Three shots at a neoliberal future 

#1: A theory of economic development 

Give us a road, they said. We’ve had enough
of cobbles, zigzagged hillsides, paths stepped perfectly for mules. 

 Give us a bypass, they protested. We’re sick
of inching traffic, diesel fumes, the tinnitus of crowds. 

 Give us a motorway. Give us clear lines
 of vision, speedy exits, no overhanging crags, light-blocking trees. 

Three wishes. All came true. Now the whole world
 drains south: a sump for livelihood, family, speech. 

#2: On the capital value of bees  

There are fewer of them now, so we must appreciate their value.

The fewer there are, the more their value will appreciate.

We all value appreciation, but only when it’s for the few.

We few who still have values go unappreciated.

There is a common swarm. To hold ourselves aloof is honeyless. 

#3: Building for birds

In God’s house they raise their young,
the psalmist says; I’ve seen their mud-round
hideaways in castles, cottages, lean-to sheds
and garages. Now we build differently.

Glass towers bat swallows back.
There’s nowhere moss can stick,
no shady eaves. Instead, perched
at the top, are birds of prey. 

These poems first appeared in New Boots and Pantisocracies, 28 October 2016

Lighten our darkness

There are ways of shedding light
in dingy corners. Music can help.
The louder the better. The white,
white noise. When you lose count
of hours, something dawns.

There are ways of shedding light
with water. When the head
goes under, spluttering
sparks flashes of illumination.
Watch their eyes.

There are ways of shedding light
without a drop of blood.
The stress position, breaking
of the feet, the revved up drill.
We only seek the truth. The light.

This poem first appeared on Poetry24. It was prompted by revelations of the CIA’s ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’: