The Walrus

Civil and Civic

by Jonathan Bennett
Poetry · From the January 2011 magazine
You talk across periods; I draw on arms
with blue pen, The Clash, et cetera.
With gall you hang posters, know the slogans.
You savour the word disobedience,
chew chocolate first thing in the morning,
as I follow you around, onto the bus,
ignore exposed hip skin winking love, love.
Trapped, wet in a tent, some bitch recites Brecht.
We play hacky sack.
They open tear gas.
An act born from a crowd’s seething will
I heave the blunt harm of a brick at helmets
and shields, a slow, magnificent arc.
My brick in flight is like a dove, you shriek.
A boy falls and is crushed. We are all filmed.
Two cars are torched in the square after dark.
Over there you haver at a statue’s feet,
the bronze general dismounts and runs you through.
Jonathan Bennett has published three books, including Entitlement: A Novel (2008). A fourth, the poetry collection Civil and Civic, will be released this spring.