polemical poetry to prickle the politics of "permanent austerity"
thistles stretch their prickly arms afar
In your drabs you congregate in
public spaces with high throughput,
wherever you are least welcome.
Or is it that you’re not welcome
anywhere? In interstices
you make your homes, surviving on
vestiges. Yet they’d take away
the crumbs. Which gilded son suggested
spikes to discourage alighting?
Never welcome, you must wonder
what you’ve done to deserve this,
why they’re trying to make your lives
even more uncomfortable.
How many planets do they hope
you’ll shuffle off? Now that they don’t
have to see or step over you,
are their consciousnesses clear?
Do our leaders, Etonians
of the people, tell themselves they’ve
solved the problem of homelessness?
Mark Kirkbride's debut novel Satan's Fan Club is published by Omnium Gatherum. His poetry has appeared in the Big Issue, the Morning Star, the Daily Mirror, Emergency Verse – Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State and The Robin Hood Book.