And Finally by Bethany Rivers

……………………….last night I did it.
Although I’m now sitting
in a cell in this stinking jail

of sweat and fear, I’m grinning.
I stole in to the private rooms
in Westminster and I graffitied

on every wall and every mirror
the names of all the benefit suicides.
I prit-sticked photos to MPs’ desks,

sellotaped them on plush seated chairs.
I then confettied the Speaking House
with photos of Aunt Beryl (put her head

in the oven), odd-job-man-Billy always
ready with a smile (took an overdose)
young Sally (mother of twins) hung herself,

stuck them down with chewing gum
along the central aisle,
all the way to the Speaker’s chair.

I painted dripping scarlet words
across the wooden panels:
Suicide is Murder, posted on the quiet.

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Alone, not alone by Bethany Rivers

What is this lonely life where

things come at you from all sides?

Children killed in a bomber’s wake

families keen & weep,

homes full of heartbreak.

 

Only the night before, I was standing

on a bridge over the canal, just another

one of nature’s daughters; streetlamps

reflected in long halos in the dark night

held in the dark water.

 

An alone moment after social nibbles

in a local pub, after a celebration of words,

poetry, humanity.  This morning, I’m alone

and I hear all the news all over the net:

 

ice cracks a lake open, winds

creak in the star reaching pines,

a deep silence of solidarity.

..

Bethany Rivers (M.A.)
Debut pamphlet due out 22nd July, OFF THE WALL from Indigo Dreams Publishing http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/bethany-rivers/4592595600

This is not about the children by Bethany Rivers

The children go to bed each night

afraid for morning to come

tomorrow might be the day

when they’re thrown out

left to die on the streets

 

The children wake early each morning

afraid there won’t be enough

food in the house

not enough money

to buy milk and bread

 

The children fall ill from school

where they’re told everyday

they’re no good, they’re lazy,

they’re only good as sweepers

for other people’s shit

 

The children are dying

ignorant of arts, sciences,

history, philosophy, self-esteem,

but we can’t prosecute the parent –

we voted them in

Within by Bethany Rivers

Syria within me

I feel your desolate desecration

Thousands of crumbling empty houses

 

Palestine within me

I feel your  Land robbed  Olive trees poisoned

Crimes against The Wall

 

Europe within me

Every flag of every nation

Only the wind carries freedom

 

Blood battles within me

Of the generations to come

Scars and fences needing to be undone

 

Russian pogroms within me

In the bones of my Great Grandmother

Wounds of  dislocation

 

The thirst within me

Fountain of my heart still learning

To make itself heard

..

Bethany Rivers (M.A.)
Debut pamphlet due out 22nd July, OFF THE WALL from Indigo Dreams Publishing http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/bethany-rivers/4592595600

Breaking News by Bethany Rivers

The Statue of Liberty has

gone missing.  There are

reports coming in that

there have been

sightings of her walking

abroad in Canada but

some have said they

have seen her

as far north as

sorry we interrupt

this

bulletin

Liberty’s torch

has been found

sinking

light in the Atlantic

rumours

of her return to

France

are abroad

other news just

coming in

the tabula ansata

has just

been sighted

falling

from the sky

over

Within by Bethany Rivers

Syria within me

I feel your desolate desecration

Thousands of crumbling empty houses

 

Palestine within me

I feel your  Land robbed  Olive trees poisoned

Crimes against The Wall

 

Europe within me

Every flag of every nation

Only the wind carries freedom

 

Blood battles within me

Of the generations to come

Scars and fences needing to be undone

 

Russian pogroms within me

In the bones of my Great Grandmother

Wounds of  dislocation

 

The thirst within me

Fountain of my heart still learning

To make itself heard

..

Bethany Rivers (M.A.)
Debut pamphlet due out 22nd July, OFF THE WALL from Indigo Dreams Publishing http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/bethany-rivers/4592595600

Peace-Seeker by Bethany Rivers

She lived in a house of thorns

in the middle of paradise

blue tits on the bird feeder

organic tomatoes peas and beans

growing from the ground

no neighbours to disturb

 

Her truth went underground

and could not find a single syllable

he judged her every movement

her every word and used it

to his own advantage

no neighbours to disturb

 

She sought refuge

in a women’s safe house

she was granted her own room

for the first time in three years

and her body became her own

no neighbours to disturb

 

But the custodian of the place

threatened to strip her bare

desiccated her dreams

told her she was only worth

the scum of the benefits’ line

no neighbours to disturb

 

That drizzle held morning

where crows looked blacker

the river rushing muddy

through her palms and underfoot

she slipped in

no neighbours to disturb

Behind closed doors by Bethany Rivers

(i.m. Pablo Neruda)

 

There’s another corpse in the cupboard, darling.

Do you want to know who it is this time, dear?

Just call the Cleaners in first thing.

Probably yet another Syrian refugee, I fear.

 

No, I really think you should come and have a look.

Another homeless person, or someone who couldn’t pay the rent?

But you may not want to read this one’s Death Book.

Don’t tell me: suicide, anorexia, another journalist of discontent?

 

No, no.  Nothing like that.  In fact, don’t worry, sweetheart.

I’ll call in the Cleaners right now, they’ll be here in a second.

Death needs to be taken in hand, learn to pay his debt.

Such litter: all these bodies and stories of the poverty stricken.

 

In the name of keeping your own heart safe, please don’t open…

‘And here am I, budding among the ruins, with only sorrow to bite on.’

..

Bethany Rivers’ debut pamphlet is due out later this year with Indigo Dreams Publishing.  She’s previously had poems published by Envoi, Cinnamon Press, Blithe Spirit, Bare Fiction, English Chicago Review, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Ofi Press, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Sarasvati, Offa’s Press and Fair Acre Press.  She runs poetry inspiration days throughout Wales, Shropshire and the Borders:www.writingyourvoice.org.uk