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by A. O. Griffiths
by Pete Crowther
Bedeviled, they said,
Had the witch's crying in his clear eye.
Stoned him, and his mother,
Rattle, rattle, out of the village,
And left them for dead, carrion,
Blasphemous flesh for the devil.
That day it was, dusk,
When I passed by in the fog of spring-time,
I and my mule
Scuttling down the mountain with sacks of grain,
When I heard a crying in the twilight.
Closer I moved
Until whimpering brushed the boughs by my head
And I saw him, Witch-Boy,
Cut into pieces by rock,
Sobbing in a pool of stones,
Limbs askew and sticky with blood.
I raised my spade and finished him;
Then devil silent.
Nothing in a pile of stones.
I have just murdered a man:
Walked in, western-style,
And watched the bar clear
As if the men were thrown confetti.
Seconds, only, pass until the place is empty
But for my prey
Who shifts before my steady forehead.
Seconds later he is dead;
A ramshackle skull and a fallen barstool,
Bullet between the eyes.
I turn and stroll sedately out,
Capture a glimpse of the frigid street
Before my automatic movements
Whisk me to a city bed-sit:
A textbook murder,
Perfection and it's warming gloat
As I clean my gun
And slip it safely in my overcoat,
Close to the heart,
A job well done.
He falls out drunk from The Jolly Sailor ,
The hoary bitch still in his nostrils,
Still the smell of indignation
Throttling the sea-air
With hairy arms desiring reparation.
Full with booze,
His anger even permeates the falcon-like tattoos
Upon his wrists,
His fists, snarled in a battle-group,
Are ready for the beating of the door.
“I'll kill you, whore!” he mutters to the night,
Fighting off the gutter as he trips
And feels his flesh rip nimbly
On the caustic angle
Of a bicycle abandoned on the kerb.
Seen and not heard for half-an-hour,
He leans with a punctured spleen,
And ruptured abdomen,
His heart become a silent drum,
His fists and fingers powerless among the spokes.
by Pete Crowther
Beneath the clouds the rocky cliff