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

paul summers

the sleeper wakes



it is almost



drown out

by the drone


of our shopping

channel juicers


the bleat of our trauma

our narcissist blurt


the quiet slaughter

of the fattened poor





to my kingdom


to the fag-end

of its progress


a slow-mo flash-fire

of bubbling tar


consuming the fibres

of jaundiced filters



this autumn air

our breath incendiary


we live off fear

& borrowed hate




& nothing

will grow


in the shadow

of our romance

Paul Summers was born in Northumberland but has been living in tropical central Queensland for the last four and a half years. A founding editor of the magazines Billy Liar and Liar Republic, he has written extensively for TV, film, radio and the theatre. His books include Cunawabi, The Rat’s Mirror, The Last Bus, Vermeer’s Dark Parlour, Big Bella’s Dirty Cafe and Three Men on the Metro (with Andy Croft and Bill Herbert). His most recent poetry collections are union, primitive cartography and straya (all published by Smokestack Books). He lives in North Shields.



way off-camera

beyond the reach


of news cycles

& investigative minds


the death toll is rising

the body count grows


bruised hearts

& airless lungs


clogged arteries

& petrified tongues


passion corroded

empathy eroded


asphyxiated dreams

statistics & lies


& god is dead

the faithful fucked


their currency

devalued or defunct


our father. oh father

grant us each day


our daily pills

our snidey tabs


our red-tops

& the strongest drink


our multipack crisps

our poundshop ket


our smack & crack

our coke & skunk


deliver us our bargain hunt

& the great british bake-off


imprison us with labels

cage us in our minds

we live off fear

& borrowed hate


i will smear my cell

with dogma & lard


unleash a plague

of thankless hope




it is almost



through the drone

of this chatter


the movement of traffic

the transit of hours


the rumble of hunger

the hiss of the rain


the dirge of defeat’s

monotonous refrain


dürer’s horsemen

braying at the door


the quiet slaughter

of the fattened poor