Wednesday, 01 June 2016 11:07

The one percent

Written by
in Poetry
1479
The one percent

The One Percent

Thousands were making the precarious climb
up the front of the palace which appeared
three times the normal height,
to pay their respects
to the royals; they were numberless
salmon that had always leapt
the waterfalls with their dying
praise.

There was television coverage:
with the sound off
the selection of shots
was a lesson in deference
to the celebs and toffs.
They were intimate and safe
to us. How remote
the relief of rage.

How we were schooled
in vacuous reverence:
it was something we did well,
it made us feel better
though tomorrow
we’d be worse off,
hung over, with for some
a bitter aftertaste,
a lurking sense
of being fleeced.

It was obvious who was to blame
once we’d tucked away the ambulances
and the bunting for the next time:
it was that something for nothing
generation. How we yearned
for a smaller state
for the people just out of vision,
and welfare reform
for the malingerers we knew about
from the depth of our prompted being.

A buccaneering
one percent of us
held eighteen percent
of adhesive, marketable wealth
in nineteen eighty-six.
By now it was fifty-three percent.
Offscreen.
We all pay too much tax.
The memory of the magic lingers.
Good luck to them, the subliminal
movers and shakers
with their quick fingers
at their soporific tricks.

See http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-667c-Billions-miss-the-gold-rush

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Steve Griffiths

Steve Griffiths's latest collection of poems is Late Love Poems (Cinnamon Press). A series of filmed performances of poems from the book, funded by Arts Council England, is now available on YouTube. Steve worked in London for most of his life in welfare rights and health and social policy, and now campaigns against inequality. See also www.stevegriffithspoet.com.