Monument

Monument

By Alex Smith

Son,

build a monument to us.

An eyesore.

 

Raw and exposed.

Bleeding,

pulsing,

 

tear the skin from it.

Sculpt the life in it.

Hew bare nerve and sinew.

 

Dig foundations deep,

sink concrete in rock,

and plant it, in our plain sight.

 

Let this monument be

your line in the sand.

Your Ozymandias.

 

We've watched you begin

to cleave each line with malice

for spite of us.

 

We'll never ask why

it turned out like this.

 

Son, build us an aberration.

An atrocity

and plant it proudly.

 

Pour in your cruelty

engrave the truth in clay and marble

to tell a truth to shame the devil.

 

Fill it with your baby breath

the steps you took and the ones we missed.

Be prone with it

 

because we hid from you.

Shape for it, a soft mouth

round red lips,

 

too thick

and the look

your look.

 

That's the symphony of it.

Carve out your own commandment

on our front lawn, dump it.

 

Be all that we weren't.

Be all that we couldn't.

If we can no longer parent

 

then let us be a blazing portent,

a wicker man.

We'll care for him;

 

two shuffling curators

in a derelict museum.


With a foot firmly on each side of the Irish Sea, Alex Smith was raised in troubled Northern Ireland during the Eighties before moving to the slightly less troubled south coast and later the midlands of England for the Noughties. Educated in all things English and Spanish at the Queen’s University of Belfast and in all things educational at the University of Chichester, Smith comes from that stable of pared-down, plain-speaking poets such as Muldoon and Armitage. His work has taken him to some of the most socially deprived schools in England. His poetry has been published in ‘Twyckenham Notes’, ‘Tammy’, online at ‘Clear Water Poetry’, ‘ABCTales’ (where he also edits) and in ‘The UK Poetry Library’ and has a collection entitled ‘Home’ coming soon through Cerasus Poetry.

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