…can’t sway best

…so here’s the thing…we’re all familiar with the concept of things being lost in translation…some of us even liked the movie…& I think we can agree that even within the english language a fair bit of sense sometimes gets stranded somewhere approximately mid-adlantic…but Meg reminded me just the other day that Boris Johnson is, as the Brits would (& in a great many cases, do) put it, a colossal bell-end…a wanker, one might say, of the highest order

…at least they would have before he got sick & a nation rallied to the surprising conclusion that they’d rather he hung about, on balance, because the cluster of muppets he’s surrounded himself with inspire heroic absences of confidence fit to make the tousel-haired slab of putty look like the better bet

…that’s right at the end, by the way

…so, when I say that Boris Johnson is not…despite his fondest imaginings…really even a little bit like Winston Churchill beyond being a white male who could stand to shed a pound or two…I fear that some of that sentiment might be lost to those of a primarily US persuasion not possessed of some first-hand knowledge of the ways of perfidious Albion…& I hadn’t done one of these in a while…& then it hit me…there is a near perfect analogy & even better it’s already been made by a far more eloquent soul than me

Kanye West is not Picasso
Leonard Cohen, ladies & gentlemen…

…& for me it works as an apposite parallel at least in part because of the war thing at the end there…both BoJo & DoTr[ard] like to ring the bell for all they’re worth but a pandemic is not like a war in some very important ways

…the damage done to the fabric of commerce & society by enforced isolation at an individual level is a matter of dizzying complexity & staggering consequence…but almost entirely in ways that are – at least by comparison to a war – almost completely invisible

…buildings are not falling in flaming wreckage beneath the fiery rain of munitions from the night skies…the streets are not littered with evidence of wanton destruction…we continue to blunder about the place doing our best to defend whatever perimeter we find ourselves confined behind while all about us lurks an implacable & invisible foe to whom all our efforts are so much nothing once it has us in its clutches

…& that means every time I hear that kind of rhetoric my skin crawls & my hackles go up & I want to be able to make like Jabba the Hut & dump the speaker into a Rancor pit & see if the replacement does any better…but that’s because I’m somewhat intemperate when riled up so instead of going on about it I thought I’d end this with something a little more measured

this ain’t that conversation,
son

that time may come
but this ain’t the one

take it from me,
right now – this is done

& what’s coming next
ain’t no kind of fun

you need to go home
& start again

grab a pad
& a fucking pen

& use them eyes
to see what lies

within
your ken

’cause maybe it might
happen, then

sure, you can do it
your own way

keep right on
railing away

claim you can’t listen
you got so much to say

but holding forth
ain’t holding sway

so you hold us
in your hands

stomach in, chest out
hurling commands

’cause the whole world’s lost
its way

in an entropic trance
of wilful decay

so you mark my words
right here, today

because this fate
that we refuse to face

is going to invade
our personal space

& just like the truth
in many ways

it’s starting to look
like it’s seen better days

like just how
can life vary
in line with the fee?

if this
proactive, protective

aggressively-defensive
spree

is just
the way

things have
to be

just how how far
can we stray from the tree

& still claim to know
what it is to be free?

they got keystrokes logged
& CCTV

they got bio-metrics
& the family tree

they’re tracking motions
we can’t even see

so just how the hell is it
that they still can’t see me?

I may be sat here
but my mind’s on the run

so I don’t even know
what it is that I’ve done

& in its eye stands my conscience
& he’s holding a gun

& his gaze burns like a nova
that once was a sun

which, for sure,
is a fearsome sight

but I ain’t going gentle
& this ain’t a good night

I got more questions than answers
but that don’t make you right

so bring what you got
but what you’ll get is a fight

& now that I’m looking
I’m starting to see

why he’s all fired up & packing,
finally

’cause what has him riled
isn’t actually me

& now I see the point
I’m inclined to agree

between heaven & hell
lies a state of grace

that don’t much resemble
what I’ve seen of this place

but if we clearly just
can’t hack the pace

why insist that life’s journey
is only a race?

welcome to my
imagination

you may prefer
to change the station

no guarantees offered
by the state of this mind

though I’ve never known
for it to treat me kind

wonders without number
may lie within

but still beware
what you begin

as was writ
on maps of old

of far off lands
from tales bold

‘here be dragons’
have a care

so hitch them wagons
if you dare

you get what
you pay for
in this life

& the free-ride
through this door

is paid for
in strife

so leisure prospects
are poor

& hazards
are rife

where words
don’t just score

but flay you
like a knife

like nature
red in tooth & claw

always a widow
& never a wife

mother to all
& eternally raw

death ain’t so fearsome
compared to life

& if we aren’t left
to our own devices

how are we supposed
to figure out what nice is?

or recognise
the signs of vices?

or what the difference
between men & mice is?

what’s coming next ain’t
no kind of fun

take it from me
right now – this is done

that time may come
but this ain’t the one

this ain’t that conversation,
son

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6 Comments

  1. Thanks I love it. I’ve had this saved in my notes on my phone since you first sent it to me and have read it 10x.
    Apropos of nothing, this is what I thought of when you posted the other poem:

    • …it would surprise me a great deal if mr west could make that boast…& it is a cast iron certainty that mr johnson can not

      …it also amuses me in a childish sort of a way that from a US perspective the clue is in the name

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