queeny land / ’er indoors
by Fran Lock
coined us a country. ’er indoors
is a branked scold crowned
at the kirk, hands in the hinged
pillory of power, confession’s
fork between breast and neck.
’er indoors is milking a shrew’s
fiddle into music. smiles as ’er
writhes, is kitsching the gilded
freight of flame, frocked for
the fire, us sinew passed
through a calyx eye. crewel-
work crochet, corded lace.
into the gown’s embroidered
yoke: couched loops, golden
bugle beads. into the fust
of coming dread. and birdsong
stilled, the clocksong whirs.
for the long-winded letting
of blood. priests, roused to
procession, routed from holes
in the snug dust blown from
a family bible, ’er writes
the tidings of us sect, will
carry this in ’er tyrant’s circlet,
sprouting narrow horns of light.
pageant, whose sleeves the gory
oriflamme of agincourt; banderols
of famine cut from sack. ’er
trodden hem is red, is rot’s musk
wafting. partition’s plough. us
am the offals of empire. awful
treyf. us camps. us cargoes. us
wealth of nations. silent. but ’er
indoors is a stunt ghost, draped in
glory. majesty grows over ’er
like briars. ’er bows ’er head.
they quack their raving magic
for the crowds: pinched faces,
plebby-gobs, round around
their bent pennies.
littled to a sufferance of souvenirs,
’er husky rumour bates the racist
breath of cabbies; face franked
onto shankill terraces, hooky curios.
’er rise remade in the blue tattoos
of cheap fidelity. bargains binned.
is hanging in the smallest rooms
of east-end gangsters. ’er face in
the saturated glyphs of pure slogan.
is hoary and floral on netflix. is
camping through tabloids, lights
up the iphones of touristing teens.
hands flap at ’er like gulls. ’er
closes ’er grim endorsement
over them, a smiling arcade claw.
the slow orbital warp
of decay will scatter us
stars. the sundered wold
in flood, a beast’s last
cunning trumped by
gun or hunger. this,
’er world. the stale
vow grafted into iambs
by poets in love with
the sound of their own
entropy. ’er does a fucked
mysterium, an end times
charleston of musical chairs.
Fran Lock Ph.D. is a writer, activist, and the author of seven poetry collections and numerous chapbooks. She is an Associate Editor of Culture Matters.