To be hopeful, these hollow days,
is an arduous task I’m tempted to betray.
One feels as Prometheus, bound to take
the purchase of that liverous hell of glazed pain.
The capital-spectre whispers…
Old-guard of the world, you have but to lose your chains…
These potential fireworks, each the same;
Perhaps aching in their crushed bodies for grades
not just in society or the academy, today
but in bed perhaps, at the end of the way.
My hope, my revolution, which would not stay
lies dormant in a secret social trace.
And think, that man of books who raptured on arcades
put under threat of snarling dogs and their snarling skeletal face
in deepest sadness, chose to darken and lay
to half deserved rest, disappointed and weigh
this commodifascist life, the real discrepancy, to pay;
this exponential value is erased to gain,
for the chancellor, a few marks more.
Or if a dancing spark but sets another ten in red flame
in the beating human fraction of this eager young array.
Revolution’s dead; but its children lie behind our backs
and perhaps one day…
but we can’t be sure.
To live and teach each day as if it were
both the start of a long stellar trek,
and the last day of earth.
So beckons the chore.
[I wrote this whilst listening to a chanting lecturer, who seemed to be stuck, record-like, in a strange self-perpetuated rut of metaphysical speculation about value. I sent it to Salvage in a version that portrayed the lecturer as being uncaring about his students. I imagine he did care. But he seemed like a self-propogating machine to me. I have removed a direct reference to the Labour theory of value; I don’t think it multiplied the effect of the poem. So this poem bears even less of a trace of him.]