Our cash-poisoned world was designed for the dullest
of philistines rubbing their hands at their sales
with cash-kissing glee in their moated, portcullised
towers of power where blandness prevails,
so careers haven’t ever appealed to my palette
(they’re less like a calling and more like a habit)
and, stood with a name-badge by rows of pork pies
where wealthier people who don’t recognise
a Russian sonnet from their rectum
assume I cannot count to five,
I’ve slaved in order to survive
beneath rosetted robots (I didn’t elect ‘em).
Half of my graft earned me windows, a bed,
a light-bulb and bath, before I could be fed.
My landlord grew fat on the fruits of my labour
until I decided enough was enough.
I ran to the hippy and crusty and raver,
my fellow man, my fellow scruff.
I ran to Bristol, ran where squatters
gather where the brickwork totters,
where plastic tanks replace U-bends
and toilet chains, where no-one mends
the roof-holes, where huge spray-paint murals
of third-eyed skulls exposing brains
bedeck the walls and window-panes,
where crockery piles up like the Urals,
where homes are made of factories,
offices, children’s nurseries.
Such life I’d not seen before landing in Bristol!
With a leap and a bound the swift anarchists thronged
through streets built on slavery, armed with a fistful
of sledgehammer thoughts on how humans are wronged,
like “Property ownership violates nature,
the Earth’s our master and creator,
not the other way round, and hence
we won’t pay a penny in unjust rents!
If everyone stopped paying rent or their mortgage
then no-one could stop us! The courts would just burst!”
Not everyone, though, shared this thirst
to solve the bludgeoning housing shortage.
The Average thinks not of abuses of wealth,
it does what it’s told, doesn’t think for itself.
The Average says “You there! Get out of that building,
you horrible, subhuman, left-wing, unclean,
smelly, longhaired, crowbar-wielding
freeloading parasites! God save the Queen!
God save the rich! God save the bankers!
God crush these squatting scumbag wankers!
Throw these untouchables out on the street
where there’s nothing but bin-scraps and heroin to eat!”
And the council, it seems, are in perfect agreement.
At desks they ponder homeless plights
concluding, “You ain’t got no rights!”
About this point they seem quite vehement.
They’d rather a man slept on dog’s piss and stone
than a bed in a building that’s been left alone.
I showered each day with a bucket and kettle.
I entered the squat climbing over a wall,
up a ladder and over some teetering metal,
avoiding a fifteen or twenty foot fall.
We dined on crumpets, pasta, custard,
pizzas, cakes and Polish mustard
swiped from supermarket bins
and loaded on laps up to anarchist chins.
One day our way out of the car park was thwarted
by a man who drove backwards and forwards to stop
us from stealing what would’ve been turned into slop,
food whose sale had been aborted.
So adamant was he we wouldn’t get far,
he knocked a girl over the front of his car.
At the party before my friends’ date with the bailiff
I saw a boy, not knowing where he was from,
trigger a fight that gave Tesco’s a facelift,
by shouting about a petrol bomb.
The Bristolian riots of Twenty Eleven
began on a roof, shouting threats to the heavens,
the roof of a building that I used to squat,
from which I saw officers bludgeon and swat
and tear into crowds who threw concrete and looted
the thirty-first Tesco’s in Bristol, and watched
as police horses galloped and police cars were torched,
all so that four or five lads could be booted
out of a building that no-one else used.
This is Bourgeois England. Enjoy being abused.