Choose Life: Part III

I wrote this poem a few months after watching the unnecessary but still excellent sequel to Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, T2 Trainspotting, and I ended up enjoying it more than the original film.

This poem is based on the ‘Choose Life’ monologue that Renton delivers in a restaurant to Veronika after she says “what’s choose life?”


Choose social media: YouTube, Skype,
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp.
Choose books, I mean actual books.
Not that crap, you know Nooks, E-Readers, Kindles.
They’re shams of literature, like Instagram
for pretend photographers.

And I’d hate for my enjoyment of a good novel
to be reliant on a finite battery life.
That’s the strife of being a traditionalist, progression
is always snapping at my heels like the Devil.
And then there’s Little Lord Fontelroy looking dishevelled,

Donald Trump. Choose him. Actually, bad idea.
Don’t even go there. He thrives on fear and the
sound of his own voice. His happy hands
dropping bombs on lands I can’t even pronounce, but
I can renounce his ways – his racism, his treatment of women
and his use of Agent Orange – no this isn’t Vietnam,
it’s his suntan lotion creating media

Honestly, I think the ‘Choose Life’ monologue in T2 is an improvement on the original 
(Trainspotting, Mirimax)

commotion like Mrs May and her will to throwaway
human rights to catch maybe-terrorists.
It’s all a joke you know? Like the daily Politics Show,
everyone’s acting, on this “strong and stable” stage
performing magic tricks like a mage in World of Warcraft.

Choose the future, or what’s left of it after this deficit,
and I’m not just talking about the economy.
Choose the NHS. Choose the Public Services.
Choose government. Choose a zero hour contract,
choose student loans, choose halls of residence
despite those very accurate horror story tomes.

Choose reality TV; choose the Kardashians and their antics.
And the undecipherable semantics of the Big Brother house,
or the: mind-numbing, IQ-depleting, logic-defeating Love Island
that has taken the populous by storm, reality TV is now the norm.
And this is what society wants us to be. Stupid, docile – infatuated,
shot by one of those cupids with their mini bows and arrows.

Twenty years on, the four misfits get up to more mischief on the streets of Edinburgh
(T2 Trainspotting, TriStar Pictures)

Choose slut shaming. Too skinny, too fat, too tall, too short.
Not pretty enough. Choose 13 Reasons Why, Choose Edge of
Seventeen. Choose depression, choose suicidal thoughts,
choose social anxiety. Choose made-up piety, as society goes
to pray then lays waste to streets. Day in, day out on repeat.
And then takes a seat as they tuck into a nice, tasty dinner.

And then choose the same for your children,
your mothers, fathers, sisters, younger brothers.
And then smother the pain with denial.
Take a breath; now you’re an addict, so be addicted.
Not conflicted. Just be addicted to something else.
Choose your loved ones.
Choose your future, just choose life.

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