Knee Jerk

My name is Jerk.
Knee Jerk. I bend my leg
and scuttle your nuts
with one hand tied
behind your back. I flex

my flank. I nip your pips until
they’re squeaky clean,
until you read
your face in my boots.

Left, right, left, right.
I kneed you
to understand me: you have
your order papers. Wave them, snarling.
Do not desert me, oh my darling.


[June 2000]

From the book Make Mine a Double

Austin Mitchell described the Blair administration as “government by knee jerk”. The number of army deserters has risen sharply, because of bullying.