Culture · Democracy · General · Remain

Get on with what?

“Get on with it!” say Brexiteers,
That phrase, gravel in my ears,
As one more factory shuts up shop 
A few more thousand lose their jobs 
Amid the lies that they would prosper
If immigration disappears, 
The truth is there, but they don’t hear 
As we tie ourselves up in knots 
“Get on with it!” 
They say; our nation’s auctioneers, 
But the way ahead is not clear
Except that we'll all be worse off 
And more of us won’t have enough;
Revisiting depression years, 
Get on with it?

“Get on with it!” the endless round,
As government debates confound
Both the best and the worst of us 
On every side of this circus,
As leaders’ arrogance astounds,
Our creaking democracy found 
Cold, abused, hungry, gagged and bound,
The response offered by leavers:
“Get on with it” 

The majority lost not found
In archaic schemes, rules for clowns 
That sway countries and media,
Though eyes are now on Westminster
It’s corporations that are crowned 
Get on with it?

“Get on with it!” say Brexiteers,
But no workable deal appears,
Meanwhile, vital services rot,
People, made homeless, later robbed
Of any chance of a future
As we betray our teenagers
Steal children’s potential careers
And up the climate chaos odds. 

“Get on with it!” 
Say those scared, yet still unaware 
They’re selling our protections off,
Imperfect though they were, to bluff
Self-governance that never was,
Nebulous words as deadlines near,
“Get on with it!”

“Get on with it”, get on with what?
With the Brexit of the lynch mob
Or the one that mimics Norway?
The ‘hurry-up’ crowd never say
Though they are so rarely quiet,
There is no wand to whisk away
The social ills of the U.K,
Or falsely recalled yesterdays,
Brexiteers scapegoated Europe,
Get on with it?

Get on with what? National decay?
Alienating minorities?
We've no constitution to cope
With destitution beyond scope
Of those four words of mockery:
"Get on with it!"

Not "How?" or, ever, "What comes after?"
Nor "What is it?" "What's wrong with it?" 
Not, it seems, "What's wrong with us?"
Never "What's stopping this?"
No truth in Brexit
For Brexiteers;
No real plans
At all;
None. 


Antonia Sara Zenkevitch
Democracy · General

Madame Dictator

 

Madame Dictator, have you not heard

Your deal was voted down historically

And yet you resurrect the interred

Proposal repeatedly, delay after delay

Burning our security & democracy away,

 

Your office not conferred

By any political majority,

You do not listen to a word

From any, except, perhaps, the ERG

Who need an ECG

To find out if they have a heart

Because they seem intent

Only on ripping us apart,

 

But you, Madame Dictator,

Like a modern Bonaparte

Say you hear

But you do not!

Stirring up terror

By running down the clock,

 

Perhaps it’s said best by Andy Serkis;

Your attitude to this rambling failure

Akin to Gollum’s with his ‘precious’;

A gold that deserved the fires of Mordor

But instead you throw our futures in

To that furnace, knowing it will make this nation so much poorer

As the homeless line the streets and food bank ques get longer,

And the extremists get stronger

And injustices reign – those you said you’d bring to order

Yet you disengage to build walls of fire at our borders

And, as for climate change …

 

You focus only on Brexit

But do so without debate

Hushing up all the elected

Tying nation states up in red tape

 

More than

Two years!

Two years

And more!

 

In a cabal of your own

Prescribed parameters,

Your negotiations

In closed door deliberations

And perambulations

As you ignite more tensions

With another deadline gone,

I have literally lost count!

Every time you tell the Commons

There will be later debate

Then roll the calendar on;

The dates for meaningful votes

Eternally postponed,

Except that historic one

Where the deal was trodden on,

The same deal you resuscitate,

 

 

All the while that lie ‘secure and stable’

When there’s nothing on the table

And security service cutbacks

Coincide with terror attacks

And there is legislation against

Generations told to go back

To the commonwealth after decades of life and work in the UK,

So, just because they are black

You citizens to go away,

And now, will more Europeans face the same?

 

I visited Yalswood, while you were Home Secretary,

Children and women fearing their fate,

Caucasian guards, all black and ethnic minority

Detainees – I thought, mine is a racist state,

My friend was denied vital medicine

They took my prints before I could go in

The package of essentials I left

Was only passed on after five days,

She had to fight for legal representation,

Hers not an uncommon story,

I’ve known others, one girl just fourteen,

Britishness part of her identity –

Her humanity you refused to see,

 

How dare you, in self-righteous glory

Proclaim you understand democracy

If you can’t see their lives matter!

 

 

Now,

Your promises in tatters;

When you said you’d listen,

See how skilfully you didn’t,

Your cabinet found in contempt

Of our disjointed constitution,

 

This is wrong! The is so very wrong!

This is becoming authoritarian

And very, very, very dark!

 

You have polluted

“Safe and Secure”

“Meaningful”

“Democracy”

“Listening”

“Vote” –

 

All convoluted

By you

Until the words stick in my throat –

 

And you call this your mission;

To re- enforce your indecent proposition

After the worst historical democratic defeat in the entire history of any Westminster government!

All you are reinforcing are the fault lines of division,

 

And, for the record, I’m not impressed by Corbyn

So, please don’t read this as propaganda

For a weakly lead, anti-Semitic opposition,

Though I will state I’m firmly left of centre

This is less about sides and more concerned

With the slide towards totalitarianism,

 

Only idiots will say it is because you’re a woman,

Though they do, pouring on scorn

For all the agelessly wrong reasons,

As they try to make you dance,

Or comment on your complexion,

In this alone I come to your defence

Yet my complaints could fill a lexicon

From your term feeding hate in the Home Office

Displaying a personal distaste towards migration

To this cutting off of deliberation in Parliament,

It’s not gender defining each subverted action

So, I will not hold back because I’m a feminist;

 

I will call you Madame Dictator,

A title not up for discussion

Unless you decide to govern better

And return the dignities you’ve taken.

 

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

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

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 · 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

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

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 )

Democracy · General · Remain

Contempt

May this contempt;

This contempt of parliament

And more, this contempt

Of democratic procedure,

This contempt of our country,

A United Kingdom; a continent,

Of all here now and here before;

This contempt of everything built

To encourage, protect and ensure

A relative peace taken for granted

We mostly enjoy with neighbours

On nearby shores;

This contempt of the health service

Founded after and because

Of the aftermath of two world wars,

This contempt of millions of workers

Who strive all hours but can’t afford homes;

Struggling parents, low-income earners

Sold lies or made into scapegoats,

Contempt of employees and entrepreneurs,

Including those

Who pay tax but cannot vote;

Those hated, spited as foreigners

And usurpers, even though

Money is not stolen by migrants,

It is the powerful few

Who guard the greatest percent

Of almost every nation’s revenue

And it’s clear most of them

Have not got the smallest clue

Or else were never taught

What duty or honour meant,

Those who place risk over value,

Those who do not know

That integrity, as well as a virtue,

Is now an economic and social essential,

 

Yes, it is contempt of this; contempt,

Forgetting foodbank ques,

Front bench MPs attempt

To push and bully through

A defective Brexit agreement

Whilst concealing the torch of truth

That our Attorney General lent;

 

It is this contempt of parliament;

And thus, contempt of the people

By leading officials in our government

Who would, it seems, mislead us all

In not providing the full legal document

Detailing all actual and potential pitfalls,

It’s disrespect, historic and inexcusable,

 

It is such contempt

That sets a mine beneath Big Ben,

Such deceptions are time ill spent

In arrogance, in acts

Against its citizens

By withholding facts

From those elected to represent,

 

Eight hundred years ago

They drew up a democratic template,

Adding layers along the road;

The foundation of a constitution

But one without a code,

One we have erected our rights upon,

One we’ve seen expand, sow, steal, erode,

Across times, under a mass of hands,

Now, time ticks like a bomb about to explode,

Shattering the security of millions,

 

During the aeon in which the clock tower stands

Have we ever known contempt like this?

MPs from six parties have raised the alarm

Because this goes beyond party politics,

Beyond any rebellion chief-whips could calm,

MPs being strong-armed with a fait accompli,

Denied the agreed legal information,

This contempt, this duplicity, this deceit

Would make not only any EU negotiation

A total mockery, it achieves the feet

Of ridiculing democratic and diplomatic relations,

 

Three times in an hour the proposed deal met defeat,

And so, amidst the conceit, disorder and disrespect

A seed on the winds of consternation;

A rebellion against the corruption of condescension

As the threads of democracy held on

Despite the government taking contempt

To an unprecedented dimension

In the debates of what makes Britain,

 

And Big Ben beats on,

And one day this too will be written;

The racism of some won’t be hidden;

The blinkeredness, short-termism,

Fear, isolationism that makes us alien

To each other and ourselves,

The panic buys, the empty shelves

Will fill tomorrow’s archives,

 

But the story is not yet finished

Our nation’s future can survive

As long as influencers don’t forget

The final draft is not complete,

What will historians ascertain

About this world-shifting week?

 

If we do not bow to contempt

That confuses authoritarian

With authoritative –

If principles don’t break under the strain

Of the rigid and didactic,

 

Almost half we voters voted to remain

And the sane who didn’t

Still did not vote for this.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

48% · Democracy · General · Remain

The Poisoned Cup

Passing the poisoned cup

One prime minister resigned,

Another crowned by tearing up

The security of Northern Ireland,

When Tory seats were not enough

To form a near-valid government,

 

The purulent chalice passes

Hand to hand, mouth to mouth,

As we hear gunfire in Alsace;

Blood on the streets of Strasburg

Where sits the EU parliament,

 

December, in Westminster Palace

The cabinet creates an adjournment

As their Brexit deal is met with malice,

Thus, the cup holder made the judgment

To postpone the parliamentary ballot

Until all debate becomes redundant,

In the hope MPs do what they are told

When later, a decision is even more urgent,

As if it was this or watch the world implode,

They say this really is the best Brexit,

Brim full of bitterness that corrodes

It’s Brexit itself a ‘no’ vote may prevent,

The grim fairy-tale half the UK was sold

Cannot manifest; it has no substance,

You can’t cross a rainbow for a pot of gold,

 

So, the PM makes deferments to quell insurgence

And, far more worryingly, to defeat debate,

Employing the terror and the turbulence

So, she can later say it is too late

To heed the union’s fate

Or the Good Friday Peace Agreement,

Using the fear of further delays

To rally support for this form

Of European abandonment,

That the continent views as

Foolish arrogance and scorn;

A circus of self-indulgence

As hardliner Brexiteers suffer from

Cognitive dissonance

At the death of their candyfloss unicorn,

 

Millions watch as Andy Serkis

Does his impression of Gollum

As May guarding her “precious”;

A dark pact become obsession

As ordinary people pay the cost,

She is not a lone politician –

But she is the cabinet’s boss,

 

This is perilous,

We would have been better off

If we had never taken this road,

Flattening the atlas,

Turning princes into desiccated toads,

Pulling down the Corona Borealis

To claim the constellations as our own,

 

Here in London,

A noose is carried at the crossroads,

What has our referendum imparted?

 

Parliament was not yet open

Before negotiations started,

Then, in the Commons, the withholding

Of vital legal documents;

Then, despite our constitution’s lack of coding,

The government found in contempt

Of its house in the attempt

To push through the deal

The vast majority resent,

Triggering calls

For a vote of no confidence

Which saves the premier from herself,

Giving a mass to her insistence,

While shedding doubt upon the doubts

About her proposed agreement,

They do not vote her out,

If they had, what then?

 

The limits of the entire cabinet

Fall on the shoulders of one woman

Who took up the festering goblet,

If the task passed to the fluff-headed man

To carry out his harsher-edged Brexit plan,

What then?

The Tory’s, faced with that deterrent,

Given assurance of May’s pre-term abdication,

Left her in power, merely weakened,

In committee room fourteen

They cheered the outcome,

But the PMs support remains slim,

 

This is not on the head of one human

But there will be an awesome reckoning

For all when all the posturing is done,

 

Will there be another election?

Or a second referendum

To hear the people speaking?

 

For Remainers, these were among

The many reasons for not leaving,

Forewarned and foreseen outcomes,

Beyond all the proposed tweaking

In every EU meeting,

For we are no longer the pater of imperialism

And this won’t alter by self-deceiving,

We cannot be lead by wistfulness, surrealism,

Or chest-thumping bleating,

 

This failure was set by the result of the referendum,

The dice thrown in June 2016,

The choice made was ever a loaded gun,

 

One thing is clear,

The 48% are no longer sovereign,

We are lost in this decision;

The representatives I see

No longer represent me,

 

As a lifelong British citizen

I grieve for my ailing country,

This broken union for our children,

The open gates of poverty

Bigotry and community division,

Bringing betrayal of heritage, ancestry

And lives yet to come,

 

If the Brexit of a small section

Of the half that won a victory

By two percent,

Continues, facilitated by

An administration with a weak mandate

And a disordered opposition,

Then any reclaimed sovereignty is fake;

A toxic proposition

Whose cuts will cut more deeply,

 

Future generations

Will blame all British, communally,

And we won’t be able to save them

From the poisoned cup we gave them.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

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’.

Culture · General · Remain

The Breakers

 

 

Breakers tall, rollers grave,

Catch you a living on the wave

They said another owns the sea

But the brine has her own currency,

No matter the rule, the plan or crown

This is the lore of the coastal town,

 

For those who would re-map the drink

Know she’ll not yield to paper or ink,

But yet, think on docks and fisheries

Too often bought to the brink,

Upon these rocks, communities;

It is these we worry may sink,

 

Do not sing -white horses’ lullabies

To those who know a mermaid’s ditty,

Beware closed ports and borderlines

Where swirling shoals have authority.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

For my beloved Cornwall & Devon and all the United Kingdom’s coastal towns. It is fair to say many already feel overlooked by the UK and other governments’ dealings at home and overseas on behalf of the fisheries. Brexit will create further challenges for many of these communities who depend on trading between countries through open ports, busy docks, and accessible waters.

General · Remain

My NHS

i laugh at falling;

so i laugh often,

my spirit strong,

my body broken,

my breathing,

my movement

dependant on medicines,

that may not make it through

with a bad Brexit or a no deal,

i have specific needs for food,

i fear their obstruction on route

as blockades slow the turning of the wheel,

and prices rise with extra duties,

the threat to the chronically ill, the elderly

and those labeled disabled is all too real,

i have lived with disabilities

for nearly four decades,

but extra barriers disabled me

in unspeakable ways,

there are millions reliant on meds, like me,

those with asthma or diabetes,

melanoma, DVT,

depression and anxiety –

the conditions are plenty

and so must be the treatments

for all of us

from a health service

free for ALL at the point of delivery;

The NHS.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

 

 

Democracy · General · Remain

Lullaby to Democracy; 3,500 Troops

Broken UnionLullaby to democracy,

3,500 troops,

Germany in the 1930s

Or Britain very soon?

 

The menace of martial law

Is the opposite of sovereignty

As we close the door

On civil liberties,

 

Like the right to protest,

Did any soldier join the military

To enforce this mess; this chaos

Or to carry their guns in our cities?

 

Young soldiers could not believe

We could conceive of this,

For the 52%, most of them deceived,

Who went to the ballot box

And voted to leave,

 

This is a ticking bomb, set

By our undemocratic government,

Who are using our military as a threat,

To push forward a dangerous agreement;

The clock ticking on a month’s postponement

In which they’ve gagged the rest of parliament,

 

“Quick, quick,”

The cabinet say,

Tick, Tock, Tick,

As time races away

On the fuse they lit,

 

Silencing calls for a people’s vote

As the populace turns against Brexit

And the government says “No”

To us choosing not to exit.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch