A Tale of One Cities

One woman: striped top, grey jeans

One man: striped top, grey jeans

One in an uber as the winter rain falls

One….not

One with a sign: How great to be in the big city

One thinking the same

They look at each other

They do not meet

They push out and pull in the lives,

They only part create

They are the cause and the symptom

They are the fear and the frightened

Sickness onto Death

Alone in my room,
This is the closest to death I have ever been
Catatonic
I am trapped in my cage, the virus whipping me into frenzy.
But the lashings in my lungs I barely feel
Because I am close to dead.
More than dead, I am faceless,
Heartless, Soulless
A statistic. One in Forty Thousand.
~
The shadow is long and I don’t see the end
The umbra is deep and I don’t feel it’s lightening
I want to be cast out like a criminal
And held like a lover
~
I hope I am not the only one who feels this way,
And I hope that when it comes, I can find meaning as doves,
At a wedding day.
~
Freud said liebe und arbeit
Fred said its fighting Fascists
Francis said finding Jesus could save em
Farrakan say its Muhammad
Fidel says it’s in fundacion
~
It turns and turns,
round like a stone on a stick
And the people on it
Try to get by.
Each comes out with a cry.
Some give
And some take
And each goes back into the ground.
~
I’m struggling with myself now.
Or my Angel
Wrestling
With the crushing hand not on the hips
But on the lungs
Filling with fluid
And clogging up the air
That rushed out
As the dark unknowing life locks in.

The Mountain

O ye gods,

Carving figures into stone

Painted faces and sky burials

Picked clean to the bone

 

The mountain chain meets

At the end of the world and climbs

The top of heaven’s seat

A sky and earth do rhyme

 

Alone upon the peak

The snows melt to the rivers

The solitude one seeks

Found here in shards and slivers

 

The spectacle below

Is distant, you’re aloof

The gaze with which you sow

Seeds wide atop this roof

 

From base to epic pinnacle

Stark beauty hard as bone

Still questing though not cynical

The mountain is your home.

A Brief History of Homeland pt. I

Owned by wild kings,
Bound dragons at the Welsh border
Pict at by the Scots.
~
Bled by the French and in turn
Taking posts at Agincourt
And peeling the incredible way across the world.
Crushing the heavy people.
Crushing the heavy people.
~
Killing off ancient tribes
Across the Mediterranean,
On the Great and First continent of Man
Of all Man.
~
To suck up peppers and cocoa and palm oil.
Then bodies;
Deep as the Mother.
Deep always as earth.
And reaping then and dropping them across
~
The other side of the deep dark ocean
Dips a blade into the fertile earth
And flicks a bayonet hard left
And right.
Left.
Right.
~
Flings it into the Caribbean
And the North
Gushing cane from the wound
And cools the smoke from a rusty
End
~
And walks back into the east
Into Hanuman and Wukong
And cuts into the Ganges and the Yangtze,
And into the jungles in the Deccan
And over the lush valleys of the Himalayas
Pulling itself.
Back into an ‘at ease’ stance.
~
Heaving bodies from one,
And gold from the other
On the way.
It is drained.
Across the continent
Spilling riches
Across its hard dead earth
Bringing it to life.
~
Spilling them into the A
A generation hauled over
Another saved in Mountains
Swamps
And Jungles
Another stifled into silence by the ocean
~
It judges all leads all and charges all on ships.
That dominated and Navigated the routes.
Wrested by pirates from the Spanish and the French
It courses through the waves in the Philippines
On runs against the Dutch
~
It spread its net across the sea
And casts its trident across the land
It gorges on the goods
Sweeping up the gold and the bodies and the ivory 
Cutting its teeth in the dope and the tea
In the coffers and counting rooms.
Pouring cane into cubes
leaves into strainers
Tusks into trinkets and brushes and brooches
And bright ore into bullion.

The Jordan Valley? Settler Colonialism in Action

“Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to an essence of being. But, one day, nostalgia takes up arms and assumes responsibility of total guilt.” ~ Albert Camus
The State of Israel, is a homeland that prospered for centuries, had its series of tumults, then in the 20th century began its next era of prosperity. This is because since the 1940s, it has been in the possession of Jewish nation that have welcomed their people from around the world. It is interesting to consider two different reasons for it, before and after the tumult.
Israel was a land gained by conquest and divine providence if we are to believe the Hebrew Bible and the sayings in the Talmud. Once slaves, they banded together, fought for their freedom and gained nationhood on its own. Ruled by Kings, then judges, cursed out by prophets, it has been a place that resembled several fertile crescent Kingdoms. The Israel after the years of Babylonian annexation and Roman and Ottoman rule, is a land gained by international agreement, once a potential dumping ground for the cast off Jewish people before the horrors of the Holocaust and then agreed upon by the United States and Great Britain in a raft of treaties. This is interesting because the latter seems preferable to the former; agreed upon norms, and the spirit in every heart for justice in the form of International norms. The idea of Israel as a homeland of the Jews is built on both the Hebrew Bible and Official records. All over the world we agree with this idea, from Ambassadors and Presidents to the guy down the pub who asks your opinion on the latest matter on the Palestinian Plight, ready to fire their opinions at you. It is an idea so well founded, it has no contest in public discourse. And you won’t find one from me.
The situation in the Jordan Valley, however, is one that I will touch upon. Amid the COVID-19 epidemic, the Netanyahu Government, and the controlling party in the Knesset have declared under the cosh of the deadly virus that the world has brought the world to its knees, that it is making plans to expand the settlements in the Jordan Valley, turning it into as Netanyahu says “an enclave”. This is terrifying. It is built using the same ideas that legitimise Israel as a homeland where the Jewish people may live in peace and prosperity. It is important to discuss these issues in a time where the Jordan Valley could be swallowed up by the Israeli state, even if we are to believe the idea that the Palestinians will remain in “semi-independence”.
We can consider the state of Israel, in some sense, a Revolutionary State, in the manner of the Glorious Revolution of 1688. It replaced the old ruling system, and restructured its laws and (in the case of the state of Israel, not Great Britain) restructured its government. It is also a Settler Colonialist State. We have seen the fight back against this domination all over the world, but never has it been more poignant, and subject to more worldwide attention, than that of the Palestinians. The pushback has been brutal. Restriction from independent access to external goods, after the bombing of ports, control of the flow of water and electricity by the Israeli state. The dispensation of the world’s most brutal intelligence apparatus and the use of the Army and the Police force on the native population of the land. The Gaza Strip has become a symbol of everything wrong with Settler Colonialism, a prison without a roof, where people are checked entering and leaving, subject to curfew and black outs and raids under the pretense of fighting ‘terrorism’, along with regular shortages of food and sanitation. Basic services run with only the support of people living and working in the ghetto, holding their own against the onslaught of the state apparatus of Israel.
Like Israel, settler colonialists base their claim on two premises. Old ideas and modern justification. That people from Europe could leave their countries and conquer the earth is an idea that formed out of political expediency, born from the legitimacy given by Elizabeth to Francis Drake that the land he was going to ‘discover’ in her name was ‘Terra Nullis” or Empty Land. The idea came from the Roman Legal system, which became eulogised and entrenched in European society, as the basis of Common Law since Justinian. It is this old idea that allowed the rights of original people around the world to be choked out by those who went to spread their colonies. They ratified the ideas in treaties like the Congress of Vienna in 1888 that carved the second largest continent on earth up in the matter of a few hours. These twin justifications then stayed as legal entities right the way through to the end of the Second World War, imposing dominant power structures and land borders used today.
With that in mind, it is easy to see why the major Settler Colonialist project in the world, namely the United States, has lent its support to the Annexation of the Jordan Valley. Israel is, in part, kept in place by US support. It’s funds to the defence force have been astronomical, culminating in creating Iron Dome, a piece of technology grossly over prepared for Rocket attacks. It also receives support in areas of geopolitics. It’s greatest ally in the region is Saudi Arabia, which is also a large trader with the United States and a centre of military support. This year alone, over 3 billion dollars went to Israel since 2019, and almost all of it was spent on the military, with the rest spent on missile defence. It is also a trend that the countries who have supported Saudi Arabia, namely the United Kingdom, also have significant interest in Israel. The ties are long and knotted, so I’ll not get into it. Only it is important to note, that both the most wealthy Settler Colonialist country in the world and the Country that benefited most from Settler Colonialism, both have deep heavy ties to the State in its current form.
The story of Ellal al- Haddaq, is ironic in the most depressing sense. Almost gallows humour. The Great Settler Colonialist in the New World murder a victim of their brutal policies on the same day as the Great Settler Colonialist of the Old World murder their own. Both young men, both in the prime of their lives and both crushed under the wheels of the beast that knows no satiation. It is, as George Floyd was, a symbol of the injustice meted out by people who suffer at the hands of ‘Terra Nullis’ and an interpretation of The Hebrew Bible, treaties for carving out countries and the restructure of laws in the State of Israel. The Palestinians have in the past, tried to mete out a peaceful existence with the Israelis as they moved in. Palestine already had a decent population of Jews when the British gave its mandate after the War. The influx of Jewish people to their ancestral homeland caused tension, which resulted in attacks against them as their population grew. The state of Israel, bolstered by old ideas and current laws; a sense of ‘Jewishness’ tied to a place on earth, have since responded to every Palestinian effort of autonomy with violence. On both the state and the individual. We can see a similar story of the story of African Americans in America.
The reasons for the annexation of the Jordan Valley, and any attempts to silence discourse around it, base its premises in the old narrative that to question such a thing openly would be anti-Semitic. It is simple arithmetic to work out that a majority of the Jews in the World do not live in Israel and the percentage of non-Jews is just over a quarter. The Jordan Valley is situated in the West Bank and a majority of the people who live there are non-Jews. It takes quite a bold statement to say that even if you are not part of the Jewish state, we can control the land you have built your livelihoods on. This justification is false and bears itself out easily in the numbers and our current views of sovereignty. So we have to come to the genuine reasons that the Jordan Valley is being Annexed. The first, I believe, and probably the most obvious is land. The Jordan Valley is some of the most fertile agricultural land in what is recognised as Palestine and shares a border with a large trading partner with Israel. It is clear why the people who want to go and live there illegally do. Who would want to build a livelihood on land that it would be terrible to work on? The other reason is part of the systemic, pernicious effort to rid the State of Palestine of its land rights, delegitimising it in the eyes of the world. Like the Bantustans of Southern Africa, it is a known method of partitioning the colonised into smaller and smaller parcels of land, until it forces them to assimilate into the power structure that subjugates them, or cease to exist as a polity altogether.
As I said in my last essay, I am often one to spout off at the mouth about the problems and their causes, but what do we do as people who live in the West? There are methods that have worked before, and in the current socioeconomic climate, these are methods I feel may have some chance of peeling back the wave of colonialist violence against the Palestinian people and their rights. What are they? Well, reader, I believe it is Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. A Palestinian led movement, it is built on principles that worked to end the injustices built by colonialists on the continent carved up in 1888. Mandela himself said “We know too well, that our Freedom is incomplete, without the freedom of Palestine.” It is a testament that the BDS movement in Palestine has its Father in the tactics used to overthrow Settler Colonialism in one country and as its Mother, the resistors repurposing the technique and using it to rid themselves of Settler Colonialism in another. Boycotting refers to a ban on the use of products and services made by Israelis, a choice made by individuals. Divestment is the call to remove or halt funding in Israeli companies, a decision taken by companies. Sanctions are the halting of economic incentives, such as loans and trading in the global marketplace. This is a choice made by states and international bodies. Played out on all three strata, this represents the trident that forces the Settler Colonialist state to recognise the demands of the Palestinian people. This technique plays on the one thing that the Settler Colonialist fears and is more ashamed of than its egregious use of death and destruction. It’s love of material possessions. This, in a combination with other techniques will go a long way in bringing down the colonialist mentality that continues to keep the Palestinians oppressed.

R.I.P George Floyd: An Indictment of Police

The horrific story of the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota has caught worldwide attention and has sparked protests of Black people and their allies from here in the UK all the way to Australia. It has shown once again, in all its technicolor, smartphone horror, that Black Lives seem to mean less in the so-called developed world than the lives of others. But why does this story resonate so much? The COVID-19 crisis that has gripped the world has been disproportionately deadly to Black people in the developed world, and this has not, and could not, draw protests from all 50  states in the United States and countries all over the world. The issues of injustice and quality of life amongst Black people in the developed world is so obvious as to warrant an eye-roll when it comes up on the news. But the stories that stick in our minds: Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Philando Castille, Mark Duggan, all have one common denominator: The police force.

Maybe they stick in our minds because, for Black people who have grown up in the west, smartphones has displayed a truth that traditional media channels obfuscate and for non-black people, the idea that the police are here to ‘Protect and Serve’ you falls flat in the face of footage of a man being choked to death for 8 minutes under the knee of an officer. It appears the world is waking up to the idea (thanks to the courageous undertakings by organisations such as Black Lives Matter) that the police have been abusing their power and the price paid for such abuse has come at the cost of Black bodies.

I would initially go on social media and type up a blistering tirade at how racist the world is, or post something in solidarity for brothers and sisters slain at the hands of police, but this to me felt like a hollow, participatory caveat. Everyone, who knows me, knows I blabber on about racism all the time, and I’m sure they’d be tired of me howling to the moon on a topic that has come up repeatedly since the slaying of Michael Brown. I will not be writing about institutional racism, a topic that has and probably will circulate the internet ad infinitum over the next few days and weeks. I am writing about the other common denominator, in this and many other abhorrent killings, the police. I’m doing this to work through my thoughts on the legitimacy of the police force and what other options there are in finding a balance between looking after our communities and an end to the slaying of Black men, women and children.

I’d like to start by saying the police force is a modern phenomenon. It is not as old as some other things we take for granted in society, like the tacit approval of ‘Law and Order’. No one wants to live in a place where you can get robbed, raped, murdered at the drop of a hat. In the United Kingdom, where I am writing from and where Mark Duggan was murdered, the germ that became modern policing started toward the end of the 18th Century with the Thames Police Force. That means London, for the first 1790 years of its existence, survived without a police officer in the modern sense. A national, centrally managed police force already existed in France under Louis XIV (more on him later.) The idea was initially unpopular with the powers that be in England, partly because of our famed xenophobia against the French, and partly because that kind of power in the hands of a few people was not in keeping with English values. The man that formed the idea, Patrick Colquhoun based it on economic values instead of political, or ethical ones: Cargo was being stolen from the docks of the Thames and in a country about to explode into the industrial revolution, finance comes first. They branded the idea a success, in a manner we view ‘successes’ by police departments all over the world in the modern day, the amount of money (see: goods, drugs, guns) seized from criminals. Thirty years later, the state formed the Metropolitan Police Force (known by the term ‘bobbies’ because of the Home Office Minister that founded them, Robert Peel) and implemented the ‘French-style’ of policing across London. As we did with our system of Government, we exported the system of policing to the rest of the world.

The police force, as this immutable institution, is a fiction. It’s not even as old as the United States Constitution. It’s barely older than the modern game of football. It’s not even as old as some pubs in the city, yet protecting one’s property, livelihood and life is as old as human civilisation itself. We have been looking after ourselves for a long time and will continue to look after ourselves and each other long into the future. Human beings as social animals have an innate desire to conform, and this desire has helped to enforce social mores. The Golden Rule has a whole 2000 years on the Thames Police Force.

So, we have done without police for millennia. So what? We’ve done without the internet for millennia. Am I saying that I’d like to go back to a time where we had no internet? Of course not. But the Internet is doing the job most people would assume it was there for, democratising the flow of information. It is fairly obvious that the modern police force is not doing the job most people assume it is here for, (notice I say assume, we’ll return to this later.) The job that Colquhoun had created it for, the prevention of crime and the institution of order. Let’s take as an example, the United States. It has the largest police Force by numbers in the Western World. If the police force was effective in doing the job that people assumed it was there for, we would see that it has the lowest crime rate of any country in the Western World. But a cursory glance at American media would inform even the most ardent Americophile that there is a serious problem with crime and the semblance of Law and Order is illusory. From the high crimes of the holders of office, like Michael Flynn, to the rampant financial crimes that preceded the 2008 global economic collapse, all the way to the school shootings that have scarred the public consciousness since the Columbine massacre. The next largest police force in the West is the Russian police force, which even the ardent Slavophile would agree is not a place well-known for preventing crime. The largest police forces in the world, the Chinese and the Indian, respectively, have done little to diminish crime in these countries, with Xi Jinping ascending to his ‘Premiership for life’ on a campaign of tackling corruption, something that you would have thought would be non-existent with over 1.6 million men and women working on it, and Narendra Modi presides over a country where minority and women’s rights and bodies are being trampled upon, despite over 1.2 million police officers. 

The next six countries in the list of those with the largest police forces by person are not countries well known for their emphasis on crime prevention or on law and order. Funnily enough apart from Japan, the exception that proves the rule, none of the countries with the largest police force are in the top 20 countries with the lowest crime rate according to the World Population Review. It is clear that there is no correlation between the size and the organisation of the police force and the prevention of Crime, with both China and the United States having both very large and very organised police forces.

While it is fairly obvious that the size and organisation of a centrally managed police force has no bearing on the level of crime, it is for me, just as pertinent to discuss the police in the abstract. It is the monopoly of force in the hands of a limited few, controlled by an even smaller number. No one in the United Kingdom may own weapons without a license, (and we limit even those) except the police. No one in any country I know of in the Western World, can restrict your movements, search your property without your consent, or even take your life without fear of serious reprisal, except the police. The last power is especially blatant and egregious in the United States. From 2005 to 2011, there were only 30 arrests made with the charge of murder or manslaughter. They convicted less than half and most of the officers left early on time served according to Phillip Stinson, a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. This, despite the fact that, according to the FBI, there were more murders per year in that same time period than there were days in the year. Even when smartphones catch them using disproportionate force, the numbers look no better. 

The monopoly of force is not the only alarming power that the police have. The power of their prestige, that they are here to ‘Protect and Serve’ is rarely one that gets called into question, that is until recently by some sections of society. Shows on television, often appendaged by some police ‘advisor’ fuels this perception as does newspaper articles and the general idea that the ‘other’ is a boogeyman and the only thing keeping us from diving into the jaws of unbridled violent anarchy is someone with a badge. This image leaks into us as unconscious biases against those who die. Have you ever heard someone say, ‘well they must be up to no good, why else would there be police involved?’ or even more sickening, the apologists that crop up on social media the moment any murder of a Black person is in the public consciousness, ‘they shouldn’t have run’, ‘they should have run’. ‘They shouldn’t have reached for their wallet so fast’, ‘they didn’t reach for their ID fast enough’, ‘they shouldn’t have been disrespectful’, etc, etc. We even teach this to our children, that groveling to police officers is in our own best interest. Can you imagine that kind of servitude in the presence of another ‘public servant’?

The monopoly of force and the power of their prestige are twin weapons available to the police to dispense with as they see fit. Society teaches that we live in liberal states. I use the term ‘liberal’ in its classic sense, in which the mistrust of concentration of powers is a central feature. It is the reason there is a separate Judiciary, Legislative and Executive branch in most Western Democracies. No one in the modern day trusts that kind of power to just one group of people. Why then do we give the power over seizure of property, detainment, the ability to dole out life and death and the image that they can do no wrong to one group? I’ll come back to Louis XIV, the progenitor of the modern police force. It makes perfect sense to see why he would have instituted such a force during his reign. He was (and remains) the model of an autocrat, obsessed with wrenching power from the aristocracy and leaving it only for himself. It’s obvious why an absolute despot would have created the model for the police force today. It is, as I like to call it the “fist of the state” and as Louis XIV was the State, it was his personal fist, used to bludgeon any of the ‘disagreeables’ in Paris.

We have all heard the phrase ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’ and this is no different with the police force. We see how they wield their power on those who have little recourse and give leeway to those with more power than themselves.  There has been no established link between criminality and social or economic class, yet it is those at the bottom of the ladders that end up in police stations, jails and prisons disproportionately all over the world. That those more wealthy and those who were born into higher social standing than others are less likely to commit crime is ludicrous, but it is one that plays out in courtrooms all over the West. We know that immigrant communities, the homeless, the Roma and other disenfranchised people are often the target of police activities, while a bank like HSBC can handle money by cartel leaders and terrorists without a single board member going to jail. That the police arrest political dissidents in the rest of the world is so well known it is a stereotype and gives more impetus to the idea that the power they wield will not give any respite to those who would need it most, the disenfranchised in society. Do you remember where I wrote that most people assume that the role of the police is to prevent crime and uphold law and order? This is false. Its purpose, as I hope I have shown in the preceding paragraphs, is not to prevent crime. If it is, it’s doing an atrocious job. Its purpose is as a weapon, a fist against those who step out of bounds of vested interests at the top of society. If that is what they call upholding ‘order’ then I do not want it done in my name, especially if Black bodies are the collateral damage.

So what do we do? I am often the type to point out problems, but I also feel compelled to offer some solutions, paltry as they may be. The ideas are not original, neither are they remotely radical, but simple and effective methods that I feel would fit the mould better than the current systemic violence of the modern police force. The first idea? Autonomous policing. As I just mentioned, this idea is not at all original. The Black Panther Party had the idea as a cornerstone of their movement, along with the free breakfast program. 

It seems like the ideal solution for policing a community is to police it ourselves. No one on a full-time wage, with the power mentioned in the previous paragraphs, will spare the victim of the oppression they suffer at the hands of police. It just won’t happen. They will do it because they can. There are well-meaning police officers, people who put their all into doing jobs they see as morally upstanding, but it is impossible to fully understand a community (knowledge being an indispensable tool in looking out for a community) without being a part of it first. Not only that, it is difficult to feel any empathy for a person you use that power against if they are strangers to you. You know Albert is selling cigarettes on the corner to pay for his schooling, so even if it’s illegal you let it slide. You know that Brenda has a brother you went to school with, or a sister you used to date, so you’re less likely to murder her on a traffic stop in his car. I’m sure there are many police officers who start out with good intentions, but without the connection with the community, without knowledge of the neighbourhood, or borough or district you are policing, without a deep love of the people that live in it, not the abstract patriotic love for country that feeds jingoists everywhere. It is impossible for a police officer, even if he is a so-called ‘good’ one, to not eventually succumb to the brutality inherent in its makeup. De-centralise the organisational system, have its commissioners directly accountable to the people who live in those communities, not to shadowy heads of power structures or an even more shadowy ‘system’ and recruit officers strictly from a pool of local residents, people who have earned trust and respect in that community. The additional tragedy of the murder of George Floyd is that he would have made a perfect candidate in the model of policing I have outlined. He worked as a mentor to young people in his community and did fantastic work to stem the flow of violence that he saw plaguing his neighbourhood. And they murdered him. The people who claimed to protect his neighbourhood. 

The second idea? Build fairer societies. People succumb to crime for a myriad of reasons, but the most obvious, and the most pernicious, is the fact that they feel disenfranchised by their communities. If there is no recourse to living a fulfilling life where you can take care of yourself and your family, while society floods you with immaterial rubbish, what else will you resort to in times of duress? Denmark, Iceland and Finland are all in the bottom 20 of crime indexes. We know that these Nordic countries have less social stratification than the countries mentioned earlier, coupled with a social safety net that gives dignity to the least well-off members of society. There are also some laws that are patently unjust. This is fixable if we give people direct access to the levers of power in their communities. Not just a vote every several years, but a chance to see real actionable change where they live, a chance given only to those who currently use those levers. Switzerland, a country that has devolved power to individual cantons and provides referenda on most of the laws that affect daily life, has significantly lower numbers of crime in several metrics than both the United Kingdom and the United States. Gun control also works. It seems like, if there are no guns (or if we properly train everyone in their use), there are less violent crimes that result in gun deaths. Who knew?

The death of George Floyd was not a tragedy. A hurricane is a tragedy. A coronavirus death is a tragedy. The death of George Floyd was a homicide. An assassination. If we do not take a serious look at the way we police in modern societies, I fear he will not be the last. 

The Girl

She got the craziest smile you know?

Like forces roses to grow out of concrete

Like forces brown stormclouds to piss on us relentlessly

If only for the mercy of smiles like that every day

There would be no suicides

No depression

No anxiety

Or true love either

Because that’s the best of a selfie

The bit that exists between the smiles

Between the photographs;

But I’ve seen her beyond the frame

Her diffident attitude wrapped in that defiant strut

Her head cocked when I give her something bitter to swallow

Her lips as she sips

From the cup of her minor traumas

And swallows them raw

With nothing but a sigh

Just a sigh, can you imagine a woman like that?

And I’ve seen her in the flesh

Or in the soul, I’m still not sure

Big Yellow King

I have set foot on the shores of an endless sunrise,

Skies like peach skins fur-like and warm,

Across a sea of Egyptian gold and lapis lazuli,

Inviting a travelling king to cross the frontier into dawn,

The eager subjects ache for the break of the day,

To etch in stone the things they have done,

To bring to light the things they have not,

Like a travelling King his gifts are doled out to everyone;

The endless sunrise robs time of its steady march,

Before the King stands resplendent over daytime sky.

 

Waves

Lend me your ears so we can hear,

The crashing of the sea against the craggy rocks called the city.

The sound is as old to me as my mothers voice,

Calling me to sleep,

Pulling over a blanket named sky,

Whispering as she pulls back,

Retreating into herself,

Water thrusts forward,

A rapiers point again and again,

Against the faceless menace,

The cliffs undaunted,

Quiet in their assault,

Their silence unbroken as the sea rages,

Over many years the faceless changes,

What is a man’s life but a crest in the sea,

And the cliffs but the places he leaves when the waves pull away

Neoliberal Spoonfeeding

“Pull yourselves up by the bootstraps,” they would always say. “We, Thatcher’s sprites have done alright”

With the best of intentions we were meant to swallow that line,

A line they spat at you and me without a hint of irony.

“There is no magic money tree,” they would always say. “We Thatcher’s protege have done OK.”

From the cramped decrepitude of the rentier-classes homes for us we were meant to swallow that line,

One out of every three without a hint of irony.

“We can’t rehome you were your livelihoods were built,” they would always say. “We Thatchers benefactors have painted you as cheats and actors”

From the spectre of Grenfell on the hearts of those who will never forget and ‘Winter Crisis’ as an understated epithet we have to swallow these lines .

While Oligarchs use empty homes for laundry without a hint of irony.

“Because you are lukewarm, I shall spit you out of my mouth”