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22 June 2024



the path of struggle / invites us to join in

Gloria Dawson


Fear like rust
bones are not burnt
are you on the side of life or are you on the side of death
the woman asks two police officers
protecting the military site with their black teeth
nerve-severing barbed wire
it’s a simple question

I wake embedded as a splinter
in a forest a terrine of matter
that won’t behave
others I can’t see I know do the same
wake, panic, slow their breathing
mantra, mantra, shopping list
this day was called as a day of shutdown

the sun is broken open by a rocket and
it’s taken as a signal to buy more shares
and everywhere its light a borrowed cloak
to pass through museums, boardrooms and the crowd

and not to be complicit
which side are you on
a waning moon



A court assembly
we supplied ourselves to the site
in the morning near the equinox
with no regard for the either the sanctity of property
or the knowledge that anything could ever be different

clouds tore like wool six retinas
fixed on Babylon
stayed on freedom
marking trouble’s time
I write to you in prison where you aren’t detained
orange sky floss stitching all embargoes

find a word to make light stay
curdling inside the glass same filament

murmuration of headlines gathers you
to make short work of the night and its peripheral persistent foes

I am sure something happened every day
the barbs are caught in grievance
tugging at no flesh

the weeks have macerated children in
taught no words
to relate this



The sheen of it, direct anxion hole in the light
weight on a day saying
everything is pearl
to be complicit in the day’s forgiveness
just sacrifice me on the exhale

I can’t come if there’s anything happening
don’t make me communicate even the sense-mire of
tips aglow. even the fighting, sound of something tuned and timed

wake up next to an orb of blood
open it up to see the blood & the opinions
I’m going, you see
far from here

Let pylons be hate-filled hate antenna
at the March Against Hate; the only people who turned up were Daleks
through their choice of furniture they made their opinions known:
they condemned it. again and again.
oil floating on water. you know the dimensions.





One thing I muttered
in the improvised exhibition;
they hate language and they’re afraid of it
won’t square up to disagreement
rather spend 1000 hours hunting it through courts
and all the language very clean
and euthanized the second the trial is over

Peripheral journeys to the democracy centre
reveal torn and baggy veins
a sense of duty
a jury at gunpoint
well-trained and enhanced

Having beef with the term
rare brought us instead to
common. all irises widened
and court rows of the seats levitated
justice felt like a hoedown
all rested on the precision of a sentence

Sticky like this stuff leaking from the mantle
the nice life got right with his immaculate
edges you were the razor it couldn’t cut
after a period of shattered lintels
collarbones that held the dignity of breathing

a child invents a new game
pulling a knot open inside

this, tender anger
arranging a circle of chairs
facing outwards inwards
tender towards waking

the tunnel is not protection
I muttered
the thicker it is the greater its uselessness
because of the physics of liberation
resistance resinous



A red crescent for you all
I stand in the mouth of the factory
the gates look like teeth, that’s one for the journalists
glass scaffolding
millions in investments
we read the trade journals
to go into battle

a baby has been brought in his buggy, precious
moon polished by sleep under a rain cover.
We should read poems to him, stories,
and songs that wreathe his name

in a room my comrade scribbles white pixels on his eyes:
may he be clouded and protected
may his smiles not burn the camera

I sent a thousand emails from a burner address, got blocked
prayer wasn’t part of the plan
but repeating key messages as catechism and we won’t stop
together we arrived at the site
gestured at death, flung the flag across the soaked dawn,
left together.


The title of this poem is a line by Saida Menebhi, Moroccan poet, revolutionary and martyr. 

‘If the structures do not last we will live in the unlasting spaces’   


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