Poverty Poem – Landfill Lives

Approximately 15 million people across the globe live off trash. Landfill Lives is a poverty poem, an attempt to highlight this horror.

Landfill Lives

 scavenging for scraps 
no spellings or subtractions again today

when you're poor but don't want to sell your body or beg
landfill treasure hunting calls

to feed mother, father, sisters, brothers
shacked up in a metal hut perched on a pile of trash

you've got no rubber gloves to shield against
broken glass, syringes, rotting flesh, and faeces

no face mask to armour against
the stench of garbage and shit

no blindfold so you can pretend
to be at school / even for a minute

dowsed in deadly diseases, you work all day
2.50 the compensation

that'll buy you some bread, carrots, and rice
won't stretch to a sausage or chop

one kid / thrilled to have spotted an outfit
scrubbed up and went to school

only to be told he was too smelly, too disease-ridden
no landfill kids here please
Landfill Lives – a Poverty Poem

Capitalism Poetry – The Big Race

The Big Race is my contribution to capitalism poetry, a reflection on the value and ethics of free market rules.

The Big Race

Race day brings swarms of 7.7 billion runners, limpers, jumpers, 
hoppers, one-leggeds, joggers, sprinters, crawlers,
wheel-chair-bounds, and dead-weights.

Mixed weather at the starting line, with sweltering heat, biting
frost, piercing hail, leaden showers, mild breezes, balmy
sunshine, and tepid temperatures painting the 7.7 billion
springboards.

Onlookers discover a hit-and-miss medley of footwear among
footed competitors, air-cushioned breathables alongside
dirty protruding toes, itchy sweaters besides sunburnt or
frostbitten torsos.

To call some athletes would be in bad taste, those at the back
of the field, behind the 7.6999999 billion, scrambling for a
foothold. As for the legless, some are blessed with crutches,
others are not.

Blood, tear, and sweat-costing brawls about hunger pangs and
homes or the lack thereof break out hither and thither.
Meanwhile, the starting line is smooth and fair - free passage
for 7.7 billion pros and rookies.

At the bang of the gun, they're off, the field cut at once,
billions dropping like flies before the first hurdle from
pre-race exertions, blisters, deadweight equipment,
leglessness, balls and chains or sloth.

An unruly mob of spectators hurls power snacks and energy
drinks at the foot-cushioned frontrunners wearing non-sweat
running gear, soon coasting toward the finish line. When they
tire a little, they hitch a rest on a bunch of no-hopers.

Sponsors bestow them with enviable endorsements like foot rubs
and shoulder massages or cool sponges to the forehead.
Buoyancy-boasted and basking in tough-training-rewards, the last
few rivals dig deep, not shy of a dirty trick or two.

One or two teeth-grinding, heel-digging once-amateurs
latch onto the glory but never quite catch up. The red ribbon in
sight ignites the final sprint to draw out the winner.

Gloating to a prominent reporter before getting his trophy, the
champion applauds splendid organisation, fair-play, and credits
gruelling preparatory work. The first handful of losers seethe
a little over a glass of prosecco.

As for the bulk of the 7.7 billion, some vow to try harder, some
cry foul-play, some despair and die.

Cultural Identity Poems – DNA Diversity

DNA Diversity is one of my cultural identity poems, a reflection on national and cultural identity, xenophobia, multiculturalism, and racism.

DNA Diversity

I’m not the pure-bred I thought I was / I’m a mongrel. Paid top dollars for one of those DNA-ancestry tests and now have to swallow that I’m a cross between a Poodle and Dalmation, with deep traces of St. Bernard, Collie, Setter, and Greyhound.

My twenty-seventh cousin seven times removed was a champion sheep-dog, my great, great, great, great aunt pulled sleighs across the Central Siberian Plateau, my great, great, great, great, great uncle worked chased foxes across the Scottish Highlands, while my third cousin twice removed got dumped in a ditch in Alaska, and, not to mention my great, great, great, great grandmother the boldest Dingo dog ever.

This made me think twice about starting the habitual scrap with that dimwit half-bred next door this morning. I bet we’re related.

Cultural Identity Poems – DNA Diversity

Empathy Poem – Juxtaposed

Juxtaposed is an empathy poem, reflecting on human fragility, vulnerability, and the lottery of where and when you’re born.

Juxtaposed

into an ocean of terrorising sirens and deafening alarm bells, unproclaimed fireworks, not-warned-about bombs, not just scares. In lieu of architectural bonanza, rubble, dust, and a distinct stench of sewage, a shitty stink of unpotable drinking water.

The cityscape cedes to a bloodied bodyscape, limbs scattered, bawls shed, seeping into torn corpses. Too much screentime, not a problem here, falling stocks dinky, juxtaposed with prospectless crowd investments, dried-up shares.

Sewn back together, limbs wrapped in fresh soft skin, gather around the once-child, now juxtaposed into snug serenity, ignite the once-fire to heat bones and kindle the ambers. NO ALARMS here, only surprises.

Empathy Poem – Juxtaposed

Solidarity Poem – Pooling Resources

Pooling resources is a solidarity poem, a reflection on eight billion individuals inhabiting or co-inhabiting the same planet – together.

Pooling Resources

con'verse
co'habit
co'llaborate
co'suffer
co'produce
co'work
co'grieve
con'join
co'mmunicate
co'here
con'figure
co'incide
co'inhabit
co'invogorate
com'bine
com'prehend
con'valesce
co'harvest
con'celebrate
co'nnect
co'share
co'care

inter'act
inter'twine
empathize

Tax Poem – The Mice and the Gold

The Mice and the Gold is a tax poem, my first ever attempt at writing a rhyming story poem.

The Mice and the Gold

 I

There once was a rich man who lived in a house,
surrounded by gold, no sign of a mouse.

His barn was full of diamonds, the roof lifting off,
he couldn’t fit any more dosh, not even in a trough.

He called on his driver to lead him away,
to discuss with the king his dark disarray.

Up, on a hill, the king’s castle was found,
with orchards and ponds all over the grounds.

At his arrival, the man was dismayed,
to see so many limos, richly displayed.

You’re not the first guest, how inopportune!
Now, we’re looking at a bunch of tycoons.

Inside the castle, there was chatter and strife,
what to do with the gold and the coins / now they’re rife. 

Will I share my good fortune with my worker mice?
the man wondered aloud, without thinking twice.

Throw him out on the street, the mob shouted loud,
we don’t want to share our gold with the crowd.

Clapping his hands and stamping his feet,
the king shouted loud at the mad screaming fleet.

Friends, do not fret, I’ve got a solution,
there won’t be no need for any execution.

Have the mice build a city up-on the moon,
promise them a share, worth nothing more than a balloon.

Our tower of gold will stand tall over the stars,
lighting up the whole universe, like a beam from afar.

Most of the mice will die and decay,
wages, we will never, ever have to pay.

On hearing the king’s plan, the crowd yelled with delight
having found a smart way / to deal with their plight.


II

Unbeknownst to them all, the chauffeur dropped eaves,
he was friends with the mice and knew of their grief.

Together they hatched a plan ever so clever,
they’d drop all the gold into the black hole forever.

With a smile and a song, they bagged all the gold,
the king and his friends watched it all fast unfold.

Go celebrate, you’ve well-earned your cash,
throw a party in the castle and give it a lash.

We’ll do all the work and won’t even mind,
though you were never, ever caring or kind.

The men poured rare wine, ever so fine,
and drank it all night, never noticing the decline.

The big black hole was oh so very greedy,
gulped diamonds and gold, thirsty and speedy.

The mice went to the moon, as they had vowed,
built a tiny gold city above all the clouds.

When the men woke up from their drunken celebration,
they soon realised the misery of separation

from gold and wealth and limos and fine wine.
The mice were all gone, and so were the swine.

While the mice lavish in luxury up-on the moon,
the king and his men now drown in their gloom.

Tax Discussion

In the fight for equality, discussing the creation of fair taxation systems is a necessity. In developed nations, it often seems that the middle classes bear the heaviest tax burden. Meanwhile, top earners and corporations can use tax loopholes and investment schemes to lower their tax bill. The tax discussion must start in earnest if we want to close the wealth gap and protect people on low incomes.

#Davos2019 – Taxation Is a Non-Issue

The tax discussion appears to be way down the list of priorities among business and political leaders. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, only one tax discussion took place as pointed out in thes NOW THIS video.

Billionaires Called Out for Tax Evasion by Historian Rutger Bregman at Davos Economic Forum

This historian told a room full of billionaires at Davos that they need to step up and pay their fair share of taxes

Geplaatst door NowThis Politics op Maandag 28 januari 2019
The Tax Discussion at #Davos2019

Poverty Is on the Rise in Developed Countries

In countries like Ireland, Britain, and America, food poverty and homelessness are on the rise. Politicians emphasize that increasing the top tax bracket is of little use. As a consequence, mid-income earners carry a disproportional share of the tax burden. Although income tax rates may appear acceptable, hidden taxes such as VAT on everyday products like fuel have a real and direct impact on the spending power of middle-income earners.

Taxes combined with low wages have driven many people from their homes or made them reliant on charities such as food banks. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, governments introduce austerity measures, curbing spending on public services. Judging from the yellow vest protests in France and beyond, creating a fair taxation system is a core necessity.

Share Your Thoughts on a Fair Taxation System

Please share your thoughts on this issue in the comment box below. What has your own experience been? Are you paying too much or not enough taxes? Is is worth raising the top tax rate? How could your government make the taxation system fairer?

Society Poems – The Circus

The Circus is one of my society poems, a celebration of showmanship, courage and hard graft in and outside the ring. There’s room for everyone!

The Circus

 The firmament fans the stench of rubber
pegged down into earth covered in sweat-stained sand
lit up by elegant elephants, teary tigers and 
ruled by a man bigger than Walter Mitty

This is no splendid stage, no Broadway, no Shakespear
madmen gather, trollops trot
over blocks, through fiery rings
some hanging by a rope, a thread

Ill-faced clowns tumble
to harvest howls of one hew or another
to swallow idolatry
in greedy gulps

Fat and suited, the ringmaster proclaims
the death-defying darings of the trapezists
a woman, a man condemned to
near-certain demise 

to steal a bunch of unruly onlookers
cheering, sniggering, mouths agape
the candy-munching French fry brigade
from daily doldrum

Up to the top of the firmament /
they venture into a swinging tide
from star to firm grip
a hair's breadth from doom

beneath, clowns, acrobats, horses, jugglers,
fire-eaters, hippos and Harry Houdini
white-knuckled and whipped into shape
by the worst showman

span the redundant net above the soft sand
feathered birds don't cascade to curtain calls
clowns fumble fervor-filled
the tiger roars 

As the firmament spews its last shower of stars
the glory of the sweaty sand and armpits
grits the icy road
outside

Why Is Socialism Bad?

As the World Economic Forum in Davos draws to a close, and illustrious political and business power brokers leave the snowy town, one wonders where this leaves the rest of us. Although some NGOs also made representations, only a handful of small anti-globalisation protests took place. Have people suddenly got the answer to the question why is socialism bad and decided to stay away?

In recent times, socialism has become a dirty word, one associated with an unruly far left. Is this tarnish justified? Let’s look at the dictionary definitions of socialism and pitch it against the capitalism-definition.

Socialism Definition

This is the definition you will find in the Cambridge Dictionary:

socialism 

noun [ U ] 
UK  /ˈsəʊ.ʃəl.ɪ.zəm/ US  /ˈsoʊ.ʃəl.ɪ.zəm/
C2 the set of beliefs that states that all people are equal and should share equally in a country’s money, or the political systems based on these beliefs

Cambridge Dictionary

Reading this definition, one wonders, what’s wrong with socialism? What’s wrong with equality? What’s wrong with sharing equally in a country’s money? Staunch capitalists will cite examples of countless failed socialist regimes and emphasize that socialism simply doesn’t work.

The current upheaval in Venezuela is a prime example of what divides the right and the left. While the US supports and recognizes the opposition leader and calls Maduro out as a undemocratic socialist leader, Maduro supports blame economic sanctions for the dire state of the Venezuelan economy.

How Did Socialism Get Such a Bad Name?

Capitalists don’t like the restrictions socialism places on economies. Instead, they propagate free market rules designed for growth and economic freedom. Needless to say, they also like low tax rates.

Perhaps one ought to take a brief look back at the history of socialism to understand how this political philosophy came about in the first instance. What’s more, it’s important to understand that socialism has many different applications.

What is socialism?

The examples in the video illustrate the vast differences in the application of the socialist model. It appears that the nations combining capitalism and socialism like Denmark and Sweden have been the most successful in promoting economic growth while also ensuring a decent degree of equality.

A Brief Look at Capitalism

Let’s take a look at the Cambridge Dictionary definition of capitalism first:

capitalism

noun [ U ] 
UK  /ˈkæp.ɪ.təl.ɪ.zəm/ US  /ˈkæp.ə.t̬əl.ɪ.zəm/
C2 an economicpolitical, and social system in which property,business, and industry are privately owneddirected towards making the greatest possible profits for successful organizations and people

Cambridge Dictionary

The USA and Europe illustrate the workings of capitalism, although some countries incorporate elements of socialism into their political system. Countries like Sweden have excellent public services to cater to those who may not be able to afford private healthcare or education.

The 2008 Financial Crisis – Capitalism Goes Socialist

After the 2008 global recession, countless financial institutions required state financial support in what appears to be a contradiction in terms.

If you wear your socialist hat for a moment, you’d have to ask yourself how financial institutions arrived at asking for and taking government bailouts. While sticking to strictly capitalist principles when profitable, the banks suddenly put on a socialist hat and gladly took the cash.

Many governments feared the mayhem that may have been associated with the collapse of the banking sector and jumped in to help without delay. Who footed the bill? The taxpayer, stupid!

The Basic Principles of Socialism v Capitalism in Brief

So, how do the two systems impact on the everyday workings of a society?

SocialismCapitalism
Ownershipgovernment or
Co-ops
individuals or
Businesses
Wealth
Distribution
government
controlled
determined by
people or companies
Taxeshigher taxes for
public services
lower taxes to
stimulate
economic growth
Equalitygovernment ensures
greater equality
wealth gap
Pricesless competition,
higher prices
more competition,
lower prices
Public
Services
substantial
government
investment
limited government
spending
Disadvantagesslower economic
growth
inequality
Advantagesequality and better
public services
stronger economic
growth

This is a simplistic view of capitalism and socialism. The real impact also depends on world economic factors, political stability, and international relations. Moreover, most economies combine the two political philosophies, each creating and implementing its own socialism&capitalism cocktail.

Socialism – Good or Bad?

In theory, socialist principles are worthwhile. Unfortunately, its pure application is nigh unachievable.

Capitalism – Good or Bad?

One only needs to bring to mind the ever-widening wealth gap to grasp the very serious and catastrophic downsides of pure capitalism. Only one year ago, the Guardian reported that 42 individuals held the same amount of wealth as 3.7 billion of the world’s poorest people.

Socialism v Capitalism

Socialism and capitalism are wide open to abuse. In its principles, socialism promotes equality and fairness – something that no one can argue with.

Smartly combining capitalism and socialism appears to be the best way to provide citizens with a decent standard of living while promoting economic growth.

Global Warming Poem – Doomed Planet

Climate change and global warming have been making the headlines. But neither the frightening predictions of scientists nor the efforts of people across the globe appear to suffice to halt or slow global warming. It’s time to make global warming a personal issueThis is my global warming poem Doomed Planet.

Doomed Planet – A Global Warming Poem

Was woken early by winter bird song 
took a look outside to find
it's time to cut the lawn
mere weeks after the winter solstice

take global warming personally???
you must be joking!!!
on goes the heat at full blast
will be driving a thousand miles this week

but the water isn't rising where I am
problem filed
my children's children?
well, they'll have to deal with it

when the proverbial really hits the fan
meanwhile, I'm doing ok
sent money to flood victims on the other side of the world
there's a heatwave in Australia they said on the news

I do hate those prophets of doom and gloom
what do they know anyway???
just trying to frighten us
that's what they're doing

more plastics in the ocean than fish???
that's bad alright
shouldn't have left my trash on the beach the other day
you're right

anyway, I can't do much about global warming
if everyone made tiny changes it could make a difference
is that what you're saying???
so, what's your tiny change for a doomed planet???