OZYMANDIAS 2 (RETURN OF THE SANDSTORM)

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                              Steve McAuliffe

 

They don’t

Or can’t

Or simply won’t believe

That their system of order is breaking down now around their ears

 

 

See, so convinced are they

Of their own invincibility

That they even tried to tell us once that this is the end of history

Like they had attained mastery

Over even history itself

 

 

-But you know what they say about pride

-Prior to a fall and all that.

 

 

I mean, holy shit

It took close to 12 trillion to keep their crafty dream afloat

The last time a major storm hit and rocked their luxury boats

And yet still then preen like vainglorious emperors of yesteryear

-Ozymandias and his select one per-cent of fawning courtiers-

Blissfully, arrogantly unaware

Of the coming, all enveloping and soon-to-be levelling sandstorm

A catastrophic storm approaches that will level all illusions of mastery

And consign them to the dustbin of history

So how very ironic that for them at least, very soon it will be

The End of History

 

 

 

You can read more of Steve’s poetry here

 

Mundanus

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Teresa Durran

 

Just think of all those hours where

You weren’t ill, weren’t lost or heartbroken

Weren’t unhappy, weren’t distressed

Nor tortured with words, spoken or unspoken

 

When you were going about your business as usual.

Distractedly, maybe, bored, barely awake,

But not in pain, unhappy, feeling desperate

Or wracked with self-doubt, or shattered by heartbreak,

 

Or broken by yet another rejection.

Those are the hours your life is measured by,

They are the sum and totality of you.

The mundane is where we live and die

 

It is where drama, pain, trauma and love find us.

Sought out by their remorseless light

It is where we ready ourselves for them.

Use these hours wisely. They are not finite

They Tried To Bury Us

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Victoria Pearson

It started underground
In the dark
A fluttering of awareness
A pulsing heartbeat
A distant drum of war.

It started underground
Waiting out the cold
Gathering it’s resources
Biding it’s time
Waiting for its moment.

It started underground
Until conditions were ripe,
Then everything exploded;
The rush for the light
Breaking into the sun
Claiming its ground.

It started in the dark
Now it stands tall,
Unfurls its glorious petals,
A red banner
In the grey.

Advent

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Teresa Durran 

 

The inky dark December sky outside is punctured

Holed by a luminous moon, cold and full and bright.

But inside, there are three candles and eleven tea lights burning

There is peace, there is warmth, there is complete quiet.

 

Shifting currents below the surface are heralding something good

An almost imperceptible sense of motion quivering the air;

I sense a faint scent, a trace of a taste on the edge of my tongue,

The aroma of hope. A hint of something stirring. Something’s there.

 

Tantalising. Something deeply hidden is turning over,

Slowly but steadily, like a flower bulb moving below ground

To reach cold winter light far above. Like a mediaeval coin

Long buried in a field, waiting for the right moment to be found.

 

Spring is distant but all is not lost.

Sunlight always overwhelms frost

Umbrae

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Teresa Durran 

You can’t run away from ghosts. They’re too sly for that.

They slip and slide after you, seeping through cracks

In your consciousness. That grey silence just before dawn

Where your fears rush in and create a gap?

That’s their favourite place. Their space.

 

Throw yourself into your work. Go on.

Add hours to your day, have a full calendar.

They don’t and won’t care. They’ll just stay,

Half formed, opaque, happy to delay

You have to pause for breath sometime, don’t you?

 

They know this. They know you better than you care to believe.

Paused between dream and day, between think and say

They’ll find you. At your lowest, they’ll remind you

Of all the memories and fears you thought

You’d so cleverly left behind you.

 

Try this. Welcome them in. Face them down.

Stop, and slowly turn to gaze directly in their eye.

Say ‘hi, come on then, I’m here, do your worst’.

Say ‘is that all you’ve got?’. Because it will be. Burst

the spectre of fear. It isn’t scary at all if you soak it with love

Vampire Limousine

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Steve McAuliffe 

 

We are people of the world you and I

Literally we are of this world

Though the makers of this world despise us

-We eat unremarkable food and agonise from time to time over the price of a piece of fillet steak

Or some of us learn to content ourselves with non-nutritious chemical substitutes

Whilst others among us scrabble around for scraps to eat

Or simply starve

In alley-ways not yet designated prime real-estate by they who hate us all

See, this is this common thread that links us all

We are all

All of us, despite our perceived statuses

Despised by people who never have to choose, who never have to surrender indulgence, who hate the sight of those who starve, yet are conversely reassured by their ongoing existence

Economic vampires

Deathly white, sat in the back of black limousines tour the slums and hellish corners

Of our hijacked cities after dark

Hissing at the remaining ever-dwindling social housing

Hungrily clawing at the leather seats

Barely containing their blood-lust for the scattered remnants of the working-classes

Social cleansing is the sucking dry of the lifeblood of this city

And the corporate vampire shall not be sated

Not till the uninhibited sound of childhood laughter

Is driven once and for all from these few remaining streets

And as for us, during this calm before the scheduled storm

Our lives are barely tolerated

Providing we do not sit atop some precious minerals

Or our meagre dwellings do not interrupt the path of so-called progress

Tolerated, for now, at least until the next engineered clearance is okayed by a compliant government – or a corrupt council

Or a judiciary hired to legitimise the perpetuation of wealthy expansionism

Until then

They look upon us with hungry scorn

Unaware that many among us long ago prepared our pointed wooden stakes

Ready for their inevitable descent from out of a dark sky dimly lit by a blood-red moon

And on the date and time of their inevitable appearances

We shall be waiting outside our meagre homes

To conduct long-awaited and way-overdue clearances of our very own

A battle-cry goes up to match their werewolf call

And the corporate vampire who aimed to blind us

To eternally bind us

shall find us

Powerful stake-holders after all

Another Revolting Peasant

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Victoria Pearson

Don’t look the homeless man in the eye
Hold your chin up as you walk by
Just another revolting peasant
Trying to get some free pay
They’ve all got jobs and houses anyway

Foodbank collectors, scrounging again
Why should you pay for society’s drains?
Just another revolting peasant
Trying to get a free meal
Don’t they know what you’ve just spent on that used car deal?

Tut as you pass the nurse picket line
Agitators complaining though everything’s fine
Just another revolting peasant
Protesting for ages
They knew when they trained that they’d get shit wages

The teachers are lying, schools have all they need
Wanting funding for books is just unbridled greed
Just another revolting peasant
Trying to game the system
They should quit if they can’t do the job, we’d not miss ’em

Ignore the police, pay ‘em no mind
Just scaremongering of the worst kind
Just another revolting peasant
Trying to make a scene
We all know the service is more funded than its ever been

Ignore all these protests, there’s nothing to see
These lefties aren’t like you and me
Just another revolting peasant
Who won’t understand
Inequality is a virtue of this land

Don’t listen to the shouting in the streets
It’s only the riff raff complaining they can’t afford to eat
The peasants are revolting all over the land
Calling that it’s time to make a stand

But you

You sit in front of the telly
While we promise you glory
You be a good peasant
And be sure to vote Tory

At the Beetle Supper

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Philip Kane 

 

At the Beetle Supper

My ankles itch.
Crack! The black shells
pop like champagne corks
at every table.

Feeling sick, I look
for cover. There’s none.
Something shattered flops
with six legs waving.

I ask for an alternative.
The waiter tells me, “No,
the country’s free but
this is all you get”.

“Don’t argue”, says my neighbour,
“These beetles are the best
kind, they’re succulent
and fairly sweet”.

She smiles and spits out bits.
Her teeth are turning black.
The beetles, on their backs,
are laid in rows,

impaled on cocktail sticks.
There’s no escape.
“Here, try”…”Another?”
This supper lasts forever.

My ankles itch.
Crack! The black shells
pop like champagne corks
at every table.

Feeling sick, I look
for cover. There’s none.
Something shattered flops
with six legs waving.

I ask for an alternative.
The waiter tells me, “No,
the country’s free but
this is all you get”.

“Don’t argue”, says my neighbour,
“These beetles are the best
kind, they’re succulent
and fairly sweet”.

She smiles and spits out bits.
Her teeth are turning black.
The beetles, on their backs,
are laid in rows,

impaled on cocktail sticks.
There’s no escape.
“Here, try”…”Another?”
This supper lasts forever.

Rat

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Philip Kane

 

Rat

When it came into our cellar, the rat
brought fear with it, fear that lingers even
though the rat itself is long dead, poisoned
by the blue pellets that we fed to it.
Like the burglar that came the year before,
we thought we might have glimpsed it once or twice
in the garden, or the gutter, sudden
recognition at the eyes rim. Vermin.
Even so, lifting its stiffened corpse on a
trowel, the long whip of its tail rigid
as a lockpick, I felt – what? – compassion?
Something, perhaps, akin to pity for
this marginal creature, embodiment
of our detritus, bearing our nightmares.