Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY FIVE – Neil Fulwood

An Address to Beelzebub

in rebuttal of his attempt to overshadow Burns Night by installing Donald J. Trump in the White House (after Robert Burns)


I woke this morning, careworn, sick,
Dreams haunted by the rhetoric
Of a presidential speech (its schtick
           Bombast, hot air)
Delivered by a lunatic
           With ugly hair.

He says he’ll make the country great,
Believes he’s been ordained by fate
But how can he hope to heal when hate
           ’s polluting
His words and those of his best mate,
           Vladimir Putin?

Some think he’s Russia’s puppet Prez,
Some cite conflicting interests
And deem his close alliances
           Depraved, necrotic.
But all of that’s untrue, he says:
           He’s patriotic.

Buy American only, he explains,
To boost the dollar’s rate of exchange.
And yet the labels remain the same
           On the designer
Shirts and ties of his signature range:
           Made in China.

But this is the man who stacked up tall
A brickwork of promises – a wall –
And none of them mean bugger all:
           The guy’s two-faced.
Plain facts do the job of this doggerel
           And state the case.

But facts are things for him to fritter,
Tear up, discard, flush down the shitter.
Political spin is blinged-up glitter
           While facts are nude.
Repeat a lie enough on Twitter,
           You’ll make it true.

When even Facebook proves too broad
As canvas for the written word
Is the pen’s resilience to the sword
           Now in retreat?
Is the only message that strikes a cord
           A lousy tweet?

A hundred-and-forty character limit’s
Unconducive to the message within it
Yet those in a war of words seek to win it
           With an epithet
Worth less than a flyer the moment you bin it
           Or a deleted text.

So where to look for nuance and depth,
Objectivity and analysis?
Don’t rely on the mainstream press
           To undermine
The elite. Uncrusading journalists
           Just toe the line.

Big business backs the candidate
Who’s willing and able to fulminate
Against what the voter’s told to hate
           By sloganeering,
Who promises to make things great
           And gets ’em cheering.

But the morning after’s cold and grey
And regret’s the order of the day
As promises get stowed away,
           Not made good on.
Small hands conduct the state of play:
           Hands there’ll be blood on.

Beelzebub: for what it’s worth:
The hours’s not yours, though hope’s in dearth
And anger lubricates the mirth
           Of this standard habbie –
To hell with you and your minions on earth.
           I’ll drink to Rabbie!


Neil Fulwood is the author of media studies books The Films of Sam Peckinpah and the co-editor, with David Sillitoe, of the anthology More Raw Material: work inspired by Alan Sillitoe. His debut poetry collection, No Avoiding It, is forthcoming from Shoestring Press in 2017.

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