ALIASES

The Lenin Statue, the new FSB (aka Cheka, NKVD, KGB) HQ  and a new church supported, in part, by Mars pet foods. ©SCES 2000

The Lenin Statue, the new FSB (aka Cheka, NKVD, KGB) HQ and a new church supported, in part, by Mars pet foods. ©SCES 2000



We remembered the newsreels with Uncle Joe

aka Koba the only one in grey,

so expected a black and white city.

But the colours astound us, beguile.

From our apartment – which used to be bugged –

we overlook what used to be October Square.

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AFTER THE RIOTS

A skyline as idiosyncratic

as Manhattan’s,  Chicago’s – its totems

of wealth, faith and dominion – belies

the city’s cruelty: fortunes from famine,

despotism, slavery; licensing

of squalor, bigotry and despair.

In the park where the Orange Lodge drummed out

The Twelfth, a rape was immediate headlines –

white girl, black youths. In Toxteth – its decayed

squares and terraces built on molasses

and cotton, some street signs repainted green,

gold, red, the colours of Rastafari –

was daubed,

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THE LAST REFUGE

‘Two bald men fighting over a comb…’ José Luis Borges

Almost always, winds blew – over heath and sheep.

Seas swelled southward – to ice, minerals.

Mapped, the islands seemed like green spume: a tattered

standard blown west. That bleak solitude

was Arthur Ransome country – The Camp,

Tumbledown Mountain – naive, single minded,

like the Falkland Flightless Steamer duck…

Larger than Greenland, smaller than India,

Argentina did not exist.

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ONLY ONE IN STEP

Plato's Allegory of the Cave

Plato's Allegory of the Cave


Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is

somehow very ‘Thirties: lots of chaps in

the dark behind high walls; much shadow-play

with unidentifiable voices;

belated, blinding suddenness of light.

The decade’s putative worthies (who all,

by the way, seem to have been chaps) go forth

unknowingly in parallel: e.g.

Hitler in Berchtesgarten, Wittgenstein

(Adolf’s erstwhile peer from Linz) in Cambridge.

Did Wittgenstein walk with Blunt, Philby,

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THE DISGUISED REPUBLIC

For Mark Chapman, PPC

So well is our real government concealed, that if you tell a cabman to drive to ‘Downing Street’ he most likely will never have heard of it…It is only a ‘disguised republic’, which is suited to such a being as the Englishman in such a century as the nineteenth.

THE ENGLISH CONSTITUTION, Walter Bagehot, 1867.

HM’s Garden Parties turn the Bagehot trick,

showing GB as it really, really is:

the Law, the Cloth, clerks,

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