These Flat Saints


The younger ones, born in freedom,
are brilliant, optimistic Europeans.
We are slow, old and have dark eyes,
different skin, a pallor.  We have
more health complaints, we are shorter
and our bodies carry the trauma of pain.
I grew up with two worlds in my head:
reality, which was a lie; and an idealised West
expressed in cultural contraband –
punk music, Fry & Laurie… a dream of England.
We were bussed in to the city from school
in our neckties and uniforms, with flags to wave
and sing heroic songs about East Germany.
Here, the perspective.
This is Sixteenth Century.
It should be the Renaissance
but we are in antiquity,
all these flat saints.
Here, he denounced the crowd
as the tanks rolled up the street.
Helicopters came from here, shooting.
We don’t know who ordered it.
He was an idiot, a puppet for someone.
A deep state.  We don’t know who.
Communists hate dreamers.  Capitalists too,
though they marginalise rather than torture them.
Why would illusions exist
if they weren’t vital for us?
Time is such a catastrophe
that death looks like a blessing.
It is so unfair to lose what you love.
If I am numb I will survive.
She called out and ran away
fading in the brightening air,
made in time out of words.


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