When is democracy a problem for democracy?
There are many ways to hide how things are
or could be if the volume of absurdity were
raised only a notch: fed banks for bankers!
boil boatfuls of immigrant oil! disable apps,
slap the disabled! austerity for osteophiles!
When did consumption become the chief end
of humanity? When shopping became church:
tills for shrines, aisles stacked with promise;
when church became like the ancient grocer
people nodded at. Thatcher, grocer’s daughter,
liturgised her brands of supermarket virtue:
buy three and get one free, waste the lot
and want not, apotheosized as human rights.
When did rights become apartments rented
by the hour? What rights are tied to ratings?
Democracy is a problem for democracy when
votes don’t go as planned. When revolution
dumped the South Korean junta, a democracy
and irony coalition swept a General to power.
Democracy does not impart wisdom, only
the sensation of wisdom. Democracy requires
real choice, a free press pressing for freedom
from mercenary opinion. How can I tell
what’s real? I am told Blake’s Jerusalem is
advertising spin for the English Tourist Board:
passionate intellect falling to the sword of
entertainment. The Satanic mills no longer
swirl. All is still. All is right. All is in hand.
The real is a dream of Leith Docks at 7am
on 8th May, a haar of such calibre it steals
definition from land and sea, but I wake
slowly to sense their undercurrent, crosswind
and overspill rummaging through my mind.
Rob A. Mackenzie lives in Leith, Scotland. His last collection was ‘The Good News’ (Salt, 2013). He is reviews editor of Magma Poetry magazine.