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

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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

 

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

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

What the Dickens? – A Christmas Carol Revisited

 

What the Dickens is this?

As parliament breaks up for Christmas

We are visited by the ghosts of promises;

As Brexit consumes the policies

Once pledged to deal with ‘burning injustices’,

 

The ghost of past oaths and assurances

To tackle rouge bailiffs and rip-off leases

Are abandoned as inequality advances;

See the ghosts to be crouched on cold streets,

Lives, not just statistics in rising homelessness,

 

The ghost of past undertakings and vows

To confront domestic violence, here and now

With electronic tags for known offenders

And forced rehab for abusive substance users,

How many victims are no longer with us

Since broken pacts to protect survivors?

 

Ghosts of lawful guarantees to defend us

In the word they gave they’d shield workers

From still legal wage-theft by some businesses,

People treated like those caged wild creatures

Still allowed to be trapped in certain circuses,

 

As the cabinet prepares to sleep this December 24th,

May they hear the howling wind knocking at their doors

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

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

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

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’.

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