New Poem by Jason Monios


On the labour strikes against foreign workers in the UK, February 2009.

Rain drives down, a perfect tilt diagonal,
forty-five degrees. Snow heaves itself
across, a spirit-level’s eerie grasp
of fluids and forces on the horizontal.

Rain and snow in simulcast, refusing to mix
until impact shatters their self-belief, the illusion
of selfhood, the repressed bigotry latent beneath
histrionic claims of nationality.

Outside Sellafield the rain and snow still fall
separately. Workers strike, refuse the right
of other men to work along with them.
A working man will stop another working,

throw his pottery chip into the urn
alongside his countrymen, any and all countrymen
as though he has more in common with his boss
who is English, than with his colleagues who aren’t.

How many pawns bedeck a standard chess board
and how many kings? How many pawns are tricked
into laying themselves down, numbly creating
paths with their coats for queens to walk upon?

Fight your war, shoot each other in the streets,
strike against each other, never blaming
your superiors, your generals, your bishops, rooks and kings.
Blame those who reveal your self-defeating
fratricides, not caring whose hands are on the strings.

Jason Monios lives in Edinburgh. His poetry has appeared in Acumen, Magma, Poetry Scotland, New Writing Scotland, Horizon, nthposition, Umbrella and The Guardian.
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