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Thursday, February 05, 2009


by Peter Branson

"I would like to see a return to the biblical law outlined in Isaiah
and Jeremiah. It would put our people back in God's order ..."
--Pat Johnson, friend of Mike Cain, Nevada, USA.

No way you'll miss how much the place has changed,
even in these uncertain times: that sign
"White hetero English Christians welcome here"
on main routes into town; banners strewn high,
"Death to all socialists and sodomites";
"Code violators shot on sight"; prayer cloths
on posts; religious art on every wall
and gable end. Folk altered overnight.

Churchwardens menace, black and uniform,
gun metalled smiles. All pubs and betting shops
are boarded up or turned into bedsits
for newlyweds. Sports Hall's a holding pen
for fornicators waiting to be cleansed.
Women dress modestly, all face-painting
thought-crime: this haven for upstanding men;
no noise or litter, buses dead on time.

Peter Branson is a creative writing tutor. Until recently he was Writer-in-residence for "All Write" run by Stoke-on-Trent Library Services. He began writing poetry seriously about five years ago and has had work published by many mainstream poetry journals, including Acumen, Ambit, Envoi, Iota, 14, Fire, The Interpreter's House, Poetry Nottingham, Red Ink and Other Poetry. In the last two years he has had success in several competitions including a first prize in The Envoi International, a second place in The Writing Magazine Open and a highly-commended in The Petra Kenney. His first collection, The Accidental Tourist, was published in May 2008.