Anthropologist has a
theory ritual sacrifice
never want away even if
now not chucking into
smoking calderas or drugged
up jungle-encircled pyramids
maybe it
's those blokes you see
paraded for groping some
'70s carpet
not Savile though really the sideburns
make it seem ridiculous on court-steps their
protestations are a hoot seriously in a clearing
I was stricken by humidity and hypnotic alkaloids
downriver in a tree-trunk canoe then over the falls
straight to the Pitt Rivers
' with the shrunken heads
some of them aren
't bad company though limited in
conversation they bear few grudges except that ritual return
to the south Pacific as a sacred artefact makes progress
up the council-house waiting list next to impossible.


Death in itself is often regretted.
's the Head who trigged a
suicide, snivelling with an onion
at the staff-room announcement.

Homo homini lupus est. 
Gang bangs of righteousness;
tribunals made to dismember,
pallid victims dragged
wanking from wardrobes.

A fetish worship:
patients; children; end-users.

Some child is taken forever.
Paperwork completed
and agencies congratulated: 

A harrowing case in which 
their interests came first.'

A wildlife documentary, six hyenas
dangling from a wilderbeast.

Evidence-based practitioner speaks

Fucking hell;
is that metaphorical?

No apologies from us,
're ruthless -
'd prefer nods and winks;
the reflective practitioner saves lives:
knowledge doesn
't exist.

And if I insist on
a diverse monolith -
oxymoron -
to crush dissent,
's first in myself.

Doubts liberate.
Anxiety, distress,    
the currency of progress.

Utopia is monitors
in every shade of colour.
Evenings staring at pixels,
child-toy beauty, those greens
from 1970s garden furniture -
steady feet on gravel, then
a gentle but authoritative knock. 

My own children were removed.

I bled myself of prejudice,
agony the
cupping -
see Orwell
's account in
How the Poor Die

But such joy in paperwork,
writing the epigraph - 
a quote from R.D. Laing.

's the thing,
we work from love;
a song I sing:

'There's a deal of money
to be made from the poor.

They fill every hour.
If I despair, 
driving through estates
I count smiling faces.
Comparing with my annuals -
1890s Hoxton match girls,
paupers in tattered hats -
's changed! 

I come from a line of reformers. 
Alive to cruelty, inequality,
its gestating forms.
Watching by the gallows
' steps,
decrying the crowds
(and always attending).

But I worry about food -
will it bring happiness?

The supermarket lights
in the meat section
are so harsh.

A need for narrative

've all had that dream,
your child newborn,
waking to their face
and fearing nothing. 

Broadsheet advice, how to immerse life
in boxsets. Any order is pleasure - either
imperative or arrangement. Joy in story, 
oblivion from control by mudanity, liberals
lacking imagination - preaching goodness is
precluding the need.

Boasting obvious preferences
for lollypop ladies
over drunk drivers.

For me to speak clearly
is a clear sky joy.

As Tennyson
's Ulysses:

The only way to escape

Where is the brooding end of all this talk?
By a flickering, long dead monitor,
crammed with insane systems, to plan and splurge
tainted glories onto a savage class,
which grasps and sleeps and stuffs and is not me.

People become targets, assigned at night,
when the emails arrive unasked, between
two waves, flint water hard as failure.

Always he is punctual. The sound
of his shoes, his showergel aroma.
All the world to his child. Held,
towel-warm and safe, under his chin.

At work, one man crying to another -
shameful such decline. Blame is important,
I spent a year in Moscow, the basements
of pain, ledgers with targets for slave camps.

Alice Threadlee-Brown, wrapped in her deadsheets,
can garner evidence for damnation -
she tiptoes into rooms as the air leaves,
her accurate judgements based on nonsense.

When I questioned her socialist zeal for
measurement, I was canned with corn beef,
reminded of centuries of turnips,
matchgirls leaving their jaws at the altar.

Often when I drive through these endless towns
I hear a lonely family pray and sing,
bird voices raised above the roar.

Just half understood, tears at dawn;
as I slept I cried about something
and forgot it all when I awoke.

Though much is stolen, bits of it are left.
But the place is unrecognizable -
still and whatever, it is what it is:
wrecked by targets and sadistic systems,
pure intellect surviving in its cave;
to see to think to know and hope to write.

    Paul Sutton, 2014