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The world to come


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I saw the best youth of my generation,

laid low not by guns but by desperation.

And still my flag flies black and red

and rainbow freak flag honouring our dead.

I heard the news today, O! Boy!

Another lad dead in good old Manchester.

And though the news was as always sordid,

I could only wonder if the gun's the worst.

I never hated all the chavs; the trash; the scum.

It's easy being good when life is full of sun.

And when I preach the world to come,

I try to keep in mind the awful gun.

Kids live lives now blighted by such hate;

no trust, no hope, no future their estate.

And Guardian readers tut and wonder why -

I can't explain but even so, I'll try.

We create a world with no good end.

We offer bread and circuses and then

off to fight our terror for the fittest

and back to grinding poverty the rest.

We asked them to be human; to join our human race

but pulled the ladder out from under them.

And when they failed to thank us for our meager grace,

we called them ogres, beasts, barely men.

Deeds quite impossible - they knew something the old masters.

Don't be surprised, or shocked or awed

when the object of your abject charity bites back

the hand that feeds those cheap scraps

sauced up with CCTV and terror law.

We like our poor just like the old bosses liked theirs.

Cap in hand fawning at the back door.

But when like lions they rise from slumber

confused and angry lacking any lead

we call our dogs out to keep our homestead safe -

build walls around our palaces; put guards before the gates.

And when we stand convicted what will mitigate?

Cain, where is your brother? Sorry mate,

at home his ASBO keeps him there but there's crack

and beer and satellite TV.

Jerry, Montel, Sally Jesse Rafael

serve up for entertainment white trash hell.

And we wonder how the hell it came to this.

Well, to be young in this fair dawn just isn't bliss.

Spare a copper mister? Dunno, are you cute?

And do you steal? And are you polite?

No mister, but I read Emma Goldman before you closed the library down.

She wanted roses and dancing and for a quid I'll be your clown.

I don't have her dignity nor a knife - least not for you.

So give and pass on where you can't love and I'll take my

desperation back home.

Tonight my little brother then my mum then dad then best mate -

arrested? Murdered? Do we care? Look at my face, am I bothered?

But don't sleep - don't close your eyes. The tigers .

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  • 4 weeks later...

I must've read this piece ten or twenty times before I got what the author was trying to convey. The lines are filled with stark imagery and a desperate voice that seems at first, world weary, but upon further readings, I began to see the underlying anger from someone who is tired of being shutdown, tired of feeling less than human, and poised for a revolution.

My favorite lines is...

No mister, but I read Emma Goldman before you closed the library down.

She wanted roses and dancing and for a quid I'll be your clown.

How close to the end of existence have we come when a person can be bought for a few quid/dollars? When did those street people become less than human in our eyes? Why do we treat the dirtiest, smelliest, flee-bitten dog better than a fellow human who needs us even more than those animals?

I fear for the future of the world when animals become more important than humans.

Great poem, I"m sorry that it took so long for me to find the words to comment, but when you write something that is filled with layers, it takes time to strip away and find the heart.

Jason

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Thank you Jason - you got it better than I could have hoped.

I shouldn't but I will - I take full responsibility for commenting on my own work in the worst possible way.

I saw the best youth of my generation,

laid low not by guns but by desperation.

Howl by Ginsberg.

And still my flag flies black and red

and rainbow freak flag honouring our dead.

The black and red flag - the anarchists - avanti populo - the Italian communist song.

"I'm gonna wave my freak flag high" Hendrix noddint to David Crosby talking about long hair.

I heard the news today, O! Boy!

John Lennon

Another lad dead in good old Manchester.

And though the news was as always sordid,

I could only wonder if the gun's the worst.

Lennon was writing about the death of one of the Guiness family iirc who died in a car accident.

I never hated all the chavs; the trash; the scum.

It's easy being good when life is full of sun.

And when I preach the world to come,

I try to keep in mind the awful gun.

Kids live lives now blighted by such hate;

no trust, no hope, no future their estate.

And Guardian readers tut and wonder why -

I can't explain but even so, I'll try.

We create a world with no good end.

We offer bread and circuses and then

panem et circenses - the Latin metaphor for the way the Roman boss class ruled over the plebs.

off to fight our terror for the fittest

and back to grinding poverty the rest.

The communists used to say "not a penny for the bosses taxes, not a boy for the bosses war!"

We asked them to be human; to join our human race

but pulled the ladder out from under them.

And when they failed to thank us for our meager grace,

we called them ogres, beasts, barely men.

Deeds quite impossible - they knew something the old masters.

The reference is to Auden - August 1968 - which I think should be read with Roy Fuller's poem Translation and then to Auden's Musee des Beaux Arts

Don't be surprised, or shocked or awed

Shock and awe needs no explanation.

when the object of your abject charity bites back

the hand that feeds those cheap scraps

sauced up with CCTV and terror law.

We like our poor just like the old bosses liked theirs.

Cap in hand fawning at the back door.

But when like lions they rise from slumber

Red Shelly, the Mask of Anarch

confused and angry lacking any lead

we call our dogs out to keep our homestead safe -

build walls around our palaces; put guards before the gates.

And when we stand convicted what will mitigate?

Cain, where is your brother? Sorry mate,

at home his ASBO keeps him there but there's crack

ASBO = anti social behaviour order - a British legal measure to persecute the disorderly working classes.

and beer and satellite TV.

Jerry, Montel, Sally Jesse Rafael

serve up for entertainment white trash hell.

And we wonder how the hell it came to this.

Well, to be young in this fair dawn just isn't bliss.

Wordsworth on the French Revolution.

Spare a copper mister? Dunno, are you cute?

And do you steal? And are you polite?

No mister, but I read Emma Goldman before you closed the library down.

She wanted roses and dancing and for a quid I'll be your clown.

I don't have her dignity nor a knife - least not for you.

So give and pass on where you can't love and I'll take my

desperation back home.

The Anarchist thinker and agitator Emma Goldman criticized the orthodox socialists saying that if she couldn't dance it wasn't her revolution and that she wanted roses as well as gold. She also said that every hobo and bum should arm themself with a knife and wait in hiding in the doorways of the rich...

Tonight my little brother then my mum then dad then best mate -

arrested? Murdered? Do we care? Look at my face, am I bothered?

But don't sleep - don't close your eyes. The tigers .

Pure projection about the violence in Britain - who's next if you're one of the excluded white trash? But don't sleep because we are tigers and lions.

A poem should need no explanation and a poet would be ashamed to offer one but on this topic at least I have no shame and anyway, I'm no poet.

Peace and loving kindness,

Yak

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