Excerpts from unNatural Heart by Geoff Francis
Excepts from Werewolf Dreams by Geoff Francis
Excerpts from Prisoners on the Carousel by Geoff Francis
Heaven in a Rage by Spike Milligan
If a robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage,
How feels heaven when
Dies the billionth battery hen?
Chattel by Maureen Duffy
Driving back from the literature festival
through Otley handsome in black stone
with white revers of painted windows and doors
I follow behind a tin truck
gaping an open vent high up at the back.
Stopped at the lights the gap is filled
with broad snout, a wet black sponge for sucking up
sweetness from deep in summer grass.
You crane your head in the hole sideways to let
each eye in turn roll up at the sky.
Deep in the tumbril shock you don’t speak.
I know where you’re going this summer’s morning
and feel you know it too though how
when no-one has ever come back with tell-tale
smell of blood and fear on staring hide?
I imagine though I can’t see the shrunken dug
flat as a perished rubber glove.
The street is called Wharfedale View. It looks across
to where the moors throw a green quilt
for miles under a high sky. Why can’t I just
draw the steel bolt on the tailgate
and let you run and run up there till you drop?
But the lights change. You turn Left; I go Right
for Leeds and perhaps I’m quite wrong
and you’re just being moved on to new pasture.
Then why can’t I safe home sleep
but see still your face laid along the tailgate
with one moist eye turned up questioning
whether I would have drawn that bolt
if you’d been able to ask me in a tongue
I couldn’t kid myself I understood?
© 1985 Maureen Duffy
From The Extended Circle: An Anthology of Humane Thought by Jon Wynne-Tyson
Open Gate Press, 2008
A shit cup of coffee brewing the next pandemic by Heidi Stephenson
(after Heathcote Williams)
The civet cat
is a gentle fruit-eater,
a shy, nocturnal mammal,
from the family
Native to the tropical
savannah and mountains
of Southern Africa,
China and South East Asia,
when food is scarce in nature,
as an act of desperation,
these vegan animals
will eat the fruit
of coffee plants.
The tough beans
(of little nutritional value)
are left undigested.
And herein lies
obsessed with trying out
the new, the ‘exotic’
that the civet’s
cut the bitterness
from the flavour
in their coffee cup –
some “robust” extras.
from force-fed civet cats
(made to eat
of “processed” beans,)
are now desired
as the finest “gourmet,”
fetching astronomical global prices,
10 to 50 times higher,
than their counterparts.
In conscience-less cafés
in Indonesia, Bali, China,
the Philippines, New York and London,
single cups of “civet coffee,”
“kopi luwak,” “caphe cut chon,”
“cat poop coffee” are sold
for upwards of $30, £50…
costing the lives,
freedom and well-being
of many poor civet cats.
(trapped at 6 months old,
confined to tiny,
rusting, wire-floor cages,)
and exploited, in new,
make-shift “factory farms,”
they are sold on to live
when their digestive systems
eaten to boot,
(in Southern China,
sometimes still living,
with garlic, soy and ginger…)
these nonviolent beings
are turned into “Tiger”
“Dragon” and “Phoenix” ‘soups,’
(their perineal glands first scraped
to provide the buttery,
caramel taste in sweets,
and to “stabilize”
When SARS first appeared
in humans, in China, in 2003
“Severe Acute Respiratory System,”
many knew (and researchers discovered)
that the origin was to be found
in the tortured, savoured civet cats.
Their hellish existences,
at Man’s cruel hands,
(immune systems attacked
are now thought to have made them
between bats and humans
for COVID-19 too.
More Karma for the comatosed.
What’s Going On? by Tami Hay
What’s going on, this Unholy dance?
Are we coming out or going into a trance?
Projecting sadness runs torment through our veins…
So we suit up, shoot up, show up with our fancy wines,
And expensive pieces of flesh to fry,
To feed our war-tore hearts
Why can’t we feel?
What’s the deal?
What’s going on, this fall from Grace?
Is it just too much to face all the disgrace?
Where did we learn to bleed our pain
All over one another?
Does the crying we can’t hear mean a thing?
When did our wounds become un-Godly
Until the hidden scars waged war on all growing things…
Behind the walls of silent moans
Of billions of hurting beings!
Where did we learn to hide our pain
Until it’s shadow must rear again
In blood and war and hidden places
Or death’s magpies and ravens
To take us home
Copyright Tami Hay