We Were

And so the man with a hidden Christ
Bellows in the streets, a bullhorn of fury
‘Feed me! I want food!’
He is entombed by concrete corners, lanes and urban labyrinths
Only his rage balloons over the city
Like a Dali crucifix floating above us
We deny him thrice.

He holds communion with other disciples
Plastic take-away cups of tears shed alone
on winter streets;
the wine,
a binned white loaf;
the bread.
In this the age of homo ferox
the one who scours and devours,
we take him twice.

And so the terrible rain comes down
The air jostles with particles of smoke and dust
We cannot breathe it
We cannot not
There is nothing bright ‘n’ shiny
All is stained all is streaked
We used it once.

The welfare kid curls little hands over stigmata
His mother re-checks a supermarket bill
Trawls deep in her bag for errant coins that
Might spring a miracle of loaves and fishes
A gold coin brings relief
for a loaf day old and dry
She’ll buy one and eat a half.

Oh where is the glorious light that explodes and feeds
children splinters of glass and hot metal,
who can hear the slippered feet of penitents tramping
on the bones of dead martyrs,
who pays pennies for tallow candles
to pray to saints
for a quarter hour?

This place has become an abomination
A passage, incandescent
millennia of hollow eyed mullahpriests
Minister to the already dead
Floral tributes fade like old gas lamps
In bombed out streets
Je suis Charlie, je suis Paris, je suis Bruxelles
Nous étions, mais maintenant nous ne sommes rien.

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