COAT OF NAILS… No 2… / 2015

by Stefanie Bennett

Young anarchist ticking away like a time-bomb.
Ticking like the ticker-tape of all the machines
That let you down. You wanted, simply,
What it was you wanted. Your mother…
Just that little bit warmer in winter.
Your father’s head raised higher.
Your sister –, can she afford the university –,
The one you’ve been thrown out of?
See that man. Over there! Seated in
The bus-shelter –.
He’s Polish. His name’s of no consequence.
He’s dying… because he’s Polish.
He’s ailing… because he’s a Jew.
He’s anything you wish to hang a cross upon.
He’s weeping salty tears
                     Because he knows too much
                     Of Siberia.
He’s a dog lover –, and once he was
                     Someone’s parent until
                     He put on a uniform.
You are not imagining things my young anarchist.
That grey coat he’s wearing is a coat of nails.
The nails, my misguided friend, bite into
His flesh. The pain is terrible. Terrible.
Worse still is the ache in his head. It is his
Conscience. It re-occurs
At sun-up and sun-down in all seasons.
The coat of nails recognizes you. It can do
No other than sit and stare. Stare back
At your anger, your useless spite.
Attached to the lapel
                                Of the coat of nails –, and
Probably pinned too tight for comfort
Is the Medal of Honour. He’d swap it for one night
                                Of quiet sleep. The arms
                                Of a woman long gone.
The scent of new bread from the kitchen…
He is your image, young anarchist; ticking away.
Why not chew into your own bullet? Do it now?
                                Bring peace to his
Place that coat around your strong shoulders –,
The coat of ‘multi-coloured nails’… and
Step out, if you will,
Into the sunlight: spend
Some time among the sunflowers.

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