The Line (in response to UK elections 2010)

political urban poetry

You see them stand in line.
By the thousand they do their time.
They wave their ballott papers and their index fingers,
dyed in the bloody inkwells left by those who died,
who for a thousand years refused to stand aside
and let the tyranny of the few dictate their hereditary lines.

And now you see them stand in line,
and by the hundred they risk their lives,
and by the hundred you see them wave and die
as our TV screens explode with lies,
as our leaders feed them lies and tell their wives
that it’s all worthwhile,
as they make them take their democratic vows!

Well look at you now.
You’re fiddling with your red button.
Slouching on your couch.
Eating fat out of your pouch.
Exonerating your existence because you have been shown
some poor backward souls
eating freedom from your poisonous bowl!
Look to your own. Look closer to home.
You’ve inhaled so much freedom,
the whole country is stoned
on its own intonements of its own superior worth,
yet you can only just make your own system work!
You sit and groan and pick at bones,
you moderate your political tone,
you scratch your cross along the same old middle road,
then you go home and wonder why the fuck it all went wrong!
Too scared to stake your claim, too scared to make a break,
you just nod and you shake as they keep stuffing your face
with that two-layer cake!

There was a time, you wanted your revolution.
Now you’re a chattering gastronome.
Like a Castro clone gone all wrong,
all twisted and wrinkled like some caustic gnome.
Does Castro even know?!
You’re a third way drone! You’ve got gastric stones
from your unhealthy dialectics and your positivist tomes!

Yet even in your lifetime – they broke the lines,
they surged again, again and rushed on blind,
they toppled walls and defined the times,
defied tyrants –
without being primed by your glossy flyers,
without your gentlemanly bribes or your shiny dimes
or hanging orange laundry out on CIA lines!
And by the thousand they still do time,
to keep the right to form that line.
Yet you come to ply them with your promises,
those promises that are empty premises
based on premises that have no relevance,
your own fallacies your only reference!
Well, if that’s your preference
You can gorge on your own principles
But don’t go pontificating from your pinnacle
Don’t go round knocking with your knock-off miracle!

– o –

I started writing this in response to the election results, before the “liberal conservative” coalition was formed. It’s still relevant. This piece owes much to Mayakovsky and hip-hop. If you don’t know about Mayakovsky, YOU MUST read up about him – any self-respecting Russophile should know:

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