They Should Be Afraid / “One of the most violent forms of oppression which exists in the society today is the calculated indoctrination through which the American people are being subjected. And those in power are really afraid――they’re afraid because they know very well that only revolutionary change is going to help the masses of people in this country. They’re afraid, and we have to demonstrate to them here and now that they have every right to be afraid――they should be afraid. Because we aren’t going to put up with their nonsense anymore.” Angela Davis, speaking at UCLA, 8th October 1969.

Tickertape / So you sold your little show, you pitched it to the CEO――I don’t think they believe in you. But now, at least you’ve built your hospital, somewhere to take yourself to die when all of this just falls around you. I’m so tired of the noise, of the squabbling little boys made of privilege and money. You’re entitled, you’re reviled――but those things don’t go out of style. Put your face to anything, find the uses for your tongue, make it work while you’re still young, it could be the key to everything. It’s an act, it’s a version, it’s a hack, it’s a thing not made of language. Don’t you know a single thing? About the world, the way it’s run, the way that things get done? Don’t you know a single thing? I don’t believe in the masses, I just believe in numbers. No one can hear this dead sound in my chest: no one could mistake it for a heartbeat. No one even cares anymore. I have so little empathy I feel like I could live forever. No one even cares anymore, it’s just clicks and button pushes. Clicks and button pushes. I’m not here: you’re reaching for the chequebook, its pages flutter like a heart that’s been eviscerated. I’m not here: you’ve got the will to try it. If you can’t eat or buy it maybe you can televise it. Bury me in tickertape.

Paint the Rooms / On the edge, running backwards to the ledge: we’re resigned to all this timed, redundant song. There they go, wish fulfilment makes it so: it’s enough to make the repetition wrong. Once upon another magical bygone were the footsteps of a race that was not won. In spite of myself and my disappearing health, I’m the starter with a misfiring gun. I’m the symptom of a thing said, not heard――when the change suits the mouth, not the words. All the things found and lost that won’t return, on a bullet-point list of what you’ve done. So then why paint the rooms of a house you’ve just torn down? Everything burned and we kept our backs turned. Two by two, with feet first to the forest――those who knew better hung back just a step or two, if only to get a slightly better view of what was to come. Always sick and tired of the wired whims that matter――from the soul, out of a hole, from the sickly and the tattered. One last gasp from this past, it’s the fastest I can grasp it. But when they come out of the hum they won’t take me. Ever.

Upmanship Down / My ambition: lead a generation out into the dark, walk them to the abyss and shove them in the back. There’s a coven at the game――pass-the-parcel played back-to-front. The winner comes up empty-handed. Under the padre sunshine, wet with the promise of ideas. The only way to go, the only way that’s left: Upmanship down. I forgot about the powerlessness I create around me: glowing inert gases, pixelation. Zip-jacketed, a spirit skin: there’s wisdom sewn into its pockets. It costs more than you’ll make in four years. I’ve read the penal code, I’ve seen it: a guarantee of amnesty in Renounce everything.

Nationhood / You watched the age collapse, went wrong, went into reverse. You stitched and streamed your flags with tears. So proudly built the things that you’ll soon grow to disown――unhook these names from what you named. It’s nothing primary colours ever represent, but nationhood is never built on nuance. History’s an idea we’ve stapled to us just in case we find ourselves adrift: if it’s written down you’ll weave it through you――children of a lie that can’t be disproved. This conversation is a dead loss――your position is wrong. Your bankrupt gated community: the best lies come landlocked. Let’s trash the past apart. Don’t let the clock stop. Why kill the dream, it always felt so clean? Tick, tock, tick. But then it happened. Cold nation heart――you seemed so sincere.

Paper Tie / This mist of sisters――heart to heart, arm to arm, dream to dream: they don’t belong to you yet. This sanctimony as an art blossoms up to make you good. We’ll live idealised. Who am I to come between the myth and what you are? Who am I to contradict the proof if there’s no scar? From the cradle they’re awaiting the moment they can’t teach you any more. In her home she’s been postponing the things they don’t believe a girl should be. But they can’t see what she can see, they’ll never be what she can be. Power the cowards, it makes them doubt you. The need to have freed you, that’s where they keep you. Once you reach through they’ll snatch it from you. Condemned to contend, they don’t need the consent. Just because we relinquished an idea doesn’t mean we don’t resent it: the paper tie pretending to empower doesn’t take you off the payroll, doesn’t take you off the backseat. They stoop to entitle your culture over choices. They stoop to entitle you. Positive/selective. Normalising behaviour.

Guillotine / One time to be seen, one style by decree――that was the mistake. One time on the guillotine, one year in the military――that was the mistake. Brush up on your curtsy: you can live on in conspiracy. For sale is the fairytale of a state long dead――your shame coronates the lame to the royal bed. One crown impossible――gold-drilled to the follicles――ordains the mistake. Every blood-clogged clarion failure won’t shield the mistake. Empty aisles stretching miles either side as you glide to the sparkling coup. Every right to decide, bloody tatters dragged behind while the gutters fill with glue. The new kleptocracy is here: kneel down and rest your neck. It’s all the same to me ’cos either way I cash the cheque.

The Corporate Body / Time, no time for it. Life, not responsible. Crime of the century: mine was the same as yours. Come, comeback: go, version of what was then. Don’t let us down, don’t you let us down――time, again. To riding through, to riding through: you shouldn’t write. Watching the crime that removes all the signs of a civilisation at work. Once there was time to achieve a design but instead it’s just sweat on your shirt. The reins, the maze, the purchase, the conscience: the things in your dustbin, the things in your history.