Conflagration

Fill the grenade with grenadine
We’ll reutilise the war effort
Repair, recycle and reuse
In such imaginative ways
Yet if all our swords are ploughshares
And all our bullets turned to bracelets
We’ll only beat each other
To death with farm machinery

I’m all for hugging trees
Yet sometimes you need to carve out a
Spear handle and use the light from
That spare candle to whittle out a
Sharp point to penetrate and pierce

We won’t be here much longer
The way we carry on
Carrying out covert ops
Covering the tops of our
Hidey holes with thick foliage
Thin branches delicately draped
Across the entrance

And yet these new school
Retro, remade, post modern
Contraptions keep on turning
Ammunition into pencil sharpeners
And gasmasks into fishbowls
We can deny it all we want
But we all know we’ll need it again
Soon, wipe down the respirator and
Chamber the parer

Bear down on them with teeth bared
And our right to arms a necessity
When it’s been ingrained for so long
A culture built on blood
Soft, slippery surface to lay foundations
Upon
They did it anyway

Fine days and dark nights
Fly by without much more than a whisper
Flickering and flitting through
As we cling on to what we hold dear
Drag it deep down to comfort us
We’ll sit here watching the world burn
And brush dry tinder toward

A forest fire
Breathing in the pine
As it crackles and chokes
Into life
A conflagration for the flagburners
And the deathbringers
The wild, the hungry, desperate and dreary
No survivors set the world afire
And none of us ever expected to make it out alive

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The Sainsburys advert

After seeing English supermarket chain Sainsburys new ‘christmas advert’ I can only guess at the ideas that didn’t make the cut:

British prisoners of war line up in single file, emaciated and weary as the SS officer walks amongst them. As he points them individually towards the labour camp or the mass grave a rustling can be heard as one cheeky soldier munches away on Sainsburys Ready Salted crisps, now with 33% extra free.

Helmand Province, an infantry patrol approaches a suspected Taliban-held village. Suddenly an IUD is triggered, three men are hit. The medic rushes towards the worst hit soldier and pulls new Sainsburys basics cheesecake from his pouch. The injured man nibbles away and his maimed leg miraculously heals as “Buy one, get one free” scrolls across the screen.

The young brigadier kicks his spur into his mount, the cannons loom in front of him as the Light Brigade tears into the valley. His men fall, screaming from their horses, all around him come the cries of the dying and the roar of cannonfire. The officer reaches into his jacket pocket and admires the swanky new packaging on his Sainsburys Lime Cordial.

Yes, please give money to and honour our veterans, but please don’t try to sell shit or make war pretty.
As Robert E.Lee once said “It is well that war is so terrible, or else we would grow too fond of it…nearly as fond as I am of these Sainsburys bourbon biscuits!”

Less Talk of Oceans

Chitter, chatter away gasbag
More mephane for merciless mercenaries
Who’ve seen no more of war than
What appears on their nightly news
Their views askew as

They buy the agenda, whichever agenda
Is sold to them, the consumer, a consumable
An expendable asset in the war of error
Where an enemy becomes an ally when you add oil
Bold boys, big bags of blood from British barracks
Buy another inch of sand

Young men with hopes, dreams and cares
Families, such young families
Two bags for two gallons of the black
Blood money because oil runs thicker than water
Whilst the red runs and stains the soil
Strap a medal on it and call it honour

So, less talk of oceans
Crossed, paths found and plowing a furrow
When you’re just digging graves
In which we bury common sense and
Two twenty year old lads from Scarborough
Who saw a flash ad and a paycheck to show their girls

There are no trenches here
We’re on new battlefields now
This is a new kind of war
Their war against us
Whoever we are
Whatever our skin
Culture, creed or god
When their god is viscous fluid

So fight the good fight my brave boy
Infidel, imperial with a bulls eye on your back
And a price-tag round your neck

A Bloodmoon’s Zenith

‘Lieutenant, we must discuss Hanan’, there was a tremor in the king’s voice.
Fergus knew that this wasn’t going to be a casual conversation. No talk of Hanan was ever casual, an island of such infamy that many folk dared not mention it, unless absolutely necessary. Evidently the king had found it necessary to call one of his commander’s to his personal chambers and to disturb an otherwise enchanted evening. Hanan, the volcanic island, was a haven for pirates and criminals, where decadence and corruption reigned. Fergus had heard it said that in the slums of Koros, capital of Hanan and seat of the Triumvirate, one could acquire any item, whether through purchase or pilfering. Koros was the final destination for many of the world’s greatest treasures, cities had been sacked, societies wiped out for their wonders. The Gold Tree of the Phlanos Empire had been transplanted to the palace grounds of Koros, a grim ghost of itself. The once iridescent foliage rotten and withered, a decaying monument to a grim conquest and an elegy to one of the first empires.
To rule over a land of such depravity and hedonism necessitated a strong standing army, martial law and a severe judicial system kept the population just within the check of agreed Hananian norms. However, many a murder would occur without so much of a batting of a legionnaires eyelid and pub closing time would often see the streets of Kauston painted thick with claret. Fergus had heard that the mantra of the legion was “no riots, no resistance”, they tended not to concern themselves with policing such trivial disputes as murders and gang skirmishes. The island had been ruled by pirate captains, self styled mayors, gang bosses and guilds for centuries until the three minks took control of the city. In the course of a day and a night every captain, kingpin, mayor or objector was slain by the guild of the Four Shadows. The event was known as the Reckoning and it’s anniversary is celebrated raucously in Koros, from fear and respect.
Three young mink emerged from the Reckoning, noteworthy for the parts that they played. Wernin, who had been merely an initiate in the guild, was solely credited with slaying Hajal-Keld of the Green Tongues and his honour guard, thus securing the coal quarter of Koros.
Kjarno Riktooth, who had been unknown prior to the Reckoning made his name at the battle for Kauston barracks. The barracks had historically been held by the Southern Military junta, a kind of unofficial army who controlled and manipulated all trade in the south of Hanan. Kjarno, a guildbrother of no fixed distinction, defied his chapter master’s planned subterfuge. The young mink slit his master’s throat in the night and urged his guild into a direct assault on the garrison. Wave after wave of brothers died against the gates and high walls, yet Kjarno led every assault, urging his comrades on, crossbow bolts thudding deep into his broad shoulders as he roared. Eventually the walls fell, Kjarno had sacrificed hundreds of his brothers in open assault, yet this was not how his part was remembered. His brothers were victorious, the militia were killed or inducted and all who survived the day would tell of a powerful mink with a huge battleaxe standing knee deep in blood and roaring for the cause as he suffered wound after wound and the dead piled up at his feet. A movement needs a banner and he became it.
Granos, for his part, was no berserker, no slaughterer. He was a diplomat and a shrewd politician. He consulted with the self elected governors and mayors of Koros, Kauston and Naur Province. Some were happy to pledge their support to the Four Shadows, once they learnt of the guild’s growing power, others took more persuading. Granos learnt that everybody has a price, whether that price is five hundred coins or their infant child’s life. He became known as Granos The Treacherous and then, several abductions and assassinations later, as Granos The Valiant.
The Slaughterer, The Berserker and The Valiant. Fergus shuddered at the thought of them. Yet here he was, with his king. Lennox played with the hem of his tunic idly, it had been some time since King Braus had spoken and his commanding officer had been standing silently, staring into middle distance. This was a surprisingly frequent occurrence so Lennox didn’t mind.
“Peace time is, as always, desperately short and psychologically demanding. It is now two years since the battle of Black Creek”
Fergus needn’t be reminded of the battle of Black Creek, no creature on Brausinia did. The last attack on Brausinia, two years ago, had been driven back at a bitter cost. The Hananian minks had sent waves upon waves of marten warriors, almost three thousand of them. Fergus had lost a brother at Black Creek, Lennox had lost an eye. Such ferocious and regular assaults were common practice for the armies of Hanan so it made little sense that there had been no news of marten troops for two years. Such bitter peace was both welcome and unnerving for Braus. His fur was showing unseasonal signs of whiting, his teeth seemed to be yellower and more prominent by the week; the king was tiring.

K.I.A

What if, what if I never make it out of this alive
Coldly I ask myself, and my head is spinning
Faster than the cliches flowing through my thoughts
This desert heat is melting the waxen wings
Of our mythical eagle, I’m falling

Faster than I thought was possible
I hit the floor and find a cold friend laying beside me
Entrenched, embedded, outgunned and unprepared
Just another infidel in a foreign land
And far too far from home

And my life drips through my fingers
As I struggle to stop the crimson

Raise the flag, draped across my wooden ride
One last race through that silent crowd
And the heart in my chest stopped beating
Four thousand miles ago
In some forsaken sunsoaked land

What if, what if i never make it out of this alive
Coldly I ask myself, and my head is spinning
Faster than the cliches flowing through my thoughts
This desert heat is melting the waxen wings
Of our mythical eagle, I’m falling