Militant Thistles

polemical poetry to prickle the politics of "permanent austerity"

atos Poor Doors Sheriff Stars spikes

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle bedroom tax Disrupt and Upset

Alan Price




Long grey overcoat barely managing his swaying.

Jobs I did were rubbish. And the money was never enough.

Frozen hands trying to escape from cutting sleeves.

No books. No learning. What would I have done with an education?

Buttons, on his overcoat, buttoned up in their prison locks.

Why have I come to the library? This place wasn’t for me.

Frightened staff. Cries not turning into drunken song.

I pass on messages. Wife gone. Two daughters, never talk to each other.

His stumbling sucks on the poison within. The books all down.

I read their newspapers; wash my face, spit in the café basin and go.

Car mirrors, jutting out into space, punching his chest.

There was a time when I only saw one car in the street. What a silence!

The fiercely angled wind lining up his battered body.

Not like that at work. I cleaned. Made a noise with their machines.

A holding onto a wall, cursing its builders.

I can’t add things up, anymore. Where’s the sense?

The gravity he longs for, like an impatient lover descending.

There was family and my mates. Sometimes I had a foreign holiday.

A need to stand (perfect & holy) as his body is ravaged.

They photographed me once aged five sitting on a desk.

The sun, breaking through chafing clouds, turning a blazing red.

I was the desk. The desk was me. The parting was too great.

The hand pointing at home - starting to tilt and darken.

Alan Price is a London poet who has been published in the magazines Envoi, Orbis, Poetry Monthly, The Interpreter’s House, Essence, Obsessed with Pipework, The Delinquent and The Royal Shakespeare Company Website. His poems have also featured in the Ruth O’Callaghan poetry anthologies Genius Floored (2009), Seeking Refuge (2010), A Shadow on the Wall (2011) Alphabet of Days (2012) in America in Rick Lupert’s Ekphrastia Gone Wild (2013) anthology and the 2014 Indigo Dreams anthology, Poets in Person (with an introduction by George Szirtes). Price’s debut collection of poetry Outfoxing Hyenas was published by Indigo Dreams in 2012. He has recently written a poetry pamphlet Angels at the Edge – based on Walter Benjamin and Paul Klee, now desiring a publisher. And his second collection is almost complete. He is also a keen blogger of essays -

A View of the Alps



She sat on a long ‘live now-pay later’ sofa.

Its credit payments would end very soon.


Your arthritis will not disappear, Madam.

Snapping like a dog. The doctor shut the door.


Hippocratic oaf. As creased as the leather sofa.

A discarded prescription lay on the cord carpet.


To bin or redeem it? Unanswerable question.

On the opposing wall, a water colour of The Alps.


Swiss chalet replete with more snow than England.

Little people hurtling down, gripping their slopes.


A woman on the far side of playful skiing.

If the sofa had accredited skis she’d go downhill.


Sofas are only for sitting on, with arms for struggling up.

The doctor will go on holiday. Flying alone to Austria.