Bloody Refugees – Peterloo 1999

Bloody Refugees

A man is crossing the sand.
The waste spits up at him
Like an angry snake. His hands
Jerk upwards. He’s so thin.

His clothes are like the dust.
Why is he coming here?
What could he want with us —
We, who cringe in fear

From all our visitors,
Then, once they have passed by,
Attach plague-bites like burs
To their sleeves .. watch them die …

Who is this, crossing our sand?
Who dares tread on our waste?
We, who plant nothing, are damned
If we’ll let anyone taste

Our fruitlessness. We guard
Our despond-dirt with the one
Passion left in our turd-
Strewn backyard souls. Our fun

Is choking all jokers to death.
Now the traveller’s near.
There’s a smile on his face like a breath
Of wind rustling his beard,

And here we allow no smiles.
Wait! Now he greets us, and passes.
Strike him quickly …  A pile
Of stones …  Crows … Trampled grasses …