Friday, 09 December 2022 15:18

In solidarity with the people: as the poets write about the death of a queen

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in Poetry
In solidarity with the people: as the poets write about the death of a queen


as the poets write about the death of a queen

by Martin Hayes

a bowl of pasta has become the dream of millions
hot water and one bar of electric heat
amenities out of reach for a quarter of the country
as CEOs stand in their Kensington kitchens
warming their feet on underfloor heated slate tiles
while peeling an avocado
slate ripped from the earth by people whose hands
have to squeeze the last drop of milk from a freezing breast
slot themselves into sleeping bags
so that they can huddle in the one room left that hasn’t got any mould
people who have jobs who have to queue outside food banks just to feed their families
as their Prime Minister talks about levelling up
destroys whole communities with a vision he shares only with the rich
people who work as a postman on the railways or on a hospital ward
forced to go on strike because of an offer that couldn’t buy them 20 kilowatts of electric heat and a packet of candles
people who are moved from Marsden to Rwanda to live in makeshift camps
because the Tories were about to lose an election
and tightened their fingertips on the trigger of a gun
people who can't clothe or take their children on a camping trip anymore
because the price of gas pumped through a pipe that runs through a war got weaponised
and cut off all their opportunities
people who once worked in industries long ago shut by austerity
who once used their hands to put together cars
haul a loaf of bread out of a baker’s oven
help to build a new block of council flats
who now sit in homes with nothing to do
using those same hands to scrape together change
or knit scarves for grandchildren who will grow up to be a number
on a list of numbers who don’t have any jobs

as the poets write about the death of a queen
fuss over the placement of their name on a shortlist
stand in front of mirrors
contemplating whether they exist or not
while people try to work out how long they can last
before disappearing into a coffin of statistics

Read 1144 times Last modified on Friday, 09 December 2022 21:41
Martin Hayes

Martin Hayes has worked in the courier industry for 30 years. His latest collection is The Things Our Hands Once Stood For, published by Culture Matters.

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