Ben Slade

Pyro-Technicalities - Poem by Ben Slade

In a once upon a time state of the art box
in my segment of the dollhouse
magnolia blossoms peel away
and leaving stigmata on the aging husk
flutter to the floor
to form a crumbly mulch
for roaches to skitter through,
I should doff my cap
to the art of a state
that grants four walls and a roof
and demands gratitude
when some have nothing at all,
Instead I rip pages from a book
- a paperback copy of John Stuart Mill's Principles of Political Economy -
and strike a match
(inhaling a little synthesised hell)
to stoke a fire
with smashed chair kindling
that broke my electronic breadknife,
I've been left alone
to torch long since out flanked thought,
The really incendiary stuff
- On The Origin of Species
The Merchant of Venice
Das Kapital
The Bible -
make a mottled bed of ash
lining a pressure-cooker
that the lid has blown clean off
and now takes centre-stage in my living room
as I toast my hands against the prevailing chill
before the real storm kicks in.

As the strongest live and the weakest die
so the landlord and the agent wage war
with red rags to smear the bullshit
on the out-in-the-cold boil-in-the-bag night-owl critic,
Demanding their pound of flesh
from the down-on-your-knees-boy
please-sir-can-I-have-your-signature-before-I -posit-my-grievance-against-you café commentator
while the kevlared-up state-sponsored terror-tots jack up the chassis and slash the tyres,
The jumped-up shopkeeper and salesman sponsoring this sad state
hold us all to ransom,
Not only for our toys,
But our very sustenance
- their thousand year rainy-day-fund is inedible -
Patronage is hard to come by these days,
I ritually burn my rejection letter.

Through my attic window
like a small locked-in child
making faces against the glass
I gawp
and another world
so close
but light-years away
reaches me:
Thousands of lifesaving means
being rendered polychromatic
are launched into the air
with bells and whistles attached
making pretty concentric patterns
as the audience gasp and groan
for a few minutes
then their joy spent
they turn their backs and fall asleep
leaving me staring at a bare-backed sky
an emptiness in my soul,
A single tear runs down my cheek
in memory of Guy Fawkes,
Later the flood will come
for all those heating their food on an open fire tonight
- all the displaced refugees of the world -
It will be a blessed relief,
I pick up my pre-packed rucksack
and kick over my homemade cauldron,
The magic that made man engulfs the carpet,
I make for the door one last time,
Sure in my own undoing,
Knowing full well that the intangible ‘they' will lay their vengeance upon me
until this elusive ‘we' climb out of our attic windows,
clamber over the rooftops
and light the way
burning torches made from effigies
of the paper idols
that we have let control our world.

Topic(s) of this poem: political

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Poem Submitted: Monday, January 18, 2016

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