Voices from Charcoal by Matt Duggan

Once our fishing boats were floating saviours for the persecuted
now we build walls from those that we’ve liberated;
In this land of imitating brown shirts
our white cliffs – A strict border layered with red brickwork;
Did they not cut off their own ears awakening a poisonous serpent for oil?
that lay fast asleep inside the Persian sands;
Who resurrected the buried voices from charcoal
those dusting jackboots stomping on the gravestones of our ancestors.
Though we’d fill a whole lake with blood oil
We’d starve our own children leaving them to die on its banks,
no longer do we recognise our enemy
taking sides for the highest and most convenient price.

Did we cut off our ears from empathy?
those holocaust skeletons in white and blue stars
this near gutting of human hope –
where repetitive acts lined like a contemporary night of Kristallnacht .
We have become what we dread – An isolated island
a ghost ship drifting with no sails
our captain unsure of our final destination,
stirring us into unknown waters  towards an economic tsunami.
Our heads held with fingers slated into scalp
tears drop onto canvas like rain drops darkening dead rhino skin,
In this land of imitating brown shirts
Our white cliffs – A strict border layered with red brickwork.


Born Bristol 1971 U.K. Winner of the Erbacce Prize for Poetry 2015 Poems have appeared in The Journal, The High Window, Graffiti, The Sentinel Quarterly, The Seventh Quarry, Prole, Ink, Sweat, and Tears, Crack the Spine, Roundyhouse, Tipton Poetry Journal, Lakeview International Literary Journal, Lunar Poetry Magazine, Harbinger Asylum, Five 2 One, Apogee Magazine, Deep Water Literary Magazine. My prize winning first collection Dystopia 38.10 was published this year by Erbacce Press.



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