We play desperate pool in The Fountain, While Brookmill Road runs alive with old bill, Saturday night climb up Deptford mountain, Via St John’s Vale, kebabs make us ill, We sing Realist songs very loud, As we head for that party in Brockley, Already roaring, the usual crowd, Once again get it on with the motley. In the kitchen there’s politics raging, Rock Against Racism top of the list, In the garden, laid on crazy paving, Last years hippy sleeping dreamily pissed, In the rose bush a skinhead takes a slash, I spout on impending right-wing backlash.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 30th March 2021.
The stimulus programme is, in itself, Artificial sop to society, Used to portray Tories as a party, That gives a shit about common people. They only care about preservation Of their position in power. Such a ludicrous constructed monster, Who behaves as if he’s the very state, Louis Quatorze minus the gilded bling, With mock American media room, Desperate to demonstrate worthiness, Of national love, ego gone awry, This greed is good joker, so dangerous, Somehow remains popular, even now.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 30th March 2021.
Separation is grim reality, Walls, checkpoints, drones, armed guards, stolen houses, Daily degradation is new normal. Denied access to pandemic vaccines, Dragooned in queues, kept for subsistance work. The state disrespects human outsiders. National flags fly high everywhere, Politicians always stand next to flags. Protesters are clubbed, tasered, gassed and killed, News briefings tell of state security, Rights are denied in public interest, Society split deliberately, Us and them, us and them, over again, Britain, Israel, Palestine? Your call!!
We work in the garden to mend a fence, A viciously cold gale blows from the west, We now know what we need to renew gate, Replace broken off poles, and chicken wire. After an hour we head back to the house, Black shape glides peripherally in view, Six feet above my head red kite hovers, Still in the teeth of this wild West Wales wind. I see it’s head move slowly left to right, Slightest twitch of wing lifts bird over trees, For thirty endless majestic seconds, It arcs across the field, loops back to me, Soars high over our house then disappears, Free to fly wherever the wind takes it.
I’M SITTING IN THE ANCHOR AND HOPE DRINKING WHITE SHIELD WORTHINGTONS THE BOY FRANKY’S MOORED AT THE QUAY AND I’M STARING OVER BUGSBY’S REACH I ALREADY KNOW SHE’S LEAVING ME GUESS THAT’S WHY I’M GETTING DRUNK THE RIVER LOOKS A GOLDEN PICTURE A RED SAILED BARGE HEADS INTO THE SUN
I CAN’T CRY NO MORE I KNOW IT’S OVER I CAN’T CRY NO MORE I KNOW IT’S OVER
THERE IS A ONE EYED RIVER CAT SLEEPING ON A COILED UP ROPE JOHNNY EDGE SITS IN THE SUNSHINE SPINNING UP MY LAST PIECE OF DOPE OLD NORTON FROM THE BOAT YARD TELLS US SOME CLAPPED OUT JOKE I’M WAITING FOR THE TIDE TO TURN BEFORE I SAIL OFF A SINGLE BLOKE
I CAN’T CRY NO MORE I KNOW IT’S OVER I CAN’T CRY NO MORE I KNOW IT’S OVER
WHEN YOU CAN’T CRY NO MORE YOU KNOW THAT IT’S OVER
Harry Rogers, written in my car, sometime in 2010.
Virtually real nostalgia resides In old, long lost, cobwebbed memory banks, Below bottomless steep digital learning curves. How many people can access archives, On ancient pre internet floppy discs, Locked securely in heat proof data safes. Reports, novels, poetry, non fiction, Social history, cultural milestones, Sitting in lockable plastic desk files, It’s not that the data is not wanted, Nobody has the hardware or software, Everyone moves on 2,3,4,5G, Now, a CD stuck in my car player, Still plays, good job I like John Fogerty…..
Like lichen rampant on prunus hedges, Union flags flutter from public poles. Relentless theft of enemies clothing, Plus non stop foment of fear and loathing, Stream of consciousness policies spew forth, Articulated from our leader’s cuff, Bright blue passports for pints in British pubs, Refugees stockaded in dank wormwood, Children with prospects? Who the fuck are they? Surely we should treat all kids just the same? September, seemingly, so far away, Pregnant with austere fiscal promises, As next budget pushes non block chainers, Over post furlough unfungible cliffs, We’ll revel in long covid new normal, Jabbed full of fake algorithmic dream memes.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 25th March 2021.
Dial down the democracy dimmer switch, Strange conundrum as the light fades away, In the darkness clarity increases, Horses, dogs, armour clad riot police, Brought sharply into crystal clear focus, Batons weilded against young activists, Young non violent direct activists, Clubbed as they sat, serried, outside cop shop, Provoked beyond anger to protection, Erupts into the mayhem of riot, Such smooth precision duly delivered, Gift wrapped to home secretary’s doorstep, For her rehearsed despatch box diatribe, Power of darkness now simply blinding.
Wealthy glide by in slick electric cars, Feed fake dreams about holidays to Mars. I wonder how much lithium there is? Will gig economy slaves earn enough, To purchase these fantasy carriages? Days when families drove to Lake Como, Or to cheap French campsites near Biarritz, Seem impossible now ports are shut down. To take the ferryboat to Tremezzo, Sip Apparol Spritz in Alpine sunshine, Beguiled by clouds tumbling from peaks to lake, Such memories so fin de seicle. As quiz show prizes rise ever higher, Europe is become a funeral pyre.
The chain of command stretched beyond repair, Gaps in links appeared where least expected, New laws proposed, pushed life to the limit, Now we see the consequential damage. Sat in the street the young poked out their tongue, As the young will be ever prone to do. Who gave the order to smash in their heads? Who issued armour? What was in their heads? The force prevails as we all count the cost, Thoughts of public service lie trashed, and lost. BBC concentrates on burning vans, Sick politicians wring their blood red hands, Information age turns right in the dark, London high command instigates the spark.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 22nd March 2021.
It’s dusk in South London, Towards Clapham, red sky Deepens, darkest crimson, Reason fades like sunset. In a Vauxhall garden Scattered white bread slices Adorn the darkling lawn. On deck, expectantly Sits urban wild life freak, Camera in one hand, Chardonnay in other, As he awaits his guests. Radio newsreader Is switched off in kitchen Whilst announcing sad death Of our democracy At the bandstand vigil. Last vestiges of light Fade as the hedgerow parts And the fox family Trot acrooss flowerbeds, No longer timidly, But bold as bold can be. In cells old bill scupper Their community links, But here, they pour more drinks, Foxes enjoy supper.
I’ve been spending my precious time Watching the nags standing in the field Lately I’ve been wondering what they see and feel As they toss their matted manes into the air
Some days run kicking their heels up Like they did when they were young young colts They mooch staring though rheumy eyes Waiting for that something to happen
Old horses in the field Old horses in the field Treat them well Treat them well Old horses in the field
In summer the smell of the orchard Drives old stallions wild again Come winter mud around hooves Leaves running legs mired and tired But oh the urgent nudging and nuzzling People stand at the old five bar gates With carrots and apples in pockets Sweet treats for hard ridden mates
Old horses in the field Old horses in the field Treat them well Treat them well I know just how they feel
Remember when Wasn’t a crime Sit on the beach In Summertime. Down to Penbryn With picnic box Where crystal sea Runs through the rocks, Blanket and book Four pack of beer Pencil and pad Heaven is here These are the days Written in rhyme On Penbryn beach In Summertime Is this the year? Go there again Soak up the sun Don’t need a plane More than five miles Away from home Still on lock down Not in that zone All that I want Is to spend time On Penbryn beach In Summertime.
Opportunity to ride on coat tails, Taken by bleaters who blow with the wind. Not the vile murder made them change their minds, Afore common vigil, all set to abstain. Now that the people rise up in protest, Not enough to say they didn’t vote for, Behind gritted teeth they must vote against. Such a dilemma, oh what a to do, In the circus impossible to ride, Two horses split, no longer side by side, Forced to choose. To the left or to the right? In Mandelsons coop chickens are spinning, Watch them spit feathers, conundrum revealed, Brave women have spoken upon Clapham Fields.
The abuse of pandemic rules, By rozzers who take us as fools, On Clapham common, truth be told, The old bill clobber young and old. Now see the state intent revealed, Women grieve on West London field, Heavy hands push speakers to ground, Arrest anyone who makes sound, The gauze is torn from front of eyes, Now, at last, people realise, The path that we are going down, Across the land, in every town. Right wing Tories ramp up power, They watch us all each hour by hour. Soon they’ll pass new legislation, Activist incarceration, Lock us up, throw away the keys, They’ll kick us whilst we’re on our knees, Tell us all we must have order, Prison camps preserve our border. They’ve gone too far, what will it take, To reign the rich, the cruel, the fake? Strong resolve, point up solution, Bring on velvet revolution, To overthrow draconion, Nightmares from crazed Etonian.
Aggravation will drive me to action. When ritzy apologists treat us like Wasps trapped inside hand carved wooden bottles, As they poke us with sticks through tiny holes, To make us buzz for their perverse pleasure, That’s the moment I get aggravated. The way establishment figures believe, They have an inalienable right, To continue to behave as if they Are, in some strange way, better than we are. Entitled to exploit us for profit, Entitled to avoid their share of tax, Swan around in Sunseeker luxury, Stir up racial hatred to break our class, Destroy all semblance of right to protest, These are some things that will aggravate me, So yes, you can say I’m an activist, And also, damn right I’m aggravated, It seems now, as people are promised a Return to the old normal Shangri-la, Is the moment to enact a state coup. They can criminalise activism, Through ill defined state run aggravation, Their problem is they can’t defeat ideas, Join us as Aggravated Activists. Pissed off by the descent to fascism? Join A A today, you know it makes sense.
Reality, so easily transformed, Perceptions nipped, tucked, manipulated. Politicians, artists, tricksters, each day, Glide effortlessly between truth and lies. How gullible, accept artificial Replicants that live fake lives behind screens, On screens, in front of screens, beyond the screens. Immersed in games that shake life foundations. Android companions now cherished daily, Truth is irrespective in brave new world, Millions live virtually, revved up In Avatar existences, fed by Rich cast iron blockchain cyber junkies, Who care not one jot for consequences.
Hear the river sing Songs among the rocks Gurgle in the pools Swish on down the race, Crash over the falls, Ripple in shallows, Swirl beyond the bend, Roar after the storm, And yet we long to Swim in the hollow, As early morning Mist whispers the song, Of a Teifi summer. It will be here soon, We’ll drift to the sea, Beneath clear blue sky, Covid behind us, Older but wiser, And happy again.
Lyric:- She’s sitting out, in Greenwich Park, Upon a bamboo chair, Looks through a purple telescope Whilst brushing out her hair. This garden is a secret place, She knows not what I dare. I have been stealing apples for My family to share Her dress is white with gold damask, Translucent skin so fair Around her waist a chatelaine Of silver she did wear She looked so fine, I wanted her, As swallows need the air, But, deep inside, the truth I knew, For me she’d never care. Tomorrow I’ll be back again, I hope that she’s still there, While I scrump more of her apples, Perhaps, even, a pear. Next morn I spy her burning house, Smoked flames reach everywhere. Beside the purple telescope? Her empty bamboo chair.
Harry Rogers Aberbanc – In the hut: 22/11/2016 Ballad – Subject: Class – Unrequited Love
Selling art on the railings all day long Tourists come and go looking for deals Need a cold drink and something to eat Take away the dusty taste of the street Go to Shepherds Market across Park Lane The sun still shines but it smells like rain Heading for the pub where the red light glows A champagne pink dog and her working clothes
Whispers in my ear “Coming home dear” Softly in my ear “Coming home dear”
Pink dog in the red light Smile breaking my mind Pink dog in the red light She’s looking kinda kind
Get a bottle of Schlitz and her a pink gin She watches the door as the night draws in Bottles empty as the thirst gets slaked Can’t tell if that smile is real or faked Couldn’t care less really ‘cos it feels nice Another pink gin with one cube of ice A squeeze of the thigh a tip of the wink Another warm smile a drain of the drink
Whispers in my ear “Come on home dear” Softly in my ear “Come on home dear”
Pink dog in the red light Her smile breaks my mind Pink dog in the red light She’s looking kinda kind
In the taxi We’re going home With a pink dog Going home
Harry Rogers, In the study at Pencnwcau 29th September 2014
From Sandy Springs to Mableton, That’s where I long to hang. I’m on the plane in twenty two, To meet my homie gang. The Green Room The Green Room Gotta get back there The Green Room The Green Room Gonna fly back there The thing I miss the most of all Is jamming in Atlanta. That southern groove a music school, Love jamming in Atlanta. With Critter and Sean in Tucker, Watch shadows on the moon, Roosters strut and pandas pucker, God how I miss that room, Moonshadow, Moonshadow, Go jamming in Atlanta Moonshadow, Moonshadow, Miss jamming in Atlanta I watch Ten Thousand Pontiacs Roar at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack I howl the Wolfs’ Red Rooster blues, I’ll soon be winging back. The lovestorm, The lovestorm, When jamming in Atlanta The lovestorm, The Lovestorm, Love jamming in Atlanta
Illiterate economists, Never ever on the level. Across the North they spew their bribes, False sympathy from the devil. At home restless activists click, Huddled all night over hot screens, Build rainbows across boundaries, Spun from the finest hope filled dreams. A reckoning is on its way, Whilst Tories cream the public purse, Smell the rotten speculation, Beneath rock bottom things get worse, Bent City dogs eat each other, Pandemic gravy has run out, No place left to run for cover, No more margins worth half a shout. When the system runs out of gas, Gangsters do what they always do, Promise bigger crumbs from tables, Then screw us all, from me to you. Organise now, we must not wait, Barbarians are through the gates, If we do not then we will see Tsunamis of austerity.
Hancock has his half hour in a lab gown, War declared on obese covid victims, Health workers slapped in face with one per cent, After the claps, the rattles of the pans, We expect heroes to be tret better. Paltry sums for those who give us their all, Hancock, white gowned, as faux as faux can be, Trumpets his victory delivered by Those workers he insults with every word. Soon road map will lead through gate to “normal”, Beaches will fill with holiday fakers, Throughout summer freedom ramps up and up. No places left for crap leaders to hide, We know they’ll take health workers for a ride.
Chill winds blow across our spines, Ice cold, so unexpected Green shoots break warm surface soil, We shake and tremble, worn out After these twelve fearful months. Thoughts of a third wave too much. Every day across media Shop keepers and publicans Voice their need to trade again, Such incessant clamour galls, Journos do not have the balls To call out this pantomime. The qhastly opposition Helps maintain austerity, The already unprotected Are joined by millions more, Rains fall until September, When dams burst, as taps turn off, When the wards fill up anew, Nouveau poor left nithering, In total bewilderment, Unable to understand. Where lies Bentham’s safety net? Full of rents and gaping holes, Discarded by Thatchers clones, It is all but cut away. What follows is hard to tell, Inside Pandemonium, The dark capital of hell, Fear of “the other” plotlines Are dreamt up in Downing Street. Once more draw Damocles’s sword, Machiavelli ignored, All the way to final hour, Insanely cleave to power. Provoking insurrection In order to smash it down, The whack a mole strategy. All the while new variants, Propagate willy nilly. Yet hope still springs eternal, Friends, family, and comrades Go further than sympathy. Trust in each other utmost In community action. If ever there was a need To share and pull together Against those who would have us Take the blame and pay the price For something not made by us, It surely must be right now. And yet Princes of darkness Abound around and around, And I feel too old and tired, To run down the extra mile, It’s up to those we brought up, To pick up all our dropped reins, And bring these wretched ghouls down.
Level up, level down, red wall, blue wall, Tax up, tax down, oi lend me half a crown, Put a levy on, hoover up some crumbs, See the CEOs twiddling their thumbs, Extend the furloughs, varnish over cracks, Bring back two for one, pork pies and Big Macs, Keep Matts’ health contract, no-one has read it, Deny his big lie, forget he said it, Big up the vaccines, claim a victory, Consign the mistakes into history, Tell all the people first thing in your head, Soon life starts again, don’t mention the dead. But the truth is, none of this is over, In fact we’ll find it’s only just begun.
That lighthouse on Tybee Island Shines the river to Savannah Where those old duelling pianos Stomp Georgia rock blues all night long I’ll ride the Amtrak from New York To get me where I long to be Way down south back to Savannah On the riverboat in Tybee, With a bowlful of shrimp and grits, Fried green tomatoes on the side, Some ice cold IPA to drink, Then play stud poker as we ride. Will I ever go back again, The way things are, without the planes, There is no way to live my dreams, Locked down? Locked up is how it seems, Still the light shines bright gleaming beams, To guide us all back to Tybee.