The teenagers we shot yesterday were shot responsibly through the eye with plain-speaking dum-dum bullets, manufactured in Fife, or taken down with SR 25 sniper rifles flown heroically in from Orange County. Many of these so-called protestors specifically arranged to be shot in the back, just to make us look bad.
The gas canisters our people threw were entirely rational, and legal, like the Boer firestorm the kaffirs brought down on themselves at Sharpeville, or the best-of-British ambush that rubbish walked into at Derry.
The one rogue canister which lost its mind and finished up in a tent beside an eight month old baby, who, sadly, also expired, is currently under investigation and expects to be cleared of all wrong doing, unlike the baby who we’ve already found guilty.
There is no such thing as Palestinians. Just some Arabs who used to live here and think they still do. The keys they wave in the air no longer open any doors. They are a rumour you foolishly believed, now we’ve moved our eternal capital to what used to be their front room.
A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism.- Karl Marx
You’ve seen me doing my hours emptying the ashtrays of third hand taxis cabs and scrubbing hard with bleach their tainted back seats before they’re offered up again to the god of whatever the market fetches in a town the government has privately agreed is to be discontinued, and wondered what’s with her smirk?
You’ve seen me doing my hours in the two Euro shop and considered offering me twenty quid for a quick ride around the back of the disused funeral parlour next door. For you’ve no idea what I am.
If you’d any sense you’d wake screaming every night in fear of me. By the time you do I’ll be standing over you and you’ll still be wondering what’s with her smirk?
For there’s a crowd coming behind me carrying a flag you won’t believe you’re seeing again until you do.
You’ll go red in the face like an old fool about to choke to death during sex, and tell me I’ll have fries with that. For you’ve no clue who I am. You’ll fumble for your wallet and toss me a fifty Euro tip, and wonder, one last time, what’s with her insufferable smirk?
For by then the ship you thought would never come in will have quietly docked flying a flag you’ll remember from the history books. Its contraband cargo that will give us the metal to own everything you think rightfully yours being silently unloaded by others like me made what they are by years looking at the likes of you poured into your waistcoat, believing in the divine right of your money.
My pals will be here presently – knock knock – with their methods of persuasion and the flag they rescued from the dustbin in which you tried to bury it.
First question they’ll pop when they see you tied up here will be toss him in the skip right now, or lock him in the attic for later?
What Did The Politician Get His Wife? after Bertolt Brecht
by Kevin Higgins
And what did she get, the girlfriend, from the student union meeting at which he rose to his feet and realised he could speak? From that meeting she got the Snickers bar he forgot to eat so busy was he watching them listen; and that speech, unabridged, every other night for thirty five years.
And what did she get, his new wife, from the time he first used a party conference microphone to agree with both sides? Those okay with the Moslems/Mexicans/Gypsies being here, and those who want them kept over there. From that microphone she took away their invitation to dine with the Deputy Mayor and his not new wife.
And what did she get, his no longer new wife, when, at the second attempt, he won that seat on the City Council? From his election she got to drink Pinot Noir and go swimming in their private club with the no-so-new wives of those who got the contracts to make the paving stones and install the pay-and-display ticket machines during his years as Chairman of the relevant committee.
And what did she get, his well-maintained wife, the night he was elected to the big shiny parliament? From that night she took away an architect to re-design their new three storey pad in the priciest possible part of the capital, and an article about herself in the Daily Express lifestyle pages.
And what did she get, the no longer new MP’s no longer new wife, the morning they made him Minister? That morning she got to go horse riding with the Leader of the House of Lords’ fourth (or fifth) wife.
And what did she get, the no longer new Cabinet Minister’s wife, the night the landslide made him Prime Minister? That night she got to hold to her breast invitations to break foie gras with the Sultan of Brunei, the President of China; and the chance to write husband’s speech announcing the crackdown on beggars who accost hard working families who stop to ask for directions en route to the nearest funeral parlour.
And what did she get, the ex-Prime Minister’s no longer new wife, from all the depleted uranium shells he had dropped during the Battle of Basra, all the soldiers he sent to meet improvised explosive devices in far Mesopotamia in the hope of getting rid of something bigger than the beggars and prostitutes at Kings Cross. For these she got white night terrors of him on trial for all their crimes, and the desire to never again look out the front window of their fine Connaught Square house at the tree from which, it’s said, they used to once string traitors.
Here's Ken Loach reading part of the poem and talking about the suspension of Kevin Higgins from the Labour Party. Higgins was suspended in June 2016, but now it looks as if he's unsuspended and is in the members' database again, although he hasn't been notified about it.
Higgins says: "It appears the boys and girls of the fantastically named 'Compliance Unit' at Labour Party Headquarters have decided that the case against me is too silly. But they don't want to tell me this in writing, as this way they retain the option of deciding, at some later stage, that I am guilty after all. On finding himself, at one stage during his varied career, imprisoned in a castle in Romania, the literary critic Georges Lukacs is said to have said that Kafka was a realist after all. It is a tragedy for world literature that Mr Kafka never got to exchange emails with the Labour Party Compliance Unit."
What Put The Diamonds In Your Owner’s Wife’s Ears? after Bertolt Brecht
by Kevin Higgins
You clean-collared columnists should first help us fix the basic roof-over-head dilemma, before penning your next sermon.
You shower, who preach careful now and always know your own exact bank balance, what is this mature democracy towards which you sweat? Without a door I can safely lock behind me to keep your pity at bay, civilisation doesn’t even begin.
First bring to those of us who get by on Supermacs our own mahogany table and a big, silver knife with which to cut the turkey and ham into manageable slices (with a vegetarian option for those so afflicted) and answer us this:
What put the diamonds in your owner’s wife’s ears? Or the Prince Albert ring in her boyfriend’s willy? The fact you’re in there polishing phrases and we’re out here in the undemocratic rain which everyone – from the Primate of the Church of Ireland to the Council for the Women of Consequence – agrees must never be allowed to land on you,
this is what keeps pinning diamonds to your owner’s wife’s sad little lobes, and puts the ring that winks up at her in her boyfriend’s knob.
Ciúnas, sad person, these are the great days when one must speak without whining. The children of the long political sleep forced awake. Like a vine heavy with grapes in peak season, laughing at its own potential riches, I don’t think I shall die again and now know I did not die before.
Walking the public squares together again, everyone clicking our picture, I am there with you even when three hundred miles away on enforced holiday, or home unable to get up for lack of the necessary breath. I am drawn to the recognised face in the crowd, checking itself in the shop window, stunned to find itself here again.
At the pinnacle of a familiar song sung anew, or the glimpse on a passing TV screen of a pale boy being what I once was, tears, and my eyes relit with old light. Because the permafrost I thought my lot gives way, and the Earth shifts as it must, I am like an old loudspeaker with a new battery switched on after years in the garden shed.
Back there, I must not go, as there’s nothing but vacated spiders’ webs and the ruins of lamps and lawnmowers.
Kevin Higgins, one of our sharpest and most prolific contributors, has been diagnosed with sarcoidosis, see here.
The Minister for Poetry Has Decreed is political poetry of the highest order, telling truth to power and poking fun at it at the same time, artistically deploying a profoundly moral sense of justice and truth to expose lies, evasions, greed and sheer stupidity.
Kevin Higgins, like Bertolt Brecht, has a gift for exposing the hypocrisies and deceits which are inevitably generated by a political culture which ignores, denies or seeks to legitimise the legalised robbery that passes for capitalist economic arrangements. And like Brecht he does it in a wickedly simple, accessible, entertaining style.
“Ireland’s accomplished political poet and satirist”, - Diarmaid Ferriter, The Irish Times
“I read this twice. Now, will make a coffee and read it again.” - Gene Kerrigan, The Sunday Independent
“Likely the mostly widely read living poet in Ireland”, - The Stinging Fly magazine.
I Am Pleased To Congratulate On Behalf Of The People Of Ireland after Enda Kenny
by Kevin Higgins
Donald J. Duck on his election as forty fifth, and possibly final, President of that great entity traditionally known as the United States which, admittedly, by the time he’s finished with it, will likely be called something else.
In the heat of battle President-elect Duck has said things which have left him with bridges to build with certain people, such as Mexican transsexuals, and women who don’t want him, or anyone politically associated with him even thinking about grabbing their vaginas, or the vaginas of their friends, mothers-in-law, or as yet unborn children.
We think today in particular of Secretary of State Clinton, though only very briefly, for eaten parsnips are quickly digested, and we must move on. Democracy (and, for that matter, dictatorship) have their own outcomes. This being the case, if President-elect Duck wants to build a crazy golf course in every front garden on this island, I will work closely with compliant urban district councils, sympathetic journalists, and members of the judiciary to have the necessary planning fast-tracked.
And rest assured, every opportunity that presents itself, either I or one of my Ministers will be there to shake his hand, or any other part of his anatomy President-elect, Donald J. Duck, wants shaken.
On The New Parliamentary Rump In The Absence of Mandatory Reselection after John Milton
by Kevin Higgins
Because you have shrugged off all sentiment, like a convention of businessmen, each in turn, successfully losing his boxer shorts at an after party that will, in due course, be put in the accounts under ‘miscellaneous’; he who is of sufficient wallet, and ugliness, to purchase for himself exclusive access to a slightly soiled Jerry Hall, now raises you up in his pages, and on TV screens that answer to him, as the sort of Lancashire lass or professional Welsh accent who’s happy to continue to rule on behalf of those who must rule, even if the other guy wins the vote, with his sandals, his allotment, his mindless allegiance to those who haven’t had beef cheek this century, and won’t be having it anytime soon, if you and those on whose behalf you hope to administer get your way, as you will, if insufficient use is made of liberating axe and guillotine.
After The Big Vote Intellectual Begins To Decompose
by Kevin Higgins
You sit minding that cup as if it contained, post-Brexit, the last frothy coffee in all of Brighton. You’ve the look of a pretend Elvis Costello, or the rejected fourth member of Bananarama.
Your claim to notoriety that one of the Sex Pistols once failed to cross the road to avoid you. Your opinions what it said in all yesterday’s editorials.
Your new secret hate the ghastly Adidas tracksuits of Gateshead, the sweatpants of Merthyr Tydfil, for daring to go against your wishes.
Your sneer is a threatened Doberman with the charming personality removed. Scientists are currently trying to bottle your lime-green bile and make it available on the NHS as a homeopathic remedy for psychotic former Guardian columnists.
Your words are the gusts that come out immediately before a terrible bowel movement.
Even in the face of bitten finger nails, the broken hinge on the upstairs window, and my own sack load of mistakes,
to be you would be a fate worse than life.
Kevin Higgins is still under 'administrative suspension' from the Labour Party for writing satirical poems like this. He has also suffered the cruel and unusual punishment of being removed from the Labour International closed Facebook group.
There will be no more thunderstorms sent across the Channel by the French, no acid rain floating in from Belgium. Pizza Hut will offer a choice of Yorkshire Pudding or Yorkshire Pudding.
You’ll spend the next twenty seven bank holidays dismantling everything you ever bought from IKEA. The electric shower your plumber, Pavel, put in last week will be taken out and you’ll be given the number of a bloke who’s pure Billericay. Those used to caviar will have jellied eels forced down their magnificent throats. Every fish and chip shop on the Costa del Sol will in time be relocated to Ramsgate or Carlisle.
All paving stones laid by the Irish will be torn up to make work for blokes who’ve been on the sick since nineteen seventy six. Those alleged to be involved in secretly making spaghetti bolognaise will be arrested and held in a detention centre near Dover. Sausage dogs will be put in rubber dinghies and pointed in the general direction of the Fatherland. Neatly sliced French sticks topped with Pâté will make way for fried bread lathered with Marmite.
There’ll be no more of those new names for coffee your gran can’t pronounce. The entire royal family will be shipped back to Bavaria, with the exception of the Duke of Edinburgh who’ll be given a one way ticket to Athens. Curry will no longer by compulsory after every twelfth pint of Stella, which itself will only be available by special permission of the Foreign Office.
We’ll give India back its tea, sit around increasingly bellicose campfires in our rusting iron helmets, our tankards overflowing with traditional Norse mead.
NOTE this poem was written ten days before the referendum. It looks forward to the miniscule England of which Nigel Farage’s damper dreams are made, except for the bit about sending Lizzie back to Deutschland and putting Philip on the next flight to Athens.