Owen and Brooke and Sassoon, some white haired old duffer beating out the meter with a ruler on his desk.
Rudely young, arrogantly immortal, we scoffed at dusty old fuckers, safe in their pens.
Decimated laddies just marks in an essay.
Your ID is a badge of honour at clubs and bars, “Grown up” betrayed by your phone.
Tonight the adult world caught you, twisted you up in itself, mixing you in forever.
The cops seem scared to touch you, like bashful new uncles. Happier to fetch and carry, running errands and messages through the dark.
One crouches by, soft stubble, his larynx and voice wobbling as he speaks softly to you, awkward hands safe between his knees.
They leave you foetal on the stones.
Maimed and defiled in the black and the rubble I fear death might be a blessing; its heavy flannel stilling your thrashing limbs and my burling brain.
Death holds secure and stable, wipes dirt and blood from faces, dresses us sharply and heralds men as faultless, loved sons and brothers.
Dulce et decorum est, I’d quote you Hardy’s Hodge.
We bag up little pieces, misplacing more than we find. Now less than the sum of your parts, some corner of this city is forever you.
I have you in my mind’s quiet moments, butchered boy, bright and beautiful.