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Poetry

Niall McDevitt, Albion

“… the holy apostolic see in the time of Pope Adrian of blessed memory conceded the land to the illustrious king of the English…”

1     ALBION (contd)

 

a thousand years’ English rapine of Ireland

counts for nothing in intellectual circles today

“ah but you are white…”

 

the English rapine of Celtic neighbours

needs excuses to continue, the strangest

being that one word

“whiteness”

 

Catalans come into their kingdom-as-republic

breaking from monarchist Spain

to perfidious talk of “43%”

(not the proof

of British whiskey)

 

the apron’s imperium sinks or swims

as a fruit-voice on Radio 4 insists

“Europe doesn’t understand Anglo-Saxons”

 

2    CONSERVATISM (contd)

 

the news    the numbers

voxes of the quantifying debate

are plummified and correctly measured – by rulers –

but when blackout lifts and vox populi is mic’d

the cry of the pauperised is really too much to bear

then you feel in your hand the diamanté heart

of Tory England, cut and pristine, proffering zero,

but neurotic, so neurotic, prisms of rainbow guilt

filtering into the public tones and vocabulary

e.g.

“we have sold our humanity but are yet human beings.

help us! we have everything and/or nothing.

help us! we’re cocooned in bourgeois materialism

following the neoliberal way, not the way of Christendom

as once we sought.

thus glutted and battened – sealed off –

the whine of a poor man or woman on tv or radio

makes us inwardly laugh

(this ventriloquised confession is not easy)

which is why we work even harder at self-presentation.

our consciences are … what is the opposite of clear?

our consciences are … unclear.

help us

escape the Momentum noose!”

*

(thus

the rich whine too)

 

3    ISRAEL (contd)

 

the state land // the no-gos // the seam // the buffer // the annex //

the WALL // the FENCE // the BARRIER // the WALL // the FENCE //

the BARRIER // the slabs // the barbs // the mounds // the trenches //

the patrols // the towers // the minefields // the lenses// the checkpoints //

the settlements // the sections // the satellites// the segments // the strips //

the routes // the bypasses // the tunnels // the bridges // the highways //

white plates // green plates //yellow plates // red plates //black plates //

the levels // the nodes // the clusters // the zones // the enclaves //

the WALL // the FENCE // the BARRIER // the WALL // the FENCE //

the BARRIER //  the voltage // the radars // the imaging // the sensors //

the ops // the transfers // the writ // the bulldozers // the flags //

the tanks //the uzis // the UAVs // the quads // the skunk-spray//

a clover map //of CENTRES // of BASES // of PRISONS //

the outposts // the crossings // the roadblocks // the grids // the airspace

 

4    FASCISM (contd)

 

the human body is purple yellow silver

before the mind is

and after

 

nation-states plant human bodies

humans form

a forest

 

they walk with torches in xtian hands

calling from human tonsils

rawly

 

continents are under spells

giant footprints stamping plates

lumbering backward

 

fascism rebooted

the human body

is not a safe space

 

                       *

 

the human forms avow

infanthood’s morals

 

but outgrow

them as fashions

 

snow and fire

are at war

 

the shamans of bodhranbodhranland

drum

 

to 2017’s

twitted ideologies

 

news is white

supreme


Photo: Julie Goldsmith

Niall McDevitt is the author of three collections of poetry, b/w (Waterloo Press, 2010), Porterloo (International Times, 2013) and Firing Slits, Jerusalem Colportage (New River Press, 2016). He is also known for his poetopographical walks such as The William Blake Walk, An Arthur Rimbaud Drift, A Chaucer London Pilgrimage, The Kensington Modernists, and many others. As art-activist he has campaigned to save the Rimbaud-Verlaine house in Mornington Crescent, and against development of sites near Blake’s burial ground in Bunhill Fields. In 2012 he read at Yoko Ono’s Meltdown at the Future Exiles: Poetry, Activism and the Future event. In 2016, he performed his poetry in Iraq at the Babylon Festival. His latest  book BABYLON (a neoliberal theodicy) is forthcoming from New River Press. He blogs at https://poetopography.wordpress.com/


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