singing birds and lovely sun
dancing flowers, breeze, heaven
outside much much fun
I would like run run run
barring me this lockdown zone
I am eighty and I am alone
Can you see the silent skies
and quiet streets and haunted eyes
Have you heard the expert voices taking charge, restricting choices
Do you feel the pain of nations
Counting death in isolation.
Do you smell the cleaner air and hear the birds and hearts that care.
He does not talk to me, but relies on the news,
He sees men murder man and wants me to lose
all my rights, my beliefs, my faith, my blood,
He names me a disgrace, he calls my religion mud.
She does not engage me in long-held conversation,
about my views of the news or sexual orientation,
my hopes, my dreams, of equality, of peace,
She demands my worship stop or my heart cease,
by Jem Tovey
This poem was a written as a parody of Gil Scott Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (itself a satire of how the broadcast media controls and subjugates Black America) and re-imagines it from a white, middle-class perspective:
You will not be able to turn on, log in and shop online at Waitrose, brother.
You will not be able to order that Little Black Number from ASOS, for your mother.
You will not be able to browse Laithwaites for vintage Bordeaux by the case,
Honestly, the broadband here’s an absolute disgrace.
You can’t post photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter,
Download speeds are glacial, it’s hard not to be bitter.
You can’t watch clips of Trump waxing braggadocious,
I swear this broadband connection’s simply atrocious.
There will be no mpegs of amusing RTAs,
No footage of Woodstock – Hendrix playing Purple Haze.
No GIFs, no Vines, YouTube’s always buffering,
This broadband’s providing a whole new level of suffering.
The revolution will not be on iPlayer, my connection’s too unstable.
This is the 21st century, where’s my fibre optic cable?
I’ve asked Virgin for an installation date, but they just keep on stalling.
We barely reach two megabits, this broadband is appalling.
Written for and read at the Batley Community Choir Christmas Concert 19/12/18
‘Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the town
Not a resident of Batley, was wearing a frown.
A small Yorkshire town, right proud of its past;
Where wool and its weaving meant that we grew up fast.