Populism (part two) by Paul Sutton


Oh for a muse to tell our sodden tale,
a dreamscape to cheer the sorry traveller.
Poet, sing us corvid-chasing buses
clearing the outer suburbs, to vasty
fields under a white horse on that bald hill;
huddled victims, and middle managers
of the failing public sector, with their
PowerPoints due on some restructure.

I met the liberal on a frosty night, as the sky cracked and its clear moon exposed our frailties.

Have you read The Grand Inquisitor?

This its antithesis.

He gorged on suffering.

Grabbing a pinnacle (not Westminster, Faringdon Folly) – loftiness in destroying an individual.

‘Children stuffed up chimneys, not with sweets at Christmas pantos.’

Who do you think you are? celebrities weep at slave-owning ancestors.’

‘Degrees in Leisure Studies less deadly than tuberculosis.’

Chronicling a tragic dinner lady who lives with badgers and worships Ferrero Rocher, Hunter’s chicken, two-for-one meals at Harvester.

‘Once she’d reach thirty – producing fifteen children.’

‘Now she can read White Teeth or Miriam Clegg’s recipes.’

I was shown two Slovakians sleeping on a flat-screen delivery box.

Then I smashed out his teeth with my DVD of Sink the Bismarck.

Removed his testicles with a bayonet from Zulu.

Force-fed him ship’s biscuits, pease pudding, Mickey Finns.

Shoved in Ralph Fiennes’ silk pyjamas.


But his wife’s documentary survived – her urgent voice:

‘These our fellow citizens.’

Deep South lynchings and images of Kristallnacht, intertextualised with statistics on ‘rising hate crimes’ since June 23rd 2016.

‘I’m narrating and blaming you.’

Later, I dangled from the Folly.

Clear views over the Vale.

My violence imagined.


Finally, I am allowed to speak. Past a certain
point in life, there’s too much to carry around;
then nothing is easy. Some bird flaps off,
perfect in its movement, so fit for flight.
I watch it till the light goes.
So that is the last from me.


Paul Sutton

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