This poem came about quickly, as many of mine do. I can't say I rate it highly, but it was something I had to get out there in order to move on.
While others - everyone, it seemed - were talking about the American election, there was I wondering about words, and irony and destiny and futility. Is this the poet's lot? Is this the fence-sitter's fate?
Not having 'a cause' I strongly believe in has intrigued me throughout my life. When I see others fervently defending the relative merits of their ideology or favourite group or team, I see things from somewhere far away, and wonder.
That's the sort of feeling I was trying to get out in this piece. The fact I had to let it go as a rather half-baked, infantile work is just the way it is. As I said, it was bugging me, this election hyper-coverage, and I had to say something about it, whatever form that would take, and shift away again.
Not that I don't have any opinion on things - I do - but I can't help always seeing, over and above specific issues, the bizarreness and sometimes tragedy of the divisions, often so artificial in the grand scheme of things.
Here's the poem:
Taking Sides Eddie and Billy Pencils fly like daggars But don't get things wrong The class they're in's the same Ronaldo and Messi Balls fly like daggars But don't rate them wrong The sport they play's the same Barack and Hillary Looks fly like daggars But don't get 'em wrong The party is the same Obama and Romney Words fly like daggars But don't judge them wrong Their county is the same Bush and Bin Laden Planes fly like daggars But don't read them wrong The planet is the same Zorgo and Kirky Lazers fly like daggars But don't think them wrong God remains the same
I wanted to take a shot at those who argue about things when they are fundamentally the same. What's more, this happens on so many levels, be they national, religious or even extremely local and close to home.
Where our ultimate allegiancies lie and the reasons for them has always fascinated me. I'm not saying we don't need them. I believe we very much do, it's just that sometimes some of them seem so destructive, divisive and often unnatural and unnecessary.
Born in Scotland (Edinburgh to be precise - not Glasgow, you understand), growing up in England, living in France, now part of Europe, I always have a problem when people ask me what I am or what I consider myself to be. They're expecting me to say 'English' normally, but I have a big problem with that.
Having said that, no other 'label' seems to stick very well either. Child of the Universe may be cringeworthy but comes about as close as I can get. A legacy of my rocky/hippy days I guess. And until something better comes along I seem to be stuck with it.