polemical poetry to prickle the politics of "permanent austerity"
thistles stretch their prickly arms afar
It’s the size of a bed with concrete spikes pointing upwards.
It appears to the spectator that anyone lying on it
would be injured or at least hurt, but the weight
of the rough sleeper is distributed such that the pressure
exerted by each spike is not enough to cause discomfort.
They provide a good night’s sleep for homeless persons.
They lie on the bed with a board on top of them. Cinder
blocks are placed on it and then smashed with a sledge
hammer. Despite the seemingly unavoidable force
the rough sleeper is not harmed: the impact is spread among the
the spikes, resulting in reduced pressure. The breaking of the blocks
also dissipates the energy from the hammer. Some beds have
rails mounted on each side to help users to lie down and get up
Defensible spikes induce a state of deep
relaxation and dissolve tension. They create an effect similar
to acupuncture and are used as health remedies such as back
pain relief, alleviation of head aches and menstrual cramps.
Many rough sleepers like to have motorcycles driven over them.
The record is 31 motor-cycles in 120 seconds.
Others have melons
chopped on their stomach by a samurai sword; the record for this
is 10 water melons in 30 seconds.
Some sleepers make spike sandwiches
in which bodies are piled on top of each other. Five bodies is the highest
number recorded. Traffic wardens are trained in the art
of inserting tickets in their anuses. The record number of tickets is 45
in 3 minutes, with no return within 1 hour.
Josh Ekroy's collection, Ways To Build A Roadblock, is published by Nine Arches Press. His poems appear in Magma, Ink Sweat & Tears, Lost Voices (Liquorice Fish) and many others.
A grey, fine-grained basalt,
six tins of schist, a box
of granite powder and three slates
is my usual quota, give or take
a cache of gravel and a cake
of sand. Supplies of limestone
are strictly rationed and go quick
because of its high vitamin C content.
You have to be in the queue early
which means talking to the lady
with the puffy Oxfam anorak
who usually boasts of the luxury gneiss
she’s wangled. And the local church
is sometimes good for flints
to suck on.
there are loose pumice stones
going begging. I once tried
to make soup with some
but the kids turned up their noses.
They’ve acquired a taste
for mud; you have to cook it
which costs a lot in heating
so only the canned type will do.
I used to wait by the bins
behind the Geological Society
until they discovered me, smashed
any unwanted samples with a hammer
mixed them with asbestos
and polystyrene balls. I hear
there’s a community on Chesil Beach
which hasn’t been moved on yet.