Militant Thistles

polemical poetry to prickle the politics of "permanent austerity"

atos Poor Doors Sheriff Stars spikes

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle bedroom tax Disrupt and Upset

Fiona Sinclair

A girl’s best friend



Her Do you buy diamonds please? in Eastern European accent

startles like a hold up. I look round expecting hard case in hoody

instead get pretty young woman with toddler and cumbrous pram.


The assistant explains with shop’s liveried politeness that they buy jewellery

not gems. Her reverse ceremony slipping white gold engagement and

wedding bands from finger, proffering in palm I wish to sell these please.


Rings are popped on digital scales strict as diet weigh in. Diamond is

quizzed under Jeweller’s monocle. She jiggles pram, strains a smile at the child;

begetting stories in us like a script writers’ brain storm session.


£200. The girl beams as if a surprise scratch card win, A lot of money.

His Hallmark card cheeriness Buy yourself something nice. She goes

off to translate the twenties into nappies, fish fingers, fuel key top up…


Debt and death lurk behind his We see it all, manager countering

with the good stuff too, weddings and birthdays . But the glitter

has been heisted from the £500 pendent I have ducked and dived to buy.


As I leave, the rings, their past exorcised by cloth and polish,

are set in the shop’s spangled window display.  Their second hand

status rebranded for superstitious customers as pre-loved.

Fiona Sinclair is the editor of the on line poetry magazine Message in a Bottle. Her first full collection was published in 2014 by Lapwing Press.