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The Angels of America

In memory of George Floyd, killed in police custody on the streets of Minneapolis 25 May 2020


The Angels of America have spoken

In Houston, LA and Hoboken.

And this is what they said:


“We can’t breathe.

We came here to help, to give you some space

But now we can’t breathe — there’s no air in this place.

You’re fighting corona, hence masks on the face

But far worse than that is a virus called ‘race’

(Exported from Europe in every case.)

Weeks of lockdown have brought many tears

But our nation’s been bleeding for 400 years.


What’s crushing our chests are the stones of foundation

We’re choking to death on the sins of the nation.

Look at the founding of the ‘Land of the Free’ —

Try saying that to the Sioux or Cherokee.

The pattern continues with black lives destroyed —

Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, George Floyd.

Or a million slaves in the hold of a ship

Ripped from their homes on a hellish trip

To labour and toil with their dignity stripped,

Under the lash of the first slaver, a Brit.

Far, far from love.

Where was God, in the Heavens above?


What wicked trade, what evil in flood!

Most nations were founded in conquest and blood.

Genocide, slavery, plunder and gold,

Not a great start for a nation not old.


We’ve knelt on the neck of a nation of tribes

Who we’ve slaughtered, corrupted, swindled and bribed.

From soaring plains where the buffalo roamed

We’ve taken their culture, their spirit, their home.

(And in so doing did the same to our own.)


We’ve poisoned the rivers and fouled the air,

We’ve worshipped money and laid the earth bare.

We’ve made a God of the unholy dollar

Now it’s gripping our throat like an iron collar.

We’ve knelt on the neck of a million slaves

We’ve feasted like kings on a million graves.

From where we sit, it’s plain to see —

We buried our hearts at Wounded Knee.


We come with a message, and our message is this:

There is a way back, a return to our bliss.

And we come here to help, not to judge you ill;

Heaven above sees the Good in us still.

But first we must heal the cruel and the wrong

To unite a nation where all men belong.


We can’t turn back the clock or undo what’s been done

But we can acknowledge our wrongs, one by one.

We must open our hearts and look deep within

To root out the bias, the hate and the sin.


You can pass all the motions, enact all the laws

Sign all the statutes, seal all the doors.

Announce the change with fancy parades.

But without kindness and love it’s just a charade.


America! America!


Cross the Colorado, the Platte and the Potomac.

Scale the Rockies and the Adirondacks,

Soar above the grasses of the Great Plains,

Dance in Alabama’s rains.

Greet California’s golden sun.

And as a people, bind ye together as one.


Let’s open our wings, take a knee, bow the head.

In returning to kindness to God we’ll be led.


Open hearts, touch spirit, feed the soul.

Let all nations heal and be whole.


We are the Angels of America, from Houston to LA to Hoboken.

And we have spoken.”



The ice sheets are melting

The climate’s outa control.

Shade is at a premium.

The weather’s on a roll.


Kids in India are dying

But that’s a long way away.

And half of Canada is ashes.

I never went there anyway.


There’s a heat dome over Texas

The cowboys sweat like hogs

Yet still they drill for oil

As Houston sits in smog.


As our planet goes to shit

Who gives a flying f*ck?

Just have another San Miguel

And turn the aircon up.


Road trips now are better

The wipers are rarely on.

Windscreens stay clean and clear —

The bugs are dead and gone.


The hippies got it right

They knew it all along.

Peace and love and lots of sex,

Acid, weed and song.


Leaders don’t give a damn

Warnings they didn’t heed.

They’re in another’s pocket

Victims of corporate greed.


Searching for the cause of this

Is not exactly funny.

It all comes down to just one thing:

And that’s the love of money.


Money is an invented thing

I’m sure you will agree.

It puts a price on everything

So nothing is for free.


There are some things that should be free

I think that’s only fair.

Specifically I’m thinking of

Water, soil and air.


Yet wonga spoils us all.

It messes with our head.

There’s value for us in a tree

Only when it’s dead.


Let us in the rivers swim;

That’ll make us strong and fit.

But the water companies’ overflows

Mean we swim in shit.


What to do, my kindred soul,

With famine, fire and flood?

How might we now proceed

When land is turned to mud?

And heatwaves boil our blood?


As our planet goes to shit

Who gives a flying f*ck?

Just have another San Miguel

And turn the aircon up.


We could turn to the indigents,

The tribes that surely know

How to live in harmony

And harvest, reap and sow?


So let us to the forest go

Their wisdom us to tell.

Oh sorry, I plain forgot:

We blew them all to hell.


We can still watch a TV show

On which we feast and binge

As the sewage laps our ankles

And the door comes off its hinge.


As our planet goes to shit

Who gives a flying f*ck?

Just have another San Miguel

And turn the aircon up.


The End


Beware delusions of grandeur

When you strive towards your goal

Making loads and loads of money

As the Devil buys your soul.


You may achieve great things

In this fleeting, temporal life.

You may create big buildings

And land a trophy wife.


They may even erect a statue

For you, and you alone,

Showing, of course, your best side

In marble, glass or stone.


After all, ‘you have a reputation to maintain’

Even when you’re dead.

But you’ll always have a pigeon

S(h)itting* on your head.


* If you’re sensibilities are offended, treat the ‘h’ as silent

Agincourt 1415

Above the boggy fields of northern France,

Above the clash of club and sword and lance

Of splint’ring shields and fearful faces smashed

As helmets split and bloody brains are dashed,

Of giant steeds impaled on pointed stakes

To howls and cries only the dying make.

Above all this, loosed from the archer’s grip,

With shaft of ash and heron feathers fletched

With nock of horn and tipped with iron barb

Through the skies the swift and silent arrow flies.

It speeds to the top of its deadly arc

And, like a bird, its feathers trim its flight

Before it dips its head for the descent.

It hurtles now at terrifying speed

Towards the human slaughter far below.

Unleashed, no man or God may stop it now.

No soul escapes its lethal bodkin point.

For now it joins its brothers in the skies

A hail of spikes upon the French condemned

To fly untamed and pierce chivalric hearts,

To nail horse and knight in the earth and blood.

The flower of France trampled in the mud.

Across the sea by English yeomen honed

The longbow robs the gallant French of breath

Despatching — without warning — instant death.

At battle’s end, the fighting all but done

(As robbers pick and loot the still warm dead)

The King ascends a mound of fallen knights

The royal sword in triumph raised aloft,

In English fires by English smithies forged,

His loyal men beneath him roar,

“For Harry, England and Saint George!”

My son weeps

At the foot of an olive tree

In the garden of Gethsemane,

My son weeps.


He fears the hurt and the loss,

The Roman scourge, the bloody cross.

Yet his tears fall in sorrow, too:

For Man.


When the Prince of Lies slithered into the First Garden,

He laced two hearts with greed and lust,

Turning forests into whores

And pastures into dust.


Satan didn’t dispense ignorance or hate:

He dispensed separation,

Then let it do its work.

He split hearts into ‘you’ and ‘me’, ‘yours’ and ‘mine’.

He made you forget you’re human and divine.

He tricked you from the path, led you astray;

And day by day

Step by step, you lost your way.


Even my son — in his agony — has forgotten.

Through his moonlit tears he seeks me in the heavens.

Of course, I am there, beyond the stars,

And in every twig that snaps beneath his feet.

This has been forgotten.


There is nowhere I am not.

There is nothing made that I have not made.

I am in all things.

I am in all.

I am All.



Sarah Everard

A lament for her rape and murder after she was abducted 500m from my home, near Clapham Common, South-west London, March 2021


My heart is woeful sore, for the woman

We did not know but all adore

Who suddenly appeared on lamp-post, screen and door.

Your pretty face, alert and full of life

Now as still as a knife

In a dusty drawer.


You were the best of us

Taken by the worst of us.


You are no longer

You are no longer here

You are no longer here or there.

You are everywhere.


You are the tracks of our grieving tears

You are the lilac sky as sunset nears

Cloaking the Common in the gath’ring dark

On your last walk home through the quiet park.

The bandstand you passed with your final steps

Will never be the same again:

A floral grandstand now, a bird of paradise

Soaring to all points North, South, East and West.

But I guess you did that all the time,

Didn’t you? Everything you touched, you blessed.


We’ll be seeing you, supernova Sarah,

Playing among the stars

Tugging on Orion’s Belt and skipping onto Mars.


And as your universal journey starts

May your smile live eternal in our hearts.



Rest in peace, Sarah

Each day is new

Stood stock still at the cross-roads in the park

Frank at my heels

Morning sunlight bathes my back

Washes through me,



People come and go

Some fast, some slow.

Most lost in thought or screen

Brows furrowed,

Man and dog unseen.

But some do smile

As they scuttle past.


I gaze for long down the railway path.

Figures loom towards us, pass by

And are gone.

Others recede and shrink, absorbed by the mottled green

To another, distant scene.

A robin, breast a-glow, flits pasts us.

Curious or playful? Hard to know.


Light and shade jostle on the dry, beaten earth

Dappling the ground with green, grey and brown

Shape shifting, never in repose,

As the sunlight dances, ebbs and flows.


Let’s loosen the bands that bind

Slip the knots, the tangles uncurled.

Let our feet stand soft upon the ground

And become one with the dusty world.

The hippies were right

When it was all over and the Earth was dead

God spoke to us

And this is what He said:

“The hippies were right all along.

You should have heeded their beautiful song,

Carried to you on the wings of a dove:

‘Peace and Love, man, Peace and Love’ ”.



A strange thing happened today.


Out of the blue

A ladder of light came down from Heaven

And with it a firefighter from 9/11.

The new day was dawning

— sunlight glinted on his helmet and boots, fresh with Heaven’s dew —

Just as it did that perfect, Eden morning.

His face was old but his eyes sparkled, like a new sun.

He brought us news.


“Down by the Hudson did I weep

At the slurry wall that stops the river’s seep,

My pain as wide as it was deep.


At our twin temples we fed Mammon, fast and loud

Capitalism unfettered, unshackled, unbowed.

Everything made by man that had been made,

Vaulting ambition, two soaring towers of trade.


Suddenly, from that perfect sky, silver birds flew into our temples

And threw them to the ground.

A wound so deep, so profound

That our nation shook.

Terror clamped our hearts, like a mortal mist

As the towers sheared off from the Manhattan schist.



All in Ladder 3 were killed,

Our bodies crushed, our hearts stilled.

We were crushed, reduced, pulverised

Scattered, splintered, a.t.o.m.i.s.e.d.

Jumpers shattering on the sidewalk — that terrible sound —

Rang like a rattle through my soul.


Then silence.


A gentle cloak of dust covered all

Like grey snow or Belsen ash, a ghostly pall.

Ground Zero.


That was then.

Time has marched on, for you at least.


Now there are twin pools to collect your tears

Cascading, trident-shaped, down sixteen years

Runnelling your sorrow and your fears

Into the marbled earth.


And I am free.


Now I dance among the spheres and stars:

Electrons, protons, Jupiter and Mars.

Here, now and forever, time and space don’t exist.

Despite the awful human cost

Nothing is wasted, nothing is lost.

Go figure!

We are all energy re-configured.




I am light among the atoms

I ride the particles and waves,

I plumb the depths and fathoms

I feel the music of the staves.


And know this.


We all are loved.

Even the pilots of the silver birds

Who twisted the message, the love unheard.

We all are loved, make no mistake.

We choose to love; we choose to hate.


Beyond the lives and loves undone

The daily round of work and play

The weft and warp of life unspun

The passage of clouds on a summer’s day.

Beyond all that grows under the moon and sun

Beyond the binary of all or none

Beyond what’s ended or begun —

We are all one.”


And so be it.

The Machine

The Machine

The machine we’ve built

Is killing us

Drilling us

With stuff we don’t need.

Noxious nioxins,

Dioxins, toxins

One-millionth of an ounce

That weigh heavy on our hearts.

Chemicals you can’t pronounce

Not in God’s vocabulary

Or even His syllabury

Outside His constabulary.

There’s no avoiding

Pure poison.

It’s homicide

From the inside



From all sides.

Like King Cnut, you can’t stop the sea

It’s a toxic ride

This chemical tide.

And don’t get me started on plastic

The planet’s gone spastic

Our cells are stiff, not elastic.

Time to take steps that are drastic

Go recluse, go monastic

Go ecclesiastic

Our soul’s achondroplastic

Stuck together with mastic.

(I’m not even being sarcastic.)


A billion killers inside of us

Working from the inside out.

An inside job.

You have to believe me, believe me

Or the men in white coats

Will relieve me, relieve me

Of my freedom.

They’re tryna freeze me

Or tease me

But I ain’t laughing.

Freedom, huh?

A mere illusion

A flight-of-fancy allusion

Or a collusion

A cruel delusion

To sow confusion

In the minds of men

And keep them small.

Stop them walking tall.

Make them crawl.


I feel invaded, assaulted

Colonised, monopolised, deported

Body and soul occupied

By a foreign force.

Institutionalised by institutional lies.

Victimised, mesmerised, alienised

By the promise of riches


Money’s been weaponised.

And we’ve been monetised.


That’s it.

That’s the lie.


Hidden in rationality

Everyday banality

Reasonable proportionality

Contact-less functionality

Newtonian causality

Intellectual principality.

In truth, it’s a profanity

A modern form of insanity

Certainly vanity

Is the monetisation of our humanity.


Whatever you are

Brother, sun, husband, wife

The curse of The Machine

Is to value money over life.