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2 poems by Tom Sastry

The consumer as lonely king

The shout goes up. It's all about you.

I'm holding a cheap crown. Advertisers

tell me it's mine. Others accuse me

of believing them. I’m always tired.

I want to say You’ve got me wrong.

I know I'm nothing. I am innocent

of being myself. Meanwhile half the shelves

feed me, the rest cut me back to size.

Half strip the world, the rest restore

my wild ideals, with perfumes plucked

from fragile hills. My basket fills with comforts

that perish on the journey home

and never touch my emergency

in the golden hour of the world.

Escape to the country

In the land of second homes, damp earth and sky are status goods / Chris makes fire, Amy

splits tomorrow’s logs / Smooth white cheeks redden / Health: the just reward for an outdoor

life / Can I do anything useful? / I slide the foraged mushrooms into the pot. / There’s always

the risk of human error says Marcus.

Hell is other people’s values. I want them to be fools.

They have six acres / We could live off this land if we had to / There are coy smiles / There is

something else / They have guns, actually / Our worlds divide / There’s no self-build Arcadia

for me if supply chains fail / I am club-fingered, my balance is poor / I can’t afford land, I can hardly scare a mouse.

I’ve never held a gun. I say. I don’t know if I’ve seen one.


Tom Sastry has published two collections with Nine Arches Press, the more recent of which is You have no normal country to return to.

These poems were selected by Anthropocene guest editor Tom Branfoot.


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