Saints Not Servants
by Craig Campbell
On a distant radio
Digital – as modern emperors
Thought of Chinese silk
The faint whispers of a Boro chant
Through the corridors of Holme House
A prison built on Stockton wasteland
With righteous hands
Where else would the Tories
Through the smog
And stale chips
Designate the square root of the North
There are no cherubs
Beneath this spire,
For prison isn't a romantic spree
It's a layer cake built up of
The naked and the dead,
Teeth bared like a steel trap shutting on a paw,
Rivers of bad blood and bad ink,
Declared on forearms like the hounds of love
For me Mam
For the Boro
Loves faded but not yet dust.
A different romance flickers
Like a blue, centre light popping
For those in wing A
In la la land –
The great grip of a monkey’s curse
That Hartlepool got right:
A tourniquet tightens around an arm
Already an autopsy
A blue vein struggles to life like an old dog yawns in the morning
And a spike
And a great, warm love waits for it.
In a permanent midnight,
This is the currency
Although not all heads loll for whom the bell claps,
Slower than the sludge at the bottom of the Transporter river.
Some scream through the bars
Like their tongues are both cartilage and truth.
They speak righteously
Like old bluesmen with their Cadd9's,
Not like those in power as if part of a magician’s trick.
Who can blame them their rage?
The politicians have forgotten about us
They have forgotten we are saints
Craig Campbell is a freelance writer from Hartlepool.