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Jim Bennett

reinterpreting the Communist manifesto


I wander through the graveyard     reading

headstones    looking for my ancestors


according to the stones there are no dead    

children are asleep    parents are at rest    


loved ones    simply waiting  or gone before

accompanied by chiselled angels   crosses    saints


these are the people who died in neat rows

among the mausoleums and  sepulchres


I was told that if I did not find my namesakes here

they could be in one of the  anonymous plots


a lot of people could not afford a family grave

so they buried their relatives by the walls


there the ground is like an unmade bed    

mounds and undulations show  where bodies lay


unrecorded but not forgotten in their time

they were loved    missed    and mourned


but come the resurrection day   the important

dead stride forth from their crypts  


the clean marked graves will be ripped open

for the dead to rise again


while the ones in the holes by the wall will be left

to claw their way out  


they will probably be happy to be included

and the others will be pleased to see them


after all someone has to do the work

and without them how can anyone feel superior

here is a clock I can dangle from


a freed slave would make a wallet or box

to kept their freedom document safe

it was often metal and secure

because if the paper it contained was lost


the person could be made a slave again

like an unbranded steer that wanders

finds its way onto someone’s land

gets claimed as their property


human rights and freedoms are like that

but the box we make to hold them

must be iron     heavy enough to stop

anyone who tries to steal them


there is a big secret out there somewhere

they let you know its all your fault

as we buy into the dream   its all there

for the taking but it has already gone

just the garden walk to clear a head

other than the sweet floral smell

there is nothing to make you feel better

there is no great forever getting better

it is a rolling descent into a snowball

with no chance in hell   they won’t even

let you out because they have the key

and are busy drinking martinis on the

grand marche   go paint it   write it

but do not try to own it   or possess it

it isn’t what you think  its all theirs

and if they let you think you own it

then that is just part of the dream

the slight of hand they play on you

to make you think you have some say

you don’t   but you can believe you do

if it makes you feel better    stronger

every four years  you can pretend

you can make things better

but there is just too many of us

and it all balances out   comes down

to one guy in Wakefield who got a job

on a zero hours contract last week

these are hard times  and mostly

dreams turn sour  like whisky

so just keep waling in the garden

keep walking

advice to miners on strike (Christmas 1984)


take a newspaper spread open at the centre

roll it into a tube along its long axis

hold the shape in place with some tape

next cut from one end to half way down the tube


cut down the tube as many times as you can

when this is done     carefully tease the centre of the tube

start to pull it out  make sure it does not unravel

it will open up into the shape of a lovely Christmas tree


secure the end in a plant pot with some sand or soil

take some old match and ciggy boxes

wrap in coloured  paper with some string tied in a bow

to put around the tree  like presents


other decorations can be made using ingenuity

old magazines and newspapers  

colourful cereal boxes    if you have any

Poor Doors
Sheriff Stars

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle
bedroom tax
Disrupt and Upset

Jim Bennett, has written 74 books and numerous chapbooks and pamphlets in a 48 year career as a poet. Jim lives near Liverpool in the UK and tours giving readings of his work throughout the year. He is widely published and has won many competitions and awards for poetry and performance. He runs one of the world’s most successful internet sites for poets.

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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