Cloud City

I wrote this poem after I came back from India in July 2016. I went out there to meet a friend I made on Facebook (four years in the making). Some would call that reckless (perhaps) but I took a leap of faith.

Meeting author S.M.Y Rafi or as I know him, Rafi Syed was great. He longed to know what I thought of his novel The Traversers’ Memoirs. 

Seeing Hyderabad from the roof of his flat’s building showed me that it’s a city that towers. From there I saw a sort of shroud before I even saw the stray dogs and cats or even the vehicles.

Under that “vapourish” canopy, the cars and taxis and bikes played their own version of Mario Kart and that’s why I called this poem Cloud City. Not coincidentally after the place from George Lucas’ Star Wars.


Vehicles speed down the highway, as stray cats
and dogs sprawl in the streets, gasping for
breath on moistureless heat, entrapped by the
canopy of the forest. High-rise

Hyderabad is polluted from the some twelve
million souls. Streets full of dips and holes due
to the need for speed like they’re racing down
Rainbow Road trying not to fall off (living dangerously).

Poverty and homelessness are abundant,
preventive efforts are redundant, to no avail as
many spill onto the railway tracks, widening the
cracks of famine and squalor: it’s a shame, because

India holds many backward ideologies but
not all left by the English anthologies.
Market Day: customers boisterously barter
and on tourists, they set a course to charter.

Pockets rustle: their eyes wide like a cavern’s
mouth – busy, dry and loud with
infinte crowds of salespeople hustling
for money – and that’s the capitalist way.


Rafi Syed, Epidrae and The Traverser’s Memoirs

Kindle Edition 

Hard Copy 

Epidrae

Foreign Policy

I wrote this poem not long after watching Gurinder Chadha’s Viceroy’s House, a film about the partition of India in 1947 and the creation of Pakistan. However, in this poem, I talk about many other colonies of the British Empire (not just India).

Other influences include Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and Sons of Liberty. This first is a series based on the books by Diana Gabaldon about a woman who has fallen through time from 1945 to 1743 in Jacobite Scotland.

The second America’s War of Independence and the antics of Sam Adams, Ben Franklin and the rebels who freed White America from the British Empire (there were still slaves in 1776!)

The poem Suicide in the Trenches by Siegfried Sassoon was also a big help but its usage here isn’t part of my response poetry thread. John Agard’s Flag also came into play when I wrote Foreign Policy. 


Scotland’s dislike for the sassenach goes
way back in time when blood-breasted
soldiers marched with rhythm and rhyme.
Committing all numbers of war crimes,

they blitzed Bonnie Prince Charlie and
his men in the Forty-Five – lead teeth tore
through their brains – nobody spoke
of them again.

Then there was Ireland’s Easter – freedom
fighters, rogue rebels – 1916, soldiers depleted
at the Somme, and then the Crown frowned,
as towns were levelled. History repeated.

The English bought properties forcing
the Irish from their homes, leaving
them to roam through grassland glades,
further dividing the nation.

She was more than a battle of beliefs
– a book of revelations – they made the
Irish think themselves inferior, whilst
England stood tall, rich and superior.

India 1919: the Amritsar Massacre –
bullets whistled like an icy wind, Gandhi
led civil marches and protests, stressed
at imperial ideologies.

Churchill had a plan – he said: “let’s
cut a hole in India and call it Pakistan,
it’ll be like carving a cake.” Many Muslims
bled travelling to a destination

they may never make – the streets inflated
with violence – fires and fights – dimmed
Diwali lights and now political choirs with
torn tongues like seasoned liars.

Previously known as the Minutemen –
Lone rogues who rebelled, labelled
as tyrannical hooligans who belong in cells
They were The Sons of Liberty,

patriots who fought for their land, while
the English soldiers bloodied their sand.
After much blood has been spilled, America
wins, but both sides must repent their sins.

General George is worshipped like a saint
but he used slaves without complaint – I do
wish slavery was a dream but this is how harsh
humanity is, standing with esteem.

England’s borders spanned the entire world
and around the globe its borders curled. To
Australia, they sent prison inmates on the
backs of ships, in cages like primates.

Britain committed eternal damnations, whilst
slaves worked sugar plantations – whipped for
freethinking and mutiny at the brunt of scrutiny
and abused for being alive.

Contrived – the English simply can’t be trusted.
Their personalities are just plain busted. They
play a façade. They mean one thing and then
they say “On Guard!”


#FakeNews

I wrote this poem / monologue in March 2017 and it started as a response to Netflix’s The Crown (my favourite show of 2016). As I wrote on, the poem / monologue became a wild creature.

#FakeNews is a critique of power and corruption, and in a sense, an ironic afterthought of the Chilcot Enquiry, The Death of David Rockefeller, The Panama Leaks, and the sociopolitical quake of 2017. It’s a discussion about humanity itself, as our history is a bleak one.

However, the poem is inspired from Charlie Chaplin’s famous monologue from the 1940 film The Great Dictator. The updated version is below. I think that video with the montage of images is more applicable since what Chaplin is saying in that film can be applied to the world today.


The Crown is a ruck of busy bodies, necks
crooked with materialism: wrecked by
power-driven minds, kindness in rewind.
I’d like to help everyone – man, woman,
black man – white. We live by people’s

happiness, not sadness – there’s room for
everyone, a lifestyle free from fights for
love and the Earth’s fruits, but we have lost
the way, allotting numbers to our worth.

Greed has tainted our souls, in jails controlled
by hate, knock-kneed in civil unrest and
warfare. We drive fast cars but our minds
minds minds, are behind bars.

I’m not a royalist by any means but The Crown is by far my favourite show of 2016
(The Crown, Netflix)

The internet provokes cynicism – with wired
attire like Xavier’s Cerebro: life is violent,
lost to technology – things that bring out
humanity’s resourcefulness, victims of a
system that tortures – Rothschild

Murdoch, Rockefeller: families who thrive
on public chaos, fear of human progress.
Puppeteers die, and power will return to
the people – liberty will never perish…

Ha, that’s wishful thinking: Dulce –
No – Decorum – No – Pro patria mori.
The Man despises us, and thus oppression
continues to condition us like cattle with

machine minds and machine hearts.
No, we are people with love in our souls:
only the unloved hate – Power To The People!
Make it free and beautiful.

Charlie Chaplin parodies Adolf Hitler in his comedy masterpiece ‘The Great Dictator’
(The Great Dictator, United Artists)

A brave new world, no Winston Smith, no
Big Brother – a chance to build something
good together – a gateway to fight back
against corporate oversight, as dictators

handcuff brains to corporations.
Do away with invisible borders and greed –
fight for a world of reason.
In the name of democracy, I can drink to that.


I’m Mad As Hell And I’m Not Going To Take This Anymore: or We Have Come to This Great Stage of Fools

I have two titles for this poem: the first is taken from a line in Sidney Lumet’s Network (1976) and the second is an excerpt from a longer quote from William Shakespeare’s King Lear.


Is any of this real? Look at this
fantasy. We have synthetic
emotions as pills that spur on
health-depleting ills.

The mind is assaulted through advertising.
Chemicals melt our brains through food.
Mind-numbing lectures as media that
tap into our thoughts through Facebook.

Reality is gone. Whilst munching on GMOs
we became plagued with warfare and foes.
We turned off the power and removed the batteries,
as we went to work in internet factories.

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” is the main line from Network (1976)
(Network, MGM)

We bought into the corrupt like FIFA and Amazon
and Apple with their methods (at least morally).
There’s something shady going down!
All built on the blinking numbers sprawling
through the serpentine woods of Wall Street Town.

I hate all the contrived facades and ludicrous lies,
like how the masses glorify Steve Jobs a good man
as he made billions off the backs of children
in far off lands I can’t even pronounce.

Our idols are simulations. Earth itself is a lie, a hoax!
A narration of rubbish disguised as insight, as Facebook
claims our thoughts and likes, while Twitter wizard
Trump tauntingly tweets Korea’s Kim on a daily.

We’re in this culture of junk, due to our
unwavering favour of the question, “how much?”
All over human welfare, and then we had the
Chilcot Inquiry’s affair with Tony Blair.

If justice was done properly, ex-prime minister Tony Blair would be in jail for war crimes
(The Chilcot Inquiry, bbc.co.uk)

We all know why we have opted for this life.
We like living in denial, putting others on trial,
under the sedation of newspeak, living in this
Orwellian reality. And Big Brother is watching!

This is a kingdom we’ve lived in for far too long.
It’s ridiculous, selfish, ghastly and wrong.
A comedy of errors and as I read this
in high street-bought clothes,
I’m as real as the 100% Beef meat at Maccies.