[Rough draft towards a polemical poem of sorts; circa 2000]




'The whole land is made desolate because no man layeth it to heart'
             - Jeremiah 12:11

'Anyone who does not feel this hatred of the present does not love the future'
             - Evariste Galois



'I am the King of all Hatred
I am the Rajah of Resentment
I hate this world and the world to come
I hate men living, dead, and yet unborn
My clothes are shabby and rank with doom
My very breath is instinct with failure
My every thought is freighted with defeat
My enemies are lifted up above me
I am outcast, despised, and blacklisted for credit
I cannot remember the last time I laughed
                      without malice
I am the lowest creature on the face of the earth
It will be your privilege to buy me a drink.

...You are most kind.
Or let us say, your fear is gratifying.
For you do fear me, don't you, son?
You are right to do so.
As you came in, between your youth and my rage
I almost mistook you for the enemy
Some modernizer, some corporate whore
Some cap-toothed pharisee of the future:
My nicotine-yellowed stumps, bared in a
                     broken snarl,
Could have been your last sight on this earth
Then I saw the marks of distinction on your brow
The same which in my own youth singled me out
                             for doom
A hesitancy, a doubt of your own worth
Twisted up with an arrogant sense of impending glory

And when you beheld the ministering trull
A holy fervour came upon you
A tubercular fever brightened your eye
As if you would fall at her feet and start
                babbling poetry

Ha! Are poets still to be found in bars?
Are poets still to be found dead in bars?
I doubt it.
I will be the last
Yes, I may lay claim to the title of poet
Though the verses I inscribed were few and paltry
The world-shaping epics I dreamed were vast
                         and glorious
And the mediocre lines I declined to write
                         were legion
Above all, I can say this:
I have lived my life according to poetic principles

...But here is your shop-soiled angel
Dimpling becomingly and bearing the evidence
             of her great love for mankind

I drink to your utter ruin:
May you die screaming in the gutter
That is a toast I offer to all my friends
A noble end, and one I have reserved for myself

Cigarette? I hasten to add
It is a command not an offer
That's my boy. I knew you were sympathetic
You have a sensitive face
You are destined to know great suffering

...Christ, your pardon!
Half a lung went then
Ha! The hectic beauty of the consumptive
I crave your gracious pardon, dear sir
Congratulate me: I will be gone soon
Yours is the world, and welcome to it
An old world dies with me, and glad it is to go

Truly, I would not be young in these times
For the gifts of Shakespeare.
The food is poisoned; the seas are poisoned
The polity is poisoned. Petty tyrannies
Seethe and multiply in the breasts of little men
And are birthed daily to plague the public
And a vast, mathematical sadism is our abiding god.

A serpent encircles the globe
Binding us together in slavery and destruction
Its venom fouling the mightiest rivers
And seeping into the details of our most private lives

Some hellborn offspring of freedom and order
Uniting the worst features of both
And none of their kindnesses
An unholy admixture of oligarchy and anarchy
Created by men, yet men do not control it
Even those who draw sustenance from its black teat
It as if the ever-revolving cycle of society
Some Greek proposed - chaos to theocracy to democracy -
Has become stuck between two phases:
We are ruled by a priesthood that worships chaos

Those esoteric economic forces
Which may not be resisted or questioned
Those capricious, protean deities
Against which the mind of rational man
Once erected a bulwark

And as in days of serfdom mad masters
Sought to shape their bondsmens' diet, habits, piety,
And then staked them drunkenly at dice
So our leaders would regulate the smallest aspect of our beings
Yet gamble recklessly with our lives and livelihoods

Right and Left grip each other by the throats,
Both snarling of betrayal and erosion of society
Each convinced the other rules the world:
Both are right
For we have the worst of both worlds:
Rightist indifference combined with Leftist intrusion

A right-wing lack of economic control, and
A left-wing overabundance of social control

We must seek some kinder synthesis.

True freedom must be structured
Chaos breeds bandits and tyrants
And true order gives men the right
To live as they choose

And this country, this bloody country
This bloody, blessed, bull-headed country
I never thought to see this country shackled
This country founded on dreams
Of limitless oceans and limited kings
This soil compounded of uncounted bones
Of poets, knights-errant, merchants and buffoons
Adventurers, innovators, farmers and wits
Scientists, shopkeepers and warriors
I never thought to see this country sold off,
Carved up, surrendered without a fight

Not a rock of this island but has been hymned
By some bloody poet or other
Glance round any corner and you will find
Some allusion to golden ancestry
The nation's treasurehouse of memories
Makes a constant commerce down the centuries:
The land gives to the people
The people give back to the land
The lowest person born here
The newest arrival to our shores
Inherits the wealth of countless generations:
Has as his right, if it be not kept from him
The cultural riches of millennia:
Intellectual endeavour, art, craft and commonsense
Pride to make him bold, caution to make him wise

I see not why nationhood should be despised
And my nation least of all
For it is family writ large -
Yes, with all the pains and exasperation and
Black sheep that that implies -
But all the love and the in-jokes and shared memories
And no-one is an orphan as long as Britain stands

And while dictators dream their geometrical dreams
Of abstract agglomerations of power
All rebels are patriots
Though they hate what their country's become

Let me lament what is passing
Call me a nostalgic, a malcontent,
A parochial reactionary: I don't care

While others assume a ponderous dignity
By waxing solemn on past evils and vast persecutions

Let me name the small horrors that, day by day,
Leave our lives unlivable here in the heart of freedom

The purse for the croney, the bought rulers,
The corruption we no longer even wince at,
The collusions with tyrants,
The petty meannesses,
The systematic, calculated attempt to unearth
The cornerstones of our society,
  that something hideous and inhuman
  may be erected in its place

The coming world where to be
  weak, poor, old or ill will be a
  crime to be punished

Where righteousness is scorned,
  patriotism sneered at, the
  responsibilities of man to man
  reduced to 'charge as much as
the market will bear'

Where barbarians will shit upon
  the adornments of our cities,
  tear down our libraries,
  turn our museums into amusement arcades,
  spew concrete over our fields,
  destroy all that does not accord with their world,

Drive the farmer to the wall,
The craftsman to the dole queue,
The scientist and the shopkeeper
  into the many arms of the multinationals,

Where everything that was once ours
Will be sold off without our say-so

Where all virtue will be for sale;
Where the nation will be ruled from abroad
Where our souls will not belong to us

Where those who serve society,
Teachers, nurses, policemen, public servants
Are hounded by bureaucrats and
  fashionable theoreticians
Dinned with the grim buzzwords of market forces
And the manic catchphrases of management courses

Are told to hold their labour cheap;
Are hampered by bad laws and unable to defend
                     themselves
Against the barbarian or the professional litigant
Are burdened and overworked to the point of breakdown

Where the criminal is given liberty,
The honest man circumscribed,
The streets unwalkable, the roads undrivable,
The air unbreathable, the food uneatable,
Trees and songbirds held expendable,

Beauty spat at, learning shunned as elitism,
TV freak shows and bad pornography
Teaching the public there is no dignity in man

Where politicians and middle-class media boys
Fake a sloppy argot to talk like the working man
But never listen to him or consider his interests
                       for a second
A demotic gloss on a demonic system

Where the great men of the people
Sell the people into slavery
Where the government picks the public pocket
To further enrich their rich patrons,
Will bulldoze landmarks, tarmac fields,
Feed our souls and bodies poison
At the bidding of their sponsors;

Where we will be patronized at every turn
      by cheap publicity stunts,
Noble words and great sentiments rendered
      meaningless by misappropriation
Slogans and empty images replacing
      ideas, beliefs and thought,
Grandiose targets and meaningless pledges
Announced with a fanfare,
Then stealthily revised, later quietly dropped

Cynical feats of misdirection:
Bait the Royals or those who ride to hounds
Decry privilege from your pulpit in the new Establishment
From your plush tax-funded government palaces
Or your media conglomerate corner-suite
Give yourself a radical sheen by attacking
Some undeserving, at worst irrelevant target

Where everything is the people's this and the people's that
But nothing actually belongs to the people

Where you can't hunt foxes or light cigarettes
But sell arms and you'll get a bloody knighthood

Where protesters are classed as terrorists
While terrorists walk free and coin themselves medals

Where faction is put above decency,
Bastards excused by their party adherents
         because they are Our Bastards

Where everyone will be filed, sorted, soothed
               and above all divided
Along lines of race, gender, class and everything else
               you can think of

Where every insane sect and crippling disease
  will be a culture unto itself with its own
  lobby group and government funding

Where all that brings us together and binds us into one
  will be scattered asunder in the name of a spurious diversity
                                                     and empty Choice
  and a mindless, childish resentment of all that predates
                                           our ruling class's advent

Where PC thought-wardens lead new Inquisitions
Acting like nervous flunkeys to a tycoon,
Anticipating displeasure where
         none would have been felt -
Feeling offence on behalf of those they
         claim to represent -
Denying minorities their humanity
  by denying them a sense of humour -
Denying their sameness by emphasizing difference
Dividing us all into thinner and thinner slices
         of some socio-ethnic Venn diagram
Dividing us so we come to fear the Other,
         and fail to see how our leaders deceive us all

A land where we will be divided man from man
So that we may be sold, sold I say!

Where we wake up one day and find
       we are living in hell on earth...
If we are not already there...

Come with me now into to the English countryside:
Eden turned into a scene from Dante
By a rooted insanity to describe which words like
'Greed' and 'stupidity' seem too small, and
'Evil' too dignified

Come see the land laid waste,
The stinking charnel pits,
The blood-slicked killing floors,
The animals clubbed to death
By rubber-suited minions of authority gone mad,
The troops invading the homes of citizens,
The fiery Walpurgisnacht revels,

Flaming ziggurats of death,
Offending morality, offending reason,
Casting a pall of poison over the land

Hear the screams of healthy animals
Hear the cried of those whose homes were
                         violated

Linger a while to hear the unnatural silence
And see the still, purged hills where the life
        now turned to ashes once roamed

These are men and women of our country,
                     powerless,
And those were offenceless animals of our
                     stewardship,
Massacred in the name of - theory? Policy?
        Economics? Political posturing?

And these are our fields and lanes made vile,
And something within me screams for retribution

What dark star rules our days?
What false north guides our compass?
What leads us to stray into such madness?

Troops used against our citizens in their homes:
A casual outrage, outraging few
There are many such in our day

Still, they were only farmers
A reactionary, hidebound lot
And all suspected reactionaries
- farmers, pensioners, protesters -
Can expect no compassion when they fall
        beneath the wheels of
        the juggernaut of Progress

...Can we not fight these things?
Are we so helpless, that we permit them to be done?

The time was when we would not permit such dragons
To roam abroad, let alone in our home

Time after time some logical madness has convulsed the globe
And we in our earthy amusement excused ourselves and stood apart
And when the monsters looked our way we fought them to the death

For Britain, for mankind,
For that freedom to be left in peace which may be
        the only reason to stir from peace

Where are they now, the war generation?
The most glorious our nation ever produced
Who paid with their lives or their loved ones
To protect the freedoms we now blithely
                 sign away with each new treaty
Shivering in barely heated flats, half of them
Struggling to get by on a derisory pension
Trapped in their homes, too often, for fear of thugs
Written off by our new elite as instinctively reactionary
Not worth the trouble to even pretend to court their votes
I could cry; I could vomit; I could throttle people

Oh, but we've all failed them
They passed the baton to my generation and yours, and we...
We shrug as they shiver; we yawn as freedom shrinks
Settle our soft arses into the sofa and click the TV remote
Or fight battles on video screens
Truly, they should despise us

The battles lie before us, poet!
Let us pick up our swords

You would think we would seize them eagerly

For the most desperate quest of our times
May be to find some way to restore
glory, grandeur, mystery to our lives

Our souls shrivel...

The declining plod from day to day,
The same old shit on the telly
Spectacle bought off supermarket racks in boxes
Art piped into your home, cut with adverts,
Capped before the end credits with a reminder
Of what's just starting on the other channel
Spirituality as a snippet in the lifestyle magazines,
A five-minute yoga workout for the soul

We taste of everything and savour nothing

Trying to distract ourselves from our own lack of purpose
The eternal consumers, self-consuming, consumed by boredom

And here we are and what are we for
So drear the dreams, so dull the life







II



We will take another drink, I think
...No, it wasn't a suggestion
It was a statement of what will be
Here, trull! You aren't leaving yet, son
My tongue is barely loosened
I have yet much poison to pour in at your
         sympathetic lughole
Though, truly, the place becomes
        unbearable at this hour

See there! See how they come!
This is the hour when the sleek, shining
  cockroaches pour forth from their
  open-plan nests
Quake, youth! Our rulers are among us!
They come here seeking - what? Life?
Quaint old-fashioned characters?
Authentic experience? I wonder,
if I were to take a bite out of their
clean-collared throats, would that be
authentic enough for them?
- You flinch, my poet
You are wrong to fear me
(Though pity me and you will leave on a stretcher
I can pity myself adequately for two, thankyou)
No, I have never been a brawler, alas
I'm just a toothless old wolf snarling at the dogs

Mere talk of violence hurts you. That's good.
You have the gift of empathy. It will
prevent you from ever being happy,
                 but never mind.

Yet I wonder, were you to turn your gift
  on those clockwork men, what would you find?
Calculating greed? Blind will to power?
Craving for empty trophies and symbols of status?
The lusts of dogs or onanists?
Satisfaction in excelling at life as contest twixt
                 man and man?
A genuine misplaced zeal for what they do,
Or a consciousness of their own lack of conscience,
Soothed by Darwinian, Nietzschean, Machiavellian
Self-justifications? I wonder...
It's dangerous to dehumanize your foes,
But sometimes I fancy I see nothing
In those smooth, wicked, self-satisfied domes save
Conditioned reflexes and insentient tropisms,
And I shiver for the fear that those dour scientists
Who would reduce the human race to a laboratory
Of competing genes and ideas may be right after all
Their lack of soul makes me doubt my own...

But no. Best to call no-one not human
These are men, broadly speaking,
But mad, bad, or rotten to the core
- Again, no. Some of these may be thoughtful men,
Leading us into hell with the best of intentions

But merely to save time, I will call them all vermin
Whatever is in their heads, I despise them all
Let us consider them.

That bunch there:
Two neo-liberal economists,
A covey of bankers and corporate executives,
And a nuncio from one of those august,
  acronymic, supra-national economic
  organizations that form the politburo
  of our new collective world

Evangelists of the new creed,
Salesmen of the new model theory
Exporters of the fashionable mania

Tramplers on the sovereign rights of
       nations and individuals
Enslavers of the poor, despoilers
of the environment
All in the name of bringing a golden age
   to the globe, or so we are told
It is the new Marxism.

They see themselves god-like in their power
Displacing a people here, erasing a forest there
Subjugating nations to their will

'Pain in the short-term for some -
Gain in the long-term for many'

If they truly believe this, they have abdicated
   their souls to their system
- Again I say, these are the new Stalinists

The effects of their edicts on individual lives
  does not even register as a blip on their computer screens,
Far less whatever serves them for a conscience

At best, some tens of thousands of trampled lives
May together cause an infinitesimal flicker
In some profit-margin or dubious economic indicator

What they see is the Big Picture
Economic Growth is the be-all and end-all
(Although, strangely, they often find it
hard to achieve - they are not as green-fingered
as they would have us believe)

But this growth too often in reality means
The poor doing more work for less pay,
  in conditions of decreased health and security,
And more wealth generated for the few who have it already
(Although, to be sure, some of this will trickle down
To their tailors, their restauranteurs, and their bought politicians...)

Growth? Growth like a cancer, ha!
'What has happened to that country?
Sweatshops, slums, dispossessed farmers,
An elite cowering in gated compounds.
What cruel blight has afflicted this place?'
'Economic growth. It's inoperable, I'm afraid.'

Economics has become the dark art
Rationalizing by its infernal calculus
Starved babies, child labour, populations
  downtrodden, democracy bypassed
They sneer at all our hopes and dreams
Say we, by our resistance to their god,
Would keep the poor in chains

In their world every human relation
Is a deal, a contract, a transaction
An equation, a barter to be optimized
Even that between man and wife

(And their own conduct lives up to this
You should hear their talk of women
You would puke, poet
This one here talks freely and reasonably
Of the girls he has cheaply bought
On his business-class, chauffeur-driven foreign jaunts
Sexual capitalism, he calls it; says
       no-one loses thereby
Developing countries have rich pickings, he says:
'Opening markets, opening legs'
That one there has sloughed the mother of his spawn
Compensating her as the contract calls for
Replaced her with a passport bride
When they leave here half of them
Will go to leer at the lap-dancers -
Working class girls, or students
Paying their way through college)

Christ, these people would have every human a whore
As every nation is a virgin territory to be raped
A pool of labour and resources to be bought cheaply
They would drive us all to market

Soulless creatures, they will leave no individual
               trace behind them
Yet the residue of their collective slime
       may stain the earth for centuries

They preen themselves for having buried Marx
As if they, in their offices and lecture halls,
       were the ones who pulled down the Wall

Even as they preach the orthodoxy of the new fashionable madness
Export it like missionaries into every nook of the earth

These are the new collectivists
They would bind us all together
   in one all-embracing whole
Under their sternly benevolent rule
Benevolent, ha!
Dispossess English farmers, workers in Wales
To put a few pence in the pocket of a
       sweatshop slave
And a few more million pounds in the coffers
Of those unhuman, undying, unfeeling corporate entities
  who rule us all

The panacea they peddle, the nasty but
  necessary paregoric, the stern medicine
  they seek to force down the throats of
  the world, and which our politicians are so
  eager to swallow, is a snake-oil at best
Poison at worst

Untrammeled trade? Oh, if you must, I suppose you must
Between advanced nations, I suppose you can debate
The relative levels of health and harm it brings
Though for myself, I think, I'd rather see
The good of this country's people looked to first
Their livelihoods protected, not undermined
       by foreign imports
Our farmlands, our vital industries, foremost
They are our nation's heart, and the heart of our communities
Together with our small businesses and family shops
Which are the key not merely to prosperity but to liveable lives
We must defend them to the last
Against those implacable, rootless giants who
Would swallow them all, aided by the diktats
                    of Brussels

Or are we to become a nation of hired hands,
  middle-men, management gurus, media types
And a vast dole-fed army of the dispossessed?
A convenient labour pool?
Disenfranchised men forced to scramble for the uniform
             of a chain-store franchise?
What are we for, if not to make and grow things any more?

A healthy self-sufficiency, within reason, I would
       like to see us cultivate
Without it we are no longer a nation
We should rediscover the virtues of community
And a la bas with Economic Community
Cherish the real marketplaces of our towns and villages
       - those that are left us -
And to hell with the abstract Market

For health alone I would rather eat food
       grown down the road
Than processed half a world away
We have seen to horrific cost
How when we are all chained together
Contagion is harder to fight
(True in a financial sense too:
One economy sneezes, we all catch flu)

But if you must do away with protections...
Commerce between civilized nations is healthy and natural
Trade between developed countries is like sex between
             consenting adults
Free trade between the developed and underveloped world
Is rape; is paedophilia

(Ha! I like this tasteless metaphor
I will toy with it some more)

It's a fat old man forcing himself on a six-year-old
Damaging their development forever, perhaps,
        to slake their own foul thirsts

Let the children among the world's nations
  play with themselves or fumble with each other a while
Until they are grown enough to partake of
        the world's orgies as equals

Let us guide them, aid them, influence them
Stand to them in a paternal role
- is paternalistic a dirty word? I don't care -
But stop giving them sweeties in return for favours
they barely understand

A pox on these false prophets!

...Yet we must learn to speak their language
Speak with the tongue of devils
We must match them on their own turf
Slogans of justice and decency are not enough
We must calmly point out the flaws in their dogma
In fighting the good fight, one demonstrable fact
Is worth ten pages of rhetoric
It is not enough to fling abuse
Let us show they are wrong; they are in error; they lie

Get thee to an economics textbook, poet!
Abandon your verses - take up the dark ones' grimoires
And turn their own foul arts against them
Even a little knowledge liberates
Even a rudimentary acquaintance with cold facts shows
   their system does not do what they say it will
Too many people are browbeaten by their empty,
       endlessly-repeated mantras
Come to think their own instinctive morality
   and common sense must be naive
When they are bombarded by the pharisees' glib arcania
Come to think that perhaps they are right and
Utopia will be built on the backs of sweatshop children

Learn! Learn! Penetrate the mysteries of the
        ebb and flow of wealth -
And then seek out the facts of what their
  creed has effected, the human toll
I tell you - they aren't that smart, our masters
(Merely reading the papers is enough to show
They can predict nothing successfully, in this
             chaos-ruled world
Although their hindsight, you will note,
   is always keen and penetrating)
I tell you - with joy and horror I tell you -
They aren't that smart, if they believe what they preach

And we are right and they are wrong!
Their creed is a festering lie

...Amusing to consider some who have swallowed it
'Tailored their consciences to suit the prevailing fashion'

That women joining them now:
One of our nominal leaders, a tribune of the people, ha!
Whisper it softly: a politician
A Cabinet Minister - oh, the majesty of the state!
Regard her: a woman of the workers once
She has performed more about-faces than the Coldstream Guards
And after each of them, the same self-righteousness and the certainty,
Than which there is nothing more perfect in nature,
That she is right and those who disagree with her are wicked
Like many of our current mandarins, she has made
  the journey from lunatic left to lunatic right
Almost without transition, and with no
  intervening sensible period
When she was a lefty, she was the worst kind of lefty:
Dour, pious, humourless, and rigidly dogmatic
Now she is a shill for free trade, she is still
Dour, pious, humourless, etcetera
Some people, it seems, will always need another dogma
  that will answer for everything -
Or perhaps just another dunghill to crow from
The Market is the new Marxism, I say
If she is merely one of those who change their opinions
To conform to those of Power
I do her the credit of saying that
In her case it may be entirely unconscious -
Like not a few of our political leaders,
She has that enviable gift of schizoid
Disconnect, doublethink, tireless self-approval -
The ability to convince yourself of your own eternal rightness
Given which, you can rob the poor in the morning
And give a speech on the need to help the poor in the noon -
And mean it, because you believe it
For some their spin is not mere cynical misdirection
But a symptom of borderline madness
The speech is the reality: the inner world is all:
Your own triumph and virtue is so self-evident to you
That any who deny it must be wicked

(Well...I have a touch of that myself
It hath its comforts, but is leavened by self-doubt
Cherish your self-doubt, poet!
Consider, sometimes, that you may be wrong)

But see now! Another comes to hang on the moneymen's wisdom
(As he passes the minister their respective hackles rise
Each seeing in the other antithesis and wrong):
A moralistic media pundit, this one:
A man of the strident right, who sees,
Not without justice, the government and
New anti-establishment establishment
As a cesspool of evil. He deplores the
Decline in morality, community, religion,
Decries as I do our impending loss of nationhood.
All well and good. But what morality can there be
When each man is reduced to the level of an economic cypher?
What community can there be, when communities are
        ripped apart by market forces?
What use national sovereignty, when those sovereign states
the multinationals tell us what laws to enact?
What room for spirituality, in this dark Darwinian world
             of dog eat dog?
There are those on the thoughtful right with the courage
To acknowledge that stark materialism
And brute abasement before financial forces of nature
Are damaging to our land: I would shake their hands
And join with them against our mutual enemies:
This one, though, thinks all barbarians are on the left -
Thinks the unregulated market will restore the happy
Land of his youth - thinks the triumph of capitalism
Menaced by some vast, powerful leftist horde -
Saints preserve us! Where? - Thinks himself, in fact,
Still doing battle with the spectre of Communism
(As if the left had anything in common with communists!
I remember Khruschev's visit -
How the Labour Party barracked him at a banquet
Urged the release of imprisoned democrats in the East
'May God forgive you!' cried Nye Bevan
Old Nikita declared that if he lived in Britain he'd be a Tory
Of course, Bevan's heirs have nicer manners,
Are much politer to tyrants - witness
  the warm reception the Chinese premier received)

This man's mind is a mass of mantras:
'Privatize' 'Deregulate' 'Cut public spending'
(Like the IMF, he somehow sees our chancellor
As a profligate spendthrift and radical wastrel...)
'There are no free meals,' and then, 'The young
Must be taught that actions have consequences.'
I am all for that; actions do have consequences,
And everything must be paid for.
This holds good for states as well as people.
Treat museums, libraries, seats of learning
As commercial concerns - consequence,
Barbarism. Refuse to pay for policing
And jails - pay for it with crime.
Neglect basic services - oh, but I could
Multiply instances all day.
And if your leaders hold hands with tyrants,
Munitions dealers, rogue corporations,
In the name of national profit or lining
Their trough - you cannot then complain
If nihilism and self-interest stalk your country.
Pace our great reformer, there is such a thing as
Society, and we must choose the one we want
And pay for it.

But let us move on now and consider some other specimens
In this rogues' gallery...

Here now! Here is a fine study in pathology
And extreme aesthetic repulsiveness

That gang there:
Euromaniacs
Busily plotting mischief against our state

That one there fathered a report saying
British history is shameful and irrelevant
Would have us, in the name of race relations,
Apologise comprehensively for our multitudinous wrongs
And then hear no more of our inglorious past

The next goes further: hacks books and windy speeches
Saying there is no such thing as Britishness
And that the very concept of nationhood
       is an embarrassment to the modern age

The third, a jurist, tirelessly schemes to undermine
Those institutions that have served to protect us
                    for centuries past
Would have them replaced by continental models
Devised by that great liberator, Napoleon
Which are unencumbered by such anachronisms
As habeus corpus and jury trial

The fourth is a senator from the great metropolis
                    to the South
The city of cities - the jewel of our age -
             Brussels, the eternal
Here slumming in provincial old London
Checking that the great work of betrayal
       proceeds apace in Westminster
Seeing how many inches of sovereignty
       will be ceded this year
Assuring himself the plans are laid for
       destruction of our currency
Ensuring that the EU flag hangs were once flew
       the historic symbol of liberty, the Union Jack
Making sure shopkeepers will be harassed,
       small traders driven to the wall
by bureaucratic whim,
And that greengrocers will be prosecuted
       for using pounds and ounces
(My private opinion on their mania for metrication:
It stems from insecurity over their scrawny generative organs:
Seven centimetres sounds more impressive than three inches.
It is also why they obsess about bananas...)
Such manifestations of authority run mad
       are outrageous in themselves,
But also hints of a larger insanity
As yet uneasily contained

The last is a journalist and political speechwriter
Who, amidst spinning a variety of government sins,
Attacks all our institutions, all pride in our past
Derides all who would oppose the great project
As anachronistic, reactionary, potentially murderous
             right-wing bigots.
I assume that would be me.

Anachronistic? I hope so
Reactionary? I revel in it
Murderous? Growing more so by the minute
Bigoted? Against all that is unholy
If he calls me right-wing I will tear out his throat

- Forgive me, poet. I will embrace him as a brother.
Strange. We were brothers once, before he took
                   the shilling
(Took the Euro, rather, ha!)
I stood to him as mentor once
Firebrands and carousers together
The great man of the people he fancied himself
Decrying all injustice
Before he sold out for - what? The opportunity
       to fawn on power? To align himself
       with the ascendant star?
Expensive suits, a car, his nose in the trough?
Gods, is that all that some aspire to?
Is that what passes for glory?

Enough to say, he sold
He grew old before his time, while I -
I am condemned to remain eternally young

Let's see if he will take me on...

Ho there! Old friend! Man of the people!
       Scourge of the despot! Prince of Bohemia!
(Such I dubbed him once.) Join us!

Ahh...you craven poxy sell-out merchant
Well, I knew that experiment's result in advance

'They flee from me that sometime me did seek'
The rabid dog look. I am used to it.
Screw him, anyway
He never was that much
The joke on those who sell out
Is not only that they settle for so little
But that they had bugger-all to sell anyway

To hell with the whole boiling of them!
God stiffen them all, the weasels
The Tower's too good for them
If they don't like it here, let them fuck off
        and live in bloody Europe, then

Our tubercular St. George had their number
More than sixty years ago:
'England is perhaps the only great country
Whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality...
They see it as a duty to sneer at every English institution.'
Yes. They take their orders from Brussels,
  their opinions from Manhattan,
  and their holidays anywhere but here

Such creatures would be beneath even my
       all-encompassing hatred
Were it not that the damage they do is so wicked
The lies they promote so emetic
And their ultimate mad design so unjust

A united Europe! The perennial vision
Of megalomaniacs throughout the ages

They dare call me xenophobe!
I tramped Europe from end to end
  before they were a watery ooze dribbling
  through a hole in their fish-faced fathers'
       prophylactics
Steeping in the wine, whirling with the women,
            weeping at the art

They dare to call me bigot!
Should I show them the scar on my skull
       awarded me by a policeman
For protesting against apartheid?
I should mete out the same treatment to them...

I'll take all you have of European wine, women and culture
We can grow enough bureaucrats at home
I sneer at no man's country
Have the goodness to allow me my own

To say there is no English culture?
To say Britain's history is shameful? Irrelevant?
There are no words wide enough to deride such shit
They must wish us to choke on our own rage or laughter

As neurotics can do naught but dwell on
The most miserable episodes of their past
And shun the memories of good and happy times
So these people would reduce history and heritage
To an endless litany of who did what foul thing to whom
In what dim recess of the past
Endlessly wringing their hands
Like Lady Macbeth - or Uriah Heep
Endlessly apologizing
Denying all the good and glory and
  sheer bloody wonder our nation
- any nation - the despised old concept
of nationhood itself -
Has brought into the world

All national heroes, like the other
Institutions which serve to bind and strengthen us,
Must be chipped away at by eagerly chiselling revisers
All monuments must be undermined
And all great men and women of the past
Must be judged by the false egalitarianism
       of our day
God help the artist found guilty of the
       snobbery of their times!
They will be cast into everlasting darkness
Even if they've done more to advance mankind
Than some paltering academic of the faux left
or nouveau right,
Some dribbling poseur who makes the required
  pious obeisance to, but does nothing to help,
  the common man
God help the hero who was prejudiced
Even if they fought to overcome it
They will be stripped of all honours
By some complacent hack who supports
The right of everyone to live and die by
             the market,
Regardless of race, creed or colour

God help the past in the hands of our time!
'This is the first and only morning'
Such is the burden of their song
They were barbarians before us
Ergo this must be the golden age

We live, they would have us believe
Not merely at the dawn of the Enlightenment
But at the end of history, forsooth!

Well, Gorgeous George was wise to that dodge too:
'Who controls the past controls the future.'

...But by all means, let us apologise!
On behalf of all Britons everywhere
Allow me to apologise for our rude and darkened past

Forgive us for Shakespeare; forgive us for Milton
For Pope, Johnson, Wordsworth and Keats;
We ask that a hundred other poets be taken into consideration

Forgive us the King James Bible, the Book of Common Prayer
The Brontes, Jane Austen, Dickens and Wodehouse;

Forgive us Vaughn Williams, Elgar, Handel
       and Lennon and McCartney

Pardon us for Magna Carta, habeus corpus,
  parliamentary democracy,
For being the first to give an uppity king the chop,
The first to abolish slavery,

For divesting ourselves of an empire
With a maximum of grace and a minimum of bloodshed

For being a haven to the persecuted throughout the centuries

Forgive us the BBC, the NHS and the RAF

Forgive us for standing up to Napoleon
Forgive us for standing against Hitler

Forgive us, in fact, for ever having blighted the earth!

...Oh, but I am embarrassed to say all this
Not because the treacherous ones sneer at it
But because it offends my own aesthetic sense
I have always been with that Russian poetess who wrote
                    of her country:
'We don't compose hysterical poems about it...
But we'll live in it and be it.'

Not the least of their crimes is that these traitors
Have driven me to ape the most vulgar sort of patriot
Time was when we knew in our bones this was a good place
And we a bloody glorious people
Yet we were relaxed about it, quiet
Not needing to trumpet the fact like the citizens
Of certain other countries I could mention...
An unconscious assumption of - let us say it - superiority
Made us gracious and urbane in our dealings with foreigners:
Self-deprecating, kindly, altogether charming
The consciousness of being the still centre of mankind
The apex of civilization from which all other cultures deviated
Made us regard their differences with amused, tolerant affection...
Ah, I jest somewhat. But here is truth -
Here, indeed, is the bleeding obvious,
Which it angers me to have to state:
The man who is most at ease with who he is
Is the most courteous and open to others
Undermine that, tell a man he is nothing
That his people are nothing, have contributed
Nothing to the earth but crime and outrage -
Tear from him his sense of history and community -
Then you have a snarling savage on your hands
- Or at best, a querulous braggart and a bloody bore...

Oh, has it come to this!
Surely Ireland is avenged and all the gods of India appeased:
Englishmen can no longer afford to be self-deprecating!

How I hate them for what they have done to us!
I spit on their world
To hell with the future
Down with all that's modern
Nations not corporations!

Behold them, our leaders!
Behold them, the new elite!
Behold the rulers of the earth!

Harlots, charlatans
Bullies, bores and braggarts,
Pious frauds, blag-artists,
Abusers of women, tramplers of the weak

Liars from expedience and sheer force of habit
Above all, dull, dull, dull
Pissy little dullards, tiny little men
With mean and vulgar dreams

Tyrants, pettifoggers, scrooges
Bombasts, slimebags, blusterers
Bum-boils, piss-ants, slimy little toads

'Most smiling, smooth, detested parasites!'

It would need a Bosch to do them justice...
I have in mind a picture to paint -
Britannia crucified by these pigs

While looking on, a crowd of
PR men, corporate lobbyists, PC gauleiters,
  ambulance-chasing lawyers, modern
  architects, cultural relativists -
All the busy vermin who thrive in such an age

They have made whores of all the muses
They have failed to fight the future
They have pissed away our birthright
They have shit on the dreams of better men

Yes, I'm talking to you!
Hear me, swine!
Over here!

I am the forces of conservatism!

I am England awakened!

I am Boudicca on a heavy month
I am Britannia with a chainsaw
I am ten-foot Temple Jesus

I am the risen Churchill!
I am John Bull with svelter hips!
I am Wat Tyler! Simon Templar! Awakened Arthur
I am legless Bader come to kick your arse

I am Miss Marple with a switchblade!

See how they run!

Come back, you swine!
I am-
I am-
I am very drunk.








III


You will perceive, perhaps, a certain arrogance in my nature
Holy arrogance, a world removed from vulgar conceit, is good
Healthy pride is good
They will admit of nothing shabby
Arrogance? Call it rather a contempt for baseness
Nobility is my lodestar
I yearn for a glory that cannot be bought

Beneath these crumpled robes is concealed
The pride of Lucifer
Perhaps it has been my downfall
A refusal to ever accomodate

The avoidance of the second-rate
Was why I renounced verse
My talent was exceeded by my taste
Though my second-rateness could have
  carved me a good career in these fallen times...

There is precious little poetry in poetry, these days
Sad, when there's so little in our lives
It seems unambitious. It lacks...music? Magic?
Madness? An excited conviction of things beyond
             the quotidian?
Hints of things almost glimpsed, not quite seen,
  fragile echoes and half-heard resonances,
  the whisper of mystery, the hair standing on the neck,
  the footstep on the stair...

Such were the qualities I sought to infuse my work with
They said I was just a hysteric posturer...

But look at them nowadays
Dull commonplaces, chopped-up prose,
Portentously repeated banality

Well, what can you expect?
Half of them are academics
A poet with tenure!
That's like a bandit with a day job

Oh, what a jealous bitch I am
Still, they leave me unexcited
They lack...I don't dare say, the divine spark
Let's say, the urge to transcend

Strange times are these
A judicious turd can be art, it seems
Noise passes for symphony, blather for rhetoric
The vile rantings of gangster-fixated slum children
Are compared to the most divine poetry
By middle-class posers

Is this some misplaced egalitarianism of the arts?
A refusal to discriminate against those without skill?
Some wrongheaded compensation for the lack
  of egalitarian ideals in our society?

Or is it that we have forgotten how to cherish beauty?

If so, then we are in danger
Our very souls are in danger

But then, I think we know that
I think most of us know that

Something has gone wrong somewhere
We have misplaced something precious

I no longer recognize the mild, cheerful race
Hymned in Orwell or ancient films
Rudeness and discourtesy are rife
Rage comes in epidemics
  and seven different varieties
Monstrous children bred of abandon and despair
Spill from lawless estates in stolen cars
To spit nihilism in our faces

And we are stalked, periodically,
By a darkness I scarcely know how to name
Still less explain, or combat

If we think of it, we shiver
Draw our flimsy curtains
Huddle closer to the fire
Hope we will never meet it

...As we hope we will not eat poisoned food
Hope we will never need the health service
Never be long without a job
Never be poor and old

We appear to be helpless
We are like those mythic Greeks who passively
Sacrificed some lives to a monster they
             would not fight
Writing off so many of our fellow citizens each year
As...what? The overhead to an efficiently-run society?
Each hoping we will not be the one to draw the marked lot
That it will not soon be our turn to face the Minotaur

Well, life has always been cruel...
But there was once a striving to make it less so
I ask you - is this as good as it gets?
Our leaders think so
They believe that once The Creed has been seeded
  in every corner of the globe
And all the social deadwood cut
The system will have reached perfection
'The End of History.' Ha!
I said this was inverted Marxism.
The Millennium is upon us!
Paradise on Earth!
The revolution to end all revolutions
(Or the Thousand Year Reich...)

Ahh, but these are joyous words
You know a system is doomed
When it is proclaimed it will last forever

The eternal mania of tyrants:
Subdue the world and then
Stop time dead in its tracks

Well, I have seen many gods die in my time...

Still...
I think we are sleepwalking into a nightmare future
(As if the present were not dystopia enough)
Not so much lions led by donkeys
As sheep herded by pigs

The Britain of the future...
I shudder to imagine it

A cold and alien place...
Had I offspring I would train them
To be ethical vacuums,
Clockwork machines set to succeed at all costs,
Much like our current politicians

I would teach them to stamp on anyone to get theirs
For in the world to come the consequences of
  not succeeding will be awful

Meritocracy! How I hate that word
Implying as it does that those who do not rise
Have no merit,
Justifying as it does harmful division
  and wanton neglect

Mothers! Teach your daughters to be whores
Fathers! Teach your sons to be swine
For those who do not broach the inner circle
Their lives will not matter
And anything will be permitted to be done to them

The Britain they are raising will not be Britain
They look to alien gods
And whenever our leaders look abroad,
They take the worst of a culture, not its best
They will import European bureaucracy,
Not European joie de vivre or egalitarianism
They import the values of corporate America,
Or the PC madness of their campuses,
Not the gorgeous freedom of anarchist America

The Britain of the future!
The countryside desecrated,
The streets grim and violent,
Our culture eradicated,
Our children brutalized,
Decency accounted weakness,
All dreams of fairness crushed

Forgive me, then, if I turn to the past
It is a weakness, I know
I will sing more hymns of an England gone
Which may never have existed
But lives in all our hearts

The happy land of eternal summer
Of tolerance and forebearance

...We have cleared some room in here now
Driven out the dark spirits
Let us conjure some more congenial company

Let all the heroes of Britain pass now in review
Let all the hallowed dead pass now in review

A cavalcade of glorious ghosts
A convocation of our golden forefathers
I summon thee, spirits!
Imbue me with your fire!
Give me the strength to walk
       as bold and proud as you did
Give me the tongue to tell of your glories
Let us see them, our dead
I will call the roll as they come to my mind:
They can haggle over precedence and chronology later

See Francis Drake, playing at bowls,
Before putting deadlier balls through
The heart of the Armada;
An adventurer, a buccaneer
He yet seems to me the patron
Of many milder men after him:
Anonymous imperturbable men,
Summoned from their pub greens,
Their pipes and their pints,
To do battle with tyrants
Which they did with an unassuming heroism

See Walter Raleigh, bringing back
Tobacco from the Americas, duty free

See maimed Nelson,
Turning a blind eye to bureaucracy
Victorious by driving a deadly wedge
  through the serried hulks of convention
Living life to the full, bidding it
       farewell with a kiss

See Wellington, see Marlborough...

See Douglas Bader
Legless, yet he flew like an angel
(Christ, how I know the feeling...)
Burning with rage at the murderous black insects
Sullying the pristine blue of England's skies
Which he and his comrades swept clean,
As their forefathers had the seas

See that sainted George I evoked already
Quietly tending his garden while keeping a weather-eye
                         to the future
A fighter of dragons, and a namer of them
A precise anatomist of all their scaly parts,
A student of their various poisons and many disguises
And then able yet to turn his mild curious gaze
To the common toad
He fought monsters without becoming one:
Scrupulous in his fairness even to enemies
Seeing truth as almost as precious as life -
See him amending a word to do justice to a tyrant
He taught that not to fight evil is to acquiesce to it
He loved this country with an exasperated affection
He knew that change is necessary, but that
     the wrong kind, breaking the links that
     bind us to the past, will leave us as soulless
     as a man without a memory of his childhood,
     as doomed as a bisected wasp

See Churchill... no, hear Churchill...
But no, I cannot even begin to circumnavigate
That fantastic continent of a man
That human bulwark, that turner of tides
That apotheosized Canute
Let us Victory-salute his growling, smiling shade and
                    vow that we too will Never, Ever Give In

Let us have Liz the First out
Patroness and muse to poets,
Virgin mistress of the hunt,
Defender of our island independence
And original It-girl and independent woman, ha!
Gloriana, I salute thee, and lay my cape
(I may have the weak and feeble body of a sixty-a-day man,
But I have the heart of a... sick and flaky lemur, frankly)

And let us have Boadicea of the same flame-red hair,
Warrior Queen, avenger of outraged innocence,
   and original deadly woman driver

Let us have...
Let us have the men who won us an empire, why not?
Traders, adventurers, schemers, soldiers, builders
For their courage and enterprise alone they inspire
A dubious business, empire, by modern standards
But once the sport of the whole world - and we were the best!
And by and large forbearing masters, as masters go
An undertaking for profit and self-interest
I do not fool myself it was without crime or shame -
Yet it became, for some, a mission to spread civilisation
In the days when we were sure of its benefits
And ended, gently, in hope of amity, brotherhood, a community of nations
With a lasting bond of shared aspirations and ideals

Now let us see Dickens - a whole nation
   of fictional Englishmen brought forth with him

Shakespeare - a whole language
   - a whole universe - a whole man

Dictionary Johnson, taking his cudgels to dunderheads

Scurrilous Pope, wretched in body, great with
             contempt for dunces

Ecstatic Blake - oh, that gorgeous madman!
Angels in Peckham!
Angels along 'the infinite shores of the Thames'
Exhorting England to Awake! Awake!
And see through his eyes, a land peopled by angels
A land of infinite possibility
Imagine a people who believed that -
What could we not achieve?

See...
See Wilberforce fighting the slave-trade
See Mary Wollstonecraft, see the Pankhursts...

See David Lloyd George,
        defending the people against Goliaths
Rising from the people, raising their
       lot with his

See Keir Hardie, Wells, the Fabians...

See Beveridge and Bevan
Bringing forth, to their eternal glory and ours,
That magnificent edifice providing shelter to all
       from the storms, mischances and setbacks of life
Forging a nation where none need fear in their time of need
A land fit for heroes, for dreamers and builders

Oh, how these ghosts crowd in on me!
I could go on all day
Too many, too many to choose
I grow weary of them now
Enough: mine eyes dazzle

Sometimes they seem to scowl at me

I understand, sometimes, the petty-minded revisers' impulse to
tear every last one of them down...

For a shabby and sordid life can be
   intolerable with shades such as those
   looking over one's shoulder

And look at what we are doing to what they left us...

Look at how we submit to it...

Ah...
We start this life with such pure dreams...
Youth thirsts for justice as flowers for the sunlight
Thirsts for beauty, thirsts for glory
We disdain all compromises,
Even the ones our fathers make to fill our bellies
But prudence whispers, the tides of the times drag us in,
The what-is jostles aside the what-should-be
And we meekly queue to take our places in the eternal
       infernal circus of the present imperfect
Jailers and jailed, victims and collaborators
Doomed forever to wonder if we
       ever had the power to say No

But we must hope. There is always hope, that we
can change ourselves and the world

Hope...
Listen to me:
'Mark well my words: they are of your
       eternal salvation'
One day I managed to kill all hope
Many have sought this: few have achieved it
It may be my one accomplishment:
I am permitted some pride
Hope kept leading me on, only to turn around and taunt me

So one day I drove it from my home
And it was gone
I swear to you
The stars could have shifted in their courses
           to form words of good cheer
The queen of the world could have danced naked before me
I would not have batted an eyelid

And as I had always suspected,
There was a certain kind of peace therein, even pride...

- But, Jesus, the boredom!
You cannot conceive of the everlasting boredom
Every hour a desert
Every grain of sand of which a million years to cross

...So in the end I had to let the duplicitous bugger back in

We must always hope! We must always believe
Because the alternative is not to be endured

The choice is ours! The choice is always ours!

Either we are a cold grey outpost of a continental empire,
  a beaten and fearful people in a drab concrete wasteland,
  one more labour pool in just another location,
  no different from and no better than any other node in the
  web of international finance,

Or we are a glorious god-favoured land of heroes!
The choice is ours!

Rule Britannia! Rule Britannia, I say!
Where the men are the wittiest,
The women the prettiest,
The weather the shittiest,
Where we will out-think, out-scheme
   and out-dream any ten other nations
Where we will fight to the last man
       for justice and fair play
Where we will not permit ourselves to be ruled
       by bores, bastards and liars any more

Let us magnify ourselves!
Let none but tyrants fear

Patriotism is the first refuge of the dreamer

We are Britain!
Let us sing with pride

We are the inheritors of the glory of centuries

Let us be the first to turn back the tide
Of all the false filth of modernity!

It will happen
I have seen it!
A thing of love and laughter
A thing of holy joy
The outcasts, the outsiders and the outraged
             walking side by side
The people will come to the palace
To take back what is theirs

We will take back our streets!
We will take back power over our own lives
We will take back our country
And then help take back the world for the whole
             bloody human race!







IV

More drink! More drink, hurry!
Hurry, the shining moment passes!
The vision of grandeur fades
The wave of inspiration crashes
And leaves me washed up on the shores of drear reality,
With a mouth full of wet sand

More fuel, you flashing-eyed fox!
(Ah! She responds quickly to you.
There is favour in her glance.
To employ the vulgate, you are in there.)

Stir yourself, nymph! My wings are clipped...
Perhaps it's as well
I was on the verge of embarrassing both of us
A strange world, ours
Passion embarrasses, lofty ideals draw sneers and winces
Where frank avowals of self-interest do not

I will curb my madness
I was verging on the messianic...

Still...there is hope
While in these times we live, no question
Among the foundations of the Fourth Reich
A better world is ours for the winning

There is hope in the very fact that things are grown so bad now
Those smug on the inside have left too many on the outside
No-one feels secure: no-one is safe from the voracity of the beast
All have felt the cold breath of the future down their necks
All have faced the faceless enemy
Farmers, shopkeepers, academics
All know they are expendable
All know their livelihoods, their communities, their life's work
May be sacrificed to the dark gods of modernity
We are all in this together now

(Ah! Thankyou, child. I drink to your continued sickness, poet.)

This system cannot endure
The time has come when all start to ask:
What is in it for us?
Things cannot continue in this manner

Why do the worst wield the power, always?
Why do we sneer at their antics, and then
Cravenly usher them back into office?

'Politician' is become a synonym for liar and fake
An epithet that renders all insults redundant
By all but their lackeys, they are esteemed
One degree below sex offenders,
And one degree above architects

Why, then, do we allow the same old whores to
               go on running the show?
For we do allow them; we have abdicated
               our own power
It is by a failure of our will and imagination
     that they are allowed to get away with
       all that they get away with
They have cowed us into thinking we could
             not handle power
It is time to cast out the swine and take
       responsibility for our own lives

- Oh, I speak not of dismantling the state
The dogs do that themselves, while
   behemoths circle to gobble up the pieces

I want some central power to order things justly
And common funds to set the weak on their feet
I want someone to pick me up when I am in the gutter
(Speaking of which, do not leave my side tonight...)

It is time for a people's movement
I dream of a new wave of anti-politicians
            running for office:
Doctors, farmers, housewives, shopkeepers,
Those from the professions with experience
       of actually running things,
Ordinary sensual men in the street,
Extraordinary men of talent and daring,
Mothers concerned for their children's fate

Those who feel the effects of the dictates of Whitehall and Brussels
Independent men and women
With no loyalty to party, ideology, theory
             or big picture
But only to their neighbours and fellow countrymen

You smile: but I am calm now: I tell you,
This thing can happen if we will it

And though the British people are slow to rouse
Once awakened they are unstoppable!

We will slay these dragons as we have all others!

...But I do not task you
       to fight for civilization, son
You may be one of those whose role
Is to keep alive the civilization we are
      fighting for: keep poetry alive

Yes, that may be your part
Men may fight for good in many ways
Shun this shabby world, poet:
Make your own world away from it
A world of love and light and laughter that
      the rest of us can aspire to

Fly to your serving strumpet
Fall down before her: no mind if she laughs at first
Make her take you
Ennoble her with your poetry
(As - I vow it - I will yet ennoble
this tricksy whore of a country with mine)

True lovers are exempted the revolution, if they choose
They are permitted to disappear into each other
Leaving behind only a memory of languourous smiles
And a distant rumour of E Major chords

As for me, I ... I will go on

I have decided not to die for now
Purely as a favour to the world, you understand
You have rejuvenated me, poet!
I have battened on your throat and supped your young blood,
Sapping your strength as I increase mine!
Between you and this brandy and the bawd's dimplings and dumplings,
I feel as if I could move molehills

As long as there is a supply of thoughtful,
   unhappy, pure-hearted young people like yourself
The world is not so bad
I have hopes for you, son
You yearn to do great things, which is half the battle
The other half is luck and an ability to sell out,
   so you are doomed to flail around in misery,
                                   but no matter

I like you, son. Though you could use a touch more hatred in your make-up

Contempt! Contempt for everything, that's a thing I like to see
I speak not of the slouched apathy of the beaten or underbred
But the natural hauteur of the noble

Contempt! Mass contempt may be the form the revolution takes
One day the politicians will go smiley-smiley walkabout
And every single person they pass will fold their arms, curl their lip,
And shake their heads with pitying contempt
Before turning their backs forever

Ha! I would like to organize carnivals of contempt
Where everyone dresses as their favourite unfashionable
     historical figure or forgotten virtue
Mass sneer-ins, orchestrated reproachful tuts
Street parties of silent blazing-eyed hatred

Oh God...
Street parties...I had quite forgotten
The Jubilee is next year
What on earth will they do to it?
They will have the Queen performing rap routines,
   and dancing to rave music atop a redesigned royal carriage
   decked out with advertising decals and the EU flag

Maybe I had better die after all...

Before I pass, some final words of tutelage:
Heed me: these are words to live your life by:

Keep your hair long: it will earn you the enmity
       of thugs and bureaucrats alike, which
             builds character

Think for yourself, or find three good writers
             to do it for you

Never trust anyone who can make continual
       eye-contact: they learned it on a
             salesmanship course

Break the hands of six architects and town planners
       every day before breakfast

Read the story of one out-of-favour 19th Century hero every week

Keep the sabbath and Nelson's birthday

Eschew all drugs but music and love

Buy your goods from family-owned businesses wherever possible

Nurture your hatred but curse all violence
The man who strikes the first blow has already lost

Seek to mould the world to suit your soul,
       not your soul to suit the world

Do not envy the dark ones even when they
       are lifted above you:
They are soulless organisms, not men:
Those who are impervious to suffering
             can never know joy

Aspire to be a gentleman
Have the heart of a knight errant
Hold a lofty disdain for all that is low
Be courteous, courageous, noble and gracious
A foe to the wicked and friend to the weak

Be good to women:
All joy and goodness comes from them
And we were put on this earth to serve them

Be temperate in language:
Curse words are too easy an escape
         for precious hatred
If you must swear, do it with wit and style
Curses should be a pepper, not a constant diet
They can offend not merely the pious
But some genuine gentle souls
And gentle souls are what makes the world
                   worth saving

Revel in evil before pious frauds and hypocrites
But be humble always before the saints and innocents
You will know them by a word or a smile
Their kindness or their weakness
The holy damned such as you and I
             cannot follow them
But we can defend them and be as gentle to them
               as they are to others
Weakness and gentleness are rarer and more precious than gold

Do nothing shabby, even for your cause
For once you do it is tainted forever
One noble failure is worth a hundred sleazy successes

Be ever young
Those dreams you had in your youth,
             cling to them
For all is dirt when they are dead

Above all, live your life according to poetic principles

...Oh, but I stand the world on its head here!
I do not have your interests at heart -
I am teaching you, poet, to become a failure such as I!
But - why not?
Fuck this world and all who thrive in her!

Let the swine have the world -
We have immortality

Let those who will
       acquiesce in their multitudinous lies
And grow vile on a banquet of banality
We hold in our hands divinity, eternity!

Should heroes such as ourselves
       make obeisance to midgets,
     as the price of a comfortable life?

It is not in us to choose that!
For the path to glory is the path to the gutter!

Bang the rebel drum!
Fight the good fight!
Spit your hatred in the faces of the bringers of the night!

And while with my dying breath I curse them
A bigger man would pity
For they will pass and be as if they had never been

And you and I, my friend
In our failure and death we triumph

For you are sweet-minded youth,
   that all of nature bends the knee to

And I - I am the King of all Holy Hatred
I am the Emperor of Righteous Indignation
I am the Pharaoh of the Failures

And here it is nobler to lose than to win.

Let us drink to that and seal our love forever...'









M. Kelly, 2000-2001

[Posted March 2005]

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