When the fires came

August 25, 2011

When the fires came
I heard on the news that
angels wore flak jackets
while men rushed men with sticks.
Stones were thrown.
cans were thrown
Planks were thrown.

Dogs attacked men
dogs were lost.
Boots crushed store fronts
goods were lost.
Fire!
cars were lost
homes were lost
lives were lost;
but not much else I guess

I sat in my sofa (a man of the people)
like a million prophets
with visions of tear gas, and batons
splitting heads
with the wrath of the righteous

My street was quiet
and lacking in boot and in blood.
When I fell asleep
I dreamt of cordite without smell,
kissing goodbye
to rubber bullets

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10 Responses to “When the fires came”

  1. claudia said

    thrilled to see that you posted….you have no idea how much i was waiting for a new poem… love that you took the riots and how you wove yourself in..good stuff anton

  2. Pat Hatt said

    Wow you really captured all the riot madness in your piece, very nicely done!

  3. brian said

    whew…great visceral imagery through the first part of what it must have been like to be close but detached and have those images stuck in your head…maybe even wondering if it might spread and catch you in your sleep…

  4. A strong portrait of the tragic riots. There was a sense of hopeless waiting…or even perhaps indifference for me when I read it. I experienced a bit of this in San Francisco at the University when the Rodney King verdicts came down…but nothing like what London went through.

  5. Glad your area was spared the riots. Your ending reminded me of 911. I dreamed those towers falling for days after. All such a waste of life.

  6. My street was quiet
    and lacking in boot and in blood – great line – something to be greatful for.

  7. powerful commentry with poetics –
    I dreamt of cordite without smell,is a line to be remembered

  8. “lives were lost;
    but not much else I guess”

    There’s almost a surreal edge of unreality with regard to the violence – the safe, numb distance via television, which then becomes more real via rubber dream bullets.

  9. I’d never been to a riot until this poem.

    bashing in things for peace, I guess?

    Lack of boot and blood here too and I kinda like it that way.

  10. forpuck said

    Thank you for your comments everybody. It’s nice that people still find this blog…

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