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Poetry on the Picketline The Crossing by Matthew Caley

          Louis Zukofsky
lean-shanked, slow, flips a fag butt
into the Hudson
one more river-sparkle
to douse as a drowned mayfly
amongst the many
catch on an oil slick or
join this torch procession
sinuous from source to mouth
that, sluggish, heads on

           via chaos theory
to where our patient huddle
expects it any minute through a sluice pipe by

           this dank culvert in Lambeth –
stoic red microdot still
issuing smoke to the sky

This poem plays with ideas of minute political and poetic trans-Atlantic influence — and patience.  US late-modernist poet Louis Zukofsky (1904-1978) was associated with the Communist Party early on and wrote some great political poems, among them sections of his epic “A”. Brilliant but obscure, and barely known in the US during his life, he had a tiny but appreciative audience in Britain.

Matthew Caley's sixth collection Trawlerman’s Turquoise is published by Bloodaxe in September. Poetry on the Picket Line is a squad of like-minded poets putting themselves about to read their work on picket lines, in the spirit of solidarity. Invitations to rallies etc welcome, contact The new Poetry on the Picket Line anthology is available at



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