Peter Branson

El  Compañero

Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, 1928 – ‘63

Ironed out, posed for flash photographs,

as outlaws were beneath boot hill,

apart from bullet holes, blood stains,

that hunted feral look, you could

be wakening; New Man, moonstruck.

Refraction of the murdered Christ,

you’re light on shadow, positive

from negative, pure black and white.

Your image on tee-shirts, key rings

and coffee mugs, you rise again;

pop art, icon for mutiny

by pampered children in the West,

first-educated workers’ kids

striving to realign their roots,

odd public school bods drunk on ‘If’.

Fair weather communists, your men,

more levellers, Peasants’ Revolt;

wrong time and place. Smothered by myth,

“Shoot, coward, you’re only going to kill

a man.”, comic cut hero, Will

Scarlet to Castro’s Robin Hood,

d’you never doubt yourself, long odds,

bad health; your export drive against

landlords, tired theory bent to fit?

Fearful of what you represent,

whey-faces wash their hands of you,

(steal yours, proof for the Green Berets

and CIA, price on your head).

Appreciate the paradox?

Teeth drawn, market the fable, “Sell!”

Peter Branson © 2009

Poems ‘n’ Pints

This could be any town,

tired old committee room

up narrow jointed stairs.

Blokes brushed with anorak,

women in skirt-wigwams,

each takes a turn, performs

bright work. Rehearse, reprise,

there’s not much listening

goes on, just showings off.

This is no common muse

to prick out feelings with,

plant words for everyman:

recession, dole and debt;

Iraq, Afghanistan.

Quaint dusty poetry

on bookshop shelves; should this

grow topical you guess

they’d move on somewhere else:

local theatricals,

folk dancing club, life class.

Sniff teargas on the breeze:

the Christian fundies, keen

to wrest control, press on

their home-to-house attacks.

Armed guards and mines

back up the inner city tide

at flood. This lot don’t flinch

as mortar fire takes out

the local library,

oblivious to what

is really happening

outside. Stray bullets chip

the old pub front. Gaga

about the last poem read,

some woman who communed

with this small goose, they leave

things far too late You find

the fire escape as boots

kick in the door. Up there,

right now, all hell is loose ...

Peter Branson © 2009