a bowl of pears still sits
atop the granite. All the
juice, ripeness, satisfaction
leached away. The rotting flesh
a feast for flies and worms.

© Erika Dreifus

Slumburbia

Erika Dreifus lives in New York City. Her poems have appeared in American Journal of Nursing, Christian Science Monitor, Moment magazine, and others. She is also the author of Quiet Americans: Stories. Please visit her website at www.erikadreifus.com
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Erika Dreifus
Author of Quiet Americans: Stories
Website
Twitter

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Aftermath in Fukushima

In orange jumpsuits they climb over the detritus
Of cities and towns shattered by the unforgiving water surge.
They search for survivors, find bodies, hundreds of them.
They’ve run out of body-bags so they wrap them in plastic,
Light incense, say a prayer, move on.
Stunned survivors, homeless, look for their lost generations.
And as if quake and tsunami weren’t enough
Now they have to evacuate the area.
Mortally-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant No. 1
Threatens radioactive contamination.
These polite orderly people queue for iodine tablets,
Queue for food, queue for transport to take them
Away from Fukushima and the lethal emission spreading
Over the Land of the Rising Sun.

© Patricia Mahon

Nuclear crisis: Inside Fukushima's exclusion zone
------------------------------------------------------------
Patricia Mahon has been published in Ireland and Spain. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from UCD. She is also a Healing Therapist practicing in Ireland and Spain.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Diamond Geezer














There is a diamond geezer
worth a bob or two.
He had a scheme to bank on
at the cost of me and you.

A bunch of merchant bankers
and their mates from public school
found a way to have a yacht life
that they thought was really cool.

You take a punt on dodgy markets
that might just make a mint
but if it all goes pear shaped
you never will go skint.

When times get rough, some tax cash
will bail us all out.
Wait things out a while,
then back in with your snout.

Get more cash in with charges
on the plebs with overdrafts,
then stack your wad with bonuses
and shares to stash away.

Merlin the magician
couldn't conjure more than us.
There are diamonds in those boardrooms
and they couldn't give a toss.

© Malcolm Saunders (Malpoet)

Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond gets £6.5m bonus

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Retired, cantankerous, libertarian and occasionally a poet, I am probably malodorous, but seek to avoid being malicious or malevolent so I vent malapert musings through malpoetry. Malpoet blog

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Sea Saw

See the great mouth of the ocean, opening,
the ships upturned, their foredecks prised,
surprised tin cans of people, emptying, cars
float past houses drowning, all the things
that should be standing, falling, the high
tide water mark erased by waterfalls, all
vanishing in the widening rings, the pool
of dislocation with her giddy swirls that
draw the weak eye in,

                                       unbalancing, turning
the world into an emptying, a draining vase
of something left for dead, dead flowers,
dead hopes, dead animals left tethered in the
fields that filled and filled and as we watch
them, drain and drain again, until we see it all
now - all the missing, all the living, all the dread.

©  Helena Nolan

Japan hit by tsunami after massive earthquake

-------------------------------------------------------

Helena Nolan's poems and short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies and literary magazines including; The Stinging Fly, Abridged and The Moth, as well as on the Spoken Ink audio website and The Guardian Poetry Workshop. Last year she was shortlisted for Strokestown, runner up in the Fish poetry competition and came second in the Patrick Kavanagh Award. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from UCD (2008).

Monday, 14 March 2011

Lost for Words

Reactor reactions
Esoteric experts
Seismic sympathies
Coastal catastrophes
Uttered uncertainties
Endless estimations

Journalistic journeys
Automatic alerts
Pressed politicians
Anxious assessments
Nuclear nightmare

© Martin Hodges

Explosion at Japan nuclear plant

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Sunday Shorts: Names and Principles

The Unmentionable Goodwin

Bank malfunction;
Financial unction;
Superinjunction.

Fred Goodwin gets superinjunction to stop him being called a banker

© Philip Challinor

-----------------------------------------------------------

An ODEar

Strange days, these cheddarheads, we have seen.
Our Governor rules with iron fist,
A heart of stone, he's kind of mean.
Like Santy Claus, he's made a list,
Intends to make the teachers pay.
Refuses to budge, a mulish badger,
Dictatorship runs the day,
Thinks unions filled with artful cadgers.
Walker sidles with the money makers,
A broken state, how do we fix?
He's forgotten the movers, the middle class shakers,
Seems all we do is throw stones and sticks

The children pay,
Isn't that the way?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Readies National Guard Against Unions

© Thingy

Saturday, 12 March 2011

How to Communicate Cutbacks to Staff



















If you can say nothing, say nothing.
If you must talk of change, change is always good.
Cutbacks, downsizing, downgrading,
rationalisation, tightening...
everything is only getting smaller, not going away.

When you talk of redundancies,
beware of ‘putting out to grass’
– or severance: a serious word bringing to mind
wealthy uncles striking names from wills –
say ‘letting people go’ instead as though
they clamoured at the very gates of freedom.

Do not refer to ‘scrap heaps’
or, indeed, to age. Call older workers
‘longer-standing staff’
not ‘past their best before’, ‘used up’, ‘worn out’
which smacks of wrinkled aunts hogging the fire,
sucking the life out of a Werthers Original
with yellow teeth. Do not acknowledge
time you kindly set aside for jobsearch
is as redundant as they are.

Smile, when you say anything. Remember tears
have no truck in the modern workplace.
Lift the ends of sentences to stress
the merits of ‘work/life balance’
(once the work’s removed).
Speak of their liberated future days
with a hint of envy in your voice.

And those remaining few?
Remind them daily how lucky they are -
The Chosen - when issues arise
around the increased workload,
spinning plates now crashing to the floor,
the longer hours, wage freeze, et cetera
– how very, very lucky they are.

© Clare Kirwan


2 March - Best Practice in Local Government HR
-------------------------------------------------
Clare blogs as brokenbiro and is one of the founding editors of this site. The only way to stop her posting her own poems is by submitting YOURS! www.clarekirwan.co.uk

Friday, 11 March 2011

Work Ethic

As common folk, perhaps you thought
That bankers, having sold us short,
And boomed and busted every bubble,
Should now cough up and ease our trouble.
You thought that those who've worked to serve
The public might perhaps deserve
A modicum of help when they
Have paid their taxes all the way.

If such you thought, it proves again
That Britain's public needs more pain
To keep it from that thought most vile:
That, once an economic while,
A Government in times depressed
Should take some small, vague interest
In making sure the ill and old
Are not abandoned in the cold.

For instance, we all know it's wrong
For pensioners to live too long,
Since each new year the wrinklies stay
Means more that others have to pay;
And that is why the new Lord Hutton,
With brain of bone and heart of mutton,
Has laboured for the nouveau Blair
To find solutions that are fair.

We all must pay; we all must work
Lest teachers, doctors, nurses shirk,
Lest dust- and postmen grab their bonus,
Forgetful of that sacred onus,
That burning, shining, Boys' Own piety
Which calls itself the Big Society.
We're all together in this mess:
You must work longer, and for less.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/mar/10/lord-hutton-pensions-change-fairness

© Philip Challinor
----------------------
Weblog: The Curmudgeon - You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry.
Books: Philip Challinor's Books

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Seasons Change (for the free people of Libya)





















Seasons Change

Slowly, Slowly, for the free people of Libya

Slowly,

Slowly, one by one

the leaves turn

and red returns

where green once held.

Slowly,Acting alone

yet part of the collective

branches call the uprising

until all are one

and the revolt is complete.

But always

it takes one.


© Mark William Jackson

-------------------------
Mark William Jackson is a Sydney artist whose work has appeared in various journals including Popshot, Going Down Swinging, The Diamond & the Thief and SpeedPoets. markwmjackson.com

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Benefits of Bilingualism




















I came home from school that day
Raw from the teacher’s ruler.
“A Dhonnchaidh,” my mother asked me,
What did you do to deserve such a punishment?
I replied, “Bha mi disobedient,”
The word strange and meaningless on my tongue.
She explained I had been mi-mhodhail
And I was no further in knowing
What my crime had been.

We were not encouraged to speak Gaelic
After that.
Gone was the aran, the taigh and the eaglais.
Instead we ate bread, lived in a house and went to church.

And now they tell me:
Two languages a day
Keeps the Alzheimer’s away.
I can still hear my mother’s soft singing,
But there are some memories
I would quite like to forget.

© Christine Laennec

Feb. 18, 2011, “Speaking Two Languages May Delay Getting Alzheimers”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Check out my blog 'Writing from Scotland' at www.christinelaennec.co.uk

I live in Aberdeen, Scotland, and am a Gaelic enthusiast – amongst other things!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

This time it's different
















There's three of us, enough to make a fuss. We're pleased
to be a team, of course, relieved there's no more 'token woman'
business going on. In fact we thought the talk would shift
at last. Surprise expressed, yes, but hell! It's more than

forty years since 1969. But hear
the press reel out old jokes, on TV, radio and in print.
'Three women! Imagine the launch party, bet they went,
Damn! We've all come in the same outfit.' Or,

referring to the padded orange jumpsuits,'Are you sure
it doesn't make me look fat?' And something behind our backs
about women drivers. All I did was study maths and physics,
go to rocket school and practice zero gravity -

all they do is quip about the uniform! My mother
still hopes I'll meet the right man, of course, but I wanted
the man in the moon. You have to believe in yourself when you're up
against that. Mothers. Men. This is a vocation but if I'm truthful

some of the sparkle's gone. The Apollo Missions - those were
the wild west days: the lone cowboy dude he was
the epic hero: one man, one rocket, one trip to the moon.
(Even if there were two or more astronauts; even in a team.)

Surrounded by extremes we were back then, no points
in-between at all: The Space Race, The Cold War;
black and white TV; apartheid in South Africa.
So many enemies. They named the quest with blinkers on:

'Apollo' - god of the Sun, wasn't he? That daybright star:
Apollo, god of days and mice. But the ruler of the moon
is Artemis: goddess of the hunt, wild animals
and childbirth. A strange compounded queendom.

Maybe they thought, in naming their ascent for man,
to tell the story of her defeat? 'Apollo Mission':
Man conquers Moon. Did they forget these two were twins,
Apollo and Artemis? Nothing without the other, day

and night. Did you know, they never put a woman
on the moon? Other fish to fry. Now three of us
are on the shuttle, soon to join another in space.
Three and one makes four: a world record. Never before

did they cheer us on in twos and threes; four is the magic number.
Yet, it's just a few laps of the earth, some tests, some data pulled -
it's almost office work. No. Don't you believe what you read
in the papers. We reached for the moon and won.


© Cath Nichols

Celebrating Four Women in Space for International Women's Day
(2011 theme: Equal access to education, training and science & technology)
------------------------------------------------------------------
Cath has a PhD from Lancaster University. She is now over-qualified for almost everything except a job in academia or libraries, and - oh! Look at those jobs vanish. Never mind. Profile.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Intent

















My salary is a few dinars
I only have a tent
I am not a President.

How can I resign?
I have no authority.
My country is run by the masses.

I ordered the military
to go home
and not fire their weapons.

How can I do crimes?
Libya has no king, no parliament, no president.
There are no peaceful demonstrations.

If Cameron can find
one penny of asset in Britain
I will poke
my fingers in his eyes.

The young people are given drugs
by Al Qa'eda.
These terrorists are a few cells.

My people love me
They will die for Moammar
They will die.

© Malcolm Saunders (Malpoet)


Gaddaffi says he will not surrender

-----------------------------------
Retired, cantankerous, libertarian and occasionally a poet, I am probably malodorous, but seek to avoid being malicious or malevolent so I vent malapert musings through malpoetry. Malpoet blog

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Topical At The Time: You Can Call Me Dave



Performed by Elvis McGonagall at the Gilded Balloon press launch at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009.

We asked Elvis to tell us a bit more about his poem. This is what he said:

"The poem was written around the time Cameron was elected Tory leader and had made a speech to the party conference that the media were wetting themselves over. I think he said "Change, optimism, hope" in an interview. I just thought - oh for f**k's sake I've heard all this before. Empty soundbites in classical tricola.

I still use it in my live sets - people seem to find it funny.

As for writing topical stuff - well I guess it's better than venting one's spleen via a bottle of gin and a blunderbuss aimed at the purveyors of cant and hypocrisy."

Learn more about Elvis, HERE

Saturday, 5 March 2011

A Just Society

Some maintain that a just society
puts the needs of the poor
before the demands of the rich.

Yet consider the plight
of the six members of the present cabinet
who are not yet millionaires.

What kind of a just society is it that forces
Vince Cable to buy his shirts
and business studies books from Oxfam?

What kind of a just society sends
Andrew Lansley crawling to loan sharks
to pay for his prescription charges?

What kind of a just society lets Eric Pickles
queue for three hours for his Housing Benefit,
due to a scarcity of counter staff?

What kind of a just society confers
on Baroness Warsi the status of poor
non-Oxbridge educated Asian woman?

What kind of a just society could invent
the Chief-whip’s whip-round for Patrick McLoughlin’s
bus fare to his Derbyshire constituency?

What kind of a just society reduces
Danny Alexander to selling the Big Issue
on the streets of Glasgow at the weekend?

Expect the other twenty three to soon dig deep
into their combined sixty-three millions
and bail out their poverty-stricken colleagues.

© Colin Watts

Colin Watts is author of four collections of poems. He works in Adult Learning and is not a millionaire. http://www.colinwatts.net/

Friday, 4 March 2011

Dear Rupert

Dear Rupert: What a splendid ruse
To spin your money-losing News!
I cannot emphasise enough
Our need to look just slightly tough
On all monopolies and such
As may appear to own too much;
Because we must be seen to be
As fair as brute expediency
Allows us, more or less, to seem
Without reducing fat cats' cream.

We know your dear News Corporation
Has much adorned our fragrant nation
With paywalls, phone-taps, racism, tits,
Coulson, MacKenzie, other wits
Mostly too numerous to name -
In short, dear chum, the Murdoch fame
Rings out so true across the earth
That it would really not be worth
Inquiring further of your bid;
Indeed, I'd say that if we did,
It could not help but be a stain
And blot upon our Monarch's reign.

Rupert, it is an honour to
Yield up this little gift to you
(And, frankly, it can only be
A short time till the BBC
Is offered, with humility,
To gladden your senility).
Yours most sincerely, Jerry Hunt,
Your faithful Culture Sec., and Conservative.

© Philip Challinor

Rupert Murdoch offers to 'spin off' Sky News for BSkyB deal

-------------------------------------------------------------

Weblog: The Curmudgeon - You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry.
Books: Philip Challinor's Books

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Parental Recollections from BP's Better Days

"You could say 'hi' and 'bye-bye,'
but all our friends' children,
even the ones younger than you,
were speaking in sentences.
We didn't worry (well, not much)
because we knew you could read.
You were about eighteen months.
We bundled you up, went for a walk.
There was a British Petroleum
gas station across the street—
that's what it was called back then,
British Petroleum—
and right there, in your stroller,
you let your thumb fall from your mouth,
you pointed to the sign and you yelled,
'B P!'
We didn't tell too many people.
We didn't want to brag."



© Erika Dreifus


28 Feb 2011: NIH launches largest oil spill health study
--------------------------------------
Erika Dreifus lives in New York City. Her poems have appeared in American Journal of Nursing, Christian Science Monitor, Moment magazine, and others. She is also the author of Quiet Americans: Stories. www.erikadreifus.com

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Suppose they held a war and no-one came?

Suppose they gave a speech and no-one clapped
or thought that we should go and ‘make a stand’
in foreign lands - those places on a map
with borders shifting in the bloodied sand?

No longer having privates to parade
suppose those uniforms just gathered dust
in warehouses, with rows of hand grenades
(all out of date) and rifles gone to rust.?

Suppose the tanks had all been turned instead
to ploughshares, and those trigger finger skills
were used in fixing cars and baking bread,
constructing Lego, tapping at cashpoint tills?

Suppose those soldiers destined to expire
lived on unharmed and lovely, played unbruised
still with their limbs intact, and friendly fire
was just another name for barbecues?

Suppose bored surgeons took up tapestry
on silent nights in trauma wards, now bare,
instead of knitting skin and artery
and mopping up the bloody carnage there?

Suppose the Major Generals were diffused
made safe, and left to graze on their estates
and jingoistic marching bands reused
for floral dances at bright summer fetes?

Suppose these sorry telegrams decayed
in stationery cupboards, yellow-brown
and all the debts had long since been repaid
and grave-diggers laid off all over town?

© Clare Kirwan

UK to make 11,000 of its armed forces redundant

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Clare Kirwan is a member of Liverpool's Dead Good Poets Society and blogs as Broken Biro

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

I Ran















I ran for President and they said I lost.
I ran a blog when hundreds of thousands of people
came onto the streets and begged me to lead them.
I ran into trouble.

Iran is my homeland.
Iran is a birthplace of civilisation.
Iran of poets and philosophers is hidden.
Iran is in trouble.

I ran Iran in my mind to a better place.
I cannot run.
Iran is my home.
To die at home is the dream of everyone.

© Malcolm Saunders (Malpoet)

Iran: Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi 'arrested'
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Retired, cantankerous, libertarian and occasionally a poet, I am probably malodorous, but seek to avoid being malicious or malevolent so I vent malapert musings through malpoetry.