Niall McDevitt

A Tory in Avalon

A Tory in Avalon hobnobs with the great and good
of showbiz, feels the same sun
touching his mind and scalp
that once illumined Arthur. This field is not
Westminster with its miasma of NPD.
He recalls Masonic lore – and did
those feet in extra time? – as the high summer
shimmers, and he sips from his ‘graal’.
Meeting artists is a real buzz too.
Windows slide: the ancient windows of Albion?
Here he walks in the mystery, and can almost scent
the fleur-de-lys. A mobile phone throbs
from a pinstriped pocket; but he
ignores it. His brain feels burnt.
He takes the air Tories want to sell.
A Tory in Avalon wades in fashionable wellingtons,
the name of the boot itself
conferring an ideological dignity
on the general struggling with the mud
faced by all festival-goers
whether VIPs or no, sacred though it is:
the very mud Arthurian, Lancelotian, Parsifalian.
‘Let us not forget our colleagues
in the ceremony of the name’ he muses.
‘The colleague…’ (He himself a colleague.
King David will continue to love him.)
He takes the air Jesus – druid – took.

A Tory in Avalon ogles the surround,
imagines luxury flats on the Tor, momentarily,
before ticking himself off
for forgetting he’s on holiday. He is with family;
what Tory wouldn’t be? ‘Tor Towers’
flashes an involuntary idea again.
‘Avalon Reach’: again an intellectual spasm.
‘Oh wife!’ he about-turns psychologically,
as all Tories do, from psychopathy
to sentimentality. (Uxoriousness, a good way
of burying bad thoughts.)
He takes the air with tang of Butcombe hop.

A Tory in Avalon has been having bad thoughts.
The cocaine and alcohol
douching his disused right-brain
have been sprinkle-systeming new ideas,
new flowers, from his own intellectual
soil. ‘Why this piranha-like morality?
Why this razor-toothed voracity?
In rituals, virtue has been hailed.
The Cathars we love were perfecti.’
He has sent out a ‘strategy document’
expressing the conscience-prick.
Here, music stimulates finer feelings.
He takes the air pulsed with English song.

A Tory in Avalon has been too candid:

‘When we come together in groups,
we are not magnetically attractive.
We morph into something different,
and not an appetizing proposition.
They will not join. Why should they join?
There’s no reason to, lots of reasons
not to. For years, we’ve been seen as
graceless, crass, always on the take.
They think we’ll beg from them, even steal,
and they’re right. We must do something.
We must look different, sound different…’

He takes the air of solstices, of henges.

A Tory in Avalon ponders on:
‘The Matter of Britain? The Matter
with Britain is the Neanderthal politics
of a two-and-a-half party system
in a land-grabbed land, class-divided,
with white-collar criminal institutions
who keep the 99% in the workhouse
and too many swaggering ‘business kings’
slapping taxes on light, heat, water etc.
It’s jurassic. It stunts human growth.
We must do more than upgrade serfdom
with technology. We must free people.’
He takes the air pure as Chalice Well.

A Tory in Avalon answers his buzzing
smartphone. The voice is King David’s.
He is snapped out of his psychoactive
ruminations. ‘The bloody memo’s leaked,
you chump! The Mail are running it.
We can’t believe the carelessness of your
wording here! What were – are – you on?
Couldn’t you have encoded it?’
The king is not the king for nothing
and his finger-tip has already lowered
the third eyelid of the Tory in Avalon.
His heart drum-rolls. ‘I’m sorry, David’.
He takes the air depth-charged with paranoia.

A Tory in Avalon orders a cocktail
from the backstage bar. It’s called a Merlin —
two Sipsmith gins, a La Fee absinthe
and a few carefully crushed medlars,
with mandrake — also known as Coup de Chien.
‘I’ve made a right dog’s arse of this
whole business’ he thinks, then pops
to the Portaloo for an ego-fortifying
line, or three. The Queen winces as he rolls
the £20, but grins from inside
as he snuffles it. An ego-bomb explodes.
He takes the air of toxic Babylon.

A Tory in Avalon is taken hand in hand
by Merlin for a supernatural guided tour,
out of his temporary, pea-hearted body
and into the heart of Glastonbury.
‘Don’t worry about the corpse in the toilet,
my friend, you are no longer its possession.
I shall wash your soul in red water
and take you to where the only property
is magic. You Tories were wrong,
idiot children in the philosophical palace.
Here everything is upside-down, anti-gravity,
against the law, and free. Die now! Wake up!’
He takes the air Tories cannot sell.

A Tory in Avalon is missing for 24 hours
but in the rock’n’roll bubble, no one
thinks anything of a locked cubicle.
Great musicians, groupies, journalists
move onto the next, powdering noses
in celebration and jubilation, amid
the real ales and popular songs
that are the apex of English culture.
No one imagines that rigor mortis
is setting in behind a plastic door
or that an ex-Tory is decomposing
even in the fields of Elysium.
(Anway, better him than Thom Yorke.)
He takes no air. The air is taken back.

Niall McDevitt © 2012