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Keith Howden

The Thigh in the Wound


‘Your Royal Highness,’ he said, ‘I address

the state of the nation. Sadly, the cure

of your injury and ailment is unlikely

to be soon discovered. The Thatched dwellings

of villages and cities, rotten in their conception,

are ruinous  and their architectures,

from the first corrupt, now stink in decay.

The poor, as we have always demanded,

are unaware of principle and properly, the rich

lack conviction. There have developed

rituals for those who live as cattle.  In short

the falcon of order has fucked off.  The thigh,

female and frequently open and usually

titillatingly displayed, is now the wound.

The counter-eugenic follies and policies

of our shrinking manufacture have borne

their inevitable and illegitimate fruits.

Corrupted estates stretch  in a shit-stained

bandage to defile the fields and woodland

where supermarket trolleys parcel

and cage the water-table. Foreign agents

have been successful in their introduction

of an emin squalor into galleries and libraries.

Usury is rife, its philistines well-rewarded

and hygienically protected. Lust and envy

in their various fashions cosmetically control

much of what is projected or printed.

Keith Howden was born near Burnley in 1932. After National Service and work as a laboratory assistant, he taught English and modern European fiction with a major interest in ‘the text as event’ at Nottingham Trent University. Among his many pamphlets are Joe Anderson, Daft Jack’s Ideal Republics, Pauper Grave, Hanging Alice Nutter and Barlow Agonistes. He has published four full-length collections, Marches of Familiar Landscape (Peterloo 1978), Onkonkay (Peterloo (1984), Jolly Roger (Smokestack 2012) and Lost Orisons (Penniless Press 2014). Penniless Press have also published two polemical collections, The Gospels of St Belgrano (2012) and Ship of Fools (2013). Recently, with the composer Matthew Howden, he has completed two poetry-music collaborations with accompanying discs, The Matter of Britain (PRE Rome, 2009) and Barley Top (Redroom 2013). All his fictions, Naylor, Self-Dissolve, Godsman, New Found Lands and Hornyhorse have been published by Penniless Press.

The gardens of greed and ignorance

are carefully nurtured, their  deliberate soil

knowingly alloyed and daily manured.

Pornography and celebrity

in their twin cannibalisms swell  

a jordan inflation. We now need to recognise

that the construction and worship

of false gods  has become our most successful

and profitable fabrication industry.

The change that might have healed your wound

has either frozen or fused. Since then,

the world turned upside down. A new beast,

so we are told, slouches somewhere,

but we have lost both bestiary and map.’

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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