Citizen Ship 2013. Belfast. Nos 13.
Flags and ashes.
The Flag Issue in Belfast continues
To stand on our street corners.
Continues to stand on our hopes and our children’s hopes.
Continues to hang out from our lamp posts: to chill.
To chill the hearts of the optimistic and the bold.
To narrow our gaze and freeze our pipes.
The ones that should be channelling peace.
The Flag issue blocks up our windows
With twisted, bitter nails
Like a cowboy builder.
Shutters our broad minds.
All hail the victor, all hail to violence,
And the shadow that walks behind it,
Scattering lottery tickets, beer mats
And fag ash, like confetti.
The Flag issue stops up our mouths
With old rolled newspapers,
Stained with the fish n’ chip saliva.
The salty, drugged, burger meat
Of hard boys, failing to be men.
The Flag issue, issues forth
Like dark smoke from burning tyres.
Screeching hard and coming up to stop.
Unable to deal with Green Issues.
Polluting our lungs, still bursting for peace,
With fear, violence and intimidation.
All part of our culture.
The Flag issue hangs over Belfast
Like the gloom of dispair itself.
A heavy cloud that won’t go away,
Until it gets the cash in a brown envelope.
Then and only then, will it take the money
To the pub, down the road,
Rather than to the community centre.
Our children, our communities, our reason,
Loses out again.
The Flag issue, attempts to issue orders
from lamp posts.
Screams like a Banshee, giving notice.
Like deflated clown costumes.
I don’t get the joke,
And where’s the custard pie?
Looking high at the blue skys of Ulster
I see only rage, made from bright colours.
That would smother democracy
Along with my neighbours, in my neighbourhood.
While hoddies, like monkeys, beyond the Emerald city,
Dance on thin disenfranchised ladders, hiding their faces.
Carrying out the orders of the less able.
To wobble on their vertigo.
They grapple with these flags in the breeze,
While on their knees, to the needs of others.
Those who would drag us all down,
To the level of a painted kerb stone.
The Flag issue pounds upon our senses
Like a First World War gun.
With only one redundant idea.
One redundant idea!
One redundant idea!
Again and again and again,
That, hard men should be an example to our
One, redundant idea.
Doesn’t make a culture.
One weak and sickly concept
Will not feed a child, provide jobs
Or nourish any community’s ambitions.
This low grade meat is a confidence trick,
To the poor and needy.
Who seek self esteem
Like a one million pound roll over.
Feed me love and friendship
Feed me new horizons.
Feed me new colours, dancing across the city.
Feed me love, don’t feed me pity.
By Randall Stephen Hall
7th of May 2013. ©