You Are Still Here, words etched on glass mirror. I stand at Fundació Joan Miró In Barcelona, for one more birthday, Four months before pandemic disaster. I like his idea, reflect on being, Whilst I look at reflection of myself. How long ago that trip now seems to be. I’ll go there again, when the way is clear, When latest pale rider trots out of here. Meanwhile, the thing that fills my heart with cheer, More than a glass of golden foamy beer, More than desire for gigs later this year, Cuts through all the media induced fear, Is the very fact that YOU are still here.
Harry Rogers, In the Yellow Room, 19th April 2021.
Exploit me, I’m young, unemployed, and scared, No furlough, hours zero, I’m unprepared. My parents have split up, I’m on bleak street, My sleeping bag’s damp, no socks for my feet. How did I get here, outside Debenhams, With other unwashed, without any mums. Grandparents gone, Covid took them away, Can’t carry on, I am hungry again. In my head I’m alone, don’t have a friend, Nobody trusts me, it feels like the end, Soup kitchen came here, a few days ago, Gave me a sandwich, cheese and tomato. In Cardiff the police made me move on, Now I can’t stop coughing, I’ll soon be gone.
“Don’t shoot.” They shot. The truth? They lied. His mum? She cried. Her son? He died. The hurt? Inside. The gun? Thrown down. His hands? Both up. What for? Who knows? The world? Fucked up. Police? Gone mad. Result? More stress. I feel, Distress.
Dreaming of live music as I sit in my writing hut I decide to go to a gig in 1968 at The Filmore East and The Filmore West with Jefferson Airplane and this is a little taste of their iconic song Somebody To Love on their live album Bless Its Pointed Little Head, released in 1969. Halcyon days. Live music is what it’s all about.
Take flamethrowers to Chinese walls, Burn them down, break old school rules. Barbarian civil servants Take people for bloody fools. Walk away from competition, Grease paths to slide treasures out, Blue sky thinking ramped up, insane. Sped up Randian looters, Carve prime cuts from service buffet, Inner sanctum eruption, Bullingdon brown stuff hits blue fan, Eton mess seeds corruption, Slowly BBC drags its heels, Gradually revealing, Radio and smellyvision, News presenters rise from knees, Manipulate podcast hubbub, Paper over Tory sleaze.
Harry Rogers, In the Red Bedroom, 15th April 2021.
I sit out on the deck Watching your children play Chasing bright red fireflies In last rays of the day Old knees worn out now Else I too would chase Pleasure comes from sunset Lighting up your face
Spent a long long time Chasing fireflies Spent a real long time Chasing fireflies Now there is no time for Chasing fireflies
There are things I would Like to do on the day I die Just for the briefest moment Hold a bright red firefly Listen to the nightingale Singing as it flies up high Know that you are smiling As we say goodbye
Spent a long long time Chasing fireflies Spent a real long time Chasing fireflies Now there is no time for Chasing fireflies
Pssst, wanna buy a service, It’s all up for grabs today, Don’t even have to tender, We’re giving it all away. Everything is on the list, Meet us in committee room, Or down the boozer, capiche? Can’t make it? See you on Zoom. Knock down prices, going cheap, Now’s the time to flog it off, Whilst it’s reeling on the rocks, As it deals with virus cough. Nobody will protest it, Pass new laws to mask the stink, Even let you keep the name, National Health Service Inc.
How scary is that moment, when fiction Becomes reality in front of you, Ninety nine year old anachronism Dies and the full blown ministry of truth Springs to action across all media. Terrestrial tv and radio, Drenched in long prepared film tributes, Interviews and orchestrated faux news. Journalism sinks to its lowest ebb, In what can only, truly, be described, As naked state control propaganda, Where Patrick McGoohan meets George Orwell, Via smart digital media platform screens. Insidious portrayal of normal, History of elite a straight jacket, Tightened as anti leftism is ramped, As black clad “news” presenters spoon feed guff, To bolster prisoner style fallacies That maintain the necessity to keep The Haute Bourgeoisie in existence. Flashy mirages of democracy Float ghastly before the electorate. How can such anti democratic lies Continue? How can aristocracy Survive? Hereditary royalty Is ludicrous, Our Constitution is a total sham. The combined Royal power, Church power, Legal power and commercial power, Link together to keep us in our place Through the artifice of parliament. Gerard Winstanleys thoughts still register, Some recognise the nature of the state, See through games and slick modern charades, See validity in a republic, A land owned in common, where wealth is shared, Knowledge is for the benefit of all, And all our children are treated equal. Since sixteen forty nine, the truth be known, Only now is it so blatently shown. Arrogance, bombast or paranoia? Perhaps a combination of all three. Whatever, we see your glib advisors, Your royal correspondents on the news. We won’t shut up, we’ll never be quiet, We have waited long enough for justice, It really is time for you all to go.
The ship of state lies Crashed upon the rocks The rich and the famous Are checking their locks One hundred starlings Fall from the sky Some precious darlings say “We’re all gonna die!”
The world is getting dopier We’ve emptied cornucopia We never reached Utopia And it’s Boom-time in Dystopia!
Whilst we lie Sleeping in our beds Drones are flying Above our heads The CCTV is Watching me and you None of us are quite Sure what to do No-one stops to think About the honey bee Only the cult of Celebrity Airheads all scream, And shout “Hooray!” “someone’s got a new Pair of tits today!”
The world is getting dopier We’ve emptied cornucopia We never reached Utopia And it’s Boom-time in Dystopia!
We lie around drinking Pomegranate smoothies Watching brand new Counterfeited movies Nobody pays for their Music anymore Nobody believes that They’re breaking the law And what does it matter Any fucking way There aren’t enough cops To nick everyone today And now the Assembly’s Gone extra craven They’re gonna pour boiling water Into Milford Haven
The world is getting dopier We’ve emptied cornucopia We never reached Utopia And it’s Boom-time in Dystopia!
Copyright: Harry Rogers, 11th March 2010, Recorded with Critter and Sean in LTS Studio Llanon, October 2019.
Fountains of creativity Spring higher from the Grateful Dead Their legacy will keep us young, That’s what my good friend Critter said. On the road to Fenario, Drive in a syncopated dream, Ripple across the universe, Mountain fire never gonna die, All the time people play guitars, Songs echo from hotel on Mars, Get on by down by the river, Live elixir under willow, Gonna stay young forever more, Truckin’ on through with dead head lore.
Drink coffee number one flat white, From a paper cup, Outside the Cardigan Guild Hall, Christmas tree’s still up, All of last years flowered face masks, Look rather tardy, I swig a nip from Easter flask, I’m feeling mardy. Plastic snowflakes fly forlornly, Midst the bunting flags, Shoppers queueing uniformly Cling on to their bags. Yet still some children smile gaily, Skip along grey street, Parents get more glum news daily, Warily they meet, Weary of the constant babble, Spewed from media, Pumped by inconsistent rabble, Jab vaccinia.
I sat in The William Malcolm Hardee buying drinks Arlene was behind the bar Running fingers Through her hair The Four Tops on the jukebox The Same Old Song Was playing I asked Arlene out with me Said there was a film to see She said “I’ll meet you there” but I don’t know Where there is. There could be anywhere It might be with The Faeries I never found there And then she was gone.
Who Knows Where There is? Who Knows Where There is? Arlene? She was gone.
Open up the camp sites, Clean up your glamping gear, Forget those foreign flights, Perhaps until next year. Repeat twenties Zugzwang, We’re stuck here on board ship, Here comes second big bang, End of Premiership, Mindful of the danger, End games are hard to play, Not over till over, The finish? Hard to say. I am getting weaker, My night is drawing in. Watch the high street open, Drink up another gin, Party through the summer, The gigs, the games, the beers, Go dance on moonlit beach, Forget long covid fears. Next winter get ready, Pale rider is still here. Test kits, trace apps, vaccines, All of the patching up, Not enough to stop it, Whilst experts on TV, Mass of contradictions, Scare the shit out of me. Glad I’ve got a garden, Somewhere to escape to, Mend the rabbit fences, Plant beans, courgettes and fruit. Boris launches moonshot, We’re pulling up ivy.
The first Oscar is the person That people think he is. The smart arse homosexual, Ready with quickest quip. Mixing with the glitterati Of the fin de siecle, A dandified lecherous queen, Sporting carnation green.
Next we spy another Oscar, The one he really is. Hardworking diligent artist, Birthing art for arts sake. Believing aesthetic beauty, Valuable above all, Searching so hard, trying to find A saviour for mankind.
The final picture of Oscar, One he wanted to be, Forever young, in his heyday, Living riotously, No care about morality. Indulging all pleasure Plucked ripe from a nihilistic tree, Always being set free.
Desire seldom is reality, Poor Oscar, rarely free, To fulfil all his fantasy, Is two, not one, nor three.
Harry Rogers, Frog House, Deptford, 25th May 2017.
They say our institutions aren’t racist, Special report says it’s no longer there. It’s like Black Lives Matter does not matter. MSM headlines gaslight all of us, Whole country sees script writ large in whitewash, On giant white boards, neath white fluffy clouds, White people focus in on being black, Asian, and minority ethnic groups. White, skew whiff, feelgood, statistics rain down, Spaffed from Whitehall windows by white PM, Whose biased screeds, scrawled not unconsciously, Point us to the essence of the matter. In mirrors, clarity identified, We can see our problem is being white.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, Good Friday 2021.
The sun shines in Newcastle Emlyn. I set up Bill’s wheelchair on the pavement outside the Plaid Cymru office in the disused shop at the top end of town. This is the weekly meeting of the anti war group Bro Emlyn For Peace and Justice. I don’t know how I started taking Bill to the meetings. As his independent living personal assistant I must have told him about the group during one of our frequent political discussions as I drove him around the countryside of Dyfed. He is opposed to Tony Blair’s decision to support George W Bush in the invasion of Iraq, as am I. When he asked to come along to meetings I said I’d take him.
” There is a BEPJ meeting this Friday at 7.30pm!” I’d said.
“Great, pick me up at 7 then.” and here we are.
As Bill manoeuvres himself into his chair the Plaid full timer turns up with the key and opens the front door for us. I move Bill to a spot with his back to the shop windows because, even though he still has some vision left, his diabetes makes direct daylight uncomfortable for him. I set out fifteen stacking chairs in a circle and sit down waiting for other group members to arrive. The office had once been a confectionery shop but it has been stripped back to bare walls and floorboards and is in need of a lick of paint and a good sweep out. The local Plaid Cymru MP holds his monthly constituency meetings here and during election times it’s a campaign office but most of the time nothing happens there aside from our meetings. The Americans and British are well into Shock and Awe and cluster bombs fall all over Iraq. A significant percentage of these are not exploding as they hit the ground. Children and adults get maimed and killed when they move these mini bombs. The situation is, in my view, obscene. Bill and I had discussed this situation the day before as we sat on the beach at Llansteffan and I had decided that I would suggest that BEPJ might carry out some direct action in Carmarthen to highlight the plight of everyday people in Baghdad. At seven thirty 18 of us sit in a circle reporting back on what had happened the previous week. Robert, Graham, Louis, David, Hippo, Gilly, and Celia ran the weekly stall in Newcastle Emlyn handing out leaflets and getting signatures on the Campaign Against The Arms Trade petition against the manufacture of cluster bombs. Jeremy had set up the new website. Maggie is rehearsing a show about the whole situation in the middle east to be performed in St Dogmaels. David is building the new free peace and justice library with books donated by many of the 120 members on our mailing list. I have set up a new course on Peace Studies with Carmarthenshire Adult Education services. We are a busy group of activists with many successful meetings and events under our belt.
After reports we move on to talk about future actions. Fiona suggests we should have a social event with a local band at the Emlyn Arms to raise funds for medical aid for families in Fallujah and this is agreed. I then make my pitch for my idea for some non-violent direct action.
“I’ve been thinking that we might raise the profile of the issue of the growing use of cluster bombs when we have our next stall in Carmarthen. Supposing we all made some replica cluster bombs, say a dozen each, and spread them all over the streets of central Carmarthen. This might make people understand what the plight of people in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq is really like.”
Vanessa is keen, as she always is when new ideas are introduced, “How big are they?”
“About the same size as a can of Coca Cola.” I say.
People are enthused, we’re in total agreement that this is a brilliant idea and that everybody will make their imitation bombs in time for the next Friday’s meeting when we will finalise arrangements for the action on the Saturday.
Celia raises an important issue, “Might it be a good idea to let the police know what we intend to do? You know how they are, better safe than sorry.”
It’s agreed that she will telephone the local station and let them know our plan. They’re always civil to us whenever we decide to do something and always thank us for letting them know. I take on the task of contacting the local media. The meeting finishes at 9.00 pm and I drive Bill home. He’s very animated and says that he will get his wife to help him make his bomb-lets. I’m happy that we’re going to get this issue cemented into the minds of local people in a different way to the usual leafleting strategy.
On Monday morning I get a phone call from Celia, “Hello Harry, I’ve just come off the phone with the Dyfed police and we can’t do our action on Saturday.”
“They say that whilst they understand our concerns about the use of cluster bombs in Iraq they would rather we didn’t carpet the streets of Carmarthen with imitation bombs because there was the slim chance that someone might put a real bomb in amongst the replicas and this could be both dangerous and extremely difficult to deal with.”
“I see. Hmmm they do have a point. I guess we will have to think of a different way of using the artificial bombs.”
“Maggie suggested that we might do some agitprop theatre instead, give her a ring and see what you think.”
“OK I’ll call her later, shame we can’t do it though, still it can’t be helped I suppose. See you on Friday, Celia.”
“OK, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, byeee.”
I ring Maggie straight away and she outlines an idea for me and her to do some improvised street theatre based on the Arms Fair in London. I’ll be Flash Harry, a cockney arms trader down from the big smoke trying to drum up trade for the latest in cluster technology and Maggie will play an American dealer looking to make a few dollars. I am up for this.
On Friday everyone turns up to the meeting with their bags of cluster bombs. They vary in sophistication. Some are very crudely done, others have been designed very well. Everyone is disappointed when I tell them that our plans have been thwarted by the rozzers. However we come up with an idea for running a lucky dip as part of the Agitprop. We decide to use a tea chest filled with wood shavings, the imitation cluster bombs and a few real prizes of cheap trinkets from Woolworths. Enthusiasm rises high and we adjourn to the Ivy Bush pub.
Next morning we set up our stall in Guildhall Square at ten o’clock and start collecting signatures for the Campaign Against Arms Trade petition against the International Arms Fair in London. All goes well and we get a good response. At eleven thirty Hippo and Gilly arrive at our stall. They look very pleased with themselves and Hippo says, “We’ve put our bombs out.”
It is at that point that I realise they hadn’t attended the meeting last night and so didn’t know that we we weren’t spreading bombs all over Carmarthen.
I explain the situation and then ask, “How many did you make?”
Hippo says “ Twelve.”
“Well you’d better retrace your footsteps and bloody well collect them up and bring them here.”
They set off and we continue petitioning. Half an hour later Hippo and Gilly return with a carrier bag full of bomblets.
“Did you get them all?” I ask
“We could only find ten of them, We can’t remember where the other two are.” says Gilly.
“Oh well, I don’t suppose that will make much difference, after all, we have told the police about it, so if anyone finds one they will know what it is. Don’t worry, it will be fine.”
The afternoon is a stonking success. We collect almost 400 signatures and the street theatre is a hoot. Maggie and I draw large crowds.
We call out to people, “Roll up, Roll up. Free lucky dip, Win a prize,…… chance your arm,….. Find out what it’s like to take pot luck just like the people of Baghdad.”.
We do an improvised sketch about the way in which Arms Companies and Governments keep the profits rolling into all kinds of nefarious pockets. We hand out masses of leaflets against the war and at five O’clock we pack up our stuff after a wonderful day of nonviolent direct action. We all hug each other and head home, a happy bunch of anti war protesters.
On sunday morning I get a telephone call. It’s Celia.
“We’re in big trouble. The police just called me. Hippo and Gilly’s two bombs have been found.”
“So, what’s the problem? They know the bombs aren’t real, they know they’re ours.” I say
“Apparently the staff on the switchboard changed shifts this morning. Those on duty until six o’clock this morning knew about it. The new shift didn’t.”
“So what happened?”
“At half past five an early morning street cleaner found one of Hippo’s bombs and phoned the police. They told him they knew about it and to put it in with the rest of the rubbish, which he did.”
“Yeah, then what?” I say
“At seven a.m. an office cleaner found the other one in a doorway as she was about to go to work. She phones the police and the new telephonist knows nothing about it. This has triggered a full blown crisis in Carmarthen. The police have evacuated the area, closed all the shops and are awaiting the arrival of the bomb squad to get there from Wiltshire. When they arrive they are going to carry out a controlled explosion. The police are livid. I am very worried about this.”
I reflect for a few moments and then I say “It’s not our fault, they have made a procedural cock-up. We informed them of our plans. It is a shame that Hippo and Gilly couldn’t remember where they put the two missing bombs but they are getting on a bit. It’s just one of those things. Sit tight. All will be well. If they call again give them my number, I’ll talk to them.”
“Thanks Harry, I am very scared of having anything to do with the police.”
I tell her I’m not scared and we hang up.
It’s important at this point to point out that Hippo had been online and downloaded info which showed the words printed on actual cluster bomb ordnance and his replicas looked very real indeed. He used tin cans and had printed very convincing cardboard sleeves with proper serial numbers etc in the manufacturers font style.
So it was that the Bomb squad carried out a controlled explosion on a tin of Heinz Spaghetti Hoops in the centre of Carmarthen. At our meeting on the following Friday we talked about the implications of what had happened. The police said that they accepted that they had made a faux pas.
I say to the meeting, “We could not have planned this any better if we had tried. All week long we have been contacted by the local and regional press about the story. On Thursday Bill and I and a handful of us met a journalist and photographer from the Western Mail and had our picture taken with armfuls of bombs, Bill’s wheelchair looked stunning. They have given the story massive coverage and we have a full page centre spread in Red Pepper magazine. It is my belief that we have raised people’s consciousness about carpet bombing civilian areas with these disgusting weapons.”
I also believed that the local police got some valuable experience out of the whole event as it enabled them to test out their counter terrorism procedures.
All in all a win win situation, nobody got hurt and we raised awareness. Peace and Justice for all.
Harry Rogers, posted in the Red Bedroom, 2nd April 2021
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.
Beneath evening snow moon murmuration, Hopeful dreams of spring take tentative shape, Snowdrop flowers quiver, daffodils burst, Their yellow heads bring the first real colour, Into the dank, pandemic cloud filled gloom. Such yellow assaults our burnt out senses, Orange flecks joyfully intoxicate As late afternoon sunbeams blow our minds, As this darkest winter comes to an end. Soon tulips will dance beneath waking trees. Tomorrow we will take a warm, dry, walk, On down the hill to Henllan post office, Which still offers community service, The ghouls from Westminster are not here yet.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 26th February 2021.
Never before, so blatently, Have crooked politicians shown How little they care about truth. Corruption goes right to the top, We all know, yet they never stop. If they came into your kitchen, If they robbed your biscuit barrel, Of your rainy day cash savings, With ghastly smile and silly joke, Right there, before your very eyes, You’d punch them on the nose, no doubt, With no ado you’d throw them out, You’d kick these bastards down the street, You’d slap their heads, stamp on their feet, Never would they rob you again. Somehow, when they are on the news, When questioned hard about contracts, Given willy nilly to friends, Unmonitored, brown envelopes, For artificial work not done, By unqualified, fly by night, Toffee nosed, silver tongued buffoons, Who trouser billions of pounds, You just turn away from TV, Accept this as normality. Yet whilst they rob your Jack and Jill, You must suck on this bitter pill, They do not care if you are ill, With your money their coffers fill. Your cash has gone, your future spent, Your cookie jar no different, How foolish, all this trust you lent, To popinjays who turn out BENT.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 25th February 2021.
There is no bliss in ignorance, Not there in Starmerville, Diktats reign down from up above, That’s life in Starmerville, Their world, filled with indifference, Rules all in Starmerville, They’ll never move from hate to love, Not there in Starmerville Rules we once made now count for nought, Torn up in Starmerville, Forget about democracy, It died in Starmerville, Imposed candidates without say, Lord it in Starmerville, Nobody listens to the left, Today in Starmerville, You can’t speak out, say how you feel, Not there in Starmerville, There’s only room for patriots, Out there in Starmerville, Wrap yourself up in union jacks, That’s it in Starmerville, All my comrades have had enough, Pissed off in Starmerville, Times can move on, our hope dies last, Fuck you in Starmerville.
Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room, February 25th 2021
Elected cabinet politicians, Behave as though they live above the law. Worse still petty opposition leaders, Forget their role and what they are there for. It is not forensic to back away, These Tories are not your bosum buddies, Not your colleagues in your cloistered chambers, Neither are they worthy recipients, Of any congratulations at all, When the law finds them guilty as liars, We want them held up strongly to account. The sad truth is that a large percentage, Of people died because they failed to act. Stand up strong, call out failures when they fail, Don’t join them in some cabalistic pact, For crying out loud get a fucking grip.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 21st February 2021.
Huddled beneath rainbow hoodie, Head bowed, feet bare, he begs, silent. I see him in shiver alley. On the way to buy food for birds I felt such a goodie goodie. Finches, sparrows, tits and robins, All friends in my kitchen garden.
Realisation strikes full force. Here on cardboard square sits a man, A young man with no belongings. I would easy spend thirty pounds On fat balls, nuts and mixed seed. He has neither home, nor garden. Open my wallet, take tenner, Hand him the brown note, he looks up. “That’s far too much man, far too much.” Shocked at how well spoken he is, The words tumble quick from my mouth, ” Do you have a bed for tonight?” ” I don’t, my girlfriend is away. She is coming back with money, We will rent a room very soon.” “Come to my house, I have spare space.” “I can’t do that, not right now man.” Scribble down name and phone number, Thrust paper into blackened hand, Hurry to garden bird seed land. Laden down with avian feast I pass him by on way back home, “Did you mean it? About the bed?” Awkwardly I blurt out “Of course.” See the tears tumble down his face. “Thanks, I might call you, some time soon.” He moved in fourteen days ago. His room is already unkempt, Empty spice bags litter the floor. When straight he is quite diffident, We talk all night when he’s lucid. Never knew someone with so much strife, The police woman very kind, Told me he never saw the car, That killed him on the roundabout, He stumbled from the kerb she said, The Jaguar killed him stone dead, Not yet thirty, a crying shame, I don’t know where to lay the blame. Spice, the variety of life.
Harry Rogers, in the hut, 24th April 2018
Many thanks to Angie for sharing the narrative behind this piece.
These are dangerous days, When it’s so fucking hard, To distinguish the line, Between ficticious truth And new facticious lies. Questions posed, never read, Surveillance plutocrats Reshape human demands, Influence how we think, When we think, what we think, Soon to be where we think. They rule us by knowing Who we are, what we like, What we do, where we go. We happily tell them Everything, every day, Every time we log on. But it is not the tech, That fucks up all our lives, It’s Capitalism In the most vicious form. Those who buy our data, Who mine our very lives, Undo democracy, Destroy skills and knowledge, Plough into the unknown, Elevate the richest, Denigrate the many, Google server goldmines, Rich veins keep on giving. Fill our heads with nonsense, Encourage Q-Anon, Keep our minds occupied, Whilst we stop watching balls. This social media, Filled with fact…. or fiction, Will it last forever? How will we ever know?
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 19th February, 2021
Drank in the sixties with my mum, In a South London public bar. Dominoes click on the table, We’re going to play batchy fives. Lonnie shuffles, Ghostie buys drinks, A pint of prawns, some pickled eggs, And four bags of Smith’s crisps, with salt. Pegs leapfrog round the cribbage board, The food and beers are bang on song, I marvel at end game tactics, Ghostie and Lonnie are old boys, Their glee as they win plain to see, That was the point it dawned on me, They’d been Victorian children.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 17th February 2021.
A gothic lyric inspired by the beach on the Thames in front of The Yacht public house in Greenwich, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
The light so bright Upon the shore I find that thing I had searched for Behind a rock Beneath the pier I never thought I’d find it here It called to me ‘Neath Hunter’s Moon Absurdly white On silver spoon Low waves did lap I snorted deep Amour filled dreams Whilst I did sleep Found Xanadu Through long lost door That magic place Seen once before Astral lover Meets with me there Glinting sapphires Adorn her hair But as I lay Beneath the pier An elver slid Into my ear The eel bit through Ear drum so tight As I dreamt on Into the night Eel found a way Inside my head Whence it would feed Till I was dead In Xanadu Lake did ripple As I caressed Astral nipple Moonbeams did bounce Upon each wave Whilst I became The elvers slave The tide eased in My feet were wet Still did I sleep Could not wake yet The eel chomped on Into my brain Dream visions then Became insane Soon dawn did break My soul arose I watched the eel Slide from my nose No way could I Get back in head From Xanadu For I was dead
Shadow ministers tout final lockdown. We climb up another steep learning curve, All last year’s lessons junked, lost, forgotten. False flags unfurled, run atop Tory poles, Rabid ultra right calls for total freedom, Open everything up asap, Bring back good old British normality, Let rip the remnants of economy, Ignore the science now we’ve all been jabbed, It’s over, we’re back, it’s tickety boo, Johnson guffaws as he gives good news, but There are no easy edges in the dark, Acid reign corodes, slow, but constantly. We fall, memoryless, into the void.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 15th February 2021
I wrote this lyric for my band, Scene Red, we recorded it in 2013 on our first album Tales From Dolwion on Deep River Records, available on Bandcamp, https://scenered.bandcamp.com/album/tales-from-dolwion . It’s a short memoir of my life as a fourteen year old boy serving after time drinkers in the Bricklayers Arms, Trafalgar Road, Greenwich, around 1961.
3 AM Monday morning In the Bricklayers Arms This old pub is losing all its charms Dad sits at the piano Playing autumn leaves I serve two villains Fresh blood on their sleeves The weekend’s nearly over I have had enough East Greenwich town’s Getting kinda rough I’ve got school in the morning Homework stays undone I’ll get caned again That won’t be much fun
Meanwhile, Unbroken ponies Running free in Greenwich Park Unbroken ponies Eyes shining in the dark
Shining, shining, shining Shining in the dark Unbroken ponies Running free in Greenwich Park
Two geezers spoofing Drink for drink for drink Their wives are waiting But they don’t stop to think Eddie’s in the old bar Giving head to a worn out queen My mum’s drinking brandy With a bunch of old has beens I watch the villains Stitching up their alibis This pony stands unbroken Defiance in my eyes This old pub Is losing all its charms 3 AM Monday morning In The Bricklayers Arms Pretty soon I will be Outside running free Running with those ponies That are just like me
Unbroken ponies Running free in Greenwich Park Unbroken Ponies Eyes shining in the dark Shining, shining, shining Shining in the dark Unbroken Ponies Running free in Greenwich Park
Trumpite cannon fodder lost to reason, Geed up by this joker without lipstick, Await their fate in the criminal courts. Dark full length crombie, tiny leather gloves, Clenched in wild mid air gesticulations, Urgently preaches his dark denouement. Suitably wound up his rabble march off, On Capitol Hill they do his bidding. The Don watches Fox from the dark, white, house As he polishes favourite driver, He sees the futile maul come to a halt, Where they soil the nest of democracy, Before they return to their hotel lairs Boldly exultant even as coup fails. Who knows if this is the start, or the end? At Mar-a-Lago Don”s golf cart awaits, He waddles obscene from fairway to green, He blames his poor chip shot on his caddy, Seventy four million folk believe That this orange pultroon is their daddy.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 13th February 2021
Scream as those bent politicians Run everything into the ground. Education reduced to CV ticks, Wishly think of what we would change, But it is not what we would do, It’s more like, how can we do it? Truth, hard to tell in these strange days, Untruth, the enemy of truth, Finds easy traction every where. Plutocrat vampires suck life blood From us whenever possible, Deeply infect society With overt acquisitiveness, Before they cash in, whilst crashing All long term hope, for short term gain. The what, the where, the when, the why, Important things to consider, Above all this though comes the how, It’s time for us to organise.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 12th February 2021.
It’s not as if nobody knew, Brokers vaunted their shorts with glee, They pimped profits stolen from you In newspapers, and on TV Decked in golden debauchery, Luxury yacht marinas locked, Gated to keep the people out, Economy clock still Tik Toks, As we have fun truth comes clearer, Deflation dies, inflation rise, Super crash moves ever nearer, Once digital traders fall down, The rich will all have fled your town, Only crypto currency left, Paper money gone up in smoke, Pandemics come, but when they go, That’s when start of darkness begins, We stay in doors, take eyes off ball, The biggest crooks have robbed us all, Chickens struggle home to their roost, There’s no economy to boost. Nobody remembers too much, About manufacture, and such. Education is frowned upon, Celebrities run marathons, This ain’t no time to run in parks, We won’t see much, when it’s too dark. Who knew? Deep down all of us did.
Harry Rogers, In the Red Bedroom, 10th February 2021
THE HOBBY SWOOPS DOWN FROM A CLEAR BLUE SKY IN AWE I WATCH IT TAKE A SWIFT UPON THE WING IT’S FLYING SO FAST I CAN HARDLY MAKE IT OUT MEANWHILE OVER THE FENCE I HEAR A BLACKBIRD SING SPARROWS AND DUNNOCKS ARE BUSY IN THE HEDGE A MAGPIE TAPS THE GLASS UP ON THE WINDOW LEDGE OUTSIDE IN THE YARD THE SEAGULLS AND THE CROWS ARE PECKING PLASTIC BAGS FOR ALL OUR OVER THROWS I GET TO THINKING ABOUT SOMETHING THAT AIN’T RIGHT HOW COMES THE BUZZARD IS DRIVEN OUT BY THE KITE? BY THE DRY STONE WALL HERE COMES JENNY WREN COAL TITS AND FINCHES ARE AT THE NUTS AGAIN SWALLOWS AND MARTINS SCREECH AROUND THE HOUSE THIS TIME THE HOBBY IS TEARING UP A MOUSE
Harry Rogers, 28th February 2011, revised in the Red Bedroom, 9th February 2021
Catkins are out in Aberbanc, Spring edges ever closer by, Nature is uncontrollable, However much humans might try. Soon it will be clear bright Easter, Buds will burst in total glory, Birds will fledge as usual, And we’ll read a different story. Some daffodils already out, New life is a joy to behold, TV doom mongers continue on, Vaccines, floods and the icy cold. Sure things are bad, they’re always bad, If that’s all we ever look for, But when warm sun plays on our back, We will know there’s a better score.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 8th February 2021
Vince said some people have got to be rich, It’s just part of the system we live in. This then is one of the many ploblems, The way in which millions accept this. Schools don’t, on the whole, teach the history Of how the landed gentry got their land. Or rather how the gentry stole our land. Tribal leaders through murder and pillage, Through naked, homicidal, plundering, Robbed common people of the common weal. Later they fought badly amongst themselves, Which led to creation of bandit kings, Who in turn passed laws to enclose more land. All this led wealthy landowners to trade, In what they wanted, to make more money. Slavery brought extremely high returns. For two hundred years these faux aristo Bullies plied their crass,miserable, trade. Through countless generations a system Built mainly on exploitation and fear Made creation of inequality, Pain, and misery inexorable. This is a crime against humanity, Kings and theives do not have a divine right To plunder, kill, nor to emiserate. This system, this capitalism stinks. Vince and his neo Liberal cronies, Spout Lockean bullshit all over town, Whilst Leviathan thrives inside their heads. Well Vince, people’s eyes have sprung open wide, Some people don’t have to be rich at all, Not if we don’t bloody want them to be. So take your new book, stick it where it hurts, Get the fuck off my morning radio.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 7th February 2021
Is there such a thing as the correct line? I hear comrades everywhere debating. Nothing seems to waste so much precious time, As socialistic procrastinating, Loudly in lecture halls and student bars, Ideas clash about what is to be done, Some come to blows over dead superstars, A few look upon this as good clean fun. Meanwhile transnationals laugh up their sleeves, They plough on, hardly believing their luck, Not caring what any “lefty” believes, We fight each other. They love it. We’re stuck. If we only, just once, joined together, Perhaps we might win, once and forever.
What is it I dream of post covid? I don’t really want an awful lot, Sit in the shelter, look out to sea, Fish and chip paper rest on my knee, Watch children search above the surf line, They’ll hunt all day long for beach jewellery, More than a year since I saw the sea, The gannetts, the gulls, and the plovers, I want an Italian ice cream, Pistachio, in a cone, no flake, To look on as kids display their hoard, Sand rubies and sea glass emeralds, It’s not too much to ask for is it? I’ve complied, I need a small reward.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 5th February 2021.
Come, let’s ride across The Ponderosa On warm sunny morn summer ninety three, Gallop down track on black Irish draught back, Wind tears at my hair, loud hooves pound the ground, My friend Guy and I join in with our kids Saddled up in the centre of Sheffield, We ride single file on roads out of town, Who knew horses farted as much as they do? Through Crookes Valley to open land, then back, Feed apples and carrots to our ponies, Then call in for croissants at Hunter’s Bar, We’re back home before the Archers begins. Read The Observer, drink fresh French coffee, Some life, back in the last Millennium.
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 5th February 2021.
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.
Think back forty nine years The summer of seventy two Stalls on the High Street A few Rock Steady sounds
Mooch down Douglas Street For a glass of Sarsaparrila On the steps of St Pauls A couple short and tall Both of them know It’s the last throw Throw of the dice It’s the last throw Of confetti and rice The decked out Daimler waits Girls look on through the gates Flashbulbs pop then hit the floor The priest is none too sure
Do ya go down Deptford anymore? Do ya? Do ya? Do ya go down Deptford anymore?
Three old drunken scrumpy boys They stagger down Broadway Head towards Carrington House Someplace for their heads to lay Young mudlarks splash in the Creek Old Billy Bleach fights the law Totters flog a bent antique Lewisham boys try to score Jamaican patties on a stall Some cab drivers ride shotgun Hippy trippers ten feet tall Paddle in the Brookmill sun Students are all fussy There are no new builds The Oxford Arms is buzzy With tales from Crossfields
Do ya go down Deptford anymore? Do ya? Do ya? Do ya go down Deptford anymore?
HarryRogers – 2/11/2012, revised 3rd February 2021
Another dreamy fishpond afternoon, Shubunkins and Koi lazily glide out, From depths of lily pad shade to surface, Father checks out the aeration system All is well, he scatters flakes of food, Then gently feeds marshmallows to big blue, This very old fish was first in the pond, Must be almost thirty five years ago. Dad holds pink cube in finger and thumb, This champion koi takes it in his lips, Gently slurps it down, and moves slowly off. Such memories do not fade easily. Dad’s long gone but there are still dreamy carp, In the bottom of his treasured fishpond, Hope I see them once more, with marshmallows.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 2nd February 2021.
Bo lives down in Deptford Town With nouveau riche executives Things seem crazy, they churn round Young turks trade in derivatives Long gone the old Centurion The Mercury, Nobles, The Broadway cafe Eels mash and liquor at Manzes pie shop Knickerbocker Glories at Rossis, No way! The old geezers spike At Carrington House The Edward Street stables For the rag and the bone The state cleansing centre For the flea and the louse The Art Deco palace That was Odeon The Dockers, The Costers, All of them gone We now have to listen To posh gangsters Lah-di-dah Whilst the rest of us sing Some old Squeeze song Deptford is becoming, The banksters Shangri-la Yeah Deptford has become The banksters Shangri-la
Copyright: Harry Rogers, Aberbanc, 20th February 2011, Revised in the Red Bedroom, 2nd February 2021.
A song lyric based on a tragic event near Greenwich Park in the 1970’s.
He keeps photos and perfumed loveletters In a black and white Moroccan box In a trunk at the back of the attic Secured by two silver locks Once a year, round about harvest time, He gets them all out for a read, He never stops thinking about her That old wound continues to bleed It was always the end of the summer They bottled the dandelion wine She said it was almost like drinking Pure essence of golden sunshine Then came the day, momentous day, The day they drank out of their head All the way home laughed in the car, Hit the lamp post and she was dead He won’t go walking In golden sunshine, Don’t go drinking dandelion wine He keeps a flagon of dandelion wine It starts glowing near to harvest time Dandelion wine Dandelion wine Don’t go drinking Dandelion wine.
The seed arrived Without warning On an unknown Foreign Zephyr. Deposited Itself, neatly, Between dry stones. On spagnum green Softly nestled For duration Of summer warm Swollen with dew Bursting upwards Searches for sky Seeks out sunshine Stalkly groping Stronger each day Budly bursting Cerulean Bluely special Shiny dawning Unexpected Glory morning My windflower
Harry Rogers: Tea shop in Newcastle Emlyn, 8th May 2018
It’s time to call a cab, To take me to the lab, Powder nose with a dab, Sideways crawl, like a crab, Beware your Jabberwock, Your monster down the block, He sleeps till twelve o’clock, He can’t roll, he can’t rock. But he can jab, jab, jab Beware your Jabberwok He’s gonna stab, stab, stab Beware your Jabberwock In your back, stab, stab, stab, Sciatic jab, jab, jab Want pain to stop, stop, stop, Please fuck off Jabberwock, Can’t stand your, jab, jab, jab. All down my leg, leg, leg, Comes in waves, jab, jab, jab, I’ve got to beg, beg, beg, Stop, stop, stop, Jabberwock Stop, stop, stop, jab, jab, jab
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 29th January 2021.
Tell me what happened to the world we knew. We partied hard in nineteen ninety nine. We thought the future would be better new, That everything was gonna work out fine.
The man sold us rhetoric filled with hope, We really thought a change was gonna come, We sucked it in like it was real good dope, Rose colouring the third millennium.
Lift those tinted glasses, See the new world for real, Three drones flew every hour. Signed sealed and delivered, DARPA kept on growing. Man child Trump don’t change things. Put America first? He only made things worse.
As the tweet laden crisis sharpened up, Propaganda mongers spouted their lies, Worldwide politicians supped the same cup, Whilst peddling their shared bent alibis.
So far don’t like the third millennium, Can’t stand hand wringing armchair narcissists, Nor the paranoid neo Nazi scum. Who’ll help us all if nobody resists?
Hold on, what’s this we see? Amongst the advertising, Out on the streets a sea, In flowering uprising, Brave people, young and old They march together, strong, Their story will be told, Peace, justice, love, belong.
Harri Rogers, Aberbanc, 23rd January, 2017 Revised 28th January 2021.
He’s got some front, flanked as ever By the regulation two flags, He parrots Allegra’s smooth words, Sticks to the script, stays on message, Takes full responsibility For all his governments actions. Sets out to convince us of their Hard work since start of pandemic. Appears contrite, seriously Mouths words of sorrow for the dead, More than one hundred thousand dead, But he doesn’t say he’s sorry. No apologies for those missed Cobra meetings back at the start, Nor his dithering decisions, Herd immunity fiasco, The naked braggadocio As he strode though parliament, Whilst he ignored social distance, How he caught Coronavirus, Then spread it through his office staff, Who, ad infinitum, passed on To unknown legions pre lockdowns. Cygnus report findings ignored, Profits before health, business first, Ignore warnings until too late. Now new spad lies are spun each day, Thus, his annus terribilis Ruined, glorious Brexit Dreams turned into deepest nightmare Brings him to this sad point in time. Please send in removal lorry, Get him gone, for he ain’t sorry.
Harry Rogers, in The Red Bedroom, 28th January 2021.
All the signs point us, look, Back through the mists of time, Lessons long forgotten, Now seemingly sublime, The world awash with oil That no-one wants to buy. We turn our attention To power from the sky, New, sleek, temples arise, All glass, all glitz and chrome, Sunshine that we bathe in Heats up our modern home. We heed those old shamen, The sun is God, again.
Harry Rogers: Aberbanc, Sunday July 16th, 2017. Revised in the Yellow Room, 28th January 2021.
Every day I tell myself I’m gonna fix those stairs, Fix those ramshackle stairs Leading to my cabin, My cabin on the cliff. But you know how it is, When you’re panning for gold, You put everything off, Until you are too old. Mountain stream rushes by, Falls into pool below. Next door the wreckage of Panhandler Johnny’s hut, Clings on precariously To the shale walled cliff, Whilst golden aspen trees Shimmer in Autumn sun. Stand, knee deep in water, Nobody there but me, Search hard for golden flakes. I look at my cabin, My wilderness log home, God how I love this place. Happy on my own with My cabin on the cliff. Don’t cha know that I’m an Old, gold, panhandling man Little darlin’ I’m an Old, gold, panhandling man.
I wrote this song lyric awhile back when I was in Atlanta Georgia in 2017 for a dear friend who was grieving the loss of her loving husband. I have revised it today, hope to record it soon, who knows when but soon.
Life is hard in a railroad town Lots of things there to bring you down The clunking and the clanking steel The donking bells are all too real The whistle blowing all night long Fucking up your favourite song Engine giants busy hissing On the platform someone’s missing But It can be alright again, It can be alright again, It can be alright again Yeah It will be alright again If you step up onto the train The train can be your salvation You must get up onto the train You must let it leave the station Take that journey to somewhere new Along the track that leads to you. Oooh that journey to somewhere new Along that track that leads to you Oooh it can be alright again Gonna be alright again Yeah it can be alright again It’s gonna be alright again (to fade)
Harry Rogers, In Doctor Bombays Underwater Tea Party 2017 and The Red Bedroom, 26th January 2021
One fig and two pear trees Asters and raspberries Small pond, a rockery, Tall hollyhockery, Fork with one broken tine Above the railway line. Watch goods trains steaming by Eye stinging smuts fly high In 1953 My father’s aviary Full of budgerigars And broken pedal cars A crazy paving path My mother’s carefree laugh The queen ascends the throne On tv in our home My brother gets knocked down I watch him spin around On coronation day As we went out to play The ambulance comes quick Whilst I am feeling sick To tell my mum I ran, She left me with my nan. We sit out in the sun, She cuts a sticky bun, Pours me some Tizer pop, She even drinks a drop. Pink blancmange and jelly, Horse drawn coach on telly, Queen waves through crowds at me, And Richard Dimbleby.
Harry Rogers, in Harriboy’s Hut, 7th February 2017
There’s a heron by the Quaggy, Across the road, in Brookmill Park. He stands on one leg in the snow, Soon be snapped by my old friend Bo. Someday perhaps I’ll see it too, When next I visit old Deptford, That feels a long way off today, As we’re all still stuck in lockdown, We wait for all clear siren sounds, Politicians swim through treacle, Mistakenly blame the people, Who don’t play by their confused rules. Down here, two fifty miles away, As last nights snow begins to melt, On radio I hear the fools, Play pass the parcel with the buck, There is no desk on which it stops, As Pritti now sends in the cops. Not one has the ability To take responsibility. Perhaps to Frog House I will bring My friend good cheer in next years spring. I hope the heron is still there, In twenty two some pints we’ll share.
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 24th January 2021
Walk by the Isis, On warm summer day, Down to swimming hole, Swing out on the rope, Drop into the pool, Nineteen eighty four, Know that I’ll never, Forget this moment, Water grips so cool, Exhilaration, Swim upstream aways Pull new goggles on, Watch Perch fins flutter, They hang suspended, In exposed tree roots, Beneath cut away, River bank channels, Where they wait for prey. Friends frolic in pool, Perch watch on, unmoved, Meanwhile, in Orgreave, BBC News team Shoot famous footage, Which they called battle, After fake edits, Where state violence, Still waits for justice. I remain mindful Of events that day, Seems sometimes these things, Just don’t fade away. D’you know what I mean?
Harry Rogers, in the yellow room, 24th January 2021.
Close eyes under shadowy trees Dappled light plays across my face Chapel bells jangle inside head Motor boats plough on through the lake Lizards skitter over the path Warm sun on rheumatic back, Scent of Borromean jasmine, Ice cubes bob in a glitter spritz, Children laugh and dance on the street, Mountains beyond turn pink at night, Pompeiian puppet show still bright, All this from a dream in daylight, Rain falls, eyes open, I’m in Wales.
Harry Rogers, revised in the yellow room, 23rd January 2021
Never a day did I understand why In Hendon your average new copper Was taught to refute Karl Marx and reply With arguments put forward by Popper. The state must have been really full of fear, Afraid that they might come a cropper, Paranoid about revolution near, Injected philosophical stopper. Still stirs strong wind of transformative change, Pendulums swing, seeds fall from the hopper, Sprout new shoots in far corners, green and strange, Where plods on beat hear latest jaw dropper. Someday the force will become a service, For all the people, not just the churlish.
Harry Rogers In the Red Bedroom, 22nd January 2021
Two million dollars, it all goes away, Crimes, misdemeanours, so long as you pay. A message to Rudy, just give him a shout, One of his goons can help you sort it out, Rampant corruption, it is so obscene, Give four five money, he’ll wipe your slate clean. Like Nixon he’s gone, he had to conform, Says he will be back, in some shape or form. Proud boys and boogaloos strut on the street, They threaten still in the teeth of defeat, Yesterday Joe put hope above their hate, Decency rises, it’s almost too late. Starlings murmurate above confusion, Have all the fakes gone? Was it illusion?
Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 21st January 2021.
Hope fills our lights a’glimmer As we get up from our knees, Darkness cannot get dimmer, Something floats upon the breeze. Comes a realisation, To bring true socialism All socialists have to do Is behave as socialists With each other, comradely. It’s time to ditch lifelong scores, Not to scratch old battle sores, Randian fascists, outdoors, Ignore all of our old laws, Don’t give society figs, Only individuals.
Harry Rogers, In the Yellow Room, 19th January 2021.
Austerity, default mechanism, Used by capitalism to maintain Status quo, where the wealthy stay wealthy, And the rest of us have to pay the bills. Sharing concepts alien to the rich. Neo-Liberal adage is writ large, “What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is my own”. Pandemic expenses rob one and all, Reality shows who’s going to pay, Austerity laws soon back now to stay. We must prepare for the battle to come, A harsh world awaits, we see it elsewhere, Plutocrats aren’t philanthropic people, The idea of welfare means nothing to them, The law of the jungle where strong survive, Randians and crooks are running our lives. Get ready, new normal won’t be jolly, We’ve got to struggle like never before!
Harry Rogers, in the Yellow room, 19th January 2021.
Minnows keep dying, swallowed up by pike Who believe freedom means do what you like. Rivers are swollen with pike on the feed, Predators strip hope from people in need. Sickness is rampant, leeches feed off it, Out of death rattles they make a profit. From test, track and trace that does not exist, To anti vaxxers who peddle scotch mist, Lynch mob storm troopers on Capitol Hill, Those venal racists, whose flags make us ill. Twitler is happy now his days are done, This monster pike will still shout out he won, His rag bag army, the Trump lunatics, Believe it’s seventeen seventy six. As Joe sweeps by in his new armoured car, Some say that this is a re- run Weimar. Let’s hope it ain’t and sanity returns, Don’t make us watch as America burns.
Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 18th January 2021
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.