Canto CCCII

Now is gone a moment, then it’s back.
The nose knows now, your precious eyes play tricks.
Between the past and future, now’s the crack.

Now’s always the time for politics.

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.

Canto CLXXII

Stop the conflicts, stall the Leveson probe,
make falling Syrian shells freeze in mid air,
tell all of those shouty Greeks to stop,

tell Iran and Israel “Stop that Cold War!”
pause the famines, freeze the genocides,
halt the Tesco dole worker furore,

still the ice cap thaw and Murdoch’s lies,
so that the news channels can herald that
another poor celebrity has died

and all her famous friends are really sad.

Canto CXXVIII

For most men politics is a kebab—
it takes a fair few beers to set the mood
after the failed conquest has caught her cab,

though, to be fair, the case could be argued
kebabs at least have substance and flavour,
whereas our crass debaters’ worldly views

are big on sizzle, skimpy on ideas.
They’ll wake the next day with a gammy gob,
bowels rumbling like Ben Hur’s charioteers

before they set off meekly to their jobs.

Canto CVIII

Charming infuriator til the end,
Hater of piffle, godly or otherwise,
Raconteur, rabble rouser, Rushdie’s friend,

I heard the news today of your demise,
Sank into a caffeine addled strop
To think that the fount of dry epiphanies,

Of withering put downs, patented Hitchslaps,
Papal pisstakes and Galloway grotesques
Had run dry. None can recreate your steps.

Every blasphemy was not in jest,
Rightly or wrongly, words still hit targets,
Holy Proofs shot full of holes and left

In tatters after you’d blown them to bits.
To be fair, I never agreed on Iraq,
Could see your point but couldn’t run with it,

However, when your viewpoints stood in stark
Exception to my own, your words still shone.
Now we can read your full body of work,

Savour each syllable, forget you’re gone.

Christopher Hitchens 13/4/1949—15/12/2011

Canto XXVII

This is the world we pass to you dear child—
the markets that are ready to collapse;
no megafauna left to roam the wild;

a government that’s led by chirpy chaps
who’ve planned this shambles since their Eton days,
waiting for a momentary lapse

of class awareness from the under waged
who’ll vote the old boys club back into power
because its what their favourite red top says.

Yes, I know there have been darker hours.
I think of pregnant women, bunkered up
during the blitz, knowing the tin roof bower

will collapse under the V2 payload flash,
as fragile as a hunched up, unborn child
behind a stretched out spread of belly flesh.

Who knows what horrors are yet to unfurl,
or what utopia may yet ensue
its causes purely unintentional

and pissed away before the time you’re due.

Canto XXII

The future of this burly East End town:
a clusterfuck of LCDs and glass
perched on top of businesses torn down

before their natural use by dates had passed.
Some endure in the postcode’s marginalia
among the run down boozers and long grass:

the traveller sites and street names still familiar,
all shadowed by its looming call to prayer,
consumerism’s Sagrada Familia.

Dear reader, I guess it’s hard for you to care
as I tap the screen of the smartphone I wield,
not haggling down the market, I’m right here,

failing to be leftfield in Westfield.

Canto XVIII

My dear fellow caucasians of Pontins,
I understand the child perched on my back
Has Asian eyes, a darker type of skin—

but as I launch into my breaststroke
to carry him a full length of the pool,
please don’t stare or let your jaw go slack

as if I’ve grown another set of balls
across the wrinkled length of my forehead.
And though I’m not a follow national

I seem to tap into some primal dread
of tangled bloodlines, mixed up tones of skin.
My fellow honkies, put your fears to bed!

He’s the blood nephew of my next of kin,
no need to bolster up the National Front.
Although our Irish Filipino genes

will have your jobs and homes in seven months.

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