Room

I wrote this poem in March of this year and it’s about how at school they don’t really teach you to think for yourself. But instead, they teach you how to regurgitate information in a way that allows them to allot a letter (or number) to your usefulness as a person.

And at school I felt like I was in a psychological prison that looked a lot like the dystopian setting from Nineteen Eighty-Four. In a way, I had a room of one’s own, a cage. At least at university, you are pushed to challenge and debate.

The poem takes its name from the Emma Donoghue novel Room which has since been adapted (by Donoghue) to film, with Brie Larson picking up an Oscar for her amazing performance.


School never taught me about CVs.
Only Chris Columbus on American seas.
I wasn’t taught about taxes and arrears.
and that’s only one of my many fears.

They didn’t teach us about politics and voting.
Only about Romeo and Juliet’s secret eloping.
At home I learnt about current affairs and media.
At school they taught us about Iago and Ophelia.

We didn’t study the Atlantic Slave Trade,
Post-war immigration or The Cotton Famine.
Instead, we studied Hitler, the Nazi threat and
how we crippled Germany with the Versailles debt.

I was never taught about policing and laws.
I was taught about 1066 and Viking oars.
I was never taught about my human rights
but I was ferried to Belgian bomb sites.

I know about our Roman straight roads
but very little about the Highway Code.
I learned about volcanic eruptions but not
about democracy or political corruption.

I was taught about Vietnam’s Rolling Thunder
but not about the British Empire’s plunder.
I was told to wear a Poppy for the war dead
but not how to sow with needle and thread.

I was taught about Watson & Crick and DNA
strands, but not capitalism or high street brands.
I was taught how to pray with my hands in a steeple
but never how to converse with human people.

Financial advice? Human rights? Forget about it!
I know nothing about the activities of Wall Street
but I know about the Dreadnought and the arms race.
I know about igneous rocks but I can’t fix a lock.

My generation: manipulated by what media airs and ill-
prepared for the outside world, caring more about celebrity
culture than The Panama Leaks or how money works.
Listening to the soundtracks of our lives like watching fireworks.

#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.


The Nomads Of Culture

Much alike to my task of writing response poems to those on Channel 4, I did the same thing with ‘Voices: Nationwide’, including Building a Building Society (about the founding of Nationwide) by Jo Bell. I wrote this poem not long after I had exited a confrontation with an internet troll on Twitter but it’s about more than just my hurt pride.

The Nomads of Culture is about not only the Millennial Generation but also how the next world conflict will not only be fought with guns, but also via the internet by people as skilled as Edward Snowden.

The Millennial story side of the poem is inspired from a book edited by Malorie Blackman. Unheard Voices is an anthology book of short stories, extracts and poetry on the theme of slavery, including works from Alex Haley, Benjamin Zephaniah, John Agard and Olaudah Equiano to name a few.

Other influences for this poem come from Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke, Disney-Pixar’s WALL-E and my own observations of contemporary culture.


A digital world, Planet Earth 2017 –
an archive of facts, stacked together, coveted
like sentimental candyfloss.
We’d rather vex text than move our
mouths – the battlefield is online, like slaves
confined to a screen and

t’have a home, you gotta be suited and booted
with change polluted pockets, if you’re lucky,
but nine t’five shifts at Kentucky will do.
Fortune favours the fortunate 
wading through Twitter’s trenches, allied
with a 140-character shield-wall, sailing down

rivers of tweets duelling with social spiders –
those eight-fingered button beaters, who have boxing
gloves for thumbs, pummelling their As to zeds
until the ring of the knockout bell.
Ding! Ding!

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.