Ciaran Carson: Campaign

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They had questioned him for hours. Who exactly was he? And when

He told them, they questioned him again. When they accepted who he was, as

Someone not involved, they pulled out his fingernails. Then

They took him to a waste-ground somewhere near the Horseshoe Bend, and told him

What he was. They shot him nine times. 


A dark umbilicus of smoke was rising from a heap of burning tyres.

The bad smell he smelt was the smell of himself. Broken glass and knotted Durex.

The knuckles of a face in a nylon stocking. I used to see him in the Gladstone Bar,

Drawing pints for strangers, his almost perfect fingers flecked with scum.


Ciaran Carson, “Campaign” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 2001 by Ciaran Carson.