State of Surveillance

My government is stalking me
To pimp me out across the Pond
To Uncle Sam, the Peeping Tom
And various nefarious industries

For Profit
And, to top it,
Claims to keep me safe

– At my expense –

With nonsense terms like ‘terrorist’
When what it means is dissident.

It’s evident:

My government doesn’t trust me;
Views me with contempt and hired eyes
Do hack my thoughts to guess at deeds
By fickle proxy through the Prism
Of suspicion – see my liberty receding
As the State tries to ensure
There are no ‘what ifs’ unexplored.

The score is clear:

That carrion, be it State or private profiteer,
Reaps recompense by calculating fear and
Draws it ever nearer with imaginary enemies
At risk of self-fulfilling as the chill of Hell
Comes spilling into real: they fear so much,
So violently, they needs must hide in kind
Behind their self-induced and worried zeal,
To mind and mine all minds.


Half Life

Do not reach the end
Of yet another day
And say
It was enough
To merely hold your demons
Just at bay,
For that is
Half a life you’re living –
Mere existence, holding sway.

Give breath
To passion’s spark
And hearken to
That discontented
Voice inside
That bids you rise,
For sometimes,
Don’t you ever dare to think:
A shorter life is worth the risk
To be the fullness of its gift?

Half Life

Do not reach the end
Of yet another day
And say
It was enough
To merely hold your demons
Just at bay,
For that is
Half a life you’re living –
Sheer existence, holding sway.

Give breath
To passion’s spark
And hearken to
That discontented
Voice inside
That bids you rise,
For sometimes,
Don’t you ever dare to think:
A shorter life is worth the risk
To be the fullness of its gift?


Some days, I think I’m ill. I feel ill. Not the ill of my pained and exhausted body: the source of depletion and variability in my personal resources. That’s bad enough but I can cope. Mostly. For now. I’m afraid it’s all become very much dependent upon government policies and familial support.

No, I’m coming down with something else, I know it. It’s dis-ease. I’m battling with symptoms such as defeatism, depression and doubt. Oh, and bitter sarcasm. It functions like one of those irritating pop-up messages or a heavy, wet cloak; a would-be usurper of thought and emotion. That’s fear. Fear that the world’s and our domestic problems are too big and too numerous to surmount; that I’m too small to make a difference; that nothing will change because leadership and its ideas don’t; fear that the solutions – to nigh-on everything – are driving us towards ever more complex systems. Natural entropy, mutated. Things have gotten so ridiculous, so utterly convoluted; ‘the devil’ must be having a field day.

We’ve tried marching and petitions; we’ve emailed our MPs and complained to mainstream media about how they have ill-served us and little, if anything changes.

The whole world is at war – for it is a war – with the avarice of a few inordinately powerful bastards and it feels like we are just creating skirmishes. From ‘Arab Spring’ to Spain, Turkey, Brazil, I watch their passionate running battles and their courage and ingenuity with awe and a little envy – or maybe it’s wistfulness, because here in Britain, we just sit around moaning about what’s wrong, march a bit and put the kettle on. We practise the equivalent of petty skirmish. So much for ‘bulldog spirit’ – we’ve become more like abused Labradors.

Anger is justified in our current climate. It’s highly appropriate. Anger, like fear and pain, tells you something is wrong and, channelled well, it’s Anger’s best gift. But the anger, so consistently expressed until a few short days ago, is in danger of becoming the acceptance of victimhood. Like me, I’m sure you’ve noticed the creeping despondency on twitter lately and within the pages of our favoured bloggers and journalists. We know what’s wrong; we’ve identified that much. We even have some sound solutions between us all. And yet…

I don’t know about you, dear Reader, but I’m finding the idea of years filled with endless skirmish completely and utterly soul-destroying. I’d rather go out fighting – hard. But, like many of you, this old carcass would find the mischief of which my healthy self was capable, almost physically impossible. My own personal acts of dissent and my amateur efforts at blogging are not even a drop in the ocean and my circumstances inhibit my other impulses. Not to mention the fear of consequence that comes with lone protest – real or imagined. No wonder I feel impotent and no wonder I’m reading that same sentiment wherever I look.

In my dreams, I want to storm Parliament, take our MPs literally by the scruffs of their fattened necks and hurl them out into the street. I want dramatic change. For the better, obviously. But Nature, abhorring that vacuum cannot guarantee it.

Nevertheless, I want us all to demand a halt to current proceedings. I want one of those transitional government thingies to keep the country ticking over – doing nothing new – while we all decide what kind of a people we want to be and how that should best be reflected and enacted. Don’t tell me that’s naive or impossible. It’s essential if we want to make real, meaningful, sustainable and ethical change. Neither does it need to take very long.

None of our politicians from the main parties will achieve our notion of a better world and we all know the reasons for that. But, dear Reader… If I did have a magic wand; if I was as big as enough of us; if I was organising a protest…? It would not take the form of a march, a carnival or a rampage.

I would go to Parliament or Downing Street. Or other pertinent places of Government. Please don’t bother to write and tell me all the reasons why I’m not allowed – I don’t care. In fact, the fact that I might need to request permission tells me all I need to know. I wouldn’t be seeking permission; I’d be exercising my right.

I would go to Parliament. I would take candles and a banner saying “Government, stand down. Now” and I would stay there in silent vigil until it did.

[Now, just to reassure you: this post reflects a temporary and fluctuating state that I have observed in myself and others. Ultimately I am optimistic for the Human Race. I don’t know if I’ll live to see it and I’m not all that confident that my children will. But Humanity will. As to my preferred form of protest? Silence is golden ;-)]

One Moment in Annihilation’s Waste,

One Moment of the Well of Life to taste –

The Stars are setting and the Caravan

Starts for the Dawn of Nothing – Oh, make haste!”

Omar Khayyám (1048 – 1131)

So Rise

Standing free
Until Time’s ending,
In silence bides
In hope, to see
Humanity arise
And dark pretending
By loyalty to Love and Grace and
Wisdom held in Nature’s rhythms.

Latent leaven swell
To hallow
Potent earthly spirits
In unlimited and conscious
Living Light.
Unlock the doors
Of higher purpose
And Desire: consecrate;
Emotion: purify and elevate.

So may the People’s Will be done
And let their kingdom come.

So Rise

Standing free until Time’s ending,
Sovereignty, in silence bides
In hope, to see Humanity arise
And dark pretending die, displaced
By loyalty to Love and Grace
And Wisdom held in Nature’s rhythms.
Latent leaven swell to hallow potent
Earthly spirits in unlimited and
Conscious living Light. Unlock
The doors of higher purpose
And desire, consecrate;
Emotion, purify and elevate.
So may the People’s Will be done
And let their kingdom come.

Patriot Schism

The heat of patriotism,
In self-deceit,
Spills outright lies
Upon the world,
So sins by symbolism.

Flag unfurled
In rapture
To false fealty and,
Ever yielding,
Wrapped in Glamour,
Makes alignment
Under brittle banners
Staked along
Impassioned lines,
All red and ready,
Set to march against
All sensible
Expressions of

Now comes the Act
In missives, sounding
Symphonies and sending
Hounds of hardware,
Bringing down offending
Hearts and minds
Until the Fatherland
Is primed.


You can’t get the staff

If Call-me-Dave and his cronies shut up for long enough they’d hear the raucous laughter reverberating around the isles. Followed by outrage and sighs of deep, deep despair.

‘They’ just don’t get it, do they?

Or do they? Either way: I’m not sure which reality is the scariest.

It’s not just the economy, dire as it is; inept as politicians are. It’s not just social policy, backward and insidious as it is. It’s not just moralising, obsessive and faulty as it is. It’s neo-theocracy dressed up as concern; power and control hiding under benevolence.

That old and now rarely expressed phrase comes to mind: One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. The spying on and curbing of civil liberties is in direct proportion to a government’s lack of trust in its electorate. This government, like the one before, would seem to both fear and despise us. When Authority has to micro-manage its environment and scrutinise the lives of its citizens like this, it has already demonstrated a loss of faith in the collective.

Protesters in other countries are freedom fighters and seekers of democracy while here, in the Dis-United Kingdom of not-so Great Britain, the dissenting voices are accused of talking and bringing the country down; of being rioters, anarchists, even. You wait – we’ll be told we’re unpatriotic next. Then they’ll really be able to define us as terrorists.

“If you’ve done nothing wrong…” What complete and utter bollocky balderdash! You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. Besides, judging by the divisive manner in which this government publicly categorises and scapegoats its own citizens, I really wouldn’t put any faith in its ability to discern the ‘good’ from the ‘enemy’, would you? Especially when you think of how most of our ‘enemies’ have been deliberately induced or even conjured from thin air in the service of imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, feudalism ism ism ism…

It’s a bit disingenuous to call all this invading, dividing and conquering of selected fashionable spots around the world ‘defending’ the UK. Nope. Rather it’s the usual suspects stirring shit, starting wars, invading governed and ‘ungoverned spaces’, enabling profiteering: having the audacity to call it ‘help’.

Do we vote and pay taxes for government to decide what is and isn’t ‘wrong’ behaviour? Do we pay the wages of those elected ‘representatives’ for it to make those definitions? Surely not?!

Whatever ‘they’ do get, they don’t get this:

We, The People – WE are the ‘Big House’; THEY are the staff.

They are just the staff…

Circling the Drain

Pride, true or false – the fuel that’s left
When so much of the rest is subsidised:
On one side of the State’s Grand Bargain lies

The profiteer –

A product of discretionary patronage,
Forsaking those, who, on the other,
Falling short of leverage,
Are kept in chains to serve
And so preserve ill-gotten gains.
We’re merely circling the drain.

We are the rent to nothing owed
And nothing owned, though all is spent:
The means to thrive have all been rent
Or sent as gifts to terraforming titans.
And interlocking dynasties perpetuate

The misery

While middlemen aspire to go higher
On the back of shame.
And round we go in circles down the drain.

Compacted by a contract of constraint,
We rise each day to greet the swill of torment.
Bent like doffing caps in gratitude, we thus
Augment the lives of those who live by platitudes.

And was there ever shown so much restraint;
Such acquiescence to indignity and needless pain

Or so much retribution owed in vain,
To those whose fault it is that we are circling the drain?

Some Fundamentals

I don’t have a great deal of patience with orthodox religion but I support the right of those who do to practise their devotion in so far as it does not oppress or suppress others. Neither am I an atheist – though I must admit to sounding like one if you miss the nuance. To me, religion seems to have little to do with God and everything to do with politics.

Every time there’s a debate about anything professing to relate to ‘God’ or ‘Faith’ it’s always couched in the context of orthodox religion or atheism versus orthodoxy. (The thing that both frustrates and makes me smile is that, besides neither having much to do with sacredness or divinity, both also hold positions of non-evidence-based certainty.) To me, framing the existence or non-existence of ‘Gods’ in such narrow terms, as described and prescribed by patriarchy and/or orthodoxy, is stale and unimaginative – and distinctly unhelpful.

Nevertheless, that is the rubric within which most of the world keeps itself confined – be it through education, governance or ‘holy’ wars.

Each religion is mostly interchangeable with another: they alter their costumes a bit and change dates and the names of people and stuff but the basic tenets; the widest meaning in the message is generally the same.

And all religions have been, are and continue to be vehicles of both peaceful and violent thought and deed. At their best, they try offer beautiful interpretations of Life’s mysteries through archetypes, parables and metaphors as lessons and frameworks by which to live and, at their worst, they offer fear, contradiction and ambiguity and sow confusion. Each religion has its moderate majorities, its peaceful literalists and its violent fundamentalists.

But all religious tomes are like poetry and music – subjectively and conveniently open to literal, artistic, cultural and political interpretation – one’s sensitivity may be stirred from truth and beauty to offence and ridicule. Yes, the Qur’an has verses which can be interpreted as permitting or even promoting violent retribution and punishment. So does the Old Testament. No Abrahamic Faith is immune – they all have colourful histories – and, looking further east, neither are the Hindus, nor the Buddhists.

Most ‘religious’ people are moderate people who have no drive to convert or ‘correct’ the behaviour of others. Many followers of the orthodox faiths pick and choose their adherences with varying degrees of guilt or comfort, be it using contraception, eating pig, imbibing intoxicants, marrying out of one’s faith, neglecting Confession – yada, yada. One only has to witness the majority approval for secular governance within the ‘first’ world and the majority who aspire to it in other regions of the globe to appreciate this: equal, educated, free and well-informed people; people who can rely on consistent and fair laws and a sufficient measure of security, don’t want or need to be told how to live by either the representatives of elected authority or by those who claim to represent a Higher One.

Major swathes of the world’s populations are being sold short while religious doctrine replaces basic/general education and information is exchanged for censorship. If religious dogma is your main or only source of common knowledge and experience, then it is little wonder that superstition, prejudice and taboos prevail and fester. And to force it on children is in the least, a grey kind of magic. Religion within mainstream education should be facilitated through philosophy, not through doctrine. Faith schools? No, thank you. Save it for the Temple.

Law, governance and culture have been traditionally shaped and dictated by Patriarchy and it is as loathe to give up its self-righteous control freakery as, say, Neoliberal governments and corporations. It is curious how those who claim to be so devout often seem more concerned with trying to control the lives and souls of others than their own. That there is no such thing as vicarious atonement seems to have escaped their fascist fonts of wisdom.

Of course, any ‘moral’ militant can find things to hate in the modern, secularising world; things over which to take personal offence as an excuse to let out their outrage and paranoia: the aspiration for equality; for living according to one’s individual desires and needs; for being free to draw personal boundaries, exercise preferences. And, indeed, so they do. But History is replete with religious and political violence and atrocious foreign policies, isn’t it…? Terrorism perpetrated by citizen groups, ‘democratic’ governments and state sovereigns alike. What conceit, though, to assume to speak for God! To actually claim power and take offence on behalf of one’s god! As though any god, worth its salt, needs defending! But then, Humans have always had an amazing, indefatigable ability to reduce a god to the level of their own petty imaginations, haven’t they…

Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims: all brilliantly misrepresenting their faiths; all desirous of imposing their ideology on others; all so certain. It is politics, mediaeval style. No wonder the atheists are bemused and pissed off.

The problem here isn’t ‘God’, though. The problem is cultish and political bigotry, narcissism and fear. It is the arrogant and ultimately fruitless notion that you are the manager of another’s soul and free will. It is the pitiful demonstration of people who look upon the world with narrowed eyes, lacking appreciation for the greater beauty, diversity and mystery of the human animal; who cannot recognise or stomach the paradoxes of life: that simple things are often made complex by their explanation and that things which seem complex are often very simple.

What the bigots fail to realise is that while they are perfectly entitled to their rigidly narrow and conjured opinions – so is everyone – those opinions don’t give them the right to legislate for everyone or terrorise and kill, based on them. This is why a secular society is the best way to protect and govern with equal and fair effect: the best way for the majority, the minority and all the individuals therein to know and feel that they belong and will be treated equally under the Law. Good Secularist or Pluralist governance shouldn’t mean that you have to bury your faith. It should recognise that not everyone has a faith and that no one faith is superior to another.