The Wall

It was a day like any other
when they came for us.
This was the world we knew,
except the light was different:
the sky, the leaves, the distant sea.
We held hands as we walked,
and they walked behind us,
smoking cigarettes, talking
in hushed tones, embarrassed.
Only the colours troubled me,
the dandelions, how bright they were.
I hadn’t noticed that before.
The world will carry on, you said,
but I wasn’t sure. I had an intuition
that once I was gone it was the end
for everyone. You gripped my hand
as we came to the wall. You were
the one true constant in everything.
The stone was warm, we could feel
the heat against our backs.
There was a scent of marjoram,
the sea was blue, and a single ferry
sailed out of the harbour.


It didn’t hurt a bit, in fact
I felt ecstatic. I could see the bullet,
bright as a star. I could trace
its parabola over the field,
like fishing wire, a pencil line
drawn on paper.

I was, for a moment, a visionary.
I stilled the mayhem, the wind, the rain.
The bullet flew right through my head.
I went down like a sack of spuds.

I saw each of my friends
come and look at me.
Some were frightened
and some were full of life.
One held my face and kissed me.

I was far away. I thought of no one.
I was the only living thing in the universe,
and giddy with it all, godlike.
I’d do it again and again. Yes.
Shoot me again. Oh, shoot me again.


The National Razor

They cut the collar off my shirt,
tied my arms to my sides,
and laid me on the bascule.
When they closed the lunette
around my neck, I shut my eyes.

I could hear a mumbled prayer
somewhere behind me, and then
they released the mouton.
It rattled in the runners,
I could hear the air sing
on the lip of the blade.

It fell so slowly,
I thought of all I had loved.
I said goodbye to the earth,
to the past and future;
and the innocent wood
groaned as it shook.

It lopped off my head
like a coconut.
I felt like a child
falling backwards
over a fence.
When the world stopped
spinning, I opened my eyes
and saw the sky
enclosed in the wide O
of the wicker basket.

A man looked in,
like a giant peering down
a rabbit hole.
I smiled. He frowned,
and I felt the blood
run down my chin.
He reached inside,
a look of fear in his eyes,
ran his fingers through my hair
then lifted me into the light,
like a new born baby.

The crowd were in raptures,
the tricoteuses cursing me
from behind their knitting needles.
I wanted to laugh,
but all I could do was stare.
Beyond the city, the hills
glowed in the morning sun,
I couldn’t take my eyes off them,
and then he dropped me
back in the basket.


Talking Dead is a slim pamphlet published by Austeiger Publications (2012)