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

Mark Kirkbride




In your drabs you congregate in

public spaces with high throughput,

wherever you are least welcome.

Or is it that you’re not welcome

anywhere? In interstices

you make your homes, surviving on

vestiges. Yet they’d take away

the crumbs. Which gilded son suggested

spikes to discourage alighting?

Never welcome, you must wonder

what you’ve done to deserve this,

why they’re trying to make your lives

even more uncomfortable.

How many planets do they hope

you’ll shuffle off? Now that they don’t

have to see or step over you,

are their consciousnesses clear?

Do our leaders, Etonians

of the people, tell themselves they’ve

solved the problem of homelessness?

Mark Kirkbride's debut novel Satan's Fan Club is published by Omnium Gatherum. His poetry has appeared in the Big Issue, the Morning Star, the Daily Mirror, Emergency Verse – Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State and The Robin Hood Book.