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

Ben Willems

Euro Coup

 

 

Twelve star ooh Danone

La Rage Romaine La Revolution

Chest-strapped Jagerbombs

 

Paris Match caption

Douwe Egberts and Javanese bride

Ramstein Fairford

 

Bakerloo line

Kuehne and Nagel truck stop Poznan

Annifrid Benni

 

Bjorn Agnetha

Olympiastadion

Elgin marbles Greek Colonels

 

stone circles Tollund Man

the little mermaid

Anastasia

 

Brunnhilde Ariane

Figurine Panini

Zinedine Zidane

 

GOLAZZO! cheap flight

stag Riga new Prague crumbling Weimar

Wilkommen Bienvenue

 

Welcome

Hello stranger!

In here life is beautiful

 

the girls are beautiful

and ola sir from Brazzaville

we have les sapeurs

 

welcome the Shisha,

Piri Piri, Chinese New Year

We have kebabs!

 

Tagines! Baltis!

All the latest in magic beans!

Chocolate fountains

 

gold bars fat cigars

diamonds from Kimberley

Spa towns miracle cures

imminent plagues

burning rubber, holes in the ground:

burial mounds

 

We were Atlantis

Tethys Knossos

Monte Cassini

 

anti-diluvian

up in the villa down in the city

waltz-two-three

 

Moulin Rougeian

Phillipino, iron crowned

Vitruvian man

 

good king Leopold’s

whited sepulchre

and its alter ego twin town

 

they call: The Jungle

“Kurtz? Bring me Kurtz!”

The commissioner howls

 

“we have butter, pastries,

land set aside –

pale of settlement,

 

dark of heartness; enough

farm subsidies to sink an Ark

May Day! May Day!

 

Christians! Lions!”

Feeding of the five thousand

regional cheeses

 

or leave them

sleep with the fish quotas

wash up on Blue Flag beaches

 

all hell breaking sunbed row

“das ist mein badetuch!”

“I think therefore I tan”

primordial swamp

frozen steppe aboard

the Orient Express

 

Leaning towers or

gleaming minarets?

Bridges or expanding chest?  

 

Pork proud mutton dressed

Euro millions; champagne toasts;

heraldic crests:

 

Adi Dassler Rene LaCoste

Fratelli Fila tennis socks

Henri Lloyd Hugo Boss

 

Tricolores Nordic cross

lederhosen Dutch clogs

ushankas

 

Ra Ra Ras-putin!

Gregorian chants

DJ Otzi Brigate Rosse

 

ex-Stasi bunga bunga

Oxford Blue Yes Sir

j’accuse I can boogie

 

Gaz Prom Dracula

Energie de France

all quiet flows

 

Miss Sarajevo

Pro patria mori

the diary of a young girl

 

back of a lorry:

Danepak Evian

Ferrero Rocher

Ben Willems (b. Reading 1974) is a Manchester-based poet and political activist campaigning with Palestine Solidarity groups. He writes performance-style poetry and is currently taking part in a series of collaborative readings in Manchester called The Other.