General · Personal

Risks

 

Brexit No deal risks medical supplies,
a direct threat to millions whose lives,
like mine, navigate chronic illnesses
like asthma, heart-disease, diabetes …

Is human well-being to be denied
at the expense of our security
and our health? How will families survive?
At length, how can our economies thrive
this hazard to our nations’ existence?
Let’s dispense with political pretence;
Brexit. No deal.

Are we to be undone by misplaced pride?
For such high costs there are no alibis.   
Crohns, fibromyalgia, anxiety,
myalgic encephalomyelitis,
depression amongst crises that arise.
Brexit? No deal!

From cancer to endometriosis
dementia to ehlers-danlos syndromes,
like so many, I battle some of these
and all affect our whole society;
United Kingdom needs her medicines.

Brexit No deal
threatens the core of civilization;
our dignities, our life-expectancies,
our capabilities. My conclusion;
Brexit? No! Deal.   


Antonia Sara Zenkevitch
Culture · General · Personal

Gone

Gone are the days of princesses
and nights in shining armor;
My love, this is England now
In the daze of fares selling fair ethics,
Where knights slaughter sacred cows
Amid rued lives, dignities and businesses
In rude awakenings, fresh grievances
And very little honour towards neighbours,
In a winter that does not seem to pause
A dog sleeping in a doorway chews his paws;
The mighty say we choose this,
A lax hypothesis for half choices based on lies,
Lack breeds homelessness in familiar lanes;
A city’s slow demise in the ice where lives have lain.

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

The first two lines of this poem were a prompt from poet Sonya Annita Song which in turn reminded me of the haunting Sinead O’Connor song ‘Black Boys on Mopeds’. The content is inspired by things I have recently seen.

48% · Democracy · General

Post-Factual Democracy

In this post-factual democracy

we are seen collectively;

the world forgets

that, in 2016

48 % voted

‘Remain’,

 

But most of us don’t remember that,

For we are drip fed again and again, again

The idea that Britain is united behind Brexit,

The PM tells repeatedly how, in the general election

80 percent of us chose parties with a Brexit manifesto

But, there was little choice, in this undemocratic system

Seeking a divorce from its own scapegoat, our status quo is

Weighed irrefutably in favour of one of two parties ever getting in,

Citizens have a muted voice and restricted representation that does not go

With an idea that we agree, comply with or know. We’ve been told our decision.

To disagree, it seems, is to be undemocratic as we are taught to follow

A yellow brick road, but we can’t click our heels to return home

And it’s only the Brexiters who are shown on television,

European neighbours regard at us now with fury,

Confusion, frustration, ridicule, disdain, pity

“Only eating biscuits and drinking tea”

In Coordinator Verhofstadt’s eyes

The UK described as ‘disorderly’

‘Crashing’, feeble of mind

Into self-made injury

Upon which we

Cannot stand.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

General

Post-Factual Democracy

 

 

In this post-factual democracy

we are seen collectively;

the world forgets

that, in 2016

48 % voted

‘Remain’,

 

But most of us don’t remember that,

For we are drip fed again and again, again

The idea that Britain is united behind Brexit,

The PM tells repeatedly how, in the last election

80 percent of us chose parties with a Brexit manifesto

But, there was little choice, in this undemocratic system

Seeking a divorce from its own scapegoat, our status quo is

Weighed irrefutably in favour of one of two parties ever getting in,

Citizens have a muted voice and restricted representation that does not go

With an idea that we agree, comply with or know. We’ve been told our decision.

To disagree, it seems, is to be undemocratic as we are taught to follow

A yellow brick road, but we can’t click our heels to return home

And it’s only the Brexiters who are shown on television,

European neighbours regard at us now with fury,

Confusion, frustration, ridicule, distain, pity

“Only eating biscuits and drinking tea”

In Coordinator Verhofstadt’s eyes

The UK described as ‘disorderly’

‘Crashing’, feeble of mind

Into self-made injury

Upon which we

Cannot stand.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

48% · Democracy · General

Making Progress?

 

“I’m making progress, Mr. Speaker,”
We hear Jeremy Corbyn state,
I watch the opposition leader,
As he ignores all calls for debate,
Undeterred, unheard, on with his task;
“I’m making progress, Mr. Speaker,”
“Yes, but towards what?” our silence asks
Cracking delicate glass, their mirror
In each other; a work of Dada
Where masked surrealism prevails,
“I’m making progress, Mr. Speaker,”
Just before each amendment fails,
Falls, and there is no leader I trust;
He cannot overcast Theresa
Who, nebulous, calls out from the dust
“I’m making progress, Mr. Speaker.”

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

48% · Democracy · General

Alternative Arrangements

Arcane these halls, wherein these walls

the pomp and thrills

shroud the lack of clarity;

where the right to a voice

and the order of bills

denotes a lack of legal parity.

 

2019, the 29th of January,

each motion falls, well, almost all;

one strange one is given charity.

 

Hopes of extension are lost;

no  breathing space

to find out what is real

or to replace 600 or more laws

leaving Europe will displace.

 

The promised date of another meaningful

Parliamentary ballot,

or the sequence of the day’s amendments

defines how those amendments fall.

 

The backstop;

which, after over two years

writing between red lines

we’re promised,

against all past assurances

will be redefined;

 

the nebulousness called ‘alternative arrangements’ this time.

 

Not for the first time

we all ask what just happened;

to what are we consigned?

 

In these arcane processes

can you hear

nations unite

around the cruxes

as common sense cries out

and people turn from left to right

to ask the question of 2019;

what does ‘alternative arrangements’ mean?

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

question mark

General

Shit-Sock Sonnet (a political satire)

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

“Roll up! Hear the latest reports from our government,”
A homeless man on a park bench gleefully shouts,
“Woman in wheelchair throws shit-socks at parliament!”

“She said it was for the country’s good,
She’d ensured the more decent MPs weren’t about,
Roll up! Hear the latest reports from our government,

“No one believed her; she said she would
Make sure Lammy and Lucas each had nice days out;
Woman in wheelchair throws shit-socks at parliament!

“She did what few really thought she could,
She’d counted all the laws she intended to flout;
Roll up! Hear the latest reports from our government,

“MPs serve us shit like it was food
And nothing we say or do seems to have much clout,
Woman in wheelchair throws shit-socks at parliament

“Her dream of this suits a public mood,
A dream featuring headlines; a front-page layout;
Roll up! Hear the latest reports from our…

View original post 146 more words

48% · Democracy · General

Dear Ministers

Dear Ministers,
Oh, dear ministers,
Oh dear, ministers,

I have listened, ministers,
To the speeches you gave,
I have seen you, leaders,
How some choose to behave,

I offer up broken couplets
Too messy to make the grade,
Like the Eton Mess you serve us;

Dominic Raab
You’ve had a fair stab
At getting the Brexit you craved,
As quill-master in Cabinet,
Aren’t you part of the mess that’s been made?
But no one’s got a sane plan yet,
How can your vision be saved?
We’ll lose our voice, increase our debt,
Can we not end the whole Brexit crusade?

Andrea Leadsom
I can’t fathom your reasons
For taking a lead upon
Leaving,
It’s not buying us freedom
Just Isolation
More homelessness,
And alienation
That will leave most of us
Grieving,

Borris Johnson
Tone down your ambition
When it estranges our nation,
Where you get facts from
I cannot imagine
But few of them have any traction,

Oh Michael Gove
I don’t mean to scold
But there isn’t much else I can say,
As we’re forced down a road
Which will see us implode –
You were warned Brexit would be this way,

Please, Jacob Rees-Mogg,
Could you stop playing God –
Draining dregs of Britain’s Great,
The Brexiters will no longer applaud
When they examine the state of our state,
You campaigned for something we cannot afford
That’s encouraging extremist hate,
Which will undermine the rule of law,
And you don’t quite have the mandate,

Liam Fox
We’re on the rocks,
Could you rise to our defence?
Brexit has hit expected roadblocks,
Your euro-scepticism makes little sense,

Jeremy Corbyn,
Please curb your boredom,
We need a real opposition,
You’ve been sat there for months
Letting them play the trumps
Not challenging many decisions,
Please don’t stay in the dumps
Between scuffles and bumps,
Wake up, and get with the mission,
You look like your waiting for Godo to come,
Seeming apathy enlarges division
And that’s not a thing we can build on,

Theresa May,
You campaigned to remain
But the deal offered
Is no sort of plan;
Neither here nor there,
Can you tell, I’m not a big fan?
But I have to be fair,
Making Brexit happen
would make any despair,
So, could we start agreeing
That this is demeaning
And Brexit can’t get anywhere?

Frank Field
Please yield,
The foodbank ques
Are already too long,
Think what we’ll lose
If no-deal rules
And our bargaining power
Is all gone,
I honour your ardour
But you’re plain wrong,
And, let me make it clear;
Immigrants belong,
When you raise fear
It resonates on, on, on,
We’re better inside
Making change
Than outside when everything’s gone,
Shouting in
With nothing but our rage
To live on,
You’ll only succeed in limiting
How any of us engage –
Best abort the mistaken vision
At this last sand-grain stage,

Kate Hoey,
What are you doing?
You won’t end the single market
This exit will just lead to our ruin –
And guess who’ll be hit the hardest
If borders are closed, no food getting in?
The working class would die the fastest.
If we’ve hope of any solution
We have to take stock and move past this;
We need a codified constitution
But breaking union won’t help this,
And Brexit won’t offer social justice
But more hunger and less protections,

Ester McVey,
This is far from OK;
Brexiteering
Cripples the UK,
Throwback ideas stirring
Our fears,
And nostalgia for Empire days
In faraway years,
But when ballots say Brexit
It was ever going to be
A state of disarray
As a third-party country,
This was a foundation
Not to vote leave,
We break more than one
Precious unity,
But, for diverse reasons,
On one thing we agree;
This deal won’t work for our nation –
It will mean more poverty
And give near zero security
Or peace,
But Brexit could be no other way –
As most legal advisors agree,
Now our nation has to pay
But have no protection or say
In EU policies,

I could go on with my anti-Brexit song
But would any of you really listen?
You’ve been ignoring each other for so long
As we’re forced to endure such division.

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General

Join in a Collaborative Poem on Absence

An invite to all poets, writers, ranters and philosophers:

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

I have joined in with several great poems challenges on other bloggers’ sites, so I thought I’d reach out and invite poets, philosophers, and wordsmiths to join in with one myself.

The idea is for everyone who wants to, to contribute a 3 to 6 line verse and create something amazing together. We’ll create a collective/collaborative poem from our individual voices. So, here are the guidelines:

  • one verse per person only please, of between 3 and 8 lines each
  • the first line must include the phrase ‘the weight of absence’
  • the last word must be ‘absence’
  • the rhyme scheme can be either ababa… aababa or abcabca or a variation
  • use as many or few syllables as you like per line (within reason, obviously)
  • be true to your own voice while listening to other voices
  • post your verse in the comment section, I’ll add it to the main text later…

View original post 67 more words

General

Indices

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

I write of lives in indices,

Scenes sketched within margins

Of halts for breath in sentences,

Of freedom in parenthesis

In our secret garden,

I write of lives in ink;

Hers inscribed in water

In quiet apocalypse

Others would call order,

I write of lives,

Their curve in words

At boundary lines

To disinter,

“I”, write

I, not to please,

But for all interred I’s

I write of lives in indices,

Those only angels heard.

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

View original post

General · Personal

Inspiration Porn

This is a zanze I wrote, posted on my old blog. It’s about certain views on disability, chronic illness and women:

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

I’m not your inspiration porn

For you to sensationalize

As your source of motivation

For your more abled-bodied lives,

Not your inspiration

Or measure of your skill,

A Paralympian

Nor life uncured to kill,

I’m not your porn,

Objectified

For you to own

Or criticize,

Not your

Provocation

Your stimulus or spur;

I’m not your inspiration porn.

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

View original post

Democracy · General

Unlock

Unlock

This deadlock

Of flailing democracy

Before we’re locked inside

A falling fortress time forgot

Half our number failing to perceive

We are becoming what we are not

A thing our future won’t believe

Warped by horrors of austerity

Fragmented by painful pride

Becoming dark histories

The public outcries

No alibis

For lies

Unmet

Needs

Breed

Crimes

Lines

                           At foodbanks to feed

Lives

                         Identities redefined

     Maligned

                                This is oppression’s seed

                               Partition and hypocrisy

                              Please heed and unlock

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · General

Those Who Build Walls; a Rondeau

 

“Those who build walls are their own prisoners.”

So Ursula K. Le Guin would tell us,

When I look at the world I see this truth

Where-ever our sense of freedom is skewed,

When our prejudice becomes our jailer,

 

Ramparts and barriers have hidden us;

We, captive creatures in a crazed circus

Slowly becoming that old spectacle;

Those who build walls,

 

We can, in large part, blame corrupt leaders

But, for their own power, they must heed us,

We’re our own saviours when we’ve got the gall

But we’re often both guards and criminals

Turning ourselves into the invaders;

Those who build walls.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Culture · Democracy · General

Truths in the Rough

Exit?

Exit what?

Exit our co-creation?

Exit equals mass confusion;

Exit means shut,

Exit Brexit;

Exit

This closing;

This sealing up;

This opening to chauvinism

This echoed forgetfulness,

This separatism,

This

Whispered fascism;

Whispered near borders,

Whispered corners of reason,

Whispered desolation over

Whispered orders,

Whispered

Truths emerge,

Truths are heard,

Truths are complex things,

Truths beyond words;

Truths examine

Truths.

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Culture · General · Personal

Once

I shared a Britain Europeans could call home

In the four decades my skin was called my own,

One day I’ll tell our Islands’ descendants

I shared a Britain Europeans could call home,

Before the dice of jeopardy was thrown

And all that amity was gone and done

In the four decades my skin was called my own,

I shared a Britain Europeans could call home.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

This is the second Triolet I’ve written in as many days, inspired by a challenge set by a wonderful poet whose diverse work can be seen at https://reowr.com/ . My first triolet was 48 Percent Life, which is perhaps a better poem structurally than my second attempt at this form, but I’m enjoying this particular type of poem.

General · Personal

48 Percent Life

into the loaded silence, I write

all about a 48 percent life,

while the globe spins on a knife

into the loaded silence, I write

as i watch, gross injustices ignite

my body immobile, thoughts in flight

into the loaded silence, I write

all about a 48 percent life.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

Culture · Democracy · General

Governance

A question for 2019;

What does good governance mean?

Northern Ireland’s parliament is in shutdown

With Stormont in a chronic stalemate,

The default position is uneven centralism,

 

Then governmental stasis in the states,

Meaning more insecurity for North Americans

And every country to which they relate,

Democrats standing up to Trump’s Republicans

Who want them to collude and participate

In a wall built to keep out Mexicans,

A farce millions cannot contemplate,

 

In France, we see the rise of the Gilets Jaunes

Forcing Marcon into the Grand Debate

When riot police could not keep down

The protests; government could not dominate

With gas, batons or flash ball guns,

 

In Brazil, two extremes woo the electorate,

One saturated with corruption, in prison

Still claiming to be compassionate

Though in ten years the nation’s been driven

Into gross inequality, theft, violence,

Knifing the opposition, a man with a mission

But one who counts minorities as less,

 

While in a divided United Kingdom,

Parliament is in an almighty mess,

The cusp of leaving the European Union

Is marked with bilateral anguish

With no agreed, viable solution

To the much- disputed Brexit

Taking up all the air in the room

And consuming all other policies,

Amid worsening living conditions,

Ignoring individual and collective needs,

 

So, I return to my earlier question

About what all this says about democracy

And other forms of administration,

Problems echoed criss-cross countries

So often wrongly blamed on migration,

I see in each the patterns of plutocracy;

Of rights and voice defined by income,

Then, amid hardships, crises of identity

Leading to questioned certainties, divisions

And rife threats to human ties and societies,

Too often undermining the rights of minorities

In rising tides of nationalism,

 

There are examples of covert tyrannies;

Of leaders not resigning when they should

And other top dogs taking uncivil liberties

For their own or their tribe’s preferment,

Encouraging disillusion, discouraging diversity,

Increasing alienation and disenfranchisement

In national emergencies, too often political intent

Seems partisan, not meant to broker agreement,

 

In each case, as in others across continents,

Security is undermined by unstable employment

And people struggling for food, mortgage or rent,

In each case there’s a sense of restricted involvement

Of people in the workings of their government,

Often leading to questions on freedom of movement

When prejudices rise from the undercurrents,

 

In each case, mainstream media plays its part,

Directing direct democracy, or its proxy,

Sources of funding can fuel changes of heart

Affecting each story’s legitimacy,

 

While every situation is different,

Each wrought with seeming infinite complexity,

There seem to be patterns that are consistent;

The need for greater political transparency;

The need for engagement, informed consent

And protections against unreachable governance

Whatever the locale; whatever the distance,

Deficits of democracy are meeting resistance

 

Because deceptions and social disparities

Lead to inequality and festering grievance,

As uprisings against injustice lose clarity,

Destroyed by divide to rule philosophies

Made worse by the walls of isolationists,

 

Maybe this is a question for psychologists,

Maybe we’re either rebels or pragmatists,

Maybe we’re enigmas for archaeologists

Or evidence against climate change denialists,

Maybe we’re each authors of the crisis

Or targets for the powerful’s devices,

 

Whatever the truth of it is

We’re made stronger by who’s beside us,

Beyond cultures, faiths, ideologies,

The need to be heard by our leaders

Whether these lead councils, constituencies,

Countries or cross-national assemblies,

I do not have the answers

 

but

 

I believe this, we are strengthened by unities

And valuing ourselves and our fellow humans,

To embolden interconnected communities

With shared interests and empowered regions

Served by, not serving their parliamentarians.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · General

The Stolen Sun

 

They worked for decades

For their place in the sun,

As their autumns fade

They claimed their freedom

From the ache of the rain

In their muscles and bones,

Now they ache to remain

In their retirement homes,

 

This was not given to them;

They got there on their own,

Is their security to be stolen?

The seeds of doubt are sown;

 

European citizens in Britain

Are now treated as hostages,

So, their nations of origin

Do the same in this crisis,

 

This questions the concept of belonging;

Belonging to; belonging with; belongingness,

Both the forces of comfort and longing

And the money and belief we each invest

In the places we choose to be living,

 

We need to be honest

In this state of anti-immigration;

We have to own this

Process of individual rights negation,

History tells us Britishness

Is formed of centuries of integration,

 

Will we continue to count as less

All those who come to our nation

And add to its worth and essence?

Our ex-pats too will be distressed

If our neighbours devalue their presence,

 

This is Brexit’s darkest side, undressed;

Naked of all the abhorrent pretense

in the lies that sought to impress

Some citizens sitting on the fence,

 

To say we Brits can live anywhere

Yet limit who comes here makes no sense,

Yet many a Brexiteer seems unaware

Their acts may have weighted consequence.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · General

The Bell and Drum

Beneath old towers of golden stone

The clanging bell, the thump of drum,

Where an ageless river flows;

Protesters come, flags are flown

Of unions caught in the undertow,

 

People have gathered together

In clamorous amalgamation,

Side by side in the bitter weather

In hope, in fury, in confusion,

Equal and opposite in their fervour

For union or nationalism;

Those who see our saviour

In a second referendum,

Those who want Westminster

To deliver the sworn unicorn

And those who’d just prefer

This Brexit business done,

 

The noise, and then the hush

As the crowds wait and listen

In that huddled crush

For parliament’s decision,

 

As the bells peel

I worry with millions

That there be a no deal;

An incalculable burden

Leading to more poverty,

Inequality, social division

Affecting the majority,

 

A bad deal garners historic defeat

As the drum beats

The hearts on the street,

I wonder what consensus

Parliament could meet

That would guard and represent us,

 

If cabinet chose only to outreach

To Brexiteer extremists in their party

Ensuring May’s red lines aren’t breached

In the name of the mock democracy

Her impassable processes preached,

 

While Labour refuses doors to dialogue

A far-right Brexit seems a possibility,

Corbyn in apparent stasis, his own voice vague,

I fear a worse deal passed by united Tories;

For a path to ruin to be laid

The percentage win need only be tiny,

 

Let me be as clear as the tolling bell

I’ve wanted passionately to remain,

That hope by a minor margin fell,

Now, uncertainty and frustration reign,

Disintegrating realms, unforgivable

That all this will cause us all more pain,

 

We could say the Brexit project’s failed;

For millions of us, this would be preferable,

But other millions would feel their voice curtailed

And we must think of them as well;

Not the bigotry and isolationism

Within the leaver’s swell

Nor notions driven by racism

Which we must quell,

But the inherent criticism

Of governance being too central,

Distant, too far from them;

Too absent in their struggles;

Seemingly devoid of realism;

Aloof in the face of their troubles,

Those who work beneath Big Ben

Can sometimes seem the most remote,

But the EU has been condemned

By those who see the ocean as a moat

And invasion in each boat or plane;

Who’ve been sold the scapegoat

To explain what’s hard to frame;

 

Hidden in many leaver’s votes

Was a broad, nebulous rejection

Of the status quo,

We need a proper constitution

Yet those negotiations closed,

We traded thoughts of UK devolution;

Of proactive regions within a whole;

Brexit offered as an alternative solution,

Yet, in all the to and fro,

Scarlet barricades and preconditions

There is one thing all this shows;

Lack of transparency in political decisions;

A deficit we cannot afford

On the benches of our House of Commons,

Our crises don’t begin in Brussels or Strasburg,

The problem has long been born at home;

Our economy, among the most centralised in the world,

Witnessing widening gaps in people’s income,

The EU used a stooge, Westminster failings ignored,

As the drum thunders and the bell chimes

To conundrums and discord,

Facing divorce fees or severing fines –

Our futures hanging on a word,

Too much not agreed, too much undefined

And all of us calling out to be assured

In these troubling, world-shifting times,

While we, like collecting dew, are poured

Into the flow of the leaden Thames,

 

If  we go ahead, we need a far softer line

To protect our kingdom’s unions,

Our security, our peace, and the rights

Of our UK and international citizens,

To guard investments and keep in sight

Our shared intercontinental ambitions,

Cross-border threats to climate

And the need for social protections,

But the hour is getting late

As debates continue into the night

And we watch others write our fate

As deals fall in the dwindling light.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · General

A gender

One commentator expounds

On May digging in stiletto heels,

As he, on shaky and unlevel grounds

Blames a government’s historic failure;

To reach a workable deal

(With a gall that even now astounds)

On the Prime Minister’s gender,

 

The interviewer does not question assertions

Made with usual, casual, lethal sexism

As the commentator mentions a lack of children

As if that were a reason for derision;

Or cause of brinkmanship or inflexibility,

Equating female ambition

With a leader’s inability

Or unwillingness to seek

To engage constitutionally,

As if the issue was women in politics

Or in the monarchy,

As if there were the statistics

To back up such misogyny;

Too few women have led

To make such sweeping analogy,

It is not May’s womanhood

For which she owes apology.

Democracy · General · Remain

Blackmail

She May mean well

But this is blackmail,

After an epic fail

Which she ignores

To carry on

Just as before,

 

She will not move the ruddy lines

Or give the deal-making more time

Or take ‘no deal’ of the table,

‘blackmailer’, a suitable label

For such irresponsible

Holding to ransom

Of those elected by the people,

She’s inciting pandemonium,

Her way or no way at all

Is close to despotism,

Which is near to criminal

At this time of emergency,

With such a short interval,

To misuse the urgency

As political currency

To pass a dead deal

Come what May

It is not OK;

It is blackmail.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

General · Remain

The Big Riot (a political satire)

At the Met headquarters

There’s another call out,

To gather all available officers

To attend another London riot,

When they muster at the order

The streets are uncannily quiet,

Far too silent to signal peace,

The van drivers see the flickering TVs

As the vanguards of PSUs cruise,

They tell their colleagues in the carriers

“Every household is watching the news”

Then, they get closer to Westminster

Where they each get a first-hand view,

 

Of the riot’s epicentre,

Met commanders aren’t sure what to do,

It started in the Common’s Chamber

And it shows no sign at all of ending,

Ministers displaying criminal behaviour,

They’d have to send the forces in,

Some Brexiteers were running with cleavers

And Borris Johnson was singing

As law-enforcers arrest law-makers

To the sound of ancient plaster cracking

And answering war cries from Remainers,

The police chief rethinks the cons of fast-tracking

While arresting MPs from Tories and Labour,

Extracting an uninterested Corbyn,

If he’d not been killed by Mogg’s sabre

It looks like he’d soon have died of boredom,

The Speaker is still trying hard to call order

As someone nearby asks the chief

“Sir, where do we put the cordon?”

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · Remain

Democracy

 

She keeps saying that word, ‘democracy’,

As if she kens in any way

What it truly means, or maps it meaningfully,

Thoughtfully into daily political routines,

Or sees it as her duty, or honours it duly,

Does she? Do we?

 

In the absence of a solid UK constitution

I took a butchers at the dictionary;

 

Let’s park the ultimate ‘democracy’ definition;

‘A system of government by the whole population,’

Across centuries this has been the high ambition

But in every recorded era and administration

There’ve been cordons limiting representation;

Defining our inner outcasts; inciting disunion,

 

So, let’s look at a more realistic take;

To include All eligible members of a state,

Usually via representatives elected –

That’s all of them; not just the cabinet –

Democracy seeks to be inspected,

It does not isolate, negate or delay debate,

Cross-party amendments must be respected

As is that near- impeachment moment

When parliament found May’s government

To be acting in contempt,

Many united voices on each backbench

Knocking on doors of The Prime Minister’s set

To ask her cabal where our democracy went,

 

But she treats such questions as undemocratic,

Yet it’s her clique that fits inside that lens,

The irony is spiky, bitter, cutting, tragic,

For it is a torn flag May says she defends

And her hands have helped to tear its fabric,

A borderline result in the EU referendum,

Gross exaggeration of marginal statistics;

It was always a blatant overstatement

To say Britain voted for this Brexit –

The difference of a couple of percent,

Most of whom voted ‘leave’ due to deceit,

Buying into lies of the Brexiteer campaign –

The same people she now calls colleagues,

Is it democracy or deception they’d see reign;

Ideally, one requires the other’s defeat,

 

Instead, a failed attempt at self-coronation –

The expectation entirely unrealistic,

This weakened any credibility for her position

As she undermined terms of a peace agreement

To abandon neutrality for a near-coalition

With one side of Northern Ireland’s dialectic,

Setting the nation up for renewed collisions,

All this to get enough seats for a slim majority;

To fain enough support for her to govern,

Northern Ireland’s needs still not a priority,

 

Calls for votes of no confidence since then,

The first, directed at her, by her own party,

Went to a ballot she won narrowly,

Oh yes, a half-hearted mutter from Corbyn

Was fairly shamelessly deflected –

He, seemingly most interested

In whether Labour could win,

Only requested parliament contested

May’s place at the helm,

 

Later came calls from the other opposition;

The ignored, united smaller parties

Disillusioned by her flailing, high-handed regime,

Yet still, May continues her didactic addresses

As if all were there to rubber stamp her scheme,

This is not why any of them were elected;

To say she shields democracy would be obscene,

 

‘Democratic’ has become a word infected,

Made submissive for assumed power to lean on,

The word shouted as an order or directive

By those who wish to guard their own dominion;

Their grasp of the term is defective,

 

What about ‘social equality’ as a working definition?

Um, I can safely say they’re failing that one –

Policies stirring frustration, fear, suspicion,

While abandoning pledges to abused women,

More people than before feeling alienation

As we see homelessness break all proportions

Amid cuts to vital services, wages, and occupations,

Crime soars as they cut back on police divisions,

As the cost of living rises to beat inflamed inflation,

 

The Sausage Song was Christmas no. one,

Raising funds to help feed hungry millions,

Those facing starvation include children,

So, topping the charts is positive direct action

Not by our government, but by the population.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · General

A January Morning

 

A January Sunday morning,

After my ritual of washing

Dan comes in with the Guardian,

While drinking tea I’m listening

To desired reports, hope glistening;

In the USA diverse representatives sworn in,

In the UK, political rebellion against fracking

And I hear, deep inside, a caged bird sing

While doors with rusty iron locks are slowly opening.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · General

Two Poems of Hope for 2019

Hello All,

Hoping your year started peacefully. I started 2019 listening to ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance‘ by Irving Berlin, sung by the great Nat King Cole. The song for me captures the spirit of making merry no matter what troubles may be ahead and finding joy in life and love. I was not feeling well earlier in the evening – I have complex disabilities and chronic health conditions – but by the time we saw the fireworks from our open bedroom window and read out Tennison, I was warm and hopeful. The story about how we ended up reading the classic ‘Ring Out, Wild Bells‘ is shared in a new poem I wrote the next day. It centers on the story of a woman honouring a beautiful tradition her mother kept.wild bell echoes az I’ve submitted this poem together with one other and three art pieces into an International Mental Health & Wellbeing ‘Postcard’ Show. Another poem of hope is written today:

A January Morning

 

A January Sunday morning,

After my ritual of washing

Dan comes in with the Guardian,

While drinking tea I’m listening

To desired reports, hope glistening;

In the USA diverse representatives sworn in

In the UK, political rebellion against fracking

And I hear, deep inside, a caged bird sing

While doors with rusty iron locks are slowly opening.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

Meanwhile, a piece I wrote last year on disability and access has been published:

So, these are my offerings for hope and determination going into 2019.

 

48% · Culture · Democracy · General · Remain

Heptarchy

Once there were seven kingdoms

Of Anglo-Saxon dominance;

Anglia, Kent, Essex,

Mercia and Wessex

Northumbria and Sussex,

Before tenth century unification

Into what became old England,

But not yet it’s modern boundaries;

 

Seven realms called the heptarchy

Founded this new arrangement

Of central management, essentially,

I still see the relative estrangement

Of all other parts of the UK;

An incomplete enfranchisement

Underpins our other ‘unities’

Where heptarchic centricity holds sway,

When it is thought convenient,

To compromise lives, look the other way

And rip up fragile, vital peace agreements,

When some English MPs side-line or deny,

This feels true again today

When I watch Westminster Parliament;

Though I know some ministers care greatly,

The problems stretch out to such an extent

Blinkered thinking seems to be the generality;

 

Despite our interconnections culturally,

Despite interdependence economically,

Despite the shared need for security,

Old England is treated as a relative priority;

 

Northern Irish fears, questions and grievance,

Shelved in Brexit deals, not given real credence,

Indifference buttresses treating another’s existence

As subsidiary to our need for insurance,

Encouraging escalation in cross border violence,

The chance of peace lost is not a cost worth

The elusive ideal of so-called self-governance,

Northern Ireland threatened by the backstop

And an opening for conflict and social chaos,

The reason Westminster speaks of this at all? –

They need Northern Irish votes to seal the deal,

The Northern Ireland that voted to remain,

Where you can travel over to Ire by train,

Why would we trade this for either nation’s pain?

Precious and perilous the amity between men,

Paramilitaries on both sides still have guns,

Brexit can’t be allowed to become

Heptarchia; or a central England predilection

Provoking the smashing of any kingdom,

 

What of the Gibraltians?

98% chose Britain

Over being part of Spain,

Whilst staying fiercely European;

96% also voted to remain,

Will we squander this union?

Are they well protected by the plan –

Or will we treat their needs as alien,

Forgetting their realm in the kingdom;

The so-called United Kingdom?

Where is this debate in parliament?

Oh, I forgot, there isn’t one

Because Gibraltar has been given

No real part in any final decision,

This British Military Bastion

And bridge between continents

Neglected in isolationist vision

Loosed to the currents

Of selectively chosen ignorance,

 

Meanwhile Scotland speaks of a second referendum

To leave the United Kingdom

And stay in the European Union

Westminster promises for further devolution

Postponed season after season,

Amidst Westminster undemocratic deviations,

Scottish Parliament makes preparations

To build post- Brexit resilience for her population,

 

Then Wales and Cornwall, who both voted to leave,

Neither part of the old heptography –

Cornwall long outside English boundaries

Both long over-looked by Westminster priorities,

Treated as political minorities,

Suffering more than their portion of poverty,

Brexit was their sole opportunity

To question the balance of authority,

But was it the EU that was their enemy –

Or the swing of an English majority?

 

What of the Cornish Isles of Scilly?

What of the Scottish Outer Hebrides?

These small communities

Surrounded by sea

With unique histories

And identities

Sometimes as close

To other countries,

Will their ferries and boats

Still move just as freely?

If the answer is ‘no’

‘Hopefully’ or only ‘Ideally’

How can Westminster vote

For such uncertainty?

 

Certain Northern realms and principalities

Long divided into modern counties

Whose borders blurred over centuries

Can be heard by Westminster to a lesser degree,

 

Of the others caught in the undertow,

The fourteen ‘Crown Dependencies’

Not permitted a vote,

How does this affect their families

Safety, economy and futurity?

 

The nations termed ‘Balliwicks’

From the root-word meaning ‘bailiff’,

Once seen as empire’s colonies,

Now proudly autonomous countries,

Yet still, in some complex way legally

Described as British Territories,

Making us ask what Britain really is,

For we share more than a monarchy;

Our Brexit deal with affect their populace

Yet where are their representatives in this?

 

Many of these relationships interlaced

With the family now called Commonwealth

Striving for more parity to be embraced –

Though some do call it theft by stealth

My hope is in its a partnering in trials faced –

A hope for those by climate change threatened,

By drought, war, tides or floods displaced,

That help does come from a community of nations,

A harsh Brexit winter could require such grace

But do we consider their needs in our calculations?

 

How often is apparent worth computed by race?

 

Former realms and current friends in

North and South Atlantic,

Africa, the Indian Ocean

Antarctica and the Pacific

Many with the flag on Britain

Making part of their own flag,

Of our commonwealth cousins

Our mates in Australia

And New Zealand –

Among the closest we have

Despite the distance,

 

They’ve been there for us

Like our kin in India and Pakistan,

Side by side through war’s tumult

Yet here Asian citizens

Are too often thrown insults

 

Here, seeming Anglo-Saxons

Appear treated as higher status

Than those whose origin is thought Celt,

But Caucasian Brits get preference

To almost everybody else,

 

Many nations in the Caribbean

Whose Windrushers rushed to assist

Us in modern Britain’s darkest time,

With them, Britain rose like a phoenix,

 

Then there is land used by our armed forces

Like Akrotiri and Dhekelia –

British Territories in Cyprus,

Names to most Britons, unfamiliar,

Our deal affects Cyprian neighbours,

Do we properly consider this?

 

Last but the opposite of least

Guernsey, Jersey, The Ise of Man –

How do each fit with us with Brexit?

Beyond issues of customs and taxes

Are interlinked histories and narratives

And our dependence on dependencies,

 

If we are to make a truth of the promise

That we will be secure and stable,

Westminster must be far more inclusive

About who sits around negotiating tables

For any Brexit deal to be persuasive –

Or, frankly even workable,

Because there is a fact that is pervasive –

The biggest threats are global

As are families, communities, friendships,

Many opportunities and goals,

A poor deal will tear us all to bits

As we see local groups and businesses

More consumed by trans-national corporations

Whose size and power are bigger than nations,

So, outside nostalgic heptarchic fantasies

People need states to work in collaboration

To find balance sovereignty and union

Because raising the drawbridge is no solution,

 

As I write this, I hope Brexit won’t happen –

I identify as ardently British-European

And do not think we’ve found a deal

That anyone could call a solid foundation,

But whatever is to come we have to get real –

Customs becoming insular will diminish Britain

And that narrowing would be beyond geographical.

 

Once there were seven kingdoms

Who, realising division made them vulnerable,

Banded together to form England,

Like Scottish Clans, the benefits considerable,

Now we risk all unions,

Yet, if we understand each relationship has value

Then horizons can expand

While our societies become more sustainable

And personal and communal sovereignty

Becomes a wee bit more attainable.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Culture · General

Wishing you peace, wellbeing & security

With all that is happening in the world, including but not only Britain, I wish anyone reading this (regardless of faith) peace, wellbeing, and security now and into 2019. There are many troubles; from volcanos and tsunamis to the ques at Foodbanks, from conflicts and shootings in Strasburg to rising cold and homelessness, we have challenges to face. Many of my poems speak of the harsher realities but there is almost always hope hidden in the seams and margins. When and if it feels too much I look for the helpers, for they are always out there. They are the ones giving out hot drinks, food, blankets or even a kind word or smile. They are everywhere, and if you can’t find one look in the mirror. If you’re reading this I may well not know you, but I wish you well because many strangers are friends we have not met. If you need some light then I offer an earlier post I wrote, Inspirational Songs .

Democracy · Festive Protest Songs · General

My Least Favourite Things

(Here’s one I wrote a few years ago, to the tune of The Sound of Music – My Favourite Things)

 

Homelessness rising and people frost-bitten,

Unnourished bellies, cold hands without mittens

Transnational big businesses pulling our strings,

These are a few of my least favourite things,

 

Terrorists funded by Oil and Arms Dealers,

Refugees blamed by Daesh and all our leaders,

Bombers that fly with mass death on their wings

These are a few of my least favourite things,

 

Violence increasing as prejudice slashes,

Divide to rule rhetoric gluing eyelashes

Icy white winters mixed up with our springs

These are a few of my least favourite things,

 

Chorus:

When the cuts bite, when the lies sting,

When we’re feeling sad

We unite against our least favourite things

And then we won’t feel so bad,

 

Misinformation as our climate is cracking,

Secretive deals to enforce lethal fracking,

Opportunities passing as poverty clings,

These are a few of my least favourite things,

 

Racism, ableism, gender exclusion,

Media Moguls spreading confusion,

Insipid homogeny dominating

These are a few of my least favourite things,

 

Public services given to corporatisation

Making us wonder who governs our nations,

Vulnerable patients charged for their slings

These are a few of my least favourite things,

 

Chorus:

 

When the cuts bite, when the lies sting,

When we’re feeling sad

We unite against our least favourite things

And then we won’t feel so bad.

 

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · Festive Protest Songs · General

What the Dickens? – A Christmas Carol Revisited

 

What the Dickens is this?

As parliament breaks up for Christmas

We are visited by the ghosts of promises;

As Brexit consumes the policies

Once pledged to deal with ‘burning injustices’,

 

The ghost of past oaths and assurances

To tackle rouge bailiffs and rip-off leases

Are abandoned as inequality advances;

See the ghosts to be crouched on cold streets,

Lives, not just statistics in rising homelessness,

 

The ghost of past undertakings and vows

To confront domestic violence, here and now

With electronic tags for known offenders

And forced rehab for abusive substance users,

How many victims are no longer with us

Since broken pacts to protect survivors?

 

Ghosts of lawful guarantees to defend us

In the word they gave they’d shield workers

From still legal wage-theft by some businesses,

People treated like those caged wild creatures

Still allowed to be trapped in certain circuses,

 

As the cabinet prepares to sleep this December 24th,

May they hear the howling wind knocking at their doors

And see the ghost of now, shades of what came before

And the spectre of the future if they don’t change course.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

General · Remain

The Lead Balloon

Well, that went down like a lead balloon –

Oops, look I think we broke the Union

And broke an older union too;

When Brexiteers speak of sovereignty

They mean sovereignty for who?

This doesn’t represent me,

 

Feels like I’m on a ship of fools

Steaming through an icy sea,

Too great to sink, or so we think,

A wreck to rank in history;

Remember the Titanic?

 

But just imagine, if back then,

They had not forged full steam ahead

And the captain noticed, slowed down

And took an alternative route instead?

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch