Ray Evans

Glasgow

COLIN RUTHERFORD

 

ban the bomb       

there’s money for wars

and bankers and whores

and politicians all dressed in blue

 

there’s money from taxes

from cradle to ashes

they take from both me and from you

 

they speak out, they’re strident

to invest more in trident

and pay foreign powers their dues

 

but our money’s best spent

on health care and nurses

not filling up hearses and pews

VIVIEN JONES

 

Three Little Words

(for my niece, Emma, who is a nurse)

 

We have all learnt the power

of a three word call to arms.

Education, Education, Education!

Take Back Control!

Get Brexit Done!

 

NHS Not Trident

seems a liitle meek,

not much of a swap,

Some economist will say

You can’t make that kind of exchange.

They are different budgets.

Argument dismissed, you idealist.

But, when the real supplants the ideal,

when actual battle is joined,

when a sickening miasma sprays the land,

no gun, no aircraft, no ship, no missile

has any agency;

you can’t blow a pandemic up.

 

Only the masses of nurses, doctors,

care-workers, cleaners and the rest,

shit-scared but doing it anyway, matter.

 

A general ponders :

Perhaps they could use our lorries?

ROBBIE BROWN

 

Sign

 

 

Don’t forget the sign. Don’t let whatever nonsense has gotten into you detract from the importance of today. They are all important, the marches. You can’t pick and choose which ones you go to. This one is just as important as the last. No, a sudden existential crisis at her age just wouldn’t do. When would be a good time for such a thing, she wondered as she remembered to pack a hat and scarf. It was important to prepare for all eventualities. Even then nothing could realistically prepare you for a plant pot tumbling down on top of your head, as so very nearly happened yesterday. It was little more than yards between her and an untimely death, or serious head trauma at least.

She wished she had made some sandwiches for today though, what an oversight.

Was that really what it could all come down to, a life ended by a freak accident or act of careless, fatal stupidity? She didn’t hang around or even dare look up once the initial tumultuous shock of the plant pot smashing just in front of her had subsided. All she could manage was a quick scan of the immediate vicinity and a release of breath before carrying on up the hill. There was no laughter or shouts of apology to be heard so she took it as a freak accident, which would somehow have been worse had she died as a result. Sometimes an attribution of blame makes these things easier to swallow. To think of her life snuffed out thanks only to random chance…

Was there really such a thing as a completely random event, surely there was a direct cause and effect, an explanation for everything?

God was not an explanation. She had always seen religion as an arm of those she pitched herself against, spoke out against. The thing had no intervention in her situation and why she was engaging in a pointless internal debate was beyond her.

It was true to say though, that the idea of being in effect rescued by a superior being does lend a lot more comfort than blind, stupid luck. These ecclesiastical types of thoughts had crept up within minutes of the incident (or miracle) and were part of the reason she hadn’t mentioned it to her friend Sally last night.

There was a certain sense of fairness, even peace, to be gleaned from the idea that an Intelligent Being made us. Peace and fairness had been the driving forces behind most of her life’s actions and decisions, why could they not now be her guiding motivations? Best come back to this after the march, she may be in some kind of shock.

She remembered her sign and bag and made her way out of the flat door and down the stairs, wishing life was as black and white as it had been to her once.

JEAN RAFFERTY

 

Simple Arithmetic

You grew up with tales of boarding school

and ballet class, another world to you

in your corporation flat, with the three girls

in one room and the three boys in another.

 

You didn’t have a telly and went next door

to your neighbour’s house to watch Ivanhoe.

No car, no phone, and you each got one square

of the Cadbury’s fruit and nut your dad brought in.

 

You asked for riding classes but your mum

said no, how could they afford it?

If she got them for you, she’d have to get them

for the rest. It was simple arithmetic.

 

There was a price to pay for what you consumed.

 

Now the arithmetic seems not so simple.

Two hundred and five billion

pounds to replace a nuclear weapons system

for blasting the rest of the world to oblivion.

 

And little more than two thirds of that

to keep us well. Just a billion

could buy the workers masks and protective coats,

oceans of hand sanitiser and soap.

 

How many billions to care for the old and weak,

to reward underpaid girls who do

what we can’t or won’t? Which should we pick,

weapons or wards? We can’t have both.

 

So why can’t they do the math?

Click on the gallery to find out more about their work! 

ROBBIE BROWN

 

Changing the World

 

Gathered in search of unity and action

To beseech the potholders

that behind the figures is the real, living price

To ask if any remaining humanity still smoulders

Behind the detached and rotten lies

 

Gather round and hear a true purpose

This is not simply hope or ideals

The world won’t change with a turn of clever phrase

Attacking the machinations and unscrewing every cog of the wheel

Can tame the hastening of end of days

 

Gather round it is time to march

On those moribund souls who covet wealth only wealth

Their wretched paymasters dining on finance and blood

Demand that they toast to something else

And they’ll know the world can be changed with just words

ALUN ROBERT

 

8pm Thursday 26 March 2020

 

Now well past eight.
Honestly I forgot but
can dream up a million excuses
television
supper
yet another sales call on my mobile
page 666 of my book though

Julie Felix someday soon
Kenny Rogers last week
queues into Tesco
a prang on the highway
responding to emails
reading social media guff
feeling wrath in my gut
that’s as close as I came to

seeing valour
endeavour
self-sacrifice
strained faces
from a dearth of investment
sucked out by Trident so
long hours
short fuses
behind masks
front of house

of not one but the many
out on the precipice
teetering like lemmings
right now is their cliff
where day becomes night
where shadows slip into earth
where their every hundred lost
is a hundred too many

let alone 578 departed but
yet another 1,000 saved by A&E
super
teleology
can applaud a million claps
knowing I won’t be forgotten.
Now well past eight.