is what his mates call him. He can wreck
a road in seconds and shake the stunned slums
of the suburbs with blows like an iron woodpecker,
steel beak chipping the concrete to crumbs.
All through his nine-to-five machine-gun racket
he sports his regulation ear protection
safe as a torpedo in a life-jacket
deaf to any public disaffection.
He flexes the blood-toothed tattoos of his hackles
as if the needle still jiggers him. Steel-eyed
and wired at his lunchtime break he agitates
those near him with a nerve attack of knuckle-
drumming while he’s waiting for his pie
and pint. Above his knees, the world vibrates.

(from Construction Site)

Graham High