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Down the rabbit hole, folks,
through the looking glass,
the Mad Hatter’s in control
and he hates the underclass.
There’s a tea party here, folks,
for Earl Grey’s posh friends only.
The underclass, they have no beer
now the pubs are closed. It’s lonely
in not-so-wonderful wonderland, folks,
and the lack of fun never stops.
The Blue King’s methods are underhand
and the playing cards are cops.
Off with the poet’s head, folks,
decapitate the dissenters.
“Hail the Blue King!” it’s gushingly said
by the BBC presenters.
The rabbit hole emerges, folks,
in the square of the polling booth,
the Cheshire Cat’s mirrored in grinning urge,
but the fox has a sharper tooth.
A sharper claw as well, folks,
as the Blue King will come to know.
At the fox’s command, unleash all hell;
unleash more at the word of the crow.
“... one little god falling over the next ...” - C.P. Cavafy
The little god of work spat you out
of its cubicle-temple about an hour ago
with a reminder - as tetchily demanding
as only gods can be - that your devotions
are expected again tomorrow. Your devotions
and the usual sacrifice of energy wasted
and time you’ll never reclaim. Tomorrow
and all the weekdays to come, in the name
of the job description and the peer review, amen.
The little god of soulless chain pubs appeared to you
like a vision on the long traffic-strung road
out of the inner city. And demanded your devotions.
Worship not the idols of micropub or independent
brewery. The god of corporate beer
has given unto thee a car park and thou
should be thankful. Attend to the Monday Club menu
and drink deep of the imperfectly cellared ale.
Do this in the name of the shareholders. Amen.
The little god of Little Waitrose or Tesco Metro
or Sainsbury’s Local thrust the collection plate
of its understaffed check-outs in the path of your wallet
and your debit card proved it knew its catechism.
You followed the call-and-response as conditioned:
you were told the wares were good and you bought,
you were told to enter your pin code and you did so gladly,
you were thanked for your custom and you were grateful
as one who isn’t shot by a kidnapper is grateful. Amen.
Enter now your home, enter under porch or car-port
or front door opening from street to living room.
Enter now with tie loosened and shuck off
your jacket and know that your benedictions
have only just started. The little god of unopened mail
will not be satisfied until you have bent the knee
like a Daily Mail reader to a royal and accepted
into your life the holy artefacts of begging letter,
final reminder, kebab shop flyer and credit card
application form. The little god of online banking
expects no less than the sacrifice of all you hold dear -
this week’s beer money - and by way of warning
preaches to you the Parable of the Bailiff, the only
sacred text in which we’re ‘ere fer ya faakin’ telly
is said unto anyone. The little god of the packed lunch
reminds you of piety and self-abnegation (lo!
thou hast no money for the false idol of the cob van)
and you humble yourself with medium-thick white
scraped with low-fat spread and ham cut thinner
than a heathen’s conscience. The little god of shirts
would have you know that the ironing board
was not created for you to desecrate the evening
in the service of Netflix or Pornhub or Instagram,
that the power of Morphy Richards compels you,
now and till Friday, amen. The little god of detergent
delivers the Sermon on the Mound of Unwashed Pots
Piled Up in the Sink and would cast you out
of the temple of basic hygiene standards except
you’d only go down the pub. Upon thee is cast the mark
of the scouring pad. The little god of the evening paper
conducts you in a chorus of hallelujahs: celebrity
gossip - sing hallelujah; skewed political commentary -
sing hallelujah; poodle-haired sports star takes home
the gold - sing hallelujah; who wore it best at whatever -
sing hallelujah. The little god of hoovering is displeased
and the little god of dusting no happier. The little god
of the oven ready meal receives your half-arsed
observations of stir and re-cover with displeasure
and visits upon your kitchen a week-long reek of garlic
and, still vituperative, smites your lower intestine.
Neil Fulwood was born in Nottingham, where he still lives and works. He has two poetry collections with Shoestring Press: No Avoiding It and Can’t Take Me Anywhere. He also co-edited the Alan Sillitoe tribute volume, More Raw Material.