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21ST-CENTURY POETRY Virulence by Paul Laughlin

Plausible perhaps at the podium
If shielded from scrutiny
A monied mediocrity
Frames fictions as reality
Spins success from each mistake
And seeing the death toll mount
Intervenes only to regulate
Which corpses we may count
Masked and gowned in privilege
Through unchecked virulence
When most are left exposed
He wants the streets reopened
And the deals he favours closed
Attuned to market opportunity
He weighs each benefit and cost
Of rebuilding a community
Replacing some of those lives lost
While cocooned in his immunity
He distracts deflects denies
And goes on lying with impunity

Paul Laughlin is a former secretary of Derry Trades Union Council. His most recent collection of poetry is Conflict Studies (Lapwing Press). 21st-century Poetry is edited by Andy Croft, email


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