polemical poetry to prickle the politics of "permanent austerity"
thistles stretch their prickly arms afar
Sally Flint's latest collections are The Hospital Punch (Marquette Publications) and Pieces of Us (Worple Press). Her writing has been widely published and anthologised. She teaches creative writing and is a tutor with The Poetry School. She is also co-founder/editor of Riptide Journal and Canto Poetry based at the University of Exeter.
Gulls and Politicians
'I have never known birds of different species to flock together...
if that happened, we wouldn't stand a chance!' Alfred Hitchcock
We coast on campuses, eye up the best
roosting places - fly high, stay above
the proles so, when they look up,
they see white wings against bright blue.
Wind and rain doesn't penetrate our plumage
while those on the ground get drenched.
Our chorus drowns out gasping fish.
Chicks can be swallowed whole,
a pensioner attacked, crusts seized
from a girl's mouth. We don't hesitate
to gorge on the tastiest bits, dive
in dark reservoirs to preen dirt
grey feathers, yellow legs -
rinse blood from our beaks.
Going into Touch
Across a drenched field players position
themselves strategically beneath floodlights.
A crowd's breath is held. They know the rules.
In this game there's no restriction on holding
the ball in one or two arms. There are no limits
to the number of steps taken. Attackers
dodge the opposition and, when tackled,
they're able to kick in any direction. Lines
can be crossed. Cheers fill the stadium, driven
on rain to the underbelly of the city where a man
struggles to get up from the ground. Homeless,
he may never escape the scrum as he tries
to find shelter in the park. Sometimes, he scores
in the shadows, dreams of being on a winning team.
He's made bunk, sofa, fold up,
apple-pie, lay on shallow foam
and feather, washed sheets,
eaten sweets placed on pillows,
strewn petals, shared
king-sized beds. He's tucked
in children, planted crop-beds,
disposed of mattresses,
seen refugees crammed
on camp beds, and spent days
in a hospital bed. Felt hot,
and the cold of river beds.
Now, this ex-soldier,
back in his home town
is without a bed -
curled on concrete,
his death bed.