No Kamasutra, no new Hendrix, no different-shop-different-goods
Was given to us. Jettisoned by old allies behind cold borders
Sealed solid with fear and submission, we turned on
The only radio station worth listening to; a bit of home-grown
Rock’n’roll, a piece of a story, a drizzle of laughter about the lunchtime.
News every half-hour followed by a seamy-voiced reminder
How fortunate we were to have been born
To such auspicious a place. The army was at the ready, prisons were full,
The rest of the world branded the enemy.
Tell us what job you want and we’ll give it to you. Out
There quiet boroughs are hard to come across. I assure you
Those forlorn peoples there would give up a lot
To find themselves on our side. If they opened the borders
We’d welcome them as our own brothers. Send by the Party,
Benighted teachers forged history, twisted literature, worked hard
To engineer our generation as if unsophisticated robots.
Sex and guitar licks were quiet and kept to private quarters.
Go and do your homework, my drunken granddad snapped
Asked if it had always been so. Fear and submission sealed were
Vodka-sodden borders of his memory. Outside, in a sand-pit
My uncle played cards with strangers. Twice daily I was send
To fetch more vodka or beer, depending on his spoils.
He taught me how to throw a knife and look straight in the eye
When lying. On the way home from school we ran
Through the piss-sodden pockets of drunks sprawled on the grass.
In the classroom, over the blackboard, next to the portrait
Of our proud-looking, far-away-stationed leader I read
Our future lays in our own hands. Had they only known.