Siren Call

Seductive, sparkly Switzerland

Iced peaks, conifered slopes

Sun sprinkled, twinkling lake

South-facing settlements

Monied, wealthy, healthy life

Les terroirs ribbed with vines

Life in straight lines

Efficient railways

Fresh air

Beware the lure, the calls

Those wails are not cries for help

Tie yourself to the mast

“This is what the end of the world will sound like”

In seductive, sparkly Switzerland

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n.b. Nuclear attack warning sirens are tested on the first Wednesday of each month in Lausanne.

It’s a kind of national vanity project; the assumption all this might be saved, or indeed is worth saving, were the sirens to go live.

Quotation, “This is what the end of the world will sound like.” By Matthew Wake.

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CLP 05/02/2020

Dreaming

Where does reality lie?

Conscious imaginings set the pulse racing

A word, phrase

Silence, a pause

Unsettle the soul

Then comes the unbearable night

In once shared places

Spaces and darkness fill

With half-formed images

Spectres haunt the heart

I wake mouthing words

That make no sense

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n.b. Fictional composition.

CLP 03/01/2020

Sub-Machine Guns, South Street, Chichester

In the season of goodwill to all it is a little disconcerting to see two police officers, each with a sub-machine gun at the ready, patrolling side-by-side on South Street, Chichester.

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I was told yesterday that Sussex Police are increasing its number of armed officers. This is apparently due to the area having a major airport to cover at Gatwick in this time of perpetual terrorism threat and the increasing vigilance needed when investigating drug-dealing firms, who have possession of firearms.

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Sussex (split administratively into West and East) is an area that includes a substantial part of England’s south coast. It has two long-established ports at Shoreham and Newhaven, several marinas and many easy landing spots used for hundreds of years for smuggling, such as Felpham. Sussex also has particular problems within the internationally popular party city of Brighton, with its high demand for recreational drugs and the illicit trade that supplies them.

The coastline of Sussex is also quite heavily urbanised around railway termini linked to London. These towns were established in the Victorian era and initially attracted commercial investment and tourism to the “Coastal Strip”. These seaside conurbations now have complex social problems, including drug abuse. Towns such as Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Eastbourne and Hastings have high concentrations of social deprivation and significant numbers of low income households, high numbers of street homeless and homeless people. These people can become victims of drug dependency and again provide opportunities for criminal business enterprises.

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Under Tory enforced Austerity policies crime in the UK has become more difficult to address. However, seeing armed police officers on the streets is far from reassuring.

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Large scale crime is organised, financed and profited from by people who are unlikely to be running around with guns in the tiny cathedral city of Chichester. More resources are needed to investigate illegal revenue sources, where the earnings are banked and by whom. I would like to know that more police officers who can read company accounts and understand digital financial movements have been deployed to help identify the management of crime syndicates and the lawyers and bankers who work with them.

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Placing armed response police officers into wealthy shopping centres at Christmas is driven by a need to be able to react immediately to acts of terrorism as and when they occur.

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However, it does seems a bit of a lottery about where to locate these teams and when. However, it is a very public gesture and I totally respect the men and women who are employed in these roles. The increased distribution and possession of guns in the UK is something that has to be acknowledged and these officers are needed to be able to deal with this issue.

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n.n.b. 24 hours later this happened…in Hull.

CLP 15/12/2019

Fat Blond Bloke

A draught cloaks each step

Sucks the heat from the air

Light from day

Magic from the stars

Living in a perpetual November

Each night longer than the last

Dying embers of joie de vie

Falling through the grate

Hope extinguished

By the puddle of cold sick

Retched up by the Lying Liar’s lies

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n.b. I would like to thank Alexander Boris Johnson for inspiring me to write this poem and John Crace of The Guardian.

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CLP 07/12/2019

Angels Shriek

Confusion of days and nights

Twisted sheets tumble across flickering sky

Darkness thrown across the wind-wrecked barley

Martins and swallows prematurely gather

Uncertain in this unsettled time

When waxing moon throws out more brightness than day can muster

The star-full firmament clashed by raw, untrammelled fury

Full throttled fire-powered flight

Claws at the clouds, turns them to drums

Unceasing cacaphonic clamour

Enough to make the angels shriek

Metal made to shatter Thor’s anvil

Screams at the ceiling of Valhalla’s vaults

Wakes the gods who are not pleased

To be stirred up so

By Eurofighters on night manoevres

Above Avalon and its hippy bourgeosie

Where talk of energies

And peaceful contemplation is ripped asunder

Below the warplanes’ oil-driven thunder

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n.b. They’re shipbuilding again; Iran the place and oil the focus. ‘Shipbuilding’ is a song about the Falklands Islands / Islas Malvenas War 1982.

n.n.b. The title here is an echo of the anglicized title of a beautiful novel, ‘Night Flight’ (‘Vol de nuit’) by Antoine de Saint-Exubéry. It was published in 1931 when the horrific potential of aircraft as weapons was in full development, despite the romantic views of a man on the wing amidst the elements.

CLP 11/08/2019