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.