polemical poetry to prickle the politics of "permanent austerity"
thistles stretch their prickly arms afar
ON SEEING A GOVERNMENT MINISTER
BEING INTERVIEWED ON TV,
and determining to stop paying
the licence fee
Those are the eyes of a killer.
What hungering void, or dream,
or wound consumes behind?
Those are the words of a killer.
They are the twistings
of a well-schooled mind.
Those are the hands of a killer,
gesturing a semaphore of power.
What command papers have they held,
consigning some to death by slow degrees,
and some by instant fire?
The killer curves his mouth in a lean grin.
I see a shark, in his element,
sure of his next and every win.
The killer manages a judicious tear.
(“I empathise; I go to church; I care...”)
I see an obvious reptile here.
The killer laughs.
I see an alpha ape,
exulting in his dominance.
I cannot thole this monster
and his arrogance.
I’ve pulled the plug.
David Betteridge (b. 1941) is the author of a collection of poems celebrating Glasgow’s radical traditions, Granny Albyn's Complaint (Smokestack Books, 2008). He is also the editor of a book celebrating the work-in at the UCS shipyards in 1971-2, A Rose Loupt Oot (2011). With the designer Tom Malone, he has produced a series of poetry pamphlets, published by Rhizome Press (2008-15).