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Alan Price

Fortress Europe  

(For Kate Hopkins, Sun Journalist)


The cockroaches are meeting. It’s an emergency.

Barrels of baking soda are being smuggled

into the country.

Who are these smugglers that threaten the state?

The cockroaches are in power.

Vermin know best.


Show me bodies in the water, coffins on the shore,

play violins at sunset, film skinny people

to look even skinnier.

I still don’t care.


Gas will not explode them. They can breathe.

Bay leaves, catnips, mint, cucumber and garlic

are sewn into the clothes of migrants.

The smugglers are relying on the repellents.

Roaches stand discreetly back.

Allowing the lesser bugs to confiscate.


Show me young men clambering on trucks.

Feral humans. A plague on the drivers.

Bring out your guns. And burn the boats.

I still don’t care.

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). Poetry collections: Outfoxing Hyenas (Indigo Dreams, 2012), Mahler’s Hut (Original Plus Books, 2017), Wardrobe Blues for a Japanese Lady (The High Window Press, 2018), The Trio Confessions (The High Window, 2020) and Restless Voices (Caparison, 2020). He is also a keen blogger of essays -

In the dark of their old chambers

they hiss and chirrup on festering laws.

All will survive the attack,

draw plans to creep and stick around.

Commandeer ships. Cruise to many lands.

Seek out other enlightened roaches.


Show me a dream of Eldorado.

Open up your passports.

Cockroaches squashed inside

covering your face, your number, your country.

I still don’t care.

Poor Doors
Sheriff Stars

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle
bedroom tax
Disrupt and Upset
bedroom tax
Sheriff Stars

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle
Disrupt and Upset

Militant Thistles

prickling the politics of "permanent austerity"

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