polemical poetry to prickle the politics of "permanent austerity"
thistles stretch their prickly arms afar
The Art of the Politician
The wet rain is falling on the road,
just as it did on the day the last war
ended. To mark the losing of the load,
people capered in the puddles and swore
it would never happen again – a curse,
from the look of it, though we live in hope.
Fear trains then trips a twitch (stay calm) and, worse,
breeds poison without an antidote.
I search your ear and run in like mercury
down the smooth, natural canal that tips
into the heart from which you should break free
(Quiet yourself. Remember: read my lips.)
for, you know, too much emotion, my dear,
(I have this on sound advice) will prevent
cool thought from pulsing out loud and clear
and (heaven forbid) that would mar intent.
So go to your castle or your safe home
and prepare in the way that you see fit
and never forget you are not alone
and who it was that dropped you in the shit.
The dry rain is falling on the road
as another war practically begins.
Of course, we hope that nothing will explode
and ask the Lord to forgive us our sins.
Alan Dunnett is a former regional theatre director, whose productions have included Entertaining Mr. Sloane with Gary Oldman (Chesterfield Pomegranate) and the large-scale community play Bridge (Dundee Rep). He now works largely for MA Screen - alumni include Gemma Chan, Rungano Nyoni and Jolyon Rubinstein - at Central Saint Martins, London, where he was its University and College Union branch secretary. His poems have recently appeared in the Communist Review, the anthology Is There a Poem Sweet Enough? (Emmylou Books) available from Campaign Against Arms Trade, Brittle Star and Dead Ink. A chapbook is forthcoming through The Drunken Boat. Readings at Nottingham, Derby and Bradford Playhouses, Leicester Haymarket, The Troubadour, The Poetry Cafe, QUAD with Bernard O'Donoghue and C.J. Allen, and on Radio Nottingham and Radio Derby. Last year, he won the Ealing Poetry Competition, judged by George Szirtes.