Tahrir – Before the Tambourines              


In the stretch from tyranny

there were lists, long and sly;

alligators squeezing out the remnants

of back-splashed teargas, their offspring

tendering batons


and a wrench of rubber bullets

casually raining down in bastard

sound mutinies, mapping out

the swamps of oceanic quicksand:

the challenge of Saracen-plump

assault tanks; of torn, swept-up,

pissed-on squares, of poorly

equipped clash-crowds


with nothing but freedom-speak

on their side, nudging their pride.


They lick the wound of the rule

of law. They aim and fire by

street-strike; unhinge the backbone

of Tahrir vertebrae for vertebrae

in their million-dollar, million-man

marches. They kick the badest


and blackest of bad-arse back-teeth,

a salad of real-life pirates whipping

the brittle with a flat lacquered hand.


It glides over state sceptics with only

solvent credibility; a spill of constitutional

die-hards and sectarian bloods flow

cocktail-smart like a fast-forwarded


pilgrimage. Artillery rounds select


death in thin symmetrical zigzags:

armoured carriers have eaten out

the still panting offal of revolution

amidst a rich mix of lithium-kissed

lies; the potbelly of propaganda

prefers its favourite pre-dinner binge

out of the newspaper. Silence


becomes a veil of dehumanisation,

a sword of guilt; a volley of bullets

and suspended killings interspersed

between stale election sweats:


interim Cabinets with interim love

potions but no remedy. Just bile.

Offshoots. Revisited. Same again.



Clare Saponia © 2014

Clare Saponia



Waste Disposal              


Where is the drive, the imagination, thought, instinct,

self-imposition that gets you to a better place,

a higher plain? What have onlooker’s seen

but savage and stupid, binge-like broken instincts,

toxins with no quick-fix antidote, freak-show-style contestants


cooped up in grim-rimmed chicken grids for homes,

their bladed cages promising sharper, steelier freedoms

beyond and stab at the sleekest glint of self-improvement.

Inevitability is government policy at its most austere, MPs  

playing bow and arrow from the glistening turrets of Shitehall.


Social mobility is segregating buses and schoolrooms

and city centres; it’s being granted permission to breathe,

to smell the weed-wrangled breath of your neighbour

on the other side of the wall: his rising damp, your rising damp:

in the soup with asthmatic, nicotine-hungry kids


who are kicked in the head before they know

what disadvantaged is.




Clare Saponia © 2014










[These poems are taken from Clare Saponia's

forthcoming second collection, The Oranges

of Revolution (Smokestack)]