the weekly


You can’t turn on the other side

with a very agile wrist;

you can’t decide to run and hide

or say, This side’s dismissed.


You can’t pretend it’s sporting cool

to switch the whole thing over;

this may be dry as dusty drool –

but here’s no field of clover –


there isn’t any place to opt

now that the button’s banned.

Your head is hurting, heart has stopped.

All choice must be unplanned.


The shadows, black, who stitch the night

with bullet-headed thread

are not on your side, never quite

on theirs. One side is dead,


the other dying, shot like fish

inside the proverb’s barrel.

You want a different take. You wish

for innocent apparel –


but you were there, and eating pride

before the blood was spilt,

and when they died, the other side

felt like a line of guilt:


don’t press red buttons any more,

don’t look for easy answers.

Despise the dance, it breaks the law,

but don’t forget the dancers.


No choice. You cannot swap the gin

for a cocktail or a highball,

nor see, above the kill-gun’s din,

the bullet in your eyeball.






Click here for the red button story




The BBC is preparing to give up its ‘Red Button’ option. And then there was Paris, on every channel.

19 November 2015


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