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

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

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 · 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

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.

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

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

Culture · General · Personal

Inspirational Songs

Hi All,

Hope you’re keeping warm and safe. This post is a bit different to my others. I wanted to share some of the songs and artists that keep me going. One of my earlier posts; Brexit Playlist is a poem that references some of the music I listen to when I feel angry about what is happening in the UK and around the world. This collection is different – only uplifting melodies and songs of hope and unity. It makes me happy to think it might put a smile on some of your faces. There are links to videos on YouTube. So, here goes:

General · Personal

In the Air

 

 

8am,

The grieving wind

And sirens in the air,

An icy 18th of December,

The future forecast

Still nebulous; unclear

As destitution stings

The atmosphere

And each gust calls

Like an anguished mother,

Where do we go from here?

 

Then, through the thin walls,

The chimes of a child’s laughter

And my heart hurdles to my throat

In that breath and beat of hope.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch