Martin Jack


Nothing survives but

its long skeletal arms
along the South Bank:

a metaphoric
Fort Bragg for the pseudo-

cultivates still getting drunk
on empire, sexing it up

with Austen in west country drag


I’ll have to play
the Dadaist to your damnation, even
damning myself if I get pulled too close
to the gravity well of peerage,
writing against its clique
from the wilderness;
                    surrendering to steam

rojectiles flung as bows and arrows
against a hard toffee centre
that selects its society,
                                      then padlocks
the canon as a cathedral
                                      we all should kneel
in the mind

It asks something of the spirit
of ’77, the year Rotten was clean,

to write as a loaded gun
recognise past as bonfire

so adventure can stretch
in stead, contented as an eye

that burns its experiment
on the blank pages

of an aristocracy still-
born on the pirate’s plank