Wolf and the Owl
Poetry, Lyrics, Translations
and Musings by Alex Etchart

Requiem 4 London

By on Wednesday 23rd November, 2011

Adapted from the original poem by Julio Etchart
Hear a live performance recorded at Bar Vinyl on 20/11/2011

Westminster Magistrates, Court No. 3
Ms. L pleads not guilty to handling stolen goods
She looks like a zombie three nights with no sleep
“It wasn’t me, it wasn’t me!” A big Plasma TV
“My daughter is only four, she misses me badly!”
Yet moved on to Crown Court, bestowed no mercy
No bail for you, no future, no hope

Back in the Caribbean, or Chiantishire
The Bankers play golf, forget what’s going on here
Martini Dry, a jug of Pims reward their machinations
Don’t break their vacation from this burning nation

Sitting in Court no. 2 it could’ve been you
A pair of trainers’s all it takes
To wreck his life, change the stakes
A moment of weakness, easily done
Mr. P, 18 years young
Pleads not guilty to burglary
Everyone’s doin’ it, kids and mums
My mates were there, I’s just havin’ fun
He’s a blood bro from Haringey
His one-year-old son, what will he say?
When his dad can’t get a job and he’s 8
CCTV wrecked his CRB fate

Temptations are many in our society
Branding illusions twist the stuff of dreams
Yet the ad-men and celebs are still at large
Sex-on-the-beach, tell me, who’s in charge?
Don’t break their vacation from this burning nation

Just round the corner from my humble abode
the Penbury Boys are a-having a go
E5 vs. E9; E8 are the losers,
N16 too posh, but ya know beggars aren’t choosers,
blade ’em, kick ’em, fed’s coming, quick run!
from an orgy of fire that charred n scarred the hood.
Corner shops close shutters, border up with wood
Coverin’ up the shards of glass hiding the debris;
The locals sweep the streets but can’t they see
no amount of brooming cleans the phantom of looting
in our broken city

The ghost of blame is in the air
The neighbour’s in chains, MPs don’t care
The black man is shamed in the white media system
Dead voices cry out but the policemen won’t listen
They’re filling the prisons with contractual condemnation
While the real thieves in offshore havens feed off inflation
Don’t break their vacation from this burning nation

Berlin 1945
Beirut 1984
1989 San Salvador
Be it the BBC archives
Or my own visual records
Something hits my memory cells
As I lift my camera again
In sunny Croydon, south London 2011
On a balmy summer afternoon
The calm after the dawn
Of the battery farmed media storm
Two nights ago, this road was a deadly inferno
Turned a tourist destination as kids click their iPhones
To capture their uncertain future take a photo
For posterity… some clever guy on the radio says
“the end of history”
That, I do not know
But one thing Im certain of is that
There’s no vacation from this burnin’ nation [x3]

Posted in: Poems

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