'Neither a borrower nor a lender be' (Hamlet)
Before this latest mess they badgered us
to use their cards, take out those "Own-your-own
home" loans. Phone call, spam mail or snail, imprint,
TV; end of the day, we fall. Roll up:
"It trickles down, prosperity, so all
do well, d'you see." Ring out that tired theme tune.
Don't tell us when they've taken out their share,
there'll be just bare bones there for you and me.
They bind us to them heart and mind, refine
with clever marketing how we consume,
when, what and where, control our spending lives.
If they could knock them out, they'd steal our souls;
bankrupt, buy out and asset-strip whole third
estate. The bubble burst, it's panic time.
There are no gay Antonios about
to bail you out before their ships come in.
No comfort blanket, see. Not how it's done
these days. Once you're destabilized, may be
too late; the toy balloon, inflated, grasped
by finger tips, released. No siren's raised;
no fire engine, police car or ambulance,
that drop in pitch to signify you've flipped,
blue chip to sheer insolvency, worn out
your credit-rating stations-of-the-shop.
Micawber's hope that "Something will turn up"
simply won't do in this brave virtual age.
They'll goose you while you're healthy, salmon-pink,
try not to drain you dry; gentled you cope.
Red shift: you're irredeemable so can't
catch up. They take the reins: "The deal was all
explained to you before you signed. See there,
small print, the bottom of the page." No change.
They charge-you-till-you-bleed and when you do,
they seize what they already own: buy now -
pay later stuff, your car, your home. You're in
a mental Marshalsea. They're in control.
"I'm being reasonable. Don't take that tone
with me. It's here in black and white. What's that?
You didn't realise? Why? Can't you read?
Those tears won't wash. There's nothing I can do."
Peter Branson © 2008
The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude - George Orwell, 'Why I Write'.
Young Costa girl
with fashionable dreadlocks
and early morning eyes
sits down, no customers
about, asks what
you write: a poem
at least you're trying to.
"They pay the minimum,
this lot. No unions here";
melt-water over stone.
The coffee bar warms up
so she must leave,
missing your mulled
apology by miles.
Robbed of their common wealth,
farm workers starve
on seven bob a week.
These fields were hedged with greed.
No combination laws,
the charge is fixed and primed:
transported seven years,
but not for what's been done
and said, grapeshot across
the bows. "The Safety of
the country is at stake,"
the Judge points out.
"The enemy within",
life imitated art.
Peter Branson © 2008