The Riot Has Been Televised

On a quiet Sunday afternoon in August, an interrupted quiet that belied the chaos and destruction that had gone just days before, I wrote two poems about the riots.

This is the first of them:

The Riot Has Been Televised

And on our screens we saw the scenes
Of apocalyptic dreams and drama queens.
                            *****
Denouncements of criminal, mindless thugs.
Recriminations of heartless elites and hoodies unhugged.
 
Before you consider your judgement, consider their state.
The father’s gone and left an empty plate.
How can you legislate against an apostate?
 
The liberal position lets them take our liberty.
While you stand aside and on ceremony
They steal our shoes and our security.
 
Hardliners, your line is too hard to follow,
Locks them in a prison full of sorrow.
But don’t you know
A vicious circle, like the earth, returns to the same point tomorrow?
26 years and haven’t you realised yet,
The oubliette won’t make the people forget?
 
No, I must protest this was not a protest.
Didn’t you see them laughing and clutching that TV to their chest?
Or did you see them pause
From the havoc and destruction they caused?
Did you see the victims weep –
And you tell them what they’ve sown they now reap?No, this is a broken society turned sick.
We are in desperate need of some purging physic.

We must break free from capitalism and share the loaf
End our oppression and the rule of a Hypocratic Oaf.

*****

When the polarised debate the marginalised.
Dear viewer, I tell you, the riot has been televised.

 
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