Skip to main content

21ST-CENTURY POETRY Austerity by Kittie Belltree

Dirty rat. You’re a fat duck
in the House of Lords, fiddling expenses
pinching, farting. You insinuate intemperance

an excess of back-bedrooms, a debauched
dissipation in disability benefits, washed down
by a superfluity of free school dinners and social care.

You point parsimonious fingers into porky pies.
You lie with the fishes, the figures.
You’re a tight-fisted wrecking ball, punch

drunk on stuffing filthy wads into greasy palms
and offshore pension pots. You’re out to lunch
insatiable, voraciously force-feeding families

into food banks, mince-meat, rent arrears, debt.
You’re a champagne Charlie chancellor
of the exchequer who neglects to check. You’re specks

of white powder smirching naughty nostrils.
You’re a glut of gluttony gutting kitchen cupboards.
a rip-roaring rusty tin opener doing dentistry

on the NHS; an overweight authority
on obsessive abscission-making, on cutting
things cuttingly; thinking yeah, what the fuck.

Kittie Belltree is a specialist tutor for neuro-diverse students at Aberystwyth University. Her debut poetry collection, Sliced Tongue and Pearl Cufflinks (2019) is published by Parthian. 21st-Century Poetry is edited by Andy Croft, email


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 20,377
We need:£ 0
4 Days remaining
Donate today