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

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.

 

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

48% · Democracy · General · Remain

Sovereign State of Stupidity

 

First you notice the bare shop shelves,

And thank the lord you stocked up on tins,

You nip in to your nan’s, who doesn’t look well

To make sure she’s got enough in,

Her homecare was cut, so she fell,

16hrs waiting for her to be seen,

 

The news says the country is going to hell,

But who’s still got time for such things

When your travelling daughter calls you to yell

That they’ve cancelled all fights home from Turin,

 

When you went for a meal on a Saturday night,

The pizza place was closed, a curry palace alight,

You hope those who were inside are alright,

There seems to be even more crime on the streets

And you miss the old, old days of bobbies on the beat,

 

The family complain there’s so little to eat,

There’s no fish in the chippy, the docks lie empty

While ministers mangle deals for our fisheries,

Embargoes on veggie meals and most gluten free –

On anything from Sweden to Malta, Denmark to Cyprus,

There’s no Belgium waffles, no sugar for tea,

Who knew they packaged it in Hungary?

 

The neighbours’ children asked why Santa hadn’t been,

His mum said he was stopped at the border and couldn’t get in,

 

Amidst the rising theft and violence

If leaver’s turn to me and shout

How none of this makes sense

I’ll tell them, they let the monsters out,

 

The racists and extremists lurking in the darkness

Given an excuse for their worst excesses,

And it will seem like too many couldn’t care less

As we deal with vicious cuts to basic services;

Services like education, care, police, the NHS,

Charities, social work and security forces,

While small businesses fail because no one invests,

Farmers nosedive as they lose EU subsidies

Ailes empty in local grocers and supermarkets,

Welcome to the Sovereign State of Stupidity,

 

The Ports near closed, food nor people make it through,

When we limit free movement, we limit ours too,

Make ghost towns of Gatwick, Luton, Heathrow,

Stopping freights and ferries from Grimsby to Glasgow,

Perhaps the one temporary winner is the Ozone

 

But too many are hungry, jobless

With dwindling hope and no home,

Too many drained and feeling useless,

No one lives in the house next door;

The bitter irony is priceless,

Without immigrants we are too poor

To handle the housing crisis,

We don’t have their taxes anymore

And homelessness persists,

As wages freeze and prices soar,

Corporations still getting rich,

Less staff on the tills, fat cats on the board,

While young and old crouch by the doors

Of houses and flats so few can afford,

 

Medicine stockpiled, or not getting through,

Prescriptions unavailable, costs sky high,

Surgeries cancelled again as they lengthen the que,

The terrible truth; avoidable pain while the saveable die

And this won’t be eased by anti-migrant curses

When we’ve sent away half the doctors and nurses

Because some of them ‘weren’t from round here’

Or due to funding cuts and restricted resources

While the national debt gets ever heavier

As we pay for twenty-seven national divorces,

 

But gone too are those politicians’ excuses,

Having stocked fires of xenophobic fear,

Those they made stooges for the bruises

Fought back, moved on or disappeared

And most of us miss them and want them here,

 

Don’t blame Europeans or the world, or raise your fists,

Or say it’s all down to EU politics, or just the way it is,

Don’t look to the financiers – they warned us of this,

There were warning signs half the nation chose to miss,

 

So many feel betrayed, denied,

From Belfast, Edinburgh, Gibraltar

We watch as the United Kingdom divides

And pray to God by every name there won’t be war,

Due to fragile peace accords we all but undid

And the callousness we cannot alter

Towards international people who work, live

Study, give and made this nation prosper

Who we treated with distrust, deceit, conceit,

To be really frank, we should’ve known better,

In 1945 we celebrated a fascist defeat –

 

Tantrums saying we expected more

Or this wasn’t what leavers voted for

Won’t help us dig out of the embers,

The EU can’t be wholly criticised

For favouring its members,

I think many member nations tried

To compromise when Brexiters

Just wanted the UK to sever,

But we were stronger together,

 

We are now a third party

Made to follow others’ rules,

 

Desperate people conjure enemies;

All the usual suspects accused,

Amid rising hate crimes and bigotry

As we see a breakdown in society’s rules,

Muslim women harassed in the street

And black children openly bullied in school,

Old prejudices becoming less and less discrete

Of course, some twits will blame Jews

Imagining a grand conspiracy

Though there are no facts to back up their views

And things are made worse by such idiocy,

 

The protections for people with disabilities,

The care for the immobile, ill or elderly,

The ongoing research into curing diseases,

All of it slows down, some of it freezes,

 

Fuel prices higher as they sponsor fracking,

Energy crisis, environmental backtracking,

Wildlife and eco charities losing their backing

We can’t quite believe it, but it’s happening,

We seem to be self-governing our nation collapsing,

As the globe faces the task of a massive remapping,

 

All hale the farce made of democracy,

We are autonomous citizens of hypocrisy.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

(A poem about a worst-case scenario Brexit Britain. I do have more cheery poems too, like ‘Fa La La; a protest song to the tune of Deck the Halls )

Culture · Democracy · General

Without Representation

Tax without representation equals tyranny;

This was a grievance in the seventeen-sixties

Across thirteen American Colonies

Whose governance came from across seas,

Remote, unresponsive to necessities

They could not heed, and so cried liberty,

For to pay yet be muzzled is to suffer cruelty,

 

This became a seed of the revolution;

For tax must be money taken from citizens

For the betterment of community and nation

Not a cyphering or selective elevation

Of one group requiring others’ humiliation,

 

To take taxes from persons with zero say

In how their money’s used is autocracy;

An absolutism keeping justice at bay

Until people cried, “We won’t pay

To have our voice or home taken away,

We won’t subsidise being silenced.”

 

Later, in another century, women cried this too;

Or at least the wealthy, unmarried or widowed

Women with means, numbering only a few,

Less than four decades since wedded women knew

The right to own any property or money; to accrue

Or keep inheritance or wages, never mind a view,

 

But although they had no say in how it was spent

They were legally bound to pay tax to a Parliament,

That might as well have been on another continent

For how much it heard, saw or represented them

Or any women, for it was a male ego Bastian

That sought to retain unilateral male dominance,

Where men owned wives’ bodies, owned children,

Where women’s sole fortune was a kind man,

Where the death of a cruel one was petty treason,

Where women were thought to have no sense or reason,

 

Those times are (mostly) gone,

In many but not all ways

We have moved on,

In others the patterns replay

On and on and on,

 

And yet always there is disenfranchisement;

Subjugation, marginalisation recurrent

For those who cannot vote for their government

But must pay taxes, amongst these are migrants

Who work and pay their way yet are censured

And scapegoated, all successes thrice earned

In economic downturn, less guarded by laws,

 

My thinking friends, take into consideration

Those with no vote still subject to taxation;

For those with no parliamentary representation

Are those who suffer the worst discrimination;

 

For policies are built for those who may elect

And those most represented get most respect,

 

So, when the powerful blame migrants again

Know it’s because politicians can cast blame

And shame on those with other national origins

Because at election time MPs only have to win

The approval of born or chosen British citizens,

 

It is the same with young people

Who may have sex, go into battle,

Be taxed, labour, work and toil

Years before their opinion counts at all

To those who’d label them criminal,

 

Tax but no vote from age sixteen

Then under-represented and side-lined

By those who chose to demean,

 

If you are white, male, heterosexual,

Born here, still fully abled,

Born well off, aligned to the sex assigned

At birth and forty or more

Then you are the ones they write policies for,

 

And, although this status quo is challenged

The more we are of this, the more we are privileged,

The more our likeness is, in Westminster, reflected,

The more our needs and interests are respected

And the more our right to thrive is protected,

 

But those who cannot elect or be elected

Still pay into the pot,

But when the going gets tough they’re neglected,

Their contribution denied, rights overlooked,

 

I look at anti-migrant rhetoric

Recalling slogans of regulators and suffragists,

All people just trying to live

Without being banished, alienated

Or slated for taking when they give,

The lies about them are practiced,

Expected, accepted, authoritative,

 

To those who believe them I ask them to think

About present and historic links

Between those who aren’t permitted a vote

And those in society who are scorned the most,

 

Because it is not democracy,

At times it smacks of tyranny,

It opens the gate to mockery,

Hate crimes, partiality, bigotry

 

And is a smoke screen shielding plutocracy;

A version of this played out in ancient Greece,

And to those who say it’s always been like this

I’d say we create more damage when we believe

Authorities when they accuse voteless minorities

And under-represented communities,

It is divide and rule policy based on demography,

Truth is more complex and harder to retrieve

When a nation enables its leaders to deceive

Then buys the bullshit on Brexit and votes ‘leave’.

48% · Culture · Democracy · General · Remain

Windrush

This one’s for citizens who came on ‘Windrush’;

The generations that generated renewal

During and after the war, first dying in service,

Then more came to help rebuild, refuel,

Re-spark, here at the birth of the NHS,

Facing xenophobes, teddy boys, racists,

 

Yet ‘they’ are not ‘them’ but part of us,

Bought from across the Commonwealth,

And now, how can we expect their exodus?

It seems like ethnic cleansing by stealth,

Where history is bleached out; whitewashed

Until a nation perverts and destroys itself,

 

Every single Britain is a child of multiple migrations;

Our ancestors came in need, greed, fight or trade

Through millennia of voluntary or enforced relocations;

By discovery, captivity, by each road built, each stone laid,

Windrushers are the same, they came by invitation

Not by blade, treated as if the latest to invade,

Despite being part of our heartbeat, post devastation

In a shell-shocked, rationed kingdom, so we began again,

 

How soon civil rights, so hard won, seem stolen away;

As memories fade, bigotry plays on a loop, ingrained

But not innate, division is not fate but a kind of decay;

A deep rot that sets in when instability reigns,

We less aware of our internal struggles than the USA,

Of the grit it must have taken for Windrushers to stay,

Make this the land of their children’s, children’s, children,

When racism was not recognised as the crime it is today

And race riots began in Birmingham, Kensington, Brixton,

 

Many black citizens couldn’t vote or have their say

Until the British Nationality Act of 1981,

Yet black and ethnic minorities continued on, unfazed,

Discrimination was further written into institutions

Over decades bias lost battles, but was never erased,

Prejudice a virus, sometimes contained, rarely gone,

Now, in a separatist world, white-supremacist crusades

Are launched by government; an act of extremism,

A fictional homegrown enemy, House of Commons made;

Ministers like missiles misfiring, misdirected missions

Against longstanding citizens, a bill that spits on graves

Of war heroes, workers, scholars, in bloody amputations

Treating pioneers and entrepreneurs like discarded slaves,

 

These inhabitants who have enriched all known occupations,

These families, this part of our communally nourished culture;

Part of the whole, of ourselves, amid dire Brexit negotiations

These tax-payers now among those described as ‘the other’,

Look Britain, see how many are subject to alienation

Let’s ask ourselves this, do we want a fascist future;

A future of white-centric, little Island isolation?

Commonwealth nations once gathered to deter

A powerful regime of murderous oppression,

Beside world-wide allies, enduring together,

 

Then, with past foes, we birthed new protections

For peace and human dignities for many, forever,

Now, while many gains are squandered by negation

We open doors wide to every antique phobia;

To radical cultural and racial discriminations,

Alongside nationalistic anti-European patter,

And blinkered, blanket anti-immigration,

Irrational rhetoric, as fat cats get fatter,

Fed by rising injustices and violations,

Hidden by resulting clamour and chatter

Racists take advantage of mass confusion,

 

We forget yet again that black lives matter,

Backing people into traps of self-justification

As they are forced once more to strive

For all covered by the human rights declaration;

Home, country, community all potentially denied,

Policies of exclusion contrive new manifestations,

As if for some it is a crime to simply be alive,

We needed Windrush to swell a ravaged population,

Against the odds, they and their descendants thrived,

Yet they’re deprived of protections of patriation

As if being punished because they survived.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · General

les gilets jaunes

 

 

It starts as a quiet revolution

In bright jackets; les gilets jaunes

dissenting escalating taxation

overseen by President Macron,

 

they took to the streets

in yellow vests, to protest

tax breaks for the very rich,

and broken by tax for the rest,

 

so, France took to her feet,

a woman spoke of solidarity

where all faiths and cultures meet,

supporters included the police,

 

they gathered to talk and eat;

lifted out of their despair

by friends they never thought to meet

and change you could taste in the air,

 

but then the riots,

attacking people’s cars,

homes, small businesses –

a few people gone way too far

as the world witnesses

 

and the peaceful gilet jaunes

say the violent are not ours

and now police have batons

and the night is full of fire,

 

and then the man with a gun

in Strasburg Christmas market,

not one of the gillet jaunes;

the gunman called ‘Algerian terrorist’

 

on the television

in world media release,

all we know for certain

is the death of innocents,

 

a murderer; a chaotic, cold assassin

who broke lives and prayers of peace,

and the gillet jaunes forced to stay in

at the military presence speedy increase,

 

but they cannot find him;

every security service

seeks a known man on the run

and, for now, the yellow vests

go home until the mourning’s done.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

(a poem of solidarity across borders. I’m still European as well as British)

48% · Culture · Democracy · Festive Protest Songs · General · Remain

Fa La La; a protest to ‘Deck the Halls’

PM singing Yuletide carols,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
While the UK is in peril,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
MPs don their best apparel
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Postponing this vote is immoral,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,

See the blazing deal before us,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Nothing in it will assure us,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Not much time now, can you measure
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
How all this stalling cranks up pressure?
Fa la la la la, la la la la,

Fast away now, each chance passes
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Hail Brexiteers that act like asses,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Hear the far-right loonies gather,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Xenophobic, racist chatter,
Fa la la la la, la la la la

Yet, gather now all ye Remainers,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Our sense of union may sustain us,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Stand for your values, stand by neighbours,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Don’t let the lies and hatred blind us,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,

A people’s vote would re-engage us,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Or vote the deal down, burn the pages,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
If it’s the best deal, Brexit’s failed us,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
There is too much that it endangers,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,

We will protect what we most treasure,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Whatever happens stick together,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
And keep warm in the frosty weather,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Yes, keep warm in the frosty weather,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,
Fa la la la la, la la la la!


by Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

(Song to the tune of ‘Deck the Halls’)
48% · General · Remain

Brexit Sucks

 

 

British Union is now also under threat,

Reneges on pledges by our government,

Economic isolation and collapse predicted,

Xenophobes in power left us all conflicted,

Idiocy and recklessness sold as a solution,

Totalitarianism risks; no real constitution,

 

Senselessness seems to rule the rulers of the hour,

United across borders, people had more power,

Corporate privatisation of services we fought for –

Killing our NHS and schools, yet we pay even more,

Spin, misdirection and lies, with ruin at the core.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

(written and first shared in the lead up to the referendum 2016)

48% · Democracy · General · Personal · Remain

One of the Underground Union

Hello All,

Welcome to a poetry site dedicated to the 48% of the UK who voted ‘Remain’ in 2016 and still believe and to the EU and world citizens who are too often scapegoated by politicians simply because they cannot vote, so are an easy target. Likewise, it is dedicated to those who were too young to vote for the shape of their futures.  If you voted ‘leave’ but radically changed your mind you are just as welcome, though may find one or two of my poems triggering.

I was heavily involved in politics up until a few years ago and have always been a bit of a writer and poet. I live with a complex collection of disabilities which make going on marches for me presently out of the question. This is my march.

Feel free to share. Please excuse the fact some comments are closed, I’m simply protecting myself from abuse from the few those who use the small Brexit majority as an excuse for all kinds of extremism and hate. (A few times bitten, you learn that lesson.)

I hope you enjoy the poems. Even more importantly I hope you, whoever you are and where-ever you come from, find the best way through this political chaos for you and all you care about. Remember, we’re still stronger together and you are not alone.

Antonia