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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Featuring Alan Morrison

The following is a powerful political poem from Alan Morrison’s upcoming collection of poetry Tan Raptures:

Clapson’s Cap
 i.m. David Clapson (1952-2013)


Her son, compelled, the country’s foes had fought,
Had bled in battle; and the stern control
Which ruled his sinews and coerced his soul
Utterly poisoned life’s unmingled bowl,
And unsubduable evils on him brought.

 ‘A Tale of Society as It Is: From Facts, 1811’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley


Sorry for your loss but no errors were made
Only those within the margins of human decency –
Well outside the remit of the Dee Double-u Pee,
Only Work Programmes and the worst laid schemes;
No searching of consciences, only search engines on bogus
Job sites of phantom vacancies, and plenty of penalties,
Plethora of sanctions, interrogations, black spots –
And threats of all these; dockets for food banks,
Sticks without carrots, punishments, punishments,
Roll up, roll up for punishments –all at the expense
Of soul-and-body nourishments: treat the poor and
Unemployed as if they were pirates ransacking
The public purse (supplied by “hardworking taxpayers”),
Daylight-dodgers rolling giros, Black Dog “Scroungers”;
Make the unemployed walk the plank, Nudge ’em, nudge ’em,
Keelhaul ’em; and as for those malingerers, keep on
Their case, badger them –Sheriff stars for badges, Targets,
Targets, throw Atos darts at ’em, “disrupt and upset” them;
Cap their benefits, splice the mainbrace, clap them in
Irons of no income, as they did with Clapson:
Penalised for missing a jobcentre appointment, stripped
Of his £71.70 weekly allowance, died penniless
And half-starved at 59, collapsed from ketoacidosis
Because he couldn’t chill his life-sustaining insulin
In the fridge for the electricity had been cut off
As a result of losing his benefits, all for missing
One single appointment on the Work Programme…

(Mark Wood, a painter, poet and music composer,
Went the same way after Atos declared him “fit for
Work” and stopped his benefits, a verdict he sleepily
Accepted –since he always worked at his poetic
Occupations, soul’s vocations– and one which sapped
His appetite; fitting, since he could no longer afford
To feed himself: when he finally passed out, then passed
Away, aged 44, six stone was all he weighed…)

Clapson, a diabetic ex-soldier, had served in Northern
Ireland at the height of the Troubles, but whom no tours
Of duty on fractious bullet-cracking Belfast streets
Could prepare for the front line of domestic cuts
Under Iain Duncan Smith’s punishing welfare regime;
So much for poppies and patriotism, for saying “We
Will remember them”, when this vindictive government
Is so quick to forget them; countless souls as Clapson:
No “scrounger”, he’d worked and paid his taxes for 29
Years –done Cameron’s “right thing”– and looked after
His sick mother, thus saving thousands for “the taxpayer”,
Then, on her entering a care home, he lost his carer
Status and was put on precarious benefits while
He looked for jobs, and took up unpaid work placements…
Clapson’s body was discovered in a sea of CVs and
Job applications, just £3.44 to his name, a tin of soup,
Half a dozen tea bags and an out-of-date can of sardines,
All that was left in his larder –during the post-mortem
The coroner noted no food in his stomach, no food in…
Nothing…“Something for nothing, something for no tins,
But nothing in compensation for his petitioning sister,
No formal acknowledgement of ‘administrative manslaughter’,
Simply a paltry ‘apology’ as if issued from impartial mourners
Implicitly divorcing themselves from any culpability:
‘Please Omit Flowers’, Please Omit Powers, Please Omit Responsibility…

Sorry for your loss but no errors were made
The loss is to all of us, to our collective soul,
Our sense of “good old English decency” –what values
Have they who throw away the lives of the victims
Of impoverishment and incapacity
For the sake of saving corpses’ pennies for the taxpayers?
We say not simply we will remember Clapson
And the tens of thousands of fiscal sacrifices
At the Satanic altar of Austerity –but we say,
All of us, afflicted by the aristocratic Chancellor
And Iain Duncan Smith’s administrative massacre
Of the claimants, brandishing our black triangles,
Giro stigmas, stars of David, with rustling wings
Of ominous brown paper envelopes, in the name
Of the Spartacus Report: We are Clapson, We are
Clapson, We are Clapson, We are Clapson, We are…

 ‘Sorry for your loss but no errors were made

 Sorry for the errors but no loss was made



Here is a 2014 Guardian article which provides some background on David Clapson’s needless death: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/09/david-clapson-benefit-sanctions-death-government-policies

Saturday, February 18, 2017

New Release: Alan Morrison TAN RAPTURES (Smokestack Books, April 2017)


Blurb: Alan Morrison’s eighth collection transposes the brown envelopes that strike fear into the unemployed as passports to Rapture through a twisted Tory notion of ‘salvation’ by benefit sanction. Tan Raptures comprises verse-missives from the frontline of the war against the poor and its spirit-stripping weapons of food banks, poor doors and homeless spikes. It’s a people’s history, from Dale Farm and the firebombing of Freedom Bookshop to Troika-shackled Athens, featuring the Bryant & May Matchgirls, the International Brigades, Runnymede Diggers and Los Indignados. It’s a celebration of radical figures like Gerrard Winstanley, Joe Hill, Wal Hannington, Conrad Noël and Christopher Caudwell. The title poem is a Catholic Socialist polemic in opposition to self-proclaimed ‘Roman Catholic’ Iain Duncan Smith’s despotic six year grip at the DWP.

Alan Morrison is rare among his generation on the current British poetry scene; he’s a provocative poet whose commitment to socialism is passionate. Yet Morrison is not simply a “political” poet in the narrow sense, he can be lyrical, humorous and inventive. I hope he will be as widely and appreciatively read as he deserves.’ 
Alexis Lykiard

 ‘In the poetry of Alan Morrison we are witnessing the development not just of a storyteller but of a history-teller. British realpolitik and the resistance to it are weighed on the scales. History is both dream and nightmare, and Morrison’s long-lined mini-epics cultivate the dream and pummel the nightmare, channelling the class war with real commitment and artistry.’
                                                                                                                                          Niall McDevitt

Alan Morrison is author of several critically acclaimed poetry collections: The Mansion Gardens (Paula Brown, 2006), A Tapestry of Absent Sitters (Waterloo Press, 2009), Keir Hardie Street (Smokestack Books, 2010), Captive Dragons/ The Shadow Thorns (Waterloo, 2012), Blaze a Vanishing/ The Tall Skies (Waterloo, 2013), Shadows Waltz Haltingly (Lapwing, 2015) and Tan Raptures (Smokestack, 2017). He is also the author of the verse-play Picaresque (2008) and of an epic polemical poem-in-progress, Odour of Devon Violet (2014- www.odourofdevonviolet.com). He is founding editor of The Recusant (www.therecusant.org.uk) and Militant Thistles (www.militantthistles.com). He selected and edited the two pioneering anti-austerity poetry anthologies, Emergency Verse – Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State (2011) and The Robin Hood Book – Verse Versus Austerity (2012; both Caparison). His poetry has been awarded grants from the Arts Council, the Royal Literary Fund and the Society of Authors.

Preorder Tan Raptures here: http://smokestack-books.co.uk


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Featuring Devlin De La Chapa


a man of menthol connoisseur

body attuned, he sat there
a cigarette dangled, amid fingers symmetrically aligned

and the ash of celestial ember,
they debate on where to fall, drift, scatter,
surrender
    `neath his earthly universe
his bare feet, the tickle of a working man`s skin
slaved to the grind of white collar un`crime`d
have been released to tickle hers …
mother earth

a man of menthol connoisseur
he journeys through clouds
of satisfactorily balance; chemicals
they enhance flavor to the spice of life
that invisibly shape him,
morning death, evening afterlife

in the hour that awaits his arrival
    `neath the contributions of humanity
he ponders of the simplest pleasures
that cannot measure the depth of his soul,
like an ocean, infinite and tranquil
void of fear or failure to grasp … it carries in gravity
but it`s in the depth of his irises multihued  
where brilliance is found,
embodying a constellation
created by the magnificence of a rumor of stars yet to be structured ~

and when he exhales … the plumes
they are like roses
lingering in a garden of the divine



Doll House

It had been awhile
since I stopped by your body

and gazed upon
the enamel of your skin ~
high maintenance white
polished to a flawless imperfection
still, the past of unsolicited warmth
lingered

I drew closer
to your ill structured soul
and peered within
the curtainless of your windows ~
your skeletal viscera
cast its still darkened shadow upon me
and I shivered, twice remorsed

I meant to descend from your steps  
with the intent of never returning to ascend
but your double rouge doors
unexpectedly unlocked,
and I gravitated to your entrance
in search of that one furnace
that once ignited your inner heat
but all I found was an external doll
lying on a lifeless bed in a vacant house

now I remembered why
I demolished
this love



Bio: Devlin De La Chapa lives somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the Founder/Editor of BoySlut Magazine and an occasional #1 Best Selling Indie Author on Amazon under the pseudonym 'Sandra Raine'.

When Devlin is not writing novels or penning poetry she can be found doing nothing else.