Comrade Osborne and the Little Red Book
The chancellor’s autumn statement
and McDonnell’s quoting Mao!
It’s a joke. A jest. A jolly jape
to illustrate just how
George is selling off our assets
to global profiteers
and the Chinese state is buying up
the things which we hold dear
while the media says... nothing
a conspiracy of silence
on illiterate economics
and structural state violence
against the vulnerable and needy
the sick, the weak, the poor
while under Georgie-boy’s agenda
those who have will get still more.
So, a quote from Mao. It’s theatre.
Or is it thoughtcrime? Watch the spin
from a free press owned by powerful men
who say the sky is falling in
and the world is surely ending
and the only thing it took
was to point at a pantomime villain
and quote from Chairman Mao’s little red book.
Because the Mail has wet its knickers
The Sun’s gone apoplectic
they see the thin end of a fat red wedge
of Marxist dialectic.
There’s communists in Westminster!
The left are going loony!
Corbyn causes cancer!
He’s a Trotskyist! A Moonie!
He hates you and your children!
He’s dangerous, and weird!
If Labour get their hands on power
they’ll make you all grow beards
and call your children Karl and Castro,
Leon, Che, and Vladimir,
while your hope dies in collectives
and your lives are lived in fear!
Hysteria and hyperbole
employed with one sole aim
to solidify the status quo
fix the rules, and rig the game
while the ground is sold beneath our feet
our future swept away
and airstrip one is put in hock
while capital makes hay.
And when your children ask who did this?
and when, and why, and how
remember the chancellor’s autumn statement
and McDonnell, quoting Mao.
How to Get Everything You Ever Wanted
Invent a war.
Something bloody and fratricidal.
Lose an uncle to barrel bombs
a brother to secret police.
Three years in, flee.
Pack only what you can carry:
clothes, smartphone, children, cash.
Slip away at night, in silence.
Take your leave of the flat, bakery, office,
rubble-filled streets where the kids once ran
shell of the cafe where old men
drank qahwa, played sheesh beesh.
Cross a border to camps, to life on hold.
Everyone knows someone who’s gone
before them, dreaming of better.
Here there is only the absence of war.
It’s not enough.
Moving is what you do.
Railway tracks, verges, fields.
Rest in olive groves, wake in orchards.
One foot in front of the other
over and over and over.
The world is cold-eyed border guards
sandwiches and blankets.
You never know what is coming.
One day, open hand. Another, fist.
You learn the words you need
in a new language.
Arbeit. Ja. Nein. Thank you. Please.
The smile that shows you know to be grateful.
Evenings you sit at the kitchen table
talk to friends in cities far away
about places that have gone
about old men who drank qahwa
played sheesh beesh.
At night you dream of rubble, and of home.
Let Us Pretend
Let us pretend
that we haven’t been this way before
too recently and too often
that this is the way forward
that it is the road to the peace
which eluded you when you sent
planes and tanks and men
into Lebanon, Ramallah, Jenin,
Gaza, Gaza, Gaza.
Let us pretend
that this time will be different
that this time will be worth it
that you can tot up the lives
of dead children and collateral families
and declare victory
that security can be measured
in flattened houses
burials and tears.
And let us pretend
that when you build settlements and walls
and criss-cross the country with roads
and stitch it with checkpoints
and cut down olive groves
and throw people from their homes
let us pretend then
that the only terrorism in town
is the anger of young men
who build rockets they can barely aim
who have no hope,
who see their homeland dismembered before them.
Let us pretend
that this tit for tat
this tit for bloody tat
is the only way
is the legacy you will leave
your children and your children’s children
their children and their children’s children
Let us pretend there can be no hope
that milk and honey cannot be shared
that Israeli and Palestinian can never
live together, laugh together, love together
two flags flutter together
let us press our face to the cross-hairs
and close our eyes
and stop up our ears
and still our beating hearts
and let us pretend, Bibi,
let us pretend.
(For more from this poet please visit-stevepottinger.co.uk/news/)