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

Josh Ekroy




It’s the size of a bed with concrete spikes pointing upwards.

It appears to the spectator that anyone lying on it

would be injured or at least hurt, but the weight

of the rough sleeper is distributed such that the pressure

exerted by each spike is not enough to cause discomfort.


They provide a good night’s sleep for homeless persons.

They lie on the bed with a board on top of them. Cinder

blocks are placed on it and then smashed with a sledge

hammer. Despite the seemingly unavoidable force

the rough sleeper is not harmed: the impact is spread among the

the spikes, resulting in reduced pressure. The breaking of the blocks

also dissipates the energy from the hammer. Some beds have

rails mounted on each side to help users to lie down and get up


           Defensible spikes induce a state of deep

relaxation and dissolve tension. They create an effect similar

to acupuncture and are used as health remedies such as back

pain relief, alleviation of head aches and menstrual cramps.


Many rough sleepers like to have motorcycles driven over them.

The record is 31 motor-cycles in 120 seconds.

                                                                          Others have melons

chopped on their stomach by a samurai sword; the record for this

is 10 water melons in 30 seconds.

                                                      Some sleepers make spike sandwiches

in which bodies are piled on top of each other. Five bodies is the highest

number recorded. Traffic wardens are trained in the art

of inserting tickets in their anuses. The record number of tickets is 45

in 3 minutes, with no return within 1 hour.

Josh Ekroy's collection, Ways To Build A Roadblock, is published by Nine Arches Press. His poems appear in Magma, Ink Sweat & Tears, Lost Voices (Liquorice Fish) and many others.

Stone Bank



A grey, fine-grained  basalt,

six tins of schist, a box

of granite powder and three slates

is my usual quota, give or take

a cache of gravel and a cake

of sand. Supplies of limestone

are strictly rationed and go quick

because of its high vitamin C content.

You have to be in the queue early

which means talking to the lady

with the puffy Oxfam anorak

who usually boasts of the luxury gneiss

she’s wangled. And the local church

is sometimes good for flints

to suck on.

                  This morning

there are loose pumice stones

going begging. I once tried

to make soup with some

but the kids turned up their noses.

They’ve acquired a taste

for mud; you have to cook it

which costs a lot in heating

so only the canned type will do.


I used to wait by the bins

behind the Geological Society

until they discovered me, smashed

any unwanted samples with a hammer

mixed them with asbestos

and polystyrene balls. I hear

there’s a community on Chesil Beach

which hasn’t been moved on yet.