This is 2018 – time to demolish society, start at Year 1, by Andy Brown

I have seen a picture of a homeless person, sleeping bag
snuggled into the doorway of a shop that sells beds. The
one on display looks pristine, well-cared for, well-tended;
one can only hope the homeless person is being treated
likewise, but this is Leeds, this is Britain 2018 where
ministers lie knowing there will be no discipline from
a weak ‘leader’ anticipating a ‘Brexit Dividend’ she
wilfully allocates to her friends and Tory supporters.
But it does not need to be this way, it is not just or fair;
foreign-owned British press perpetuating lies about alter-
native opportunities that might allow a better life for the
majority and not increase slavery to an exclusive minority.
I have seen a picture of a homeless person, sleeping bag
snuggled into the doorway of a shop that sells beds.

Going back home together, by Andy Brown

A few certain girls returning
– young among not so young
back to a place of their birth
back to elect right to decide

to let others body bid need

Champion girls – yearning
for sisters – not yet on rung
straddled path to state serf
victim yoke, religion bride

choosing right to deny seed

whichever way it is said whatever news outlet is read
whether a noise is heard a woman’s way is now word

a few certain girls returning, champion girls yearning
for sisters not yet on rung young among not so young
back to a place of their birth straddled path to state serf
back to elect right to decide victim yoke, religion bride
choosing right to deny seed to let others body bid need.

Sonnet to Nakba, by Andy Brown

For the word clash substitute massacre. For the phrase ‘fifty-two dead’
imagine all your school class piled up one-upon-one resting upon their
equally dead teachers. For a reason choose history of conflict and war,
check definitions – displacement, invasion, theft, blockade. For irony
check their story of a boy, David, a sling for a weapon. Watch social
media – Palestinian images – women throwing stones, sling-shooting
boys with no thought of safety. What else to do in a ghetto enclave
(as your captors suffered many decades ago) but fight for freedom?
But now it is those who had been the haunted becoming the hunter,
the now-free descendants of Holocaust victims – laughing jailors,
perpetrators; land-thieves acting with impunity searing truth on
enslaved souls, laughing with injustice, celebrating a decreed
discrimination dealing with defiance disproportionately – the worst
thing is, I know, when you read this, the dead will number hundreds.

Cruise ships convert towards war, by Andy Brown

There is a cruise ship docked out front;
six hundred passengers could disembark
destroying delights of a pristine Peniscola
egging others to vaunt vanities of vandalism.

It might be a warship outside the harbour walls
waiting, just waiting for a right time to disembark
guides that present missiles of hate and vandalism
always to annihilate prospects for petition and peace.

Perhaps in our troubled days we can dream a possibility
of togetherness wrapped within a cocooned community.

Immigrant Salvation by Andy Brown

A chameleon walked into a bar
No-one saw him arrive
An immigrant walked into a bar
Everyone turned to stare
A chameleon walked into a bar
Felt at home immediately
An immigrant walked into a bar
Experienced feelings of alienation
A chameleon walked into a bar
Blended smoothly into the crowd
An immigrant walked into a bar
Could not confidently communicate
A chameleon walked into society
No-one noticed his contribution
An immigrant embraced opportunity
Ferociously fought initial fear
A chameleon faded within the crowd
Accepted anonymity without adversity
An immigrant studied and understood
Became a beacon for the community
A chameleon walked into a bar
Nobody showed the slightest interest
An immigrant walked into a bar
Everyone applauded and hoped.

capitalism’s cracker by Andy Brown

games of ping-pong
played over high walls,
opponents are not seen;
ball exchanged by rivals
operating identical rules.
spin and smash, bat and
pat balls to-and-fro until
the net smothers the ball.

participants timing can be wrong, wild volley wide of mark.
players continue their game because they know no different,
good at what they do, they represent their people, ever urged
to improve effort, extinguish opponents, destroy alien ideas.

thousands of homeless watch capitalism’s castles of empty land,
government touts passport colour, buries care in the Brexit sand.

sonnet to diversity-denying dictators by Andy Brown

new dictatorial edicts in the ‘free land’ from
blond-haired one decides new laws of prose;
no longer need for words or meaning he will
never comprehend or for empathy that is not
demonstrated. science and evidence banned,
no more talk of entitlement, forbids a fetus,
will not countenance transgender or use of
the word vulnerable to sit in official reports.
please do not be superior on this side of the
water; we are equally divisive drowning in
elitism, class, policies that practice hunger
and homelessness, poverty, predicaments
perpetuated, promulgated in Tory policies
designed to deceive and end communities.

Blind Faith by Andy Brown

He is not human, not intelligent life.

He stared into the sun at an eclipse,

thought the light had gone, forgot

responsibility to show care and

compassion for the eyes as well as

the nose. The charade is over but

no-one is witness. All followed him

into an abyss of darkness; neither

those who utter, scream, or screech

aye or no will see where paths lead.

Cuts and scars by Andy Brown

A bloodless coup instigated by foreign forces

intent on preventing proscription of their product.

Irony of taking back control then instilling the means

to relinquish scrutiny confirms closed thought processes

of those who read but do not study, and never dare question.

Tax-avoiding power brokers basking in sun-drenched

islands desert reader requirements, pandering need for

somebody worse-off approve genocide felt by the

vulnerable, benefit claimants sacrificed on the cold

streets where capitalist uniformity sits bearing

witness to globalised interest.

Corporations perch on walls of cards

misbalancing books reclaiming kingdoms

structured and lined with reinforced serfdom.

In a supposedly rich and advanced country

no subtlety needed to convince unquestioning

brainwashed populous, no interrogation insisted

for ideals, ambitions, wealth aspirations of masters

that pamper the celebrity requirement. There may be a

few points worth debate, for example let us compare

Islamic State and Henry VIII, both experienced in

acts of beheading and execution now Parliament

vote to return to an age when dictatorial decision

was supreme, left to their own devices Ministers

believe their heroic publicity, getting Britain back

from a foreign foe to slavishly accede and process

whims of newspaper barons from far flung shores.

Legislative guillotine cuts a swathe through rights.

I am not a politician by Andy Brown

I am not a politician
I do not apologise for truth
I accept consequence of actions
I will not recommend negative events
I positively acknowledge my weaknesses
I am not polished, pristine, politically perfect
I welcome diversity in all nature, beauty and form
Vulnerability accepted, cradled, acknowledged
Negative events not encouraged or glorified
Consequences of my decisions accepted
Truth forever mine, no apologies given
The Grandad From Knowle West
Sharing my life on the estate
Writing change to educate
I am not a politician

Political Gout by Andy Brown

My pain comes from the right, I can see it staring with red
rage at my questioning gaze. A red patch on the side of
my right foot, sometimes it appears to move inwards
but the pain remains the same as soon as I put any
weight upon the swollen patch. I have tried to
take a tablet for it but always had problems
swallowing, digestion is never an easy
issue for me, must continually chew
yet a paper instruction commands
me to swallow without thought.
The left foot remains stable
and firm a perfect counterbalance
for the pain that shoots through me every
time I place weight upon the inflamed digits.
It is so easy to walk a straight transparent path
when I realise what I must carry, share, apportion.
Panacea prescription for gout is healthier diet regime.

Is this Freedom? by Andy Brown

I am strength in surrender

I am roar inside whimper

I am acceptance of hate

I am blind in sight

I am numb with feeling

I am safe in my nightmare

I am voice in silence

I am cheek that accepts

I am bruises of your love

I am knowledge of doubt

I am laughter in misery

I am escape by closure

I am sure in uncertainty

I am pain when you smile

July 2016 by Andy Brown

I wade into dark water

I cannot swim


I live in bleakness

I do not blink


I exist in eddies of experience

I will not explore


I pray pleasures of prison

I cannot swim


I know addiction as an ally

I do not blink


I sense sanctuary of the cave

I will not explore


I caress, claw, contemplate suicide

I cannot swim


I flatter fetid floor of my failure

I do not blink


I fear success and solitude

I will not explore


I drown in defined darkness

I do not swim, blink or explore

A Sonnet to Free Benefit by Andy Brown

Benefit; confusing word oft used, seldom heard or understood as if it ever could be something
good that perhaps should be celebrated not calibrated by government.
Internment was another designed to smother those that could not agree how the state should
be free; through conditions ascribed, opportunities proscribed, of how to live and give within
the norm and form of a perfect storm of oppression. 

Now, again, there is a need for love to seed, to patch the thatch of the roof of truth that
shelters the helter-skelter and merry go round found in a dripping sieve of media that gives a
tributary of fear where compassion will completely disappear into an ugly pool of aggression.

 But wait, we can choose how to live and know why to give is only ever the right decision,
snuff out the light that ignites the fight of those who live for derision, those that are weak,
that only ever seek to feel the sickly heel of fear that cannot hear the call of those that are free
to only ever welcome the refugee, those of us, the sum of the welcome, a few who are true to
the soul of the Great British nation that offers salvation to give lie to manipulation of how we
should live or give in this land of ours where we should always be free to accept the refugee.


First published in Militant Thistles 2015.

Austerity’s Villanelle by Andy Brown

It is all very well championing austerity

while so many people are poor

but can somebody please tell me how poverty equals prosperity


when rent-raising landlords lack compassion or humility

and claimants are sanctioned by fifty-pound law?

It is all very well championing austerity


when those that are in power are a minority

that cut, trash and sever by departmental claw

but can somebody please tell me how poverty equals prosperity?


What hope is there for the majority

who know lack of a goal means no prospect to score?

It is all very well championing austerity


whilst a hungry belly gives no serenity

and you can’t trust those who you vote for

but can somebody please tell me how poverty equals prosperity?


How on earth do they have the temerity

to squash their opposition to the floor?

It is all very well championing austerity

but can somebody please tell me how poverty equals prosperity?


First published in the Militant Thistles.

I am Andy Brown (not the famous one from Exeter, another one!), an ex-prisoner, recovering addict and winner of community regeneration award who performs under the title of The Grandad from Knowle West.