Elliot C. Mason



be careful papa, pretty mama, step down

from the garden path where you plant

dead mint stalks and hide the cracks

in prayers for rain – your children are

not coming back. your teenage daughter

is using your favourite summer flip-flops

to spank a homeless junkie, and her

waxy ass is tattooed with the face

of your ginger cat, Pimples. your son

is storing heroin and wraps of foil

in his blue lapel, hiding needles

in his earrings and little gay lovers

in that rusty Ginsberg slate

he promises to read as soon

as the smack wears off. does your

teenage daughter smile at her grandmother?

she’s using her for drugs

money, convincing senile elders

it’s her birthday seven times

a year. does your son have friends?

he’s sucking them off, munching

cum, he’s thinking about switching

from law to cultural studies, injecting glue

and listening to The Doors. Mama, dear

dear papa, your children have changed.

choo a-choo

            clap your hands

            call in your saviour

            the local Tory councillor

he was a BUSINESSMAN before this

            and only took cocaine if it was

            strictly necessary for bonus profits

            he will fix it

choo a-chooo

            like he fixed tax loopholes by

            stuffing them with money he

            stole from ducking tax laws

papa, mama, wipe your hands of that

cupcake dough, put down the remote,

it’s all on repeat anyway. come out

to the world, it’s wonderful. your party

is in power, all your children have died

overdosing on bumsex and sad slow rock.


                                                                                                            look at them enjoying it, emptying

                                                                                                            the pension pot, merrily painting austerity

                                                                                                            onto open futures, shaking their shiny heads.

                                                                                                            i wish i was old like you, i wish i was

                                                                                                            terrified and bald and in the constant

                                                                                                            comfort of fear and hatred, then i’d love

                                                                                                            this century. i’d be so content, so furious

Elliot C. Mason is a PhD candidate at Queen Mary, University of London, researching whiteness and race theory in contemporary British poetry. His poems have been published in various media, including Exclamat!on, Undercurrent Philosophy, De Sur a Sur, [smiths] and the We Will Be Free anthology, as well as displayed at the Migration Museum. He is the winner of both the University of Bolton Poetry Competition and the Bart Moore-Gilbert Essay Prize 2018. He is also a playwright, and his political comedies have been on at many London theatres, the latest of which – ‘Everything Today is the Same’ – will reopen at the Camden Fringe Festival in August 2019. He has translated the poetry of A. K. Blakemore, Rachael Allen and Sara Torres between English/Spanish. @PennyDropsCollective