A Poem for the Abused

 I am a child soldier and I have never seen

The plains of Africa. My battlefields are

The living rooms of tired tenement blocks,

And semi-detached houses everywhere.

I stare out across carpets and see shrapnel

Of smashed teacups and photo frames.

Scratched records spin endlessly round

‘Singing bye-bye Miss American Pie.’

I protect the Angel an embattled old soul

Who holds aloft her bottle of Martini

Like Joan of Arc, & sings the blues like

Billie Holiday. Cigarette smoke twirling.

And you my sodden father. Drunken old

Teacher. Zen master with war-weary tales.

Your tears and spit would often mix into the

Palms of your hands.

Don’t you know the Queensberry rules?

She can’t dance like a butterfly, but you

Sure sting like a bee. And now the whole

World to me is Joe Frazier. And I am

Muhammad Ali.

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