The Last Man in Europe

Tappety-tap, tappety-tap, ting

He sits with narrowed-elbows
under fag smoke and cough,
typing, close to mechanical,
making English a simple press:
That haircut, number two up to
the darkness, and I confuse him,
Mr. Orwell, with Mervyn Peake.
Behind him, a rat-run trench:
Fascist bullets sing out for him,
like they do now, for equal people
in other wars of shot hopes.

Tappety-tap, tappety-tap, ting

Imperial confusions,
then he went to the heart of it.
This man could pull a gun
as much as a metaphor,
although the former killed.
I saw him, in my head,
back to the fighting, not scared,
but engaged in his war
with words, once done with blood.
The last man in Europe
would spit blood near to it,
that remote island of death,
spin in a dinghy on currents,
and tell me, dead, to edit.

Tappety-tap, tappety-tap, ting


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