Charlie Crumbles


Chip, chip, chip.
The sound of mice growing teeth,
and claws digging, digging deep.

Bloodied fists breaking bones
on cold concrete.
Charlie crumbling, crashing,
falling down.

Splinters fly, under the weight
of feet, hands, heads
hammers, mallets, chisels,
blackened fingernails.

Beneath the screens,
graffiti beautifies the scars of victory,
and canonises the bullet bitten dead.

While the fools we called the winners,
stand on the wrong side of
check point Charlie.
And earnest journalists
shake grey heads at the brutal ugliness
of a wall forged from old alliances.

In the east
under the finger-point of white
Shot to kill and drill, drill, drill,
Kept the cold grey face pristine.

No chalk outlines
for the dead.
Deserters dangling on the barbed wire fence.
And mines bristling like thorn bushes,
bloom in the garden of no-mans-land

They come in silent droves,
vandals and tourists free to paint
“fuck the wall”
in rainbow letters six feet tall.

The brass bands of the west
play the last post
to the ghosts rising with the early sun.
More jaded star float above
the spray paint and the smiley faces.

And in the wisps of smoke they stood,
The dumb the deaf, the silent mute.
Watching history write itself
through a cloud of clearing mortar dust.

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