A Very British Rendition
“[The Bill of Rights] will stop terrorists and other serious foreign criminals who pose a threat to our society from using spurious human rights arguments to prevent deportation.” (Conservative Party Manifesto 2015)
This is no Caribbean getaway. Planes
that land here do not flicker up the list
on some arrivals board, nor do trains
roll in at night, panting in the mist
as furtive cargoes disembark. The lags
we drag in here don’t get to choose
their clothes; no ankles go untagged.
We have no days, no names, no news.
The compound is secure; our dogs
patrol the fence, and in the basement
we’re examining the content of your blogs.
Here we have an unredacted statement
where the grip on rights you think
you hold is slackened off by stealth
– don’t you keep up with the news? Blink,
and they’re rescinded. Like yourself.
We’ve muted the birdsong, pixellated
any views of note, watered down
the water. We bodyswerve outdated
practices – as servants of the crown
we’re pledged to quality control,
and have introduced a strict embargo
on the cruder methods – gone the cold
thrill of waterboard or bastinado
beat; these days we prefer the long-lens
photos of your wife and kids, or rooms
of purest white to bleach the sense
of what you are, or were. With whom
were you affiliated? Who recruited
you? Which articles do you invoke?
Round here we keep it simple, stupid,
and everyone but you is in on the joke.
Andy Jackson is from Salford and is editor of several anthologies including Split Screen and Double Bill (both Red Squirrel Press) and Whaleback City (with W.N. Herbert, 2013). His own collections include The Assassination Museum (Red Squirrel Press 2010) and A Beginner’s Guide to Cheating (due 2015). He also runs the Otwituaries blog.