About Suffering

So many of us gathered that you’d think
we were about to levitate the Town Hall.
Freaks of every stripe—from navvies ankle-deep
in concrete mix, to pensioners, schoolteachers, councilmen, the ecumenical—
calling down the mouth of the Crimean war cannon
like oracles charming Apollo from the rocks.
I’m somewhere near the back—among that sun-bleached portion
of a stranger’s bad Polaroid; probably drunk,
probably pitching
memorial arcs of Strongbow down the Arts Centre steps—
when, out of nowhere, a Saracen comes squealing
through the barricades and our handiwork is scattered all over Kildare St:
burnt-out-cars, wash pots, empty kegs, cinder blocks.

The sort of thing I imagine there might’ve been
had I lived to see the eighties; as the unheard of, unseen
narrator of an altogether
grottier Icarus—wearing my German Army surplus coat
& battered Derbys—who can’t seem to articulate
the insidiousness of failure as sanctioned by the State.
I think about this, and of my parents & brothers,
press “book selected flights”, and I come back home to vote.

This poem was first published in the ‘Well Versed’ section of Morning Star’s ‘General Election 2017’ Issue. You can read it on their website here.

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