Emerald Drive calls to me That back porch amongst the trees Refreshed anew with chilled tea Shoot politics upon the breeze Sweet Georgia night air alive With music and hoot owl calls, Talk of nights with Deep Blue Sun, Grateful Dead, Atlanta fun, Of peace and hippiedom days, How media changed our ways, How new algorithms rule, The subversion of freedom, An anarcho fascist tool, Tweeted by White House demon. Now all I can do is dream Of Ice cold beers from Athens, On astral plane fly moonbeam, Please take me back to Athens.
Harry Rogers, In the Red Bedroom, 15th January 2021
Impeach the orange, Drag it through the courts, Squeeze until pips squeek, Get all juicy bits, Peel open in dock, Probe segments through pith, Take the wrung out husk, Remove zest for life. Comb through plantation groves, Weed out fungal fruits, Clean democracy, Replant justice roots. Check all mandarins For cross infection, Hope lemons and limes Solve citric questions. Crush the tangerines, Ice up mint Juleps, Brand new cocktail hour On Capitol steps. Slowly reawake, Struggle up off knees, Drink no more cool aid, Avoid fresh DT’s.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 14th January 2021
This dog in a manger “free world” leader, Deranged as he orchestrates true chaos Whilst he persistantly tells the same lies. He cares not about how many will die, Such collateral damage is to him A price worth paying to avoid justice. Misled people believe propaganda, Attend organised rallies and demos As if invited to Sunday picnics, Like Eisenstein’s sheep they devour fake manna By the shovelful, minds totally blown. What they fail to realise is how Completely they have been rooked and gulled, Stitched up to provide artificial fronts For the death of their democracy. They send millions of campaign dollars, To keep the demagoguery afloat, Soon will be a time no-one has a vote, The confidence trickery still will shine, They’ll believe the dictatorship benign. Amerika televised great again, I cry as I watch, and hard falls the rain.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 13th January 2021.
Coups and insurrections, all plotted up Over years of greasy mind massages, Tweeted to hungry, fevered, acolytes, All eager to have their prejudices Polished, and honed, by the demagogue. Lies are tools in this faux relationship, Poisonous slogans, memes and banners, Disseminated by Potus four five, Infected social media for years, Encouraged growth of nazi militia, Fanned the flames of vile racist terror groups, Stormed the Capitol in fake show of strength. How strong the constitution? Can it hold? How much storytelling is left to be told?
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 13th January 2021.
Julian, unconvicted journalist, Banged up on his own in Bellmarsh chokey, Solitary confinement, no contact, Twenty three hours a day all alone, His fellow colleagues in the media, At The Guardian and the BBC, Are all still at work, protected in law, No charges for use of information, From the self same sources as Julian. Justice is nowhere seen to be done, An innocent man treated as guilty For doing his job when he showed us truth. Torture is illegal, so judges say, Yet when they use it we all look away.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 11th January 2021
Clambering cameraman shoots it all, The contorted refrigerator door, Melted cistern hanging from bathroom wall, Dividing panels black ash upon floor Fired plastic grease streaking bare concrete, Empty twisted spare metal window frames, Exposed mattress springs, revealed bed stead feet, Blasted patterns wrought by spurting gas flames, Metallic skeletal homeware litter, Rooms no longer clearly defined spaces, From kitchen see cracked ceramic shitter. Outside broken ashen tear stained faces. Post the classic black and white images. Very contrasting, have you seen enough?
I’m overcome by realisation. By the life lived by a woman, Ella. Known as Jean Rhys she short circuits my mind. Brought up short in The Wide Sargasso Sea, I am knocked off my sleek sex waxed surfboard. A hurricane of understanding comes, Climbing back on my board, bracing for the Giant third age wave, rolling over weeds, Ready to be ridden in clear sunlight, Towards shining, swirling, vortex centre, Where the flotsam and jetsam disappears, Sucked into deepest blue water below, To forever swim amongst eels, Never escaping dark, green, reeds.
Down through the woods at Penbryn On the way yr llan y mor, In my head Erik Satie On Socrates and Phaedrus, As they look for beauty spot, To discuss all forms of love. What better place than this gorge, Where brook runs through ancient ferns, Majestic trees, rocks that babble. If ever there was a time To speak of love it is now, When leaders rouse the rabble, As blood drips from tiny hands. We need healers most of all.
Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room, 7th January 2021.
Reality is hard to see, So difficult to comprehend, Every truth is blotted out By solar energy beating A cosmic swathe through retinal Pathways, that obscure ability To focus sharply on reason. Brilliant scintillas block off Actual dark, dreadful, pictures Of the world seen by aliens. A nightmare, hidden by the sun, Glimpsed darkly, once in a blue moon, During total solar eclipse. Doesn’t last, lying sun soon shines.
I am only summer dreamy, As the snow fills up the garden. Sometimes it is important, to Wander the banks of illusion, Along the stream of consciousness, Be able to escape reality, Without direction from others, Who would manipulate our dreams. Arts are often informative, Influential, pleasant even, But when wrong hands control vision Then we are taken into realms Of fake escape, not true daydreams. Be one of Sati’s dreamy fish, Swim in a pool fueled by freedom, Fed by pure imagination, Driven by self instigation. Allow boredom a little space, Half close your eyes, now remember, Clifftop walks in any weather, This is the route to Xanadu, Where you can truly walk with you, Or anyone you choose to do.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 4th January 2021.
Swift flies on the wind Into my window Falls stunned to the ground Lies there, upside down, Gently pick it up Stroke its head with care, Iridescent, black, Spark of life slowly Returns, this bird’s back. It opens its eyes, Stares straight into mine. I open my hand Hold the swift. up high, It flys in the air, Soars up to the sky I smile as I watch Freedom fly away, It’s a perfect way To start a new day.
Harry Rogers, In The Red Bedroom, 3rd January 2021.
Remember how last Easter Ministers dilly dallied. On yachts in Estapona, Ghouls plotted up giant scams, They haggled over lease terms, Stock markets dipped, then rallied, Adopted fake personas, Rules changed by spad epigrams, Dodgy test track trace geezers Ripped off, then cashed and carried, As the ghosts of corona Haunted through videograms. Yet still it is not over, No-one dances in clover, Vaccines stream in from Dover, Too late to curb corona, Many ghosts of corona, Mourn the ghosts of corona, Brand new ghosts of corona, Cry for ghosts of corona.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 2nd January 2021.
Will we ride High on the hog again? Will we ride In sun, and wind, and rain? Will days come When we forget the pain? Will we ride To Canada by train? Those old friends, Lost in twenty twenty, Never hugged, Spaces now seem empty. See those bulbs, Beneath the acer tree, Sprouting now, That we will never see. Dunnock chicks All fluff upon the lawn, Scrabble for A place amongst new born, This new year Hard not to be care worn, Up the plot Tis time to plant new corn. We must ride High on the hog again Though we cried In wind and sun and rain Come let’s ride We’ll gallop through the pain We shall ride High on the hog again.
Harry Rogers in The Red Bedroom, 1st January 2021.
Goodbye cruel year, I’m glad you’ve gone away. Out of my bedroom I watch as sparrows, And blue tits, hop about in top branches Of the red berried cotoneaster. They queue in turn for the nut dispenser. Sometimes they wait whilst two fat woodpeckers Eat their fill in a highfalutin way, As if the birdnuts are their property, Strong arming smaller birds out the picture. It’s not cold enough for the birds to eat Any cotoneaster berries yet, Perhaps in mid January they will. Meanwhile hundreds of people die each day, We’ll all be vaccinated come Easter, So news editors blare in their headlines. By then we might bury forty thousand More coronavirus nineteen victims. The madness of twenty twenty goes on. Meanwhile a nuthatch arrives, pluckily Shoulders greedy woodpecker to one side. If we could emulate nuthatches, And shove bent politicians to one side Perhaps new normal might just be better. Robin Redbreast watches and sings alone, Spring ain’t far off, he doesn’t like bird nuts.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, December 31st 2020.
Dance along edge of disaster In hobnail boots whilst stupified On heady fumes of Brexit deal. People seriously question Parliament’s ability To make a correct decision About health and safety issues. Tens of thousands dead so far, Spreaders are rife across the board, Schools, full to brim, collapse each day, Staff and pupils self isolate, Again and again and again, Hospitals pushed to the limit, Rules that change on weekly basis, Track and trace that will never work. False hopes are raised about vaccines, Cabinet goons claim victory Against covid before it’s won. The whole charade was bound to fail, From herd immunity madness, All the way through on off lockdowns. This is no disaster movie, Families are losing loved ones, Each bad move Tory shit mistake Echoed by Starmer, fucking fake! Pandemic news gets worse by hour, All this shit to regain power. Mutation infects really fast, The race is lost, the future’s past. Still at least we ain’t got no-deal, The hero’s done it, so unreal, Pupils will train to test themselves, The troops stand by to webinar, The time to save so many lives, Came and went in the blink of eyes. Health experts cry catastrophe, Still we are nowhere near the peak. One year on and nothing can work, Except for a total shutdown Of public, private, everything. No more deaths, zero tolerance, The only way we can survive. Some say fears are paranoia, Maybe Boris needs a lawyer. I wrote of pandemonium, Nine months ago, right near the start, Now army stands in every city, If I’m not wrong, there won’t be pity.
Harry Rogers In the Yellow room, 30th December 2020
A sky dancer in the cloud, Helmet speaker turned up loud, Erik Satie fills that space, Black cat smile across their face Short term, perfect Christmas hit Dreamy Piccadilly fish Dart, squirm, glissando gliding, En parade, out of hiding Swoop and plie upside down Live fantasy above ground Freedom total, excentrique, Fly high Montmartre musique freak.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom 26th December 2020.
All those long lost, still, warm, thick summer days, When butterflies struggle to flap their wings, Ants retreat down into cool deep dug nests, Birds shelter beneath leafy canopies. When the air is as an old overcoat, Engulfs your body, and fills up your lungs. When thin clouds form above valleys below, Imperceptible wisps and swirls at first, Pressure rise and heat pulls moisture from earth. As billowed white pillows turn darkest grey, That thick earthy smell of rain on the wind, Before the storm at the close of the day. This is how it feels at this point in time. Climate change, and economic failure Joined in an obscene troilist tango By a souped up, mutating, pandemic, Are on a crash course to global meltdown. This, the collapse of capitalism, Was never forecast to happen this way, Never in one almighty, chaotic, Cataclysm of human stupidness. Who can comprehend the sheer negligence Of elitist global politicians. The fucked anarchic internet structure, Infects people’s minds with software somas, Leaving them in thrall to techno wizards, And their addictive artificial worlds. Such atomisation negates action, At the very moment when mass revolt Is needed far more than ever before, People are enslaved to online servers. In the real world thin veneers peel away, Destitute nouveau jobless, brought low by Furlough, lockdowns, floods, fake news, false prophets, Bamboozled by naked complexity, Cannot survive without charged up smartphones. When we should all be coming together, Millions of thumb twiddlers clutch consoles. Whilst public services vanish into Private thiefdoms that suck our coffers dry, Gamer junkies wind up almost insane, Burnt out by adrenaline addiction. Meanwhile, all around, the latest version Of the new world order is fucked this time. MSM looks like a Matrix remake, All frontline services stretched to limit, Yet, despite all of this, how we long for, Stormclouds to break,rain and hail to cease, That line of red tinged gold to appear on, Horizon, and slowly explode into Giant sunset where roses tinge with gold. To attain this we need revolution. Xanadu has to be more attractive, Than Fortnight, Fifa, Scrabble or TikTok. If we cannot tear these people away, Sunsets and gold roses? Not anymore.
Harry Rogers, in the yellow room 25th December 2020.
New, last minute, mutant rabbit deal done. Life in Boris’s hat unbearable, By the time rabbit was finally pulled, Mounted on stilts in order to stand, Full blown brexiteers wept crocodile tears, Drowned sorrows in lake of duty free beer, Finshed off last of Bulgarian fags. Nations Health wrapped in ragged union jacks, The unkempt blonde smiles as he shafts the hacks, Guffaws, as he searches cleverdick lines, Jolly and jokey don’t wash anymore, People ain’t stupid, they know the score. Rain floods the valleys, free school meals don’t come, Who gives a shit about deal getting done?
Harry Rogers In the Yellow Room, 24th December 2020
Beneath the yoke of shimmering tension, Swim in placid waters of hopefulness. Only now understand reality Of incipient creeping glaucoma. Long term daily surf must be curtailed, Projects need to be worked to a finish Whilst light shines bright and ideas stay lucid. Today, sat in hospital waiting room, Alone, hear nurses share thoughts of closure, Wards and wings shut for unknown period, They complain about chaotic actions, Management come under their scrutiny, It’s all so matter of fact, so expected. I’m lost in reflection of where this leads. Long term it is scary, I need to read. Thoughts of eyesight failure flood my mind. I have half a dozen things to finish, Plus a myriad of pieces to start. Young African docter puts my head straight. Take eye drops for three months, reduce pressure, Come back for review, we’ll assess options. This diagnosis concentrates my mind, Mortality floods into consciousness. I have choices to make, pages to fill, My ability to trip through the past Is very fragile, and time limited. This moment, a point to turn on, erupts. Tonight deliberate, sleep earlier, In the morning, action, I have the tools, There’s no time to lose, I have marks to make, Change has come, and I must move along.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 21st December 2020.
Third Purge in my lifetime, This one the biggest yet, Fed by social media, As bad as it can get? Looks worse than the last one, Driven on by revenge, Ed defeated David, That’s when the seeds were sown, Progress got bloody nose, Took challenge of the left For granted. Arrogance. No fucking chicken coup, Nor David Cameron, Could match rampant desire For change for the many. Shadowy Mandelson With full time spad plotters Worked day in and day out To destroy the flower Of Socialism Before ere it could bloom. Comrades toiled endlessly, Despite hidden platoons Of trolls, scabs and grasses, Agent provocateurs, Student politicians, Wreckers, every one, Sniveling party hacks Determined that only Their crew can occupy The role prime minister. Such arch conspiracy, With all the media, Bourgeois establishment, Bellends in Parliament, They plowed on with vigour, Lies and accusations, Grew bigger and bigger. Lost second election, According to their plan, Led to a new leader, A diligent law man, A true knight of the realm. He promised unity, Stood proud on ten pledges, Then, forensically, Filletted every pledge. Those hid in the shadows Primed him with new weapons. Anti semitism Used to smear the decent. Audacious, and corrupt, Manipulate the rules, Treat party volunteers Like children and like fools, Fake investigations, Lead to faux suspensions, No membership debates, Discussed through CLPs, People chat down the pub, Share thoughts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Zoom, Youtube, and email. This is now deemed fair game By creepy party hacks, Those bent apparatchiks, Using techno weapons, Dodgy Algorithms, To sift through daily lives For the slightest hint that You might support the whip Being given back to, An honourable man. Today it rained non stop, Expect it will again Tomorrow and all week. In new year, after rain, Peace and Justice flowers, One door closed, another Well and truly opened. Toughen up, Toughen up. That’s what Tony told us, Bloody well toughen up…..
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 20th December 2020
Have a merry little Christmas, So long as it’s really little, But it’s all up to you and yours, Stood at the Downing Street lectern, The haystack bonce says stay indoors. Not a word for dead or dying, For families ripped up by grief, Not once admit any mistakes, His bonhomie beyond belief. The death count still rises each day, In Thamesmead there’s no Xanadu, Witness fake TV piety, The judgements down to me and you, Freedom loving society, Choice is ours, to live or to die, Its up to you, to laugh or cry Nation heaves resignation sigh, Then wave yet more loved ones goodbye.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 17th December 2020.
You can’t discuss anything that the party doesn’t want you to discuss. You can’t discuss any decisions that say you can’t discuss what the party doesn’t want you to discuss. How does it feel to have a non speaking part in an undergraduate student Amdram society production of 1984? Labour party members are treated like children by the general secretary of the party. This car crash is happening in slowmo. It’s unreal, as if the extreme centre have forgotten the groundswell of support for Socialism when Jeremy Corbyn was first elected as party leader. The hundreds of packed public meetings, so full they had to have overflow meetings. Where does Mandelson and his crew think all those comrades have gone? They’re all still out there, wanting a party prepared to involve the whole membership in defeating the Tories. These neo liberals in the PLP who failed to work for a Labour victory in not just one election, but, unforgivably, two general elections. Twice these traitors allowed Tories back into power, snatching defeat from victory in an effort to defeat socialism. What they fail to realise, as they cling desperately to the shrinking wreck of a Party Labour has now become, is this plain fact. You can gag your own members, you can make false accusations, you can suspend people on spurious grounds, you can expel local volunteer executive officers, you can remove the whip from MPs but there is one thing you can’t do no matter how hard you try. You can never kill ideas. Socialism is not one person, or a party membership, to be slaughtered on the alter of mammon. Socialism is a belief system whose time is coming. Forward to Peace, Justice and Democracy in a Socialist Republic.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 16th December, 2020
Court cases loom as web tangles the weave, One more incentive for people to leave, Structure now ruined by those who deceive, Forensic pragmatics no-one believes. PLP head without body can’t breathe, Gather together, there’s much to achieve, The old way is dead, don’t turn back to greive, Stand up united, our hearts on our sleeve, We have the future, it’s ours to conceive, We’re on the brink of a daring big heave. There’s more to celebrate than Christmas Eve, Together let’s fight for justice, for peace.
Harry Rogers In the yellow room, 14th December 2020.
Gunboats And Turkeys, No deals and lockdowns, Large brown envelopes, Toxic teacosies, Oven ready myths, sovereign cock ups, These a few of B.J.s favourite things. Steal all the kudos for vaccinations, Pose as the saviour, fake acclamations, Bizarro Churchillian behaviour, Snuffle and snigger, thrust trust far and wide, Behind candy floss, things are sinister, No warp speed bunkum from over the pond, Brings back belief in our “Prime Minister”, This blonde chimera should really abscond. Cornish harbours ring with fishermen’s cheers, Whelk loving boozers enlarge all our fears.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 13th December 2020.
Ordered satsumas, got easy peelers, Mandarins much sweeter than sacharine. Watch party leaders put out their feelers, Search too hard for political vaccine. Wail every day about democracy, Rule we can’t discuss the freedom of speech, Kafka’s in the corner, he brews the tea, Can’t tell it like it is? Ain’t that a peach? Meanwhile the Johnsons, Sunak and the Goves, Filch gigantic fortunes from the kitty, Whilst daily people catch Covid in droves, As Brexit shorters start to rook the city. This morning sparrows gorged on our berries, Lorries queued up on roads to the ferries……
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 12th December 2020
Nineteen sixty three, I’m fifteen. We lay in the warm Paris Sun, Watch svelte young people on the rings, Turning somersaults in the air, Cool jazz, sultry Francoise Hardy, The sounds of Piscine Deligny. I sip at cold rose d’anjou, Beside me a stolen copy Of Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, I dream of future shiny, bright, With all the other wild children, Wide eyed ingenues, sped out mods, Beatnik boys, hot coffee bar nights. The sun beats down on Pont Neuf stairs As I throw pigs feet bones in Seine. Angel John drawing constantly, Sketchbook full of Parisian girls. One late night at Aux Trois Mailletz, We watch as our cold beers turn warm, Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon Play Pigalle Love all night long. John says Ich Bin Ein Berliner, We say Nous Sommes Parisienne.
Harry Rogers: In Harriboy’s Hut, Aberbanc, 21st February 2017
Cold blows cancerous wind from evil den, These are not lions, neither are they men. Thugs besmirch our game whilst they boo the knee, One more sick day in F Troop history. Such cretinous shits, with borrowed salutes, Who only act in packs, with blood on their boots, Are vile, stupid, nazis through and through, Coarse fronts, but we are many, they are few, Fake football fans think they rule through fear, With twisted logic, their pathetic cheer, So last millennium, such stupid boys, With clapped out chants and fat, farty faced noise, Those swastika tattoos, that razored hair, We never liked them, though they don’t, WE CARE.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 6th December 2020.
Sing out the good news, by this time next year This could be over, we’ll live without fear, It’s sad that many died along the way, But we ordered vaccines, now you must pay. All our Tory friends have done rather well, Selling fake systems that took us to hell. We’re halfway through what looks like a mad plan, To turn UK into Afghanistan. Convince the people its all their own fault, Then turn on each other and pay them nought. Across the pond it’s exactly the same, Bent politicians high on the blame game. No one can leave so don’t call a cab, I Roll up my sleeve, prepare for the jab.
Harry Rogers In the Yellow Room, 5th December 2020
Sit in the shade with Jenny in Sitges Drink afternoon tea at the Jazz Cafe, That’s all I want to do in twenty one, See clear shafts of sunlight through the palm trees, Eat crisp thin lemony almond biscuits, Sip orange infused lapsang suchong tea, As gentle warm air wafts over my arms, And Billy Holiday songs softly play, I really need to action reverie, In paradise South of Barcelona. Break away from Covid paranoia, Enjoy my eighth decade whilst I still can, With the love of my life there by my side. At least we’re still allowed to dream, aren’t we?
Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, 4th December 2020
A haircut, I’m gonna have a haircut. Talking Heads is open, appointment made. Get up early, eat muesli, fruit, yoghurt, Shower, drink tea, put on Black Pink Floyd tee, Canadian woolen hat, best jacket, The scarf from the V&A Jen bought me, My phone is charged and I have my Facemask. Out in the yard stands Citroen Picasso, Reliable, our eight year old workhorse, Never lets me down, always starts first time. Turn key, engine starts, splutters, then stops. Turn key again, but there’s nothing doing. I call Green Flag, mechanic on their way. Phone Talking Heads, cancel my appointment. Open bonnet, Mechanic looks and says, ” I know what’s happened here, you’ve got a rat.” He removes cover, reveals the fuel pump. There’s a hole the size of a one pound coin In the side of the black rubbery gland. “It’s a common problem in modern cars, Rodents are eating the rubber fuel lines.” Loads my car on trailer, drives it away. Dismayed I Google rodents and fuel lines. Bam, up it comes, rodents eat car fuel lines. In effort to go green makers moved from Petro chemical plastic fuel lines To soy based flexible tubing systems. Turns out all rodents love to snack on soy. A massive globalisation problem. Rats, mice, and squirrels, make our cars go phut, Nowhere near moment I get barnet cut.
Harry Rogers In the Red Bedroom, 3rd December 2020
Watch Hannah and her pals prance upside down, A ring a rosie hurtle towards the ground, Captured in mid joyous moment, aloud, Flip the photo, whoop as they dance on the cloud. Adrenaline fueled these are not junkies, But true escapist surrender monkeys. Up there where nothing else truly matters, Except fragments of fun as time shatters. I get it, the buzz, honestly I do, Understand what it is to fly anew. How could sky divers ever get enough, Such magical frolics, this is good stuff. No wonder they fly, again and again, Away from the world, from Covid, from pain. I’d love to join them, in envy I am, As I see their photos on Instagram.
Harry Rogers, In The Red Bedroom, 1st December 2020
What we once considered normality, Far far back in our scrambled consciousness, Whizzed by learning curve through formality, Well ruined by buzzword pretentiousness. Normal is no longer the paradigm, Life is abnormal, unbalanced, insane, Non compos mentis, unstitched, out of time, Beyond the realm of Tory parlour game. We both live and breathe in our eighth decade, Largely isolated for ten months gone, We work our garden with our rake and spade, Whilst newscasters blare out the same old song. Birds fly and sqwawk, moles leave copius mounds, Beyond the fake world we hear normal sounds.
Harry Rogers, In the Yellow Room, 1st December 2020
A Postcode Lockdown? Lottery lockdown? Pottery lockdown? A Tescoed lockdown? Alfrescoed Lockdown? Chocolate lockdown? Barbecue lockdown? A jigsaw lockdown? A boardroom lockdown? A lockin lockdown? A locked out lockdown? Westminster lockdown? A Tinder lockdown? Judge Rinder lockdown? A Brexit lockdown? Poetry lockdown? Royalty lockdown? A socks down lockdown? A misch masch lockdown? A crisis lockdown? Jesus wept lockdown? Chimney swept lockdown? A landscaped lockdown? Decorate lockdown? Separate lockdown? Heaven’s gate lockdown? Empty plate lockdown? Fundraiser lockdown? War hero lockdown? Every bloody gawd blimey kind of lockdown, Except for, of course, a zero lockdown!
Harry Rogers In the Yellow Room, 28th November 2020.
Lockdown? Exactly what is a lockdown? It is a ubiquitous term used these days to cover a range of covid related rules and regulations. The trouble is, in my view, none of these are really lockdowns. I just read that all schools in the Cardigan area are closing down for a fortnight. This is an example of running around like headless chickens. Closing schools in a hyper local lockdown without implementing a full scale total lock-down with a complete strategic plan to ensure everyone is safe for a defined length of time is nuts. Zero Covid is the only way out of this tragedy. Ceredigion was considered the safest place in the UK vis a vis Covid-19 infections. Not any longer. Ceredigion County Council are blaming local people for spreading the virus through parties and raves. It’s depressing to watch politicians and their advisors flounder about, in the hope that the vaccines will soon come on stream, and bale them out. Teired systems have failed, the artificial lockdowns have failed, the firebreaks have failed. The waneing of immunity amongst those who have been infected by Covid-19 is extremely worrying as this means that people can catch it again, even after vaccination. Those countries that implemented severe zero covid lockdowns for short defined periods, such as Vietnam, have reaped great rewards in that their mortality rates are minute compared to here. Of course economies that put profits before people have seen ever increasing rates of infection and deaths. Parliament was warned but the political leadership decided to sit on the findings of an emergency planning exercise. How the Tories are still riding high in the polls after this total fiasco is beyond me. The use of the term lock-down is newspeak for cock-up, what we needed was a proper Zero Covid Strategy, its almost too late….. Sign this petition from People’s Assembly Wales.
Harry Rogers In The Yellow Room, 23rd November 2020.
Bohemian rebel rhymesters, Revolutionary wordsmiths, Who hold shiny truth filled mirrors That reflect real and imagined Worlds, ideas, remembered futures, Forgotten unlived histories, Desired justice in the now, These are the chroniclers of dreams, The uncloakers of mystery, Who can see more than what life seems The metaphorical jugglers Of iambs, meters, heart felt rhymes Joyous one minute, sad the next Able to tell it like it is In myriad forms day by day. Cry freedom for those who cannot stop, Who automatically express Their extradimensional truth To power each time they write words, Rant multiverses in the street, These are the ones we need to meet, Seers who understand pain and love, Pull snarky scales from screen filled eyes. Forget leaders, bring on Poets.
Harry Rogers In the Yellow Room, 22nd November 2020
How can we call this a lockdown? It’s a total cheap faux knockdown, Only half way round the blockdown, It’s another B J schlock down. Everybody’s put the flags up, It is good news week for a change. Are we being sold a new pup? Three vaccines at once? Is that strange? I’ll be down the quacks, rolled up sleeve, Waiting for me life saving jab, I truly do want to believe, I don’t wanna go to rehab. I need to be sure that it’s safe, Tested proper, know what I mean? Like a lickle soldier I’m brave, Push the plunger, get the stuff in. The anti vax crew can get stuffed, I want to hug my kids tightly. This nightmare? We’ve all had enough. Let’s all sleep sound again, nightly. Chaos that follows this lock-down, As people crowd onto the streets, Shop for the ultimate knockdown, Turn victories into defeats, How long will it take to rollout? Will the millions stand in line? It’s gonna be very cold out, Can we get it out there in time? This feels like a long distance race, We’re told that it will be world class, What if it’s like test, track and trace? Another BoJo special farce? These worries, they spin round my brain, As I watch these crises unfold, Shall I go up London again? Suddenly I feel very old. At this late stage in the saga, They’ve decided to test teachers, Holding this mirror gets harder, Can’t recognise all the features, Key workers look very worried, The leader still has his socks down, This whole thing feels so hurried, Once more it’s a botched up schlock down.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 20th November 2020.
In the party, the mighty party, The liar sneers tonight, Near the village, Westminster village, The liar sneers tonight. Hush the party, don’t fear the party, The liar sneers tonight, There’s no future, no Labour future, The liar sneers tonight,
Stakes are raised, tension ratchets, Jezza’s back. Group of MPs threaten resignation. Forensic lawyer, now caught in own trap, Can’t risk a legal investigation. Tonight Labour politics lie shattered, Allusions become stark reality A number of banners now look tattered, The ghost of Pasok brooks finality, Big blue spad slinks away from Downing Street, Number ten butternut self isolates, Bowie like he reinvents with each tweet, Starmer should have stormed through the bloody gates, But he never seems to ram the sword in. Sing out loud now, “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!!!”.
Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, 18th November, 2020.
Watch brand new documentary movie, Ronnie Scott’s Soho Jazz Club brought alive, Rollins, and Davis, Nina and Ella, Jimi and Georgie, Van the Man and Chet, They all played there whilst all of us went there. One time in London, at a conference, I needed music to empty my head, Arrive at club to see Madelaine Bell, “Table for one sir?” they ask at the door. Say “Sadly yes.”, hand over a score, A waitress is called, she’s half of my age, Leads me in through the crowd, down to the front, Seats me at table on edge of the stage. I’m at the table for one at Ronnie’s.
Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, 17th November 2020.
Canst tell me, how fit is this butchers dog? Eats scraps and trimmings of beef, sheep and hog, Overfed heavy cur, can’t jump a log, Sling him off a cliff, same as Gogmagog. Another fortnight now squirreled away, Ignore news media, tweet night and day, Fat orange golfer has shewn him the way, Don’t answer questions, faff, bluster, and play. Buy time with new spads locked down in bunker, Zoom hot and cold as enemies hunker, Sack all and sundry, such a strong junker, Quaff drafts of power, lurch ever drunker. Hoards of people still say “He’s such a card!”, In truth his new normal’s too fucking hard.
Harry Rogers, in the red bedroom, 16th November 2020
How is it possible to cut down saplings before they’ve even been planted? Well apparently in the magic money tree orchard in the realm of quantitative easing it is not only possible, but it is essential. Why is it essential? Because if you don’t keep filling the fruit baskets of capitalism then it will disintegrate. It may do this in any case if society as a whole fails to deal with the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. It may be that the current round of lockdowns works perfectly, the R number reduces, hospitals are able to function effectively, employees go back to their old ways of working, bankruptcies are reversed, people stop dying, the pubs reopen and we all sing We’ll Meet Again as we get blue blind paralytic drunk at the greatest national celebration since the end of the second world war. In my view this is as likely as The Snowman surviving an after hours lock-in at the local sauna. You can see the fear in Rishi Sunaks eyes as he extends his furlough scheme until the end of March next year. How can this possibly be enough whilst the schools are still open? Will the economy be able to expand in any meaningful sense over this winter? Entrepreneurs appear on our screens bleating about their pain with not a single word for those now imprisoned within an unfair and vicious benefit system who are expected to continue searching for non existent jobs on a paltry below subsistence income with no access to furlough schemes. Schools are moving into ridiculous scenarios where full time teachers are absent due to infection and year 12 and 13 pupils become increasingly indisciplined as supply teachers and assistants lose control. To call what’s going on a lockdown is absurd, viruses pay no heed to school gates, there is significant evidence from epidemiological experts across the globe that pupils are spreaders. It cannot be justifiable to put educational staff, pupils, parents and the public at risk. We have to watch as the policies from the different governments in the UK chop and change with such a plethora of rules and regulations. Confusion has ruled throughout the life of the pandemic to such an extent that it’s hard not to believe that such chaos is deliberate.
Then, the spindly spad with the giant black rucksack hit the news again, briefly. The master of Tory mayhem has had some kind of falling out with the leader with the haystack on his head and 24 hours later Cummings went. Nobody it seems is indispensable, even if they believe they are.
Meanwhile, over on centre ground, a different bucket of mackerel sits on the table awaiting beheading and gutting. The Labour Party heirarchy have decided that now is the time to implode whilst they still have time before the next general election to sweep the mess under the carpet. The continued belief in the mythical broad church by so many Labour Party members is utterly astonishing. Let’s recap a little here. The election of Ed Milliband annoyed the extreme centre in Progress to such an extent that they deliberately hung him out to dry in the 2015 general election campaign. When he duly lost that election and resigned as leader they were cock-a-hoop and held a Progress leadership slate video conference which was disgusting. Of course there was no talk of the left as the Campaign Group were seen as an insignificant rump. When Jeremy Corbyn threw his hat into the ring he was not taken seriously. The centrists didn’t mount a serious campaign on social media, Corbyn did, largely through his son Seb, who managed his media campaign. Jeremy was the only candidate to put a join the Labour Party button on his web page. This was a master stroke as tens of thousands did and duly voted for him, leaving Mandelson and his Progress cronies in total disarray, and filled with rage at the failure of their slate. Clearly they were left behind by the Corbyn online campaign and the sheer volume of Jeremy Corbyn mass meetings across the UK. As soon as Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership the extreme centre began to seriously organise against him. Jeremy of course had hundreds of thousands of supporters and they duly defeated the chicken coup. The left in the party consisted of around four hundred thousand comrades, many of whom had rejoined for Jeremy. What I personally found difficult to come to terms with was the way in which Momentum set themselves up as the voice of the left and then behaved in an exclusionary manner throughout the following period of Jeremy’s leadership. Momentum never had more than thirty thousand members at it’s height and yet behaved as if they were the left in the party. This has led to a real problem both at leadership level and throughout the party in my view. Jon Lansman created a fiefdom that I and many other leftwing comrades just couldn’t buy into. Many local parties saw massive increases in membership levels but somehow that massive increase was not turned into mass action campaigns in local communities, too much attention was paid on how to fill positions within the party. The whole thing felt like a massive NUS conference. I won’t discuss my feelings about what happened at local level, suffice it to say I and others were never completely happy whilst we were in the party. What is happening now is tragic but not unexpected. It feels very similar to when the Militant Tendency and other left groups were expelled by Kinnock. I came back to Labour for Jeremy, who is an old friend and comrade of mine. He is being treated in an appalling manner both by Starmer and those “left” opportunists around him. There is no way back for him, and nor me. I am happy in Left Unity where we are small but solid in our politics. Now the attacks have widened, CLP Chairs and Secretaries along with leftwing branch activists are being suspended for daring to discuss Jeremy Corbyns suspension. The extreme centre are even now using keyword algorithms to trawl through leftwing Labour Party members social media accounts for evidence of support for Jeremy Corbyns position on anti-Semitism. Such chicanery is worthy of an insane headbang session in the oval office of the White House. I am not alone in my despair at the actions of the extreme centre in Labour. There will be a plethora of books written about this time I’m sure. Meanwhile I will work with like minded comrades to foster socialism in what time I have left. As for Cummings….. he’s yesterday’s chip paper already.
Harry Rogers, musing in the yellow room, 15th November 2020
A Passport to Cymru won’t get you here The bridges are closed so don’t you appear Stay back in England, across Irish sea, Don’t bring the covid down here to me, You’ll ruin the firebreak we’ve just been through, We’ve done our bit, now it’s all up to you, Put on your masks and keep off of the streets, It’s time to get real, don’t shop now for treats, But something’s not right, we’re led by a fool, Why are our children still sent off to School? Teachers and assistants, cleaners and cooks, All now in danger, it’s bad as it looks, All of the rules, strung out, fully loaded, We still won’t be near to zero covid.
On road to Rome in Georgia state, Trump, pumped up with drugs and steroids, Exhorts goons to intimidate, As he scratches his hemorrhoids. This final day of campaigning, For a further bout of madness, Is no longer entertaining, Riven as it is with badness. We will need a giant needle, To Prise obese, stubborn, whelk out From the shell where he does wheedle, Lie, prestidigitate and shout. He’ll wriggle, he’ll struggle, cry fake, But in the end he’ll have to go, Revealed as a broken snowflake, Blown by the wind from Ohio.
Harry Rogers In the Red Bedroom, 2nd November 2020.
Now is no time to stand and cry Neither appease nor pacify Extremists spit upon our head They will not stop, they wish us dead Media amplifies the sound That emanates from centre ground The righteous on their carpet ride Deliver social suicide They trawl through tweet and email box With grubby hands turn back the clocks How easily these ghouls are vexed By words taken out of context Deliberately on they plough To slaughter one more holy cow Point the finger, spin out the lies Phoenix New New Labour arise Soon will come corrupt aftershock They’ll fade away just like Pasok. Comrades fear not, let’s dry our eyes It’s time for us to organise.
Harry Rogers, In the Red Bedroom, 1st November 2020
It’s three in the morning on Halloween, Watch Donna the Buffalo with the herd Out in the wide world things aint too tidy, But Tara and Jeb brought love right on back Three years since we met at get off the grid One of the best gigs that I ever did. Outside the smokebush glows bright in the rain In the field gentle dawn flowers again It’s perfume sweet as the song from robin Who gives a jot about being locked in. Hold hands together now, wait for the sun Soonish it will come and we shall have fun. Meanwhile let’s search for the best in each day, Come with me my love let’s go out and play.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 31st October 2020.
I’m a bastard baby boomer Waiting for covid remover. Born out of the second world war, I will not lie down on the floor. Dad wounded in Arnhem battle, Fighting nazi shittle shattle, Eaten up with PTSD, Never found the way to tell me. Still, I trundle on life’s highway, Try to make sense in eighth decade, After years of struggle so game, Now seemingly to take the blame, For crimes committed in my name, By extreme centrists without shame. Those faux bourgeois sucker uppers Who conned our mamas and papas. I’ve spent my life left of the fence, Unshielded by fake innocence, I fight on for justice comrade, You can stuff your naive tirade, I’m now a consumate Zoomer, I’m the bastard baby boomer.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 30th October 2020.
Somehow we all constantly focus on the end of the pandemic, that moment when when some sort of miraculous vaccine will come forward like the cure for polio and take us to a resumption of normalcy. Ever since the second century the word Abracadabra has been used on amulets as a magical word against diseases. In the second century AD it was believed to be a cure for malaria, Serenus Alexander, a great admirer of Serenus Sammonicus, ordered the word to be written in the form of an inverted cone, and declares it to be of virtue against all diseases. “Thou shalt on paper write the spell divine ABRACADABRA called in many a line, Each under each in even order place, But the last letter in each line efface, As by degrees the elements grow few, Still take away but fix the residue, Till at the last one letter stands alone, And the whole dwindles to a tapering cone. Tie this about the neck with flaxen string, Mighty the good ’twill to the patient bring, Its wondrous potency shall guard his head And drive disease and death far from his bed.”This is the same kind of guff we hear now from the Covid-19 denying spiritual anti vaccine brigade. Their denial brings on the disease by leaps and bounds. To waltz through the world in maskless bliss ignores what we face over the coming year. make no mistake, the just in time fetishism adopted by neo liberals in most democracies in the running of their public services only works when dealing with factors that we already understand. Introduce a rogue element into the equation and just in time won’t work, there is no time to play catch up. The health services across Europe and the USA are banjaxxed because the extra capacity needed to cope with a pandemic just isn’t there. All the historic attempts to rationinalise the British NHS, to slash costs, to privatise through bringing American style practices through the back door via Blairite blue sky thinking, the inevitable destructive folly that is commissioning, the crisis created by PFI debt that cripples the finances exponentially are managed within a creaky Heath Robinson structure that just about delivers a health service free at the point of need. Add in a crisis such as Covid-19 and everything goes out the window. The reason we are having lockdowns is, in large part, due to the fact that most of the politicians just cannot face the collapse of neo liberalism and the threat of years in the wilderness that would be their fate if the NHS completely fails on their watch. This is not just an attack on Boris Johnson and his cronies, though they are the essence of ineptitude, it also rests squarely with all those centrists on all sides in the house of commons who wholeheartedly embraced Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand, and Margaret Thatcher’s doctrines. This means that there is no contingency capacity to deal with the reality of a rampant Corona virus. The economic knock-on effects of trying to manage this situation with fire breaks, control of what businesses can and cannot sell, the collapse of agriculture in the USA, the destruction of tourism, the decimation of hospitality, the societal fragmentation, all of this and much more can be laid clearly at a catastrophic failure of management at a macro level. We all KNOW the maxim failing to plan is planning to fail. We also know that the British government carried out an emergency planning exercise only a couple of years ago that looked precisely at the effects of a corona virus pandemic and yet they failed to implement it’s recommendations. This is a truly scandalous set of events. They might as well have issued every household with Abracadabra triangle to post on their front doors and amulets to wear in the street. It’s not the fault of the people that we are in this mess, it’s a systemic crisis brought about through the implementation of the ideology of greed. Abracadabra? Unfortunately it’s impossible to magic a pandemic away, it always has been.
Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, 26th October 2020.
Nothing can be changed until it is faced. – James Baldwin
Let’s face it, we have a problem, A problem with democracy. Politicians speak on the stump, Sell us all kinds of apple pie, Only when we vote these demons in Do we find out how much they lie. Focus on personality, The abilty to sell stuff, Divorced from our reality, The gilded tin, the powder puff, Make what never was great again, Put fishing top and housing last, Move quickly on, hide up the pain, Sweep past away and do it fast With faff and spaff and chunder Bring on new Dominic blunder Roll out the iron sheet thunder, Split all our old dreams asunder. Ignore what they said they would do, Each day one more shock of the new, Mix up the red with the blue, Spring chaotic bling wrecking crew. No free school meals outside term time, Democracy? I call it crime.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 22nd October, 2020.
That place where fear meets hope, Fire break, hot-spot, shielding, New Deja vu circuit Breaking the virus chain, Bonfire night, Halloween, Postponed during the clamp, Keep schools open for some, Close libraries and gyms, Shut universities, Pubs, gift shops, and campsites, We all pull together, Except for Welsh Tories Who will politicize Covid endlessly with Hyper local lockdowns. People before profit Is our rallying cry, We’ll pick up the pieces One bright day, by and by, Meanwhile stay safe, stay home, Keep one eye on the stats, Other on Boris and His asset stripping rats, Feels like last days of Rome. The poor, and the low paid Will bear the brunt again Sticking plaster fixes Won’t bring relief to pain. Universal credit For those who lose their jobs, Cannot meet commitments. Whilst knobs debate the R, Lists of rules grow longer, Save pubs, eat out, stay home, Lock down, wear masks, obey, Pursue a policy Of equal misery, If you’re not confused now Wait on, you soon will be. Make us blame each other, Sister grass up brother, The rich will cop for nought Blame us, it’s all our fault, We did what you told us, Perhaps we will again This is what they wanted, The ghouls in number ten, Like slick rugby players Pass the ball so quickly, Maintain power without Responsibility.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, October 20th, 2020
I sit in the darkened room at Madame Marta’s Edwardian villa in Swiss Cottage. Seated around the large, round, antique mahogany table I see eleven other people, like me, wearing silver masks and long red robes. I have no idea who they are, this is the first time I have ever attended a conjuring. The house itself exhibits gothic features, it is built in the style of a mid nineteenth century Italianate villa from the Borromean Islands on Lago Maggiore. The castellated tower which widens with height, is topped by a cloistered walkway, decorated with green and gold images of Chinese style dragons. It impressed me greatly when I arrived, and I found myself in the room at the centre of the cloister when the door opened five minutes ago. Madame Marta enters the room carrying an ornate basket containing a number of golden jewel encrusted amulets with red dragons inscribed on them. The dragons are attached to black ribbons. She also hands out some short, thick, black candles. She instructs us to all take one of the amulets and tie the black ribbon around our waist with the amulet image facing outwards.
Madame Marta attaches great importance to this saying, “The requests that you make here will only be answered if the dragon is facing away from you. If the dragon faces the wrong way then your desire will be reversed and that could be extremely dangerous.”
She then passes a burning taper around the room so that we each, in turn, light our allotted candle. At this point a heavy, cloying, perfumed aroma fills the room and I begin to feel slightly swimmy as I breathe it in. The characters on the ornate tapestries around the room appear to dance before my eyes. I am in a state of astonishment and am quivering all over.
I am not sure what this ritual is likely to achieve, to be honest I have always thought of the supernatural as somewhat of a hoax. I am only here because a friend at work told me that they knew of a sure fire way to get revenge on a bully or anyone that had mistreated you. When she had mentioned a conjuring I had laughed but after a few minutes of her sincere advocating my curiosity was aroused. She had given me Madame Marta’s card and thus here I am.
Focusing clearly, my memory takes me back twenty years and I see myself as a frightened eleven year old boy, sat as I await the electric enter sign to come on and usher me into Mr Jenkins’s study to face yet another ferocious beating with his cane for nothing more than failure to my homework. I recently took my eldest son along to view the local comprehensive school and was shocked to see Ronald Arthur Jenkins installed as the new head teacher. The very sight of this old bully brought back all my fear and pain, and reawakened my desire for vengeance. I determined that there was no way on god’s earth that my son was going to this school all the time Jenkins is head. Something has to be done.
Now I feel very strange indeed, I can smell the colours in the tapestries. Madame Marta takes a folio sized grimoire into her hands. This ancient book is covered in what looks like emerald green lizard skin, although I cannot be sure. She opens the book and begins to read from it in a language I do not understand.
We sit in silence until, after five minutes of reading aloud she stands and speaks; “Rise now. Take hold of the hands of the people either side of you. Slowly beat a rhythm with your right foot upon the floor in time with my handclapping.”
We do as she instructs. After a while she speaks again “Chant the following words over and over until I command you to stop:-
Please come to us
The chanting and the sound of the feet beating the floor has the effect of sending Madame Marta into a trance like state. She begins to utter soft urgent phrases in that same unknown language whilst moving her arms back and forth above the table.
I continue chanting and, combined with the rhythmic nature of the stamping, soon find myself entering a higher state of awareness, everything in my field of vision is assuming a sharpness. Then, slowly at first, a small undulating cloud is forming in the air above the centre of the table. From whence it emanates I cannot ascertain. I am thinking to myself that this is a very neat trick. The cloud is getting larger and moving strangely whilst hovering in the same position. It is so large now that I can’t see the other side of the table; Madame Marta is hidden from view.
Suddenly she makes a long, loud, howling moan, then shouts “Stop chanting. He is here. He is here.”
As I watch the cloud clears, and there floating before us is a red dragon with a man sized demon sitting astride the beast with a writhing python in one hand and a wavy edged dagger in the other. I feel shocked and frightened, and feel my legs getting wet as I realise I am pissing myself. It looks so real. I stand paralysed whilst Madame Marta reaches forward with a shiny black onyx bowl and holds it beneath the dragon. The demon bares it’s oversized set of pointed teeth in an horrifying grimace and looks around the circle before drawing the dagger slowly across one of the dragons feet. I can smell the stench of his vile breath as he leans forward with the knife. A bright red stream of steaming blood falls from the wounded creature into the waiting bowl. A few seconds later Madame Marta places the bowl on the table and bows low whilst uttering more words in the strange language. The demon stares at her with a definite lascivious look, and then, with a sudden loud noise, is gone.
“Prince Astaroth has gone but has left us with enough dragon blood ink to carry out the rest of our purposes here today. Please join me in thanking him by repeating the following words.”
“O Mighty Astaroth”
“O Mighty Astaroth”
“We thank you for your gift.”
“We thank you for your gift.”
“We shall repay it back one day.”
“We shall repay it back one day.”
“Thank you all, now let us move on to cast the spells you have come here for today.”
Madame Marta moved to a Chinese painted chest in the corner and opened a drawer from which she drew twelve sheets of the finest goat vellum, twelve black sharpened ravens quill pens and twelve lengths of black silk ribbon.
After handing these items around she then said. “Write the full name of your target nine times on the vellum using the dragon’s blood ink. Cover the name with your wish or command written nine times. Roll up the name vellum and tie it with the black ribbon. Moving back and forth from left to right, make 4 more knots in the ribbon – there should be five knots in total – including the one holding the rolled name vellum.”
I have no idea what the others are writing down on their vellum. Possibly some of them are seeking to bring a lover to hand for cheating on them, or are hoping to influence the decision of a judge, or maybe their boss is bullying them and they want it to stop, I don’t know, and, as I won’t see any of these unknown people again, never will.
I dip my pen into the dragon’s blood and start writing across the sheet. Nine times I write Ronald Arthur Jenkins in very shaky hand. I remember clearly vowing to myself that I would one day have my revenge and this time is now. I look at the nine lines of his name and begin writing across every one TAKE THIS MAN TO PURGATORY AND CANE HIM FOR ETERNITY. As I write I feel the satisfaction growing inside of me whilst the fear I felt in the demon’s presence diminishes with every word. As I finish I feel positively radiant.
As soon as the last person ties the final knot in their ribbons Madame Marta says “I have prepared some special oil for you and you must take it home with you and fill these lamps with it. Light the lamp and place the vellum scroll in front of it. Every night for nine nights you must sit by the lamp and say the following five times:-
O Mighty Prince Astaroth
Who entered the mountain and tied
Up the beast with your ribbons,
I beg you to tie up and dominate [insert name of target].
Help Me in my quest
Great commander of the forty legions,
For the oil which you will consume today,
For the oil which nourishes this lamp,
For the wick which burns away all impurities,
I dedicate this Lamp to you,
So that you may relieve me
Of all my Miseries
And Help Me to overcome all Difficulties.
As You dominated the beast beneath your feet.
Grant me that [insert target’s name]
May not live in Peace.
In this way Lord Mighty Astaroth,
Grant my Petition and Eliminate My Misery.
Once the lamp is lit you must keep it burning throughout the nine days and add more of my oil as it burns so that it does not become extinguished. You must also be sure to wear the amulet of Prince Astaroth as a lamen whilst chanting the prayer to the Lord Of Truth. On the final word of the fifth chanting on the ninth day your command will be executed and all will be well. I thank you for attending the presence of the most mighty strong Prince among all the spirits, O Mighty Lord Astaroth, he that giveth true answers of things past, present, and to come, and can right all wrongs and discover all Secrets. Please enter your cubicles and get changed in silence and respect the privacy of everyone else here. Here are your lamps and bottles of oil, have a safe journey home.” With that she hands out some small brown paper carrier bags and leaves the room.
I quietly get changed and, seeing none of the other participants I go home.
As I drive I try and work out in my mind what happened in the conjuring. Did the demon really manifest itself before us or was it a sophisticated technological trick involving a hologram? I am unsure, it had seemed so real, the smells, dragon blood ink. Whatever happened I am now determined to see the process through and will light my lamp to Lord Astaroth tonight, after all I have just handed £1750.00p over to Madame Marta.
After keeping the flame lit for nine days and nights, and chanting the prayer to Lord Astaroth five times every night, the whole spell is now woven. I have not determined how I will find out whether it has been successful or not but I feel strangely elated at the prospect that it just might have happened.
This morning I see my friend at work.
She says “How are you Johnny?”
“I have never felt better.” I reply
“Did you go and see Madame Marta?”
“How was it?” she asks
“I am not sure. It blew my mind a bit and made me question reality.” I reply.
“OK, I will see you at lunchtime for a full rundown, laters!”
“See you in the canteen at one.” I say.
I go to my desk and there I find the in tray piled high with correspondence and newspapers. I pick them all up and place them in the out tray as I figure that anything of any real import will be bound to come back to me eventually. As I lift the pile today’s copy of the local newspaper, The Kentish Mercury, falls to the floor and lays open at the inside page where I look down at the headline which reads “Mysterious Disappearance Of Local Head Teacher, Police Baffled.” The first line of the report says Ronald Arthur Jenkins, Head Teacher at Deptford Comprehensive School, disappeared in a puff of smoke during Assembly whilst speaking of the dangers of magic in modern society.”
I sit down in my chair and strange wave of intense calmness sweeps over me, at last I think, I have revenge. I give thanks to the one and mighty Prince Astaroth.
2117 words. Harry Rogers, Aberbanc, in the hut, February 2017
Who do you support, Millwall or Charlton? Being brought up in East Greenwich this was a difficult question for a young boy in the 1950’s. It’s important to say that I have been a football fan from the get go, unlike my dad. He was a musician and his sole interest in life was the study of chord sequences on keyboards of various kinds. We never watched a match together, live or on tv. We had a very early nine inch black and white television with a large magnifier screen on the front of it back in 1953 and I used to secretly watch night time football matches on it when my mum and dad were out playing gigs in Croydon venues including The Star in Broadgreen and The Bridge Hotel on Spurgeon’s Bridge, where I was born in 1947. This illicit night time TV watching was not easy as I will explain. I was a resourceful seven year old and would stop at nothing to see late night television, especially if it was football. My grandfather on my Dads side owned a large four story semi detached house, 75 Wellesly Road. My mum and dad, my brother Bruce and I occupied the top two floors, my uncle Phil and Auntie Hazel the first floor and my great grandparents lived on the ground floor. An extended family. Bruce and me were not allowed out of our bedroom at night. There was a hook and eye on the outside of our bedroom door put there to keep us effectively locked in to stop us from creeping downstairs to the front room where the telly stood. I soon sussed out that if I slid the cardboard cover of a Marvelman annual through the gap in the door and frame I could knock the hook out of the eye and we were free. My parents must have known because eventually they took the doorknob off the inside of our bedroom door and that pretty much ended our escapades. Anyway, I remember very clearly one time watching a BBC outside broadcast of a night game from Molyneux featuring Wolverhampton Wanderers in a floodlit European cup match. I think Kenneth Wolstenholme was the commentator. Tremendous. Watching a match with large crowds cheering their team on was exotic, Bruce and me were hooked. The black and white image was not very good on this early tv. When ITV was launched as the second channel loads of TV engineers travelled the land converting old sets to be able to receive the new signal. Our tv was not able to be converted. When the engineer came to our place he tried but we ended up with BBC pictures and ITV sound or vice versa. Watching BBC News with the Murraymints advert sound was surreal. Bruce and me were devastated, we never did get to see Popeye in our house, we had to go round to our friends houses and watch there. Anyway the engineer left our house defeated, and we didn’t get ITV. My aunt and uncle downstairs did and my brother and I were allowed to go down to their flat on Sunday afternoons to watch Robin Hood. That was it. Still, despite the poor tech, football had us enthralled. When we moved to Greenwich we both went to Meridian primary school where every playtime the boys went football crackers. two teams of twenty a side rushed frantically back and forth across the playground. It was joyous. Some of these boys had tremendous ball control of a tennis ball. Once in while we would use a full sized plastic practice football, it was mayhem, totally anarchic but just about the best fun. These kids were either Millwall or Charlton Athletic supporters, and most of them used to go to watch one or other of these teams every home game. Quite a lot of them used to go and watch both teams. It was cheap entertainment in those days, especially for youngsters. The first time I went to a live match in 1957 I was taken to Coldblow Lane to see Millwall. Not by my dad but by my mum’s boyfriend Cyril who worked part time behind the bar at the pub and lived two streets away from the Den. Standing on the cop was thrilling, Millwall supporters are very vocal. I loved it. The very next week, Saturday 21st December, aged ten, I went to the Valley with my brother and a crowd of other boys from school. Charlton Athletic were playing Huddersfield Town in a second division match. Both teams were relegated from the First Division at the end of the previous season so this looked like being a big game. Bruce and I stood on the open terrace opposite the grandstand and watched as the Charlton players ran out onto the pitch to the sound of ” When The Red Red Robins Come Bob Bob Bobbing Along.”. Johnny Summers stood on the sideline smoking a cigarette. The twelve and a half thousand fans all cheered, the referee blew the whistle, Summers stubbed out his fag and stepped onto the pitch, and the match kicked off. After 17 minutes Derek Ufton, a Charlton player, was carried off with a dislocated shoulder. Charlton were down to ten men, there were no substitutes in those days. By half time Huddersfield were leading two nil. Charlton pulled a goal back just after the start of the second half but Huddersfield town were rampant and with twenty seven minutes left they were leading 5-1. Many supporters left the ground but me and Bruce stayed on. What happened next remains vivid to this day, Charlton scored five goals and led six five, with nine minutes to go. Five minutes later Huddersfield equalised, six all. In the last minute Charlton scored again, the referee blew the final whistle. The Addicks had won 7-6. Johnny Summers, the legendary Charlton forward, had scored five goals. The loyal Charlton fans invaded the pitch and carried the Charlton players back to their dressing room. A short time later the players came back out into the main stand to celebrate with their fans. After that amazing match I became a confimed Charlton fan, still am. Sixty three years later I am still bob bob bobbing along. Millwall or Charlton? Come On You Reds.
Harry Rogers, In the Yellow Room, October 15th, 2020
So I go down to the local town to buy my partner Jenny a birthday card and a present. I go into a gift shop owned by a good friend. I have a mask on and I sanitise on the the way in. My friend is not in the shop but her mother is at the counter wrapping up some pottery for a customer. I browse through the hand made cards produced by local artists and choose one with a view of a coastal valley in Ceredigion, the colours are beautiful, I am pleased. I move on to peruse the jewelry section and there I see a pair of silver earrings with jade coloured glass drops on them. Perfect, I often buy earrings for Jenny, I am a creature of habit, so I pick these up and stand two metres from the counter studiously socially distanced ftom the other customer. She leaves, I advance and I hand my purchases over for wrapping etc. We are now alone in the shop and we exchange pleasantries, after all we’ve known each other for more than twenty years. As she picks up some tissue paper from the counter top she turns the whole pile over and says something about having a new kitten who has walked over the paper and left a wet footprint on it. I say ‘Well cats don’t know about such distinctions I guess.’ She says ‘He’s new, he’s an adolescent boy, and you know what they’re like don’t you?’ I respond, flippantly, ‘Oh yes, there’s one of those in the White House right now.” There’s a pregnant pause before she says ‘I am a Trump supporter, I’m fed up with namby pambyism, I admire his straight talking.’ I look her in the eyes and I say ‘ But he’s a total nazi….’ to which she replies, ‘Well I’d rather have that than wishy washy liberals.’ We talk for a bit longer about home grown politics and she tells me she was all for Corbyn but since the election the new Labour leadership is not for her. We talk a bit about Greece and Spain, Then, as she hands me the dinky mini brown paper carrier bag with the card and the fancy wrapped earrings in, I pay, say goodbye and walk up the high street back to my car. I am very shocked. I remember back in the days when we were campaigning against the war in Iraq this woman was a staunch supporter of the local peace group and I have always thought of her as a comrade. I guess I’ll be buying birthday cards and earrings elsewhere in future. What the fuck is happening? I am confused. I take off my face mask, drive home, and pour myself a whiskey. I need it.
Harry Rogers, in the Red bedroom, October 12th, 2020.
Maybe tomorrow we make it better, Stand out on the streets or write a letter, One way or another let’s get this done, Let’s get together,one by one by one. Don’t bring us leaders, those who take a ride, Give us somebody to walk by our side. As we march, our hearts, light as a feather, Help us to smile through the stormy weather. Sing those songs of struggle from long ago, From Woody and Nina, help us to grow, We’ll march through the north, we’ll march through the south, Songs of love and hope filling every mouth, Face down the racists, the boogaloo guns, Up on higher ground shine like golden suns,
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, October 11th 2020.
Fol de fucking roll There’s another poll. The man with no soul Scores one more own goal, They roar four more years, Forget nation’s tears, Maskless down their beers, Ramp up all our fears, Reckoning soon come, For chump on the stump, When steroids wear off, As he plays down cough, He’ll beg for his mum, Fall down with a bump, Always remember, Third of November, Time for all to dump Madman Donald Trump.
Harry Rogers in The Red Bedroom, 11th October 2020.
Their aged poster boy tweets Lies from his hospital bed. He can’t accept his defeats, Says the first thing in his head, Which most of the time is him, Believes he’s some kind of god. In his blood virus does swim, Content to feed on his bod. Narcissists don’t understand How actions belie their words, Nothing he says stands as grand, Beligerently absurd. After spraying without mask, One thing’s for certain of course, No matter how much we ask, He won’t show any remorse. Sociopaths never do.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 4th October 2020
God Pays debts without money, So my mother used to say, Well I don’t believe in God, But sometimes it looks that way. Four Five walks to the chopper, He flashes a discrete wave, Somehow he came a cropper, Looks like a proper close shave. No-one knows if he’s got it, If he has it could get bad, The electors have a fit, Media go fucking mad, His videos feel funny, The tweets keep right on coming, His campaign needs more money, Fox News forever dumbing. Over here across the pond, We’re not quite sure what to think, Will there be some magic wand, Or another giant stink? I’m hoping he doesn’t die, We don’t need martyrs made fake, He’ll not let sleeping dogs lie, Can’t tell if he’s on the make, Could be one thing or other, Still got plenty of bunny, I keep hearing my mother, God pays debts without money.
Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room, October 3rd 2020.
Alone on that high wire That stretches over hell They took away the safety net That caught you when you fell Check out Maggie’s death spooks, We thought they were long gone Now they’re back on our TV sets , They drone on, on, and on. Are the people happy? They really need to know. Universal credit, The furlough has run out, Talk of viable jobs, Trash the precariat. They will measure your wellbeing To work out how far can they go. Are the people happy? A scale of one to ten, Decimate benefits, Again, again, again.
Aberbanc: Halloween, 2016. Revised in the Yellow Room, September 27th 2020
The dotard prince wanders around He drags his knuckles over ground The ice queen of celebrity Frozen by mediocrity Hides away a month and a day Lost in the mists of Mandalay Buggy rides from high tea to tee Drive the green between thee and me Steals our cash across the nation Cinderella situation. Takes colonial pith in vain Messiah complex rules again Judged not the fakir, blonde, insane Injects the bile into each brain Convinced the proletariat That hate not love is where it’s at A tragedy that says it all Nobody’s going to the ball There will be no recreation Cinderella situation
Empty libraries, no-one in the stacks, There is no research, no-one sifts the facts. Refectory shut down, lecture halls too, Union bar gigs gone, nothing to do, Students in garretts, now banged up all day, Campus isolation all for 9K. Laptop screens flicker in room after room, Headphones on bonces, new learning on Zoom, Tiers, pods and bubbles keep distanced apart, Fears, gods and troubles, is no way to start. Fresh faced freshers no way will stay quiet, They will learn something, new ways to riot. Curfews on campus, they’re all getting ill, No track, and no trace, there’s no magic pill. Still, just so long as students pay their fee, They’ll get a University degree.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, September 28th 2020
IN NINETEEN SEVENTY THREE JOHNNY, BO, AND ME SAILED ACROSS THE SEA HEADING FOR THE ZUIDERZEE ON DOWN PAST GRAVESEND OVER THE SHIVERING SANDS PAST THE END OF THE THAMES GOING TO THE NETHERLANDS
NEXT DAY ON THE HORIZON BO SAW A PLUME OF SMOKE WHILST JOHNNY GOT HIS BINS OUT I TOOK ANOTHER TOKE “THERE’S TWENTY FOOT FLAMES IN THE SKY” SAID JOHNNY, CHANGING OUR WAY WITH NO THOUGHT OF WHAT OR OF WHY WE WERE GONNA BE HEROES THAT DAY
THE CREW ON THE DECK OF THAT SHIP LAUGHED AS WE PULLED ALONG SIDE THEY WERE BURNING OFF CHEMICAL SHIT WE SAILED OFF NURSING OUR PRIDE SAILING ACROSS THE SEA HEADING FOR THE ZUIDERZEE IN NINETEEN SEVENTY THREE JOHNNY, BO, AND ME
So you say you will stay. I have already left. Don’t tell me again of The only game in town. I have seen it before, Felt the cold hand of grief, That wither of disdain, Sunken dreams in defeat, Bold ideas trashed away. We are left socialists, They do not like us, They do not want us, They don’t respect us, They won’t work with us, They can’t abide us, They don’t deserve us. So stay if you want to, Bow to new leader cult, I cannot stomach this, Beneath mass union jacks, To garner red wall votes That don’t really exist, Spad statements from London, Ersatz in the extreme, That shout out Britain first Will fool nobody now. Is this what Jo died for? I shan’t come back again, One has to draw the line, And this is the somewhere.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow room, 25th September 2020.
THE RETURN OF THE GOLDEN DRAGON A modern fairy tale. Thence, beyond this time, in a far away land, on a planet much like ours, lived a vengeful orange coloured king with yellow hair named Oswald who ruled his people with a heavy hand. Laws laid down by his forefathers over many years no longer held sway having been revoked by Oswald and his carefully chosen courtiers. The people were unhappy, but spent their whole time devising ways to make the king happy because in that way he might be persuaded to turn his attention to those from other countries, who were also frightened by him. King Oswald lived in a fortress with his wife Queen Emeralda, his two sons, Prince Victor and Prince Wyn and his daughter, Princess Lusha.Every person in the land secretly hated him but were too scared to do anything about it. Even his wife could not find anything to love about him. Queen Emeralda would always wear a painted smile when ever Oswald looked in her direction, but inside she was sad and almost broken. Prince Victor adopted the same traits as his father, listened to nobody, believed he was as big a genius as King Oswald professed himself to be. Prince Wyn was different. He read books and understood the needs and feelings of the people.One day King Oswald overheard Prince Wyn and Princess Lusha in the garden.’I wish I knew how to make our father behave better. He is so cruel to everybody and everywhere I go people are sad and poor. If I were king I would change things. I have ideas from the old manuscripts I found in the crypt. Lusha, there is a better way, Life was once so much happier.”How do you mean happier?’ asked the princess.’In the days before our grandfather there lived a golden dragon who ruled the world with peace and wisdom, all the peoples of the planet loved each other.”What happened?’ she asked.’The dragon was summoned to another galaxy where there was much trouble and strife. He left our grandfather in charge because he was a kind man and all was well until his death when our father took over and brought cruelty into the role of kingship.’King Oswald, angered at hearing this from his youngest son, turned a deeper shade of orange. He leapt out of a hedge, eyes blazing like hot coals. He shouted at his son,’How dare you speak of me, your father, your one true king, in such a disrespectful manner. I am minded to have you locked away in a cold dark dungeon for the rest of your life.’ He bellowed ‘Guards, guards, come here immediately.’Two royal guards rushed forward. He ordered them to seize the young prince. Princess Lusha began to cry. She loved her brother dearly, with a tremulous voice she said,’Please don’t lock Wyn up father, I beg you, let him free.’The king looked at his daughter, then at the young prince and he said,’This is your punishment, I banish you from this kingdom, you shall be transported to the other side of this world where you must stay, never to return. Guards, take him to the harbour, put him on the next ship with the other deportees.’As the guards took Prince Wyn away, Princess Lusha thanked her father for being merciful.Life continued under King Oswald’s rule in much the same way, The people became more miserable as the King extracted larger taxes than ever. Oswald started wars just for the sake of being able to boast about how powerful he was, but, of course, he was no warrior. He was above combat being so intelligent and clever and, therefore, could not be put into harms way because the people could not do without him. He organised bigger and bigger displays of his might and power with grand parades and colourful tournaments in his honour that everyone in the land were ordered to attend.After six months Prince Wyn arrived in the most inhospitable land in his fathers territory. He had only the clothes he stood up in and no money. His only possession was a gold ring in the shape of a winged dragon given to him by his grandmother. Eventually he found poorly paid work as a stable lad and boarded with the horses. This suited him as he loved animals. By day he worked hard looking after large horses used for dragging logs out of the forest. By night he sat in a corner of the stable, writing poems for his sister and mother. One night as he slept on a straw pally-ass he dreamed a golden dragon appeared and said to him,’Prince Wyn, you must go into the world and let the people know that I am returning. I am a long way away at present and I need a good person to prepare for my homecoming. Nearby you will find a boat builder called James Butt. Seek him out and ask him to build a special boat to take you home. Show him the ring I gave your grandmother that sits on your finger, he will be expecting such a sign. He will build you the finest dragon boat ever seen and you must sail straight home and stand in the square outside the fortress and read out a prophecy that you shall have written whilst Mr Butt builds the boat.”Will you be there?’ The Prince asked.’No but I will send a sign and all will start to change for the better before I arrive.’With that the dream ended and Prince Wyn awoke with sweat on his brow. The next morning he set off to seek out the boat builder. After two days he came to a small bay where he saw a single whitewashed stone cottage with a pile of lobster pots at one end and and a large open sided barn with a slipway down to the sea at the other. Inside the barn he spied a wooden bench covered with wood working tools and paint brushes and large hunks of pungent oakum. Nailed above the door of the Cottage a sign read James Butt, Master Shipwright. As he stood looking at the sign a broad man emerged from behind the lobster pots and said,’Who are you?”I am Prince Wyn and I have been asked to command that you build me a boat.”Asked to command have you? Well I don’t take a lot of notice of commands, I only build what I wants to build and when I wants to build. Why should I build for you?’The Prince was about to reply when the man’s eyes fell upon the glinting golden dragon ring as the Prince held his hand out to explain. He immediately took the young Prince and clasped him in a powerful embrace and said,’I have been expecting you for some considerable time, at last we’re going to get back to where we belong, away from the madness. Come inside, I’ve crab and lobster and fresh made bread a plenty, we’ve much to talk about before we start the work.’ The shipwright worked diligently for three months and Prince Wyn helped where he was needed, and in between times he set about writing the prophecy. Eventually the boat was ready and James Butt and Prince Wyn stood admiring their work. The clinker built boat stood proud and sleek made from the finest juniper and cedar woods, and at the prow James had carved a magnificent dragon’s head and neck covered in sheets of gold leaf. Two giant rubies were placed in the eye sockets and they seemed to radiate a bright red light. All was ready, they toasted each other’s fine work with cups of mead, and launched the craft into the sea. Prince Wyn carefully rolled up the vellum scroll on which he had written the prophecy and tucked it into his shoulder bag.’Will you come with me to my homeland James? I may need help with navigation, and besides I like your company very well.’ said Prince Wyn.”No I’ve much to do do here and besides, you will not need me now, the boat has magic properties, the Dragon Eyes will guide you home, all you need to do is let it lead you over the waves. Tarry no more young man, you’ve important work to do.’Once more the two men embraced and the Prince clambered aboard the boat. No sooner had he sat down on the bench at the stern when a strong wind blew up and the boat began to sail across the bay. Prince Wyn turned and waved at the shipwright on the jetty.The boat ploughed through the waves at an incredible speed and the Prince arrived home after only three and half months. A few merchants and sailors stood on the quayside as the dragon boat sailed majestically into the harbour and drew up alongside King Oswald’s Royal mooring. The small crowd immediately gathered alongside the magnificent craft and began talking about the strange light shining from the eyes. Prince Wyn threw a rope to one of the sailors and then pushed a gangplank out and sprang ashore. He spoke to the crowd in a steady voice, ‘I am Prince Wyn, I have a message to deliver to the people, follow me to the square outside the main gate to the royal fortress.’A buzz of conversation spread amongst the gathering crowd as Prince Wyn headed purposefully from the harbour. A few young sailors ran ahead spreading the word that something important was about to happen. By the time he arrived a large crowd had gathered and there was quite a lot of noise as more came running to hear what he had to say.King Oswald sat in his counting room with a cup of coffee as his Chancellor read out the latest figures from the treasury. Suddenly he heard a large cheer from outside his window and he turned to look down into the square. When he saw the large crowd he immediately ordered the royal guards to go down and disperse the unauthorised gathering. He dismissed the Chancellor and hurried to his main chamber where a balcony overlooked the square.Prince Wyn stood on the steps outside the Fortress with a crowd of more than three hundred gathered at his feet. The royal guard marched out and stood looking as the Prince unfurled his scroll. The crowd fell silent and he began to read,’Herewith find the prophecy of the return of the Golden Dragon. At first there will appear in the distance afar, a small twinkling bright shining golden star. No one will recognise this portentous sign, nor realise just how blindingly bright it will shine. As it gets closer there will be panic and fear and nobody will know what’s about to appear. Flying serenely on high, way, way up above, shimmering, sun like, with peace and with love. The richest, deepest, darkest, crimson most red is found at the very centre point of the heart. This is what makes it the true colour of love.The flickering flames tinged with the colour of love spilling with a terrifying sound from the Dragons golden lips will sweep majestically across the green swards of the land bringing the return of the very sweetest form of peace, where all the varied flags and pennants across the world will bow down in obeisance before the highest golden standard flying. When all the women and children in the world will stop weeping and crying, when all men will lay their weapons down and all people shall join together hand in hand in hand, when all endeavour shall be turned towards the purification of the oceans, the cleansing of the air and the healing of the land. Then shall we know that the new age of the Golden Dragon has arrived and the beginning of the end of the misunderstood days of mistake has started and the making of true civilisation will, at last, have begun. Thus will be that great magical day when we behold that mystical beast imbued triumphantly with the strongest powers of peace and of love. Then shall we behold the true magnificence of The Golden Dragon. Thus prophesy I, Prince Wyn, true servant and devotee of the bringer of happiness, peace and love.’The crowd cheered mightily whilst at the same time King Oswald became angrier by the second, so angry that his skin had turned the colour of a tangerine. He rushed to the sill of the balcony and screamed at the Guards,’Arrest him, arrest him, he is a traitor and a false prophet, it’s all lies, there is no truth in what he says, the words he uses are fake, it’s all fake.’ The guards looked at him and then back at the crowds, many of whom they knew as their friends and family. They stood their ground not moving and clearly disobeying the Kings orders. King Oswald was apoplectic with rage, and he shouted again,’I am your king, you must obey, seize the traitor and bring him in to me now.’At that moment there began a total eclipse where the planet’s largest moon moved in front of the sun. The crowd became silent, King Oswald was dumbfounded, this was a significant omen. At the moment of totality the people looked up into the dark sky and there they could clearly see a twinkling speck of gold and they knew that the horrible years of austerity were finally coming to an end. King Oswald was no fool, he ran inside the fortress, tried to persuade his wife that they had to leave now or else something terrible would befall them, but she refused and told him that if he left now he would have to go alone, Prince Victor was the only person who stood by him and together they rode out of the servants entrance of the fortress never to be seen again. Rumour had it that they lived in deep, impenetrable, forest where they raised pigs for the rest of their lives. Queen Emeralda and Princess Lusha came to the square as the moon moved across from the sun and the light flooded back into the world. Prince Wyn called them up onto the steps and the people cheered as he embraced them both. The Golden Dragon duly arrived one month later, to a forest of ancient flags and pennants that the people had saved for just such a day. Prince Wyn was appointed president after it was decided that there would never be a royal family ever again, and, as far as is known, there never has been since. The whole world lived forever and a day in perfect harmony.
Harry Rogers, In the writing hut, Aberbanc, revised 23rd September 2020.
Come sailing with me In the Irish Sea Sail out to Skomer Where chuffin Puffins Fly beside your boat Where seals and dolphins Duck, and dive and sing. Anchor outside Dale On red sunset sea, Neath starry bright sky, Real ale and good kif, Ramble through late night, Then sail off at dawn, Cut through the rollers, At ease in the breeze, Back to the haven, The perfect weekend, Away from chaos. Some time soon I hope.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, September 23rd 2020.
Zugzwang is a zeitgeist word Situation now absurd, There is nowhere left to turn, Every option crash and burn. Capitalists in the shit, Can we make the most of it? Dodgy academia, Propping up the media, One more televised fraudcast, Engineer a new fly past Trouble in the tea room soon Calls to ditch the blonde buffoon. He says the troops can backfill Shortcomings of the Old Bill His warning stands, don’t break rules, Exponential growth you fools. Spread the fear, around, around, Never ending new lockdown. Stuck upon this roundabout Feels there’s no easy way out. We’re stuck inside a Zugzwang, Heading for one great big bang.
Harry Rogers in the yellow room, September 23rd 2020.
Zugzwang (Noun) Being forced by circumstances to do something which you do not wish to do. Where whatever move you make it ends up bad.
Astride a black shadow, head into the night, Hand on the throttle, you open it wide, Wind tugs hard at your hair, you are in flight Away from yourself, unconscious suicide. This is the ultimate, final night ride Into the Autumn forest of your life, Where there is no point in trying to hide What you can’t cut with a selective knife. Misspent youth memories used to be rife, They fall from fading branches of your trees, The last clear picture of your loving wife, Lost in crisp yellow brown up to your knees. Still you roar into the darkness unknown, Speeding up, now you’re finally alone.
Harry Rogers: Aberbanc – In the hut. 24th November 2016
abab, bcbc, cdcd, ee – Spenserian Sonnet Subject – memory/dementia
I saw that Q a forming On a hot Saturday morning, Without too much of a warning, They gather in Trafalgar Square, They hug and kiss without a care, Mass selfishness truly laid bare. Watch as pale rider gallops through, It searches for carriers new, Infects tin hats and fascists too. Rumours of hype and hoax are spread, They freely mingle without dread, No care or thought of future dead, On Nelson’s head there sits a bird, Immune, unlike this gathered herd, He swoops down low and shits a turd, Anti vaxers sing same old song, Conspiracy feeds on and on, I spy the British Q anon.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, September 21st 2020.
Today I watched TV news for one hour, and wrote down a list of key pandemic words and phrases. With such a blitzkrieg of conflicting information is it any wonder that people are distressed, depressed or have stopped listening.
Whack a mole Moonshot Sudacreme Test and Trace Crush the curve Corona surge Bottleneck Areas of intervention Support bubbles Shielding Circuit breaker Night time curfew Hospitality shutdown Keep checking the regulations Rule of six Back to school Back to work Demand outstrips capacity of world class system Processing backlog Trend analysis distortion Tighter restrictions Open up the economy Quarantine list Non essential travel Informal informing R number Warning signal ICU Exponential growth Work from home Don’t visit other people’s houses Premier League football to restart with socially distanced crowds No mingling Swabs to your nose and throat Infection survey Wake up call All in it together Universities are open Critical point Nothing is inevitable Protocols Sticky blood Tipping point Reducing backlog Turnaround time slippage Self isolation the key National Lockdown Sobering week Community transmission Lighthouse lab system Novel disease Community responsibility Do the right thing Plan for the worst Work for the best Only people can make a difference Wear a face covering No engagement of four governments Vacancy at heart of the UK government Cytokine storm Covid toes Royal mint not making new coins Furlough ending New Year’s Eve fireworks cancelled Stringent national lock-down Accelerated uptick Hoping for a drop-off in infection The last line of defence Christmas is coming, who knows where we go from here on in. Me? I’m going to be self isolated most of the time. Stay safe, as Arthur Lee said “The news today will be the movies of tomorrow.”
Harry Rogers in the yellow room, September 18th, 2020.
Whatever you do don’t mingle, When you walk your dog through the park, If there’s six friends in the dingle Don’t dwell for some sport or a lark. If you want to go kill a grouse With gundogs on a Scottish moor, Plus twenty knobs from the big house, You’re OK, that’s within the law. Go buy yourself plus four britches, And a fluffy checked woolen cap, Drink whiskey with hounds and bitches, Be a killer so full of crap. Toddy toasts sat on shooting stick, Sets bougeois hearts all a tingle But if you’re no upper class prick, Whatever you do DON’T MINGLE.
Harry Rogers in the blue bathroom, September 16th 2020.
It’s open sesame today, Parliament has had it’s say, Home secretary stirs the pot, Soon we’ll be banged up for, Calling out the government. No carping against the leadership, His words are sacrosanct. Get it all done, don’t ask questions, Spread the fear, ball of confusion rolls again, On a daily basis, the spads furiously churn out, Aspirational propaganda, On a daily basis. Stay frightened, Obey, Grass, grass, grass. The left wing smart ass intellectuals Are the enemy, Grass, grass, grass, Stay scared, Don’t believe anyone but us, We are your friends, We are all in this together, Except for grouse shooting parties, They can, as usual, Do what the fuck they like. Grass, grass, grass. Effectively, On a daily basis. It’s a World Class System. New Normal, Informal informing, Stay safe, Grass grass, grass, We wash our hands, of responsibility, We keep our distance from you, It’s for your own safety, GRASS, GRASS, GRASS. Stay scared, We’ll say anything necessary, On a daily basis, We’re the best in the world, You voted us in, Thanks.
Pretty pictures hang skewed on ruined walls, Their scorched frames stark against blackened plaster. Burnt out shells of cars buried as ash falls, Four five visits photo op disaster. One more failure to accept evidence Of chronic climate change on the West Coast. Once more spouts total anti-state nonsense, Blame people on ground, his latest false boast. There’s no global warming. Does not exist. Problems of management not lack of rain, Scientists lie, their research is fake mist, Perfectly coiffed ogre on steps of plane. Waves as daylight obscured by umbre dust, Golf cart awaits, so it’s In God We Trust?
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, September 14th 2020.
Wwhhhaaaattttt the heck is happening? One hundred billion pounds? For something not invented? Can’t they see how this all sounds? Are we run by lunatics? Which spad came up with Moonshot? What, like shoot the fucking moon? This ain’t nineteen sixty nine, We’re not taking giant steps, More like gross leaps in the dark. This absurd fake lunar shit, Is it full moon, or blue moon? What kind of moon will we be Shooting into our raddled veins? Every day change the rules, Hold out possibilities That perhaps things will improve, If we all wait a few months, Life will get back to normal. Not the old normal we loved, But a new shiny normal. A normal where we can be Sure there’s no society, Where Atlas has truly shrugged, Where all phones are really bugged. When was the last time we used Cash to pay for anything? Capitalism? What’s that? Barbarism, new normal, New rules, New Randian ways. New zombie apocalypse, Created to confuse us all, To convince us that we’re small, And big, rich, poor, sick and well, That this is no living hell, Each new day moonbeams glitter, Spad vampire bats do flitter, Take a moonshot in your bum. This IS Pandemonium.
Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, September 13th 2020.
Welcome to Greedville where dinosaurs thrive, On top of towers are sharks that survive, Oppulent décor that oozes with gold, Tasteless faux artworks purport to be old, Divorced from real worlds, sultans on the take, They have the gall to say we’re fucking fake. Family lords it, like they’re in the know, Strut in their threads, some throwback freak show. The leader’s a ghoul too big for his pants, Surrounded all times by sick sycophants. Today radio comes on with the proof, Knew, but did nothing, obscured the truth. As all the alt right suckle his nipple, He looks for next state service to cripple.
Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room, 10th September 2020
No party raves in the front room Friends and neighbors have got to go. Reapers again clean weaponry, New wave rolls on in Autumn sun. With speed of light crash now arrives, Us boomers, isolated still, Watch fearfully behind curtains. New normal unfolds fitfully, Tory game unravels, full pelt, No deflection can close our eyes No political alibis, Their spin has spun, we see through lies, Watch piggies in Westminster stys, As they place blame upon us all Charades and faux walls start to fall, They can’t placate us with football, Where’s the people’s clarion call? The whole facade is out of hand. You need a test? Go to Scotland. Don’t own a car? That’s your lookout, Spads now deaf as we scream and shout. Understand what it’s all about, The immune herd, the truth is out, Statistics no more carry clout, Their information counts for nowt, Nobody listens anymore, To those who do not know the score, Boris seems to be having fun, Smirking as he gets Brexit done. Glib postures won’t seal up the crack Through which the knives fly to his back, Thrown by his own, through smoke and flack, This then the cost of being slack. Tomorrow we go to the sea, Must get away from misery, Spend precious time with family, Time flies, we might be next, d’you see?…….
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 9th September 2020.
Brexit is back on the box Truly electrifying, No Deal is braced on the chocks Soon Boris will be flying. Hide pandemic behind cloud, Move back onto safer ground, Shout Get Brexit Done out loud, Spike 2? Let’s not make a sound. Tariffs just round the corner, We eat our pudding and pie, Pull out plum like Jack Horner, Meanwhile we’re all gonna die. Pritti is all in a twist, Extinction comes true this time, Freedom and truth will be missed, Rebellion is now a crime. Djocko headlines the papers, The virus hides on page four, I’ve a touch of the vapours, Feels like we’ve been here before!
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 7th September 2020.
BBC to only set agendas That fit with the government of the day. Forget tenets of democracy, Just tell us what ministers have to say. There is no such thing as journalism, No research to look behind fake news, Faux presenters wheeled out to parrot, Scripted burnt midnight oil advisor views. So rarely, if ever, pop a question, That puts royals or generals on the spot, Always put a shilling in the meter, To make socialism’s collar nice and hot. This is how it’s always going to be, At the bourgeois preserving BBC.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 4th September 2020.
Citizens emerge from the woodwork and claim the right to bear arms against anyone they deem to be not on the same page as them. These villainous vigilantes place their freedoms above all other rights and obligations. Even above the ten commandments of Christianity that most of them claim to believe in. The whiff of cordite is in the air, threatening to usurp the alcoholic odour of hand sanitiser. Boogaloo boys and others wander the streets of US towns and cities dressed in paramilitary clothes and armed to the teeth with outlandish weaponry. As tempers flare over racist atrocities, so the orchestrated insanity gains in intensity. All of this plays to the crude theatre of the surreal that American politics has become. I can hardly bring myself to tune into news bulletins for fear that the madness has been further ramped up. I try to occupy myself with distractions, today I finally framed two Japanese ink paintings that I made in 1999. Whilst I looked for pins to fix picture hooks to the wall with I came across a gold wedding ring in the bottom of a tin of assorted DIY bric-a-brac. I have no idea how it came to be there, nor who it belonged to. I’ve not opened this tin for a good twenty years, but this piece of 9 carat gold weighs in at seven grams. Scrap 9ct gold currently fetches up to £18 per gram so that’s a cool £120 I never knew I had. Luck it seems is unequally distributed around the globe. I cannot stop the thoughts of bullets severing spinal chords that enter my fevered brain. Not even this joyous piece of serendipity can supplant the feelings of horror that overwhelm me as I watch Trump’s Red Death Masque unfold minute by minute, lie by lie. The situation is grossly obscene, somebody or something, please take me out of this mindset, away from the pornography of ritual anti democracy and unconstitutionality as performed by four five and his perverse family on a daily basis. Unfortunately I know that when I awake tomorrow it won’t be over. Sure enough I wake to news that a seventeen year old boy has opened fire on unarmed protestors in Wisconsin. I worry for all my good friends in America. The fork tongued ghoul exhorts his followers to call for twelve more years. Twelve more years to wage war on his own people, sow division between wasps and everyone else. The first lady glides onto my TV swathed in khaki and delivers the most egregious speech calling on people to pull together whilst her husband sends in the national guard.
Reason, democracy, trust, These things lie trashed in the dust, Bile poured by unbottled djins, State fabric smashed like ninepins, All the rednecks drink it up, Yet they too lap hemlock cup. Empire’s end, never pretty, Nihilists bring mendacity, One aim, protect privilege, Rob, lie, burn, spurn tutelage, Announce new normal, rain chaos, Wave sweet reason adiós, Dream’s over, now demons bask, In light from Don’s blood red masque.
Harry Rogers, ranting in the Yellow Room, 27th August 2020.
The pale rider saunters into the car park at Tesco’s. She fiddles with her pearls as she observes the obedient socially distanced queue who, in turn, wait patiently to purchase their fuel for the future. The rider hides her identity behind a cloak of invisibility, dismounts from her temporary steed, and slides microscopically along the line in search of a new carrier. Most of the people deny her entrance because they have taken the precaution to bar the way with masks and bandanas, but there, almost at the front of the queue, stands a non-conformist. Unmasked, proud of the T Shirt he wears with the slogan Masks Off, Let’s Be Real emblazoned across his chest. The rider does not hesitate, she wraps her wispy tentacles around his head and pulls herself sinuously into his sinus cavity and awaits his next breath to carry her deep into his unsuspecting lungs. He remains haughty and unaware that he’s been chosen. Inside his lungs the rider leaves some seeds and then departs on the next exhalation from which she floats languorously back to her invisible charger. She remounts and they slowly trot past the front of store security guard and amble by the table with the hand sanitiser dispenser and paper towels, on into the fruit and vegetable section. She rides up and down the aisles, she deliberately follows the red arrows marked out on the floor, and, once, spurs her mount to leap over the shelves straight into the midst of a family group as they gently argue about ice cream flavours. More seeds are sown and eventually the rider leaves for pastures new. She spurs her invisible horse down to Aldi. Another hotspot, more human receptacles, the breeding goes on. Meanwhile other riders await starter’s orders in a variety of situations. Waves lap gently, waiting for the inevitable rollers to break on winter shores.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 27th August 2020.
Soon your tower gonna fall I heard your whippoorwill call Shreiked in the middle of night Now it’s time to put things right. You tell lies the easy way Like Jimmy McGill they say Two hours on make up and hair Spread snake oil everywhere. Better take off your golf shoes Listen to reckoning news Go downtown and take a look Put away Goebbels playbook. Young folks are your nemesis They can’t stand your wind and piss Your shallow state is not free, Hang you from Joshua tree Pittsburgh rusts on in the rain We won’t hear your voice again Whimper beyond your last scream As we end your bad daydream People on the streets will jive After the fall of four five. Once more hope anew we’ll bring Then we will hear skylarks sing.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 24th August 2020.
Two young refugees paddle a kayak, Watch as the flycatchers circle this craft Not a high spec sea going pro kayak Able to cross over English Channel Only a cheap inflatable kayak For recreation in pool or still lake. Only a faux imitation kayak. For two to try and paddle such a craft From Calais to England is sheer folly Embarked out of utter desperation Resulting from unjust situation. One boy drowned the other demoralised Meanwhile millionaire British bankers Circle the globe in super yacht Sunseekers Fifty four metre luxury cruisers Tell me, where’s the fucking justice?….. Where?….. Where? Human Rights? What are they?
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 24th August 2020.
This, the ultimate expression Of complete social distancing Is now open public knowledge. The Sunday newspapers are full Of column inches about yurts, Staycations, fences and trespass. Photographs of Prime Minister In Knitted wooly bobble hat, And hipster lumberjack checked shirt. Just another ordinary Geezer on summer holidays, Cut off from civilisation, Plucking strings so pizzicato, In private Caledonia. Have his grades gone up or down? Are his algorithms working? Kitchen spad cabinet smirking, As we are played again for fools.
A Welsh golden eagle dies in the hills, Student high fliers well know how this feels, Llywodraeth have failed to act fast enough, No wonder young voters will cut up rough. Demise of justice, first ministers fault, Education system not worth its salt. Meanwhile, on his jollys, Johnson’s away, So nobody knows what he’s got to say. The Brexiteer Reich grinds close to it’s end, Cummings events? Dear god, heaven forfend. Control slips away, they go round the bend, It’s all got too much for this lot to mend. Whilst bailed MP deletes his twitter feed Pandemic chaos is too hard to read.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 18th August 2020.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 18th August 2020.
I wrote this for a friend who had a falling out over social distancing.
MAKE YOUR OWN HONEY
Covid, Brexit, Marmite, Starmer, There’s always gonna be something. Art and music, TV, Fashion Humans all have different views, Sometimes things flare up with passion, Heard from the pews, or on the news. Sometimes one has to stand ones ground. Go dancing to a brand new jive, Be the one with the coolest sound, Fly home each day to your own hive. Life can be sad, can be funny, Press on and make your own honey.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 14th August 2020.
New normal in New New Labour, Where new general secretary Implements new instructions From new leader To newly depleted CLPs On the new scenario For new style meetings. This is the brave new world That new centrists have created. New old ideas from New old prognosticators No new debates On new reports, Or new expulsions, Lead to new lows in membership levels. A new party may come soon, This is nothing new. Will a new day dawn? I wish I knew.
The special relationship between kleptocratic assassins who cannot see beyond the maintenance of the corner that the ultra wealthy have painted themselves into, has created the condition of misery for millions. The turn of the millennium policies that wholeheartedly embraced globalisation jointly espoused by neo liberal politicians has dragged us into the maelstrom of rapid decline in manufacturing, public service provision, infrastructural repair, and the welfare of social structures. This is not some fictional ramble along a bramble choked coastal path that we can easily turn back from and go back home to the comfort of tea and cucumber sandwiches enjoyed in the rose tinted past we are encouraged to think we relished in the make believe idyll of the post second world war years. This is a full throttle roar along a Randian dragstrip, paved with the failure of individualism, exposed as a dystopian nightmare by the paucity of intellect, and will, now so clearly revealed by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when the major capitalist economies transmogrified from being democracies into kleptocracies, perhaps behind the scenes there has always been a certain amount of brown paper envelopes filled with public cash being transferred into the bank accounts of senior politicians and their families and friends but surely never has it been quite so blatantly obvious. The handing over of more than a hundred million pounds for the supply of faulty facemasks to a company with no previous experience in PPE is treated as a mild mistake by the media. Had this been a Labour administration the right wing monolith that passes for a free press in this country would have been howling from the rooftops. As it is parliament is in recess, the new normal is in full swing, confusion rules, panicked residents in coastal and rural areas are fearful of the much trumpeted second wave as people flood in for good old fashioned staycations. Denial by groups of anti vaxers who terrorise shop workers as they try to do their best to implement ever changing rules and guidelines demonstrates clearly that the New Normal is a place where the wafer thin veneer of civilisation has given way to barbarism overseen by leaders who wallow in decadence. Winter is coming and the kleptocracy shows no sign of slowing down, I try not to dream of a no deal Brexit. Unfortunately there is no where to run to. In these circumstances lock down is the only haven of safety.
I watch the Axios interview Special with Four Five Not seen American president Tell so many Lies. Shuffles papers, points to fake graphs, Checks manuals and books, Four five reads ghost stats, no one laughs, Not even white house crooks.
“If you test more, you find more, We test more than most Fake media lie about the score.” He believes his boast. The one fifty K? He shrugs his shoulders, “It is what it is.” It is what it is? Is it what it is? Is this what it is? This is what it is, So four five told us.
Now we know for sure Know he does not care About the people and the poor, Neither the rule of law
Sociopaths play politics Promise greener grass Smash young people with riot sticks Gas them on their ass. This is what it is, Naked Fascism. It has come to this, This is how it is, It is time for change, Four five got to go.
Harry Rogers, In my hut, Thursday, 6th August 2020
How are things in El Dorado, Now that the curtain has drawn back? Have you found all of the fool’s gold, The meth, the cocaine and the crack? There’s nobody left to score it, Since Corona came down the track.
Fool’s gold Fool’s gold Y’all been chasing Fool’s gold
There is no more Ambrosia To feed your artificial gods. All your rock stars and their shite words Have been devoured by techno hogs, Power brokers now rule nothing, The people have let loose the dogs.
Fool’s gold Fool’s gold Y’all been chasing Fool’s gold
Things now can change for evermore, Behind the masks we all get real, If we want to love each other We tell the powers how we feel. We stand together on the streets Shout it loud, we will never kill
Fool’s gold Fool’s gold We will not chase Fool’s gold
El Dorado El Dorado How are things in El Dorado?
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, midnight 3rd August 2020.
New new Labour with new leader spouts new policies about new normal and yet nothing new happens. Just the same old same old from the same old crew, whichever way they dress it up, there’s nothing new! New direction from new Boris, reborn post covid, new baby, new diet, new phrasebook, new lies. Soon the thing they set out to do will be done, we’ll be gone from the EU, with no deal. For me and you there’s nothing new! Same old same old from the same old outlets. Normally the level of anxiety remains static at just above normal but in the new normal anxiety levels are abnormally high. No matter what we normally do there’s nothing new, only more of the same. S.N.A.F.U.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, Wednesday 29th July 2020
Today there was so much shit in the air, That old fan finally gave up the ghost. Careerist lawyers have all blown a fuse, Now their shenanigans are in the news. Stand by my window, look up at the stars, Focus on Mars, try to collect my thoughts, Is this the moment for left versus right, To smash socialism inside the courts? Parliament’s empty of popinjays, They have all gone home for their holidays. BBC scrabbles round for bones to gnaw on, Comrades stand firm now, there is a war on. All the lost jobs, through Covid and Brexit? Yesterday’s chips and nobody gets it.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 1.00 AM 25th July 2020.
After new normal is over Where will there be birds left to sing? After new normal is over Will we believe in anything? When tundra has melted away, On the brightest hot April day, Too late for singularity To be born in time to save us. Clocks have already struck thirteen. No time to dream of could have been. Pristine armour, unused truncheons, Boxed up bullets, racked up rifles, All locked away and useless now. Empty roads, nothing on TV, No internet, nor mobile phones, Not since daily temperature Got stuck at one hundred and four. Somewhere, in an air conned bunker, Inexorably almost dead, Dwell the last of the bourgeoisie. Everyone else already gone, Victims of Covid-fifty three. Only cephalopods remain To see the beauty of sunsets Across darkening smoke filled skies. We had the choice to abandon Fossil fuels, but we just blew it. One chance, and we didn’t take it. Evolution is ironic.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, midnight 21st July 2020
Here come sporadical lockdowns, The latest order of the day, Leicester one day, your place the next. What powers are needed for this? Are there any sporadic apps? Or are these just the random thoughts Dreamed by wily spad conjurers Who have to give their ministers A semblance of something to say In order to confirm that they, In their wisdom, actually Do something, or do anything. In the vague hope that chaos theory Will somehow come to our rescue, These dark prestidigitators Foist their sleights of hand on us all Daily. As media trumpets Blare out latest tossed off press release, Funded by magic money trees We all slither down on our knees, Smeared and mired in Tory sleaze. Wild campers pitch tents everywhere Furloughed workers stand down and stare, Weeks go by as the deadline nears, All are filled with sporadic fears Somebody said six million, That’s just a random estimate. No-one really knows how many Will draw universal credit, Welcome to Sporadicity.
Revisit the seventeenth century Hang Abracadabra outside your house Invent new magical spells for our times, Boriscadaboris might do the trick. Sniff nosegays, dance Ring-a-ring-a-roses. Judges try cases in nightingale courts, Up on Blackheath soon football will restart, Witness the show world versus the real world. Amulets and incantations abound, Rat flea Covid deniers run around Through shopping malls and half filled bierkellers They utter naive cabalistic charms, “Let’s take control of the invisible, Slow down, push down, control, don’t hang about, Roll out the Nuclear lock-down option.” Bring on magical inexactitudes. Well, whatever we do, just don’t tell the truth, Get back to work, we do not need real proof.
Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, Sunday 19th July 2020.
I recall the exact moment Aged seven, nineteen fifty four, When I moved out of childhood. Out to lunch with Auntie Barbara, In Kennards swanky restaurant. North End, Croydon, Department Store, I sit opposite Auntie B Look around at the finery, Post war women in hats and stoles, Silver cakestands, profiteroles, Seamed stockinged legs, mingled perfumes, Permanent waves, waitress service, Heady stuff for inquisitives. I don’t remember the main meal, “Would you like something for dessert?” She says, passing me a menu. The choice is vast, ice cream sundae, Banana split, Apple dumplings, Even Knickerbocker Glory. I fixated on these two words, Crème Caramel, sounds exotic, “I’d like a crème caramel please.” “Are you sure dear, not an ice cream?” I insist on Crème Caramel. Cornucopias of Ice cream Piled high with wafers and syrups Sail past our table as I wait. Eventually mine arrives. A small white china ramekin Filled with glazed, almost burnt, sugar. Inside my head I’m mortified. I don’t let on, I smile sweetly, Aunt B looks on, in sympathy. I pick up the teaspoon and crack, Sugar shatters like broken glass, Cream coloured custard oozes forth, Scoop some into sceptical mouth. I learned that it’s not the biggest Nor the flashiest that is best. Now sixty five years further on There’s only one dessert for me, Crème Caramel, brulé of course.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, Saturday 18th July 2020.