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;
Quaint dusty poetry
on bookshop shelves; should this
grow topical you guess
they’d move on somewhere else:
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