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Iain Britton

the maker

the deal is


the maker

if you want to       

say it

but whatever / say it / with meaning


private lessons in persuasiveness
don’t come cheap


you scribble in a church / a river /
locals at a golf course / a plaza

some hotheads perform like sheep

I watch them change /        

                               you change

this town lives on a damaged decorative hill

refugees steal boxes

for rooms         for cardboard caves / to sleep in


the battle on the outside

has come inside

                      and no one’s resisting

                             no one’s shutting gates


refugees steal cardboard boxes

                     to pray in

              hide in

to live out their tenures


                  you accept the change

                  money talks

                  machetes talk

                  our songs are the same

                  the shit’s the same

say it with meaning

accept the maker’s head on a plate

for what you want

                    a word from him doesn’t come cheap

             a word lasts a day

        then gets immured in wood or clay or stone         depending …


on who you think you are you were you could be

                     depends    (being the operative action)

you take pleasure in crushing bugs

kicking in the skulls of thine foes

             parading pigs for people


but that’s fine           I watch proceedings

             on how you respond like a brother / where the farms start

             and the roads peter out


whether to accept the much-handled talk of the town

to venerate something which has lost its eyes /

                         ears / its showman’s glitz 


        say      mum’s the word / not on your bloody nelly /

        bottom’s up

                         say nothing


I swivel the half mounted

                    half paid-for bastard around

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the deal is

       there won’t be much left after summer’s transparency /

it’s clear-filtered breathing /

to make this story any fancier


         stars       hang tall

and swivel when called


   a walk in the park is as good as booked

despite the weather         the storm         the clock’s

changing looks


there won’t be much left after the evidence is washed away

the night flowers topped

neon tapestries switched off


of note

a fountain / a statue / the growth pains

of lawns / defrocked affectations

              the deeper to midnight on wheels
              the more light there seems
              the more visible you become


I partake of whispers of family incorporated                                                

you pass around a dossier on                                                                         

who’s to blame for the deliberate persecution of thieves /

lovers / of farmers who kiss cattle


you settle

old scores


shift the mosaic chips of this summer’s workshop

on deciphering aberrations

communal weaknesses       


I make do with chucking dice

I make do with superstition

                                           by numbers


you watch as I watch

as we suddenly scramble

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        in the skin trade

ain’t easy       


I’m  never sure who’s coming

                         at any given moment

the fact is

                      you do it better

you’re organically more prepared

       to slip into your studio wardrobe

flash your Hollywood hair    
your halo on /      / halo off

dispatch voices       meditate on a poppy


I stay in contact

         hands close
/ too close


altering appearances depends on the weather   
the day’s mood      the codeines taken    

and all that mumbo jumbo of hills on the move  

the sea sucking in its breath

populations grabbing at splinters of belief


I’ve taken to hiring and firing


           first impressions are important


an invitation to model in the starkers

      isn’t to be scoffed at




         you pose           slightly angled

         your eyes / lips / chin /      orifices washed and

labelled for inducement


     a nose-to-arse knowledge

        of introduction


this morning        is about

what you’d like to do after breakfast

I take off my jacket / you put it on
I take it off

              this morning’s about

practising roughly what you prefer

you come to me via         an empty room

             and a child     dressed up      like Marilyn

holds open the door

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Oystercatcher Press (UK) published Iain Britton's 3rd poetry collection in 2009. Kilmog Press (NZ) published his 4th in 2010. The Red Ceilings Press (UK) published an ebook "Ten Poems" last year and an Argotist Ebook "songlines" has come online this year. Forthcoming full collection with Lapwing Publications ("druidic approaches") is due out in the UK now, plus a pamphlet from Like This Press in August. Beard of Bees (US) and Greendoor Publishing (AUST) will be publishing chapbooks soon too.

Britton blogs at

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