Sunday, April 15, 2018

Local Poetry

A non-member generously submitted to the Socialist Party a number of poems which the Socialist Standard regretfully cannot publish. So the blog has taken the opportunity to place them on the web.

Dear Socialist Standard,

     I just bought some material from your stand in King Street, Hammersmith. I agree that the Grenfell Tower tragedy was a 'burning injustice'. I reside in the neglected and poverty-cursed White City Estate, which is just round the corner from Grenfell Tower. The incident was cruel and traumatic. As attachments, I send you, in solidarity, poems I did on the spot. They are not very convincing - they are the products of prolonged bitterness,


                                                  ZEKRIA IBRAHIMI (AGED 59)

What is truth?


What is ‘truth’, for the men of the Town Hall,
That plush place found near Kensington High Street,
Where dull speeches echo from wall to wall?
The councillors, for their parties, repeat

The boring clich├ęs that are all in all
In politics. ‘Truth’ seems, for them, so neat-
It is money, money with which to maul
The poor, and money’s ‘truth’ fries souls like meat.

It is this fire, and fire cannot care
For the stricken, the weak, the innocent;
Flames thrust like claws, quite as sharp as despair-
The chaos shrieks. Drably malevolent,
The leaders in suits, with a well- groomed air,
Smugly discuss how little should be spent.


‘Truth’ is smoke like a shroud round Grenfell Tower;
Heat bites through flesh and flats, hour by hour.

‘Truth’ is a building like a coffin now;
Corpses cannot escape, not anyhow.

‘Truth’ is a mother in a corridor,
Ambushed by the fumes, gasping on the floor.

‘Truth’ is her children, screaming as the fire
Devours tenderness with Hell’s desire

To trap and kill and promptly seize and swallow
Mere hope, mere hope soon all burnt out and hollow.

‘Truth’ is ‘cost- cutting’ and ‘efficiency’-
Grey greed must become murder’s anarchy.

Let the blinding ashes reach the Town Hall,
And there, a cascade of guilt, may they fall...


The photographs now haunt Shepherd’s Bush Green-
Phone numbers that are written underneath
Are the desperate attempts common in grief.
Who will call back? God? Death is all too mean-

It enforces silence. When they are seen,
They are like tombstones, ones without relief,
More poignant than marble, if much more brief-
They will be removed; those faces had been-

Alive once, belonged to a mum, or kid,
And what memorial seems right for them?
The crass cost- cutting the harsh Council did?
The insincere apologies that stem
From all the mistakes a smug Town Hall hid?
Or tears, each of them like a tortured gem?


The Council’s frigid jackboots chose to stamp
Upon the children trapped in Grenfell Tower;
It was as if that high cruel Nazi power
Returned to West Ten, and built a death camp.

The smoke was black, through which there was no lamp-
Except some vicious flame; fascists devour
Massed helpless victims, made to whine and cower-
The tenants were like Jews... the guards would clamp

Gas chamber doors, victims incinerated;
The Council’s modern Hitlers oversaw
A fiery Auschwitz, ruthlessly updated.
Now the grim ashes of the slaughtered poor,
Terrified, suffocated, and cremated,
Descend on councillors, cold to their core.


The miser always has a gaze like ice;
His eyes are frost, attached only to cash;
He is no hero blessed with charm and dash,
But the monster; greed is his jagged vice,

Upon which hearts are thrown, to rip and slice.
For him, the poor are irrelevant trash.
Incinerate the beggars! His fangs gnash,
His urge for money something less than nice,

Something as predatory as any shark
That swims through flames- Grenfell Tower is flames.
Blinding smoke in the sky must be his mark.
Cruel, cruel, that murder- the shame of all shames-
Should burn and burn. He drags down, in the dark,
The charred corpses. How many? Eighty names?


The Tories are the terrorists who scheme
In their posh cave that is Kensington Town Hall-
To massacre the poor is the mad dream
Bound to excite these bigots, to enthral

Their meanness. And they gloat once the flames teem
Round Grenfell Tower, as tragic as tall,
Torn through by budget cuts; their only theme
Is money; like fanatics, they must call

For ‘austerity’, their snide ruthless bomb
Flying along Latimer Road, to reach
A run down building in a grubby state.
They sneer, while babies trapped by fire screech,
These thugs of shadow, they still celebrate
The God of Avarice for which they preach...


HEADLINE, CITY AM, 21 June, 2017

In Kensington, property has a price-
So much must be posh and patrician here,
And homes are expensive- ones that seem nice;
Estate Agents look glad since, year by year

(Posh creeps so wanting their polite advice),
Flats and houses are increasingly dear-
Indeed, sky- high... like the heat that must sear,
Like the smoke that is savage, as flames slice

Above the corpses, turned a ghastly black,
Amidst the brutal red of a vast fire,
Cutting, soaring, and hope cannot come back
Once, trapped and screaming, it has to expire...
A Council tenant’s life, all dirt, all lack,
Is low, is worthless, no, without one buyer...


The smoke is stabbing into nightmare’s eyes,
As babies crawl round their rooms, full of flame-
Elsewhere, the councillors, shorn of all shame,
Were blind- to compassion- and this soon dies

When greed, a shroud of malice, sneers and lies,
Is a stinging mist that is far from tame.
Vicious heat grabs kids seeming without blame...
The councillors, just Satan in disguise,

Discussed cost- cutting in a frigid way,
Each of them like an iceberg of contempt.
The Devil is a hypocrite; his sway,
Far beyond even what he might have dreamt,
Is, in Kensington Town Hall, enforced today-
Who cares for slum brats, dirty and unkempt?


And what is money? Blood and cyanide.
And what is money, but the urge to kill?
And how many- a hundred?- must have died,
Because of money, money’s poisoned will.

It murders at speed, compassion denied,
As fast as fire, and it rushes still-
Towards the children that greed will have fried,
Down corridors, in rooms; their pain is shrill,

As the inferno swamps each quaking limb,
And death, like money, must detest the poor,
And mauls them quickly; the red does not dim,
The fatal crimson, from ceiling to floor,
And what is money, but flames, mad and grim?
The Town Hall is money, venom, and gore...


The Carnival approaches, its bright fun,
That end of summer stunt in Notting Hill,
A party and parade for everyone,
Costumes to show off, and burgers to grill,

The music no doubt raucous, overdone...
And, high above, Grenfell Tower stands still,
Silent and dark, an ugly hulk to shun...
Ghosts come down Ladbroke Grove, like a grim chill,

The serene late August Sun soon negated;
Amidst ringing steel pans, phantoms crawl,
In rags of ashes, flesh incinerated;
A frozen whirlwind gathers, where they fall-
Corpses that money, a storm, devastated,
In the shadow of Kensington Town Hall...

No comments: