Canto CCLXXIII

As I lay asleep in Herne Hill
the Effra’s voice sang out from underground
and its dark provenance urged me to tell

of demonic processions doing the rounds
of Blighty with a leaking, petrol torch
gleefully passed on from hand to hand.

First came Corporatism, on he lurched
decked in a cape of Coca Cola red,
peddling shitwater to the parched

(spoonfuls of refined sugar help the meds
go down) while clamping locks of steel alloy
to drinking fountains, their inscriptions read

the invitation/command to Enjoy!™.
Next came Growth, he cast out seeds of glass
onto public allotments’ fertile lay,

where years of dedication and hard graft
from plot holders for growing nutrition
had made the clay soils friable. A mass

of shiny Shards and Westfields sprung from them
with promises of jobs and investment
though all the profits flew off to the same

high interest bank accounts in Switzerland.
Next came Privilege, the bumbling blond
squeezed into tops and tails of Bullingdon,

riding a bicycle, emblazoned
with the cool blue logo of Barclays,
which goes to show it’s easy to rebrand

the old financiers of Slavery,
just like the Centre Ground musical chairs
hands power back to the landed gentry.

Last in the relay was Propaganda,
who shirked the fad of the political,
instead he used his verbose whiles to send a

message of Self Empowerment to all
the nobodies that made the population,
for it is the poor themselves that have failed

in trying to escape from their dire station,
to climb the steps of meritocracy,
though some found other forms of elevation

that needs less footwork. Still, the mob can see
the path is clear, though barely climbable.
There’s no demand these days for tragedy.

The torch’s base spat out vast gobs of oil
that blocked up the remaining sewage grates,
though sometimes a glowing ember would spill

into the updraft, to almost escape
into the clutches of the unwashed hordes
though the escort of pale white, grunting apes

put out the flames before they could be caught.
But one slight spark continued past their reach
and gleamed as sharply as a rebel’s sword

and some within the crowd began to preach
that we could wield the flame, by right or force,
that all we had to do was wait and catch

its flicker with a nest of woven grass.
Though others trembled, pointed at the sky
and went right back to sitting on their arse,

willfully immune to liberty,
they fanned out their red tops to shield their eyes
from the unruly fire of Anarchy

that threatened to upend their breadline lives.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. peter litton
    Jul 27, 2012 @ 00:20:59

    I’m probably wrong but I always go by my first impression. The Effra once a pleasant stream sinks into the underworld to become a stinking sewer (the Styx).
    The Olympic torch becomes a flaming sword. One by one the wrong doers are castigated as the poem sinks level by level into the unruly fire of anarchy.

    Could this be a little pastiche on the Divine Comedy? 🙂

    Reply

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