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John Quicke

The Camel Jockey


I met him wandering on the dunes, a tiny man

who’d been replaced by an automaton.

“ Remember those rows of gantry cranes, high

stacked  decks, lines of waiting wheels? No more!”

He’d seen containers with their cargoes spilled,

flowers for ‘cities’, umbilicals cut, withering;  

noted rebellion afoot amongst the worker tribes

crawling from their barracks to mix wrong ratios

of sand/cement before their deportation.

Soon the mighty towers crumbled, icons fell like

ninepins, while on the three glass pyramids left,

the Sheikh’s smiling face, appeared, disappeared,

proclaiming his benevolence, his eternity,

his concern for customer care.

John Quicke is originally from West London, where he was born 16.10.41, John Quicke has spent most of his professional career in Sheffield. He is a retired professor who has published widely in the field of education. In his book, Inclusion and Psychological Intervention in Schools (Springer, 2009), he draws upon his experiences as a local authority educational psychologist. It consists of a number of ‘factional’ stories which demonstrate how a self reflexive narrative can generate productive insights into educational processes. Other books include A Curriculum for Life (OUP, 1999) and Disability in Modern Children’s Fiction (Croom Helm, 1985). The role of poetry in teaching has been an emerging interest. His own poetry explores a number of cultural and political themes in a contemporary context. His recent collection, Political Ties (2014), has been self-published by Matador/Troubador.



Outside the outer edge of wilderness,

firing arguments from mountain tops of sand…

I see your denial of a sense of burn out.  

Perhaps, a change of view? Cherish the rosy glow

that’s solitude, a quiet space for a slow take off,  

for consolidation of a found again dream?

I’ll help you perform a version of your ‘true’ self,

as the perfect antidote to clubman economics,

newly minted but slightly ragged and unpolished.

So let your handlers deal with the baggage,

put yourself on a well resourced plane, and re-enter

not as an aging comeback kid, but as ‘real’,

all your hyperboles tied down, all your conceit

lurking in the eyes airbrushed, all your friends

and family now on message. It’s OK

to rely on me to put your best foot forward.

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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