Four poems by Rodney Wood

WHY CAN’T I STAY AT HOME WITH A TAG? 

“The death rate was exceptionally high in isolated populations like prisons and monasteries.” David Ross

everything’s taken / stripped / processed / and I’ve forgotten to cancel standing orders
it’s like the waiting room to a plague house / everything’s taken / stripped / processed
it’s like the waiting room to a plague house /  and I’ve forgotten to cancel standing orders

there’s hundreds of broken windows / lives / I’ll never grass / steal / or watch Emmerdale
I’ve no idea what’s going to happen or why / there’s hundreds of broken windows / lives
I’ve no idea what’s going to happen or why / I’ll never grass / steal / or watch Emmerdale

there’s overcrowding / heroin / it’s scary / and the grey jumpsuits are really scratchy
I’m locked in a cell with a guy who can’t read / there’s overcrowding / heroin / it’s scary
I’m locked in a cell with a guy who can’t read / and the grey jumpsuits are really scratchy

the violence of self harm / lack of respect / killing time / and I only answer to my surname
now I’m chained to those years inside / the violence of self harm / lack of respect
now I’m chained to those years inside / killing time / and I only answer to my surname

 

BUT FOR NOW WE MUST CURB YOUNG PEOPLE’S SOCIAL MEDIA USE 

“We do not know what is happening in the heavens, but impudently and rashly they profess to know…. For they are going to say this and any nonsense at all rather than confess their own ignorance. Theirs is not only ignorance but blindness and total madness, which many times in the past was evident to everyone, but never more clearly than during this present plague.” Petrarch, Letters of old age

let’s put a tax on foreign house buyers / let’s become a tax haven for the deserving rich
let’s leave the United States of Europe / let’s welcome all foreign house buyers
let’s put Europe at the heart of Britain / let’s put a tax on wealth for the undeserving rich

let’s privatise the NHS / let’s put all workers on minimum wage
let’s restore the great British dream / let’s fully fund the NHS
let’s dream of making Britain great again / let’s double the minimum wage

let’s bring in the snoopers charter / let’s increase the working week to 60 hours
let’s slash all subsidies / let’s never even think of the snoopers charter
let’s subsidise what people need / let’s reduce the working week to 30 hours

let’s tax and humiliate the undeserving poor / let’s put young people in hock to the state
let’s replace the Human Rights Act / let’s give money and respect to the undeserving poor
let’s keep the Human Rights Act / let’s help young people get a career and get a life

 

WONGA 

“This Bishop of Lincoln sent a general power to regular and secular priests in his diocese to hear confessions and to absolve…except only in cases of debt. In such cases…others should do so with his property after his death.” JWF Hill

the giant with an empty soul has fallen asleep / there’s a burial / no flags are at half mast
angels sing accompanied by their lutes / the giant with an empty soul has fallen asleep
angels sing accompanied by their lutes / there’s a burial / no flags are at half mast

complaints by claims management companies / clients being blackmailed and lied to
the faceless loan sharks bought down / complaints by claims management companies
the faceless loan sharks bought down / clients being blackmailed and lied to

bright adverts have disappeared / but for borrowers the debts roll on
under a row of headstones marked “administration” / bright adverts have disappeared
under a row of headstones marked “administration” / but for borrowers the debts roll on

no escape from prison / no drinking of wine / the curtains are slowly closed
repayments must be made / there’s no mercy / no escape from prison / no drinking of wine
repayments must be made / there’s no mercy / the curtains are slowly closed

 

HORRORS 

‘O happy posterity, who will not experience such abysmal woe and will look upon our testimony as a fable.’ Petrarch

triggering an army clearance operation / over ten thousand no longer live with the venom
Muslim Rohingya attacked with knives / triggering an army clearance operation
Muslim Rohingya attacked with knives / over ten thousand no longer live with the venom

women tied to a tree by the hair and raped / young children forced into burning houses
tortured with bamboo sticks and cigarettes / women tied to a tree by the hair and raped
tortured with bamboo sticks and cigarettes / young children forced into burning houses

the military should be disbanded / prosecuted for genocide and crimes against humanity
abuse and grief became the norm / the military should be disbanded
abuse and grief became the norm / prosecuted for genocide and crimes against humanity

the UN report undermines the juntas’ attempts / to bring peace and national reconciliation
hate speech / lies and silence spread / the UN report undermines the juntas’ attempts
hate speech / lies and silence spread / to bring peace and national reconciliation

 

theguardian.com/society/2018/feb/17/uk-brutal-prisons-failing-violence-drugs-gangs

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/plans-to-curb-social-media-use-are-a-cop-out-lp772h8xx

/www.theguardian.com/business/2018/aug/30/wonga-collapses-into-administration

Report presented to UN Human Rights Council 18/9/18

..

Rodney Wood published his first pamphlet, Dante Called You Beatrice (Red Ceiling Press), last year. This year he has been published in Riggwelter, London Grip, Confluence, The Lake, Laldy, The Ofipress, The Journal and The High Window. He jointly runs an open mic at in Woking.

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