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Monsters - a Poetry Blog About Europe

10/11/2011 18:42 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 23:58 GMT

It's possible that poems are unusual as a blog entry, though to my mind they are the most vivid and impactful form of communication in the slippery underwater realm of online interactivity. And so, as Europe appears to be unravelling before our eyes, and into the hands of feral financiers with gambling rashes and resting their fortunes on taut computer algorithms conjured by the finest math-heads in the west - the Fifth Column that brought down the US-EU financial hegemony by robotic inexorable degrees of credit default swaps, self-interest and the split hairs of percentage, a poem from the deep 1990s, when the end of history was called, and the global economy got up from the pot and took the door off its hinges. Published in the book Apocalypso in 1999, written sometime in 1994 shortly after headlines in newspapers exposed the shocking conditions in Greek island asylums, and after an excellent seafood dinner on the island of Symi, where I observed contemporary Greek-Geman relations, and the history that divides and binds, at first hand from my outdoor restaurant table as the sun sank down behind the beautiful, horseshoe-shaped harbour, and crustaceans clung to reliable stone.

Monsters

I remember the road to the sea

that winds back to the centre of the island

into the locks of the windows and doors

of the Greek asylum that made headlines

in all the leading European dailies.

And the young German couple

on the table next to mine who paid

twice the price for the same meal.

I see their calm faces taking it

the way they took their cigarettes

and smoked them after theyd eaten.

I watched them from a distance

that made it difficult to take much interest,

then I paid the English price and moved on,

but I haven't forgotten

and some people don't forget,

nor their children or their children's children,

and some people know but don't want to know.

I read that even now the ovens at Auschwitz

smell sickly and sweet

as if a very particular kind of bread had risen there,

and in Krakow there were posters

in the streets where Spielberg

had filmed Schindler's List.

The film crew had gone back to Hollywood

and it looked as if the information

about Jews, Germans and further instructions

had been there for fifty years

but it was only a few months

and that was Hollywood .

Schindler's List was made back

to back with Jurassic Park.

In Europe , in the old world, Spielberg would link up via satellite

with Industrial Light and Magic in California

and watch the monsters they had created

walk across the screen

and then say what he thought of the progress

which wasn't what he called progress.

It hardly ever is, and we settle

for what seems the most convincing alternative.

TIM CUMMING