the weekly

Parliament Channel

I’m shouting at the television,

              sound turned down, the gag growing hard

in my mouth. The words

            freeze on the screen, the sub-titles


jostling for space. A is bombing

            B who is bombing C:

altogether something of a racket,

            I see what you mean, can’t


hear it at all. Yes I will give way,

            I would like to make progress,

my friend is honourable. The precision

            of your speech: it hits


all the right targets, misses the innocents,

            who can’t applaud

for fear of setting the others

            off. Although I regret it,


I shall be voting for – and now

            my mouth’s sick rictus

breaks into action. Of course,

            just what they least expect,


the drone of drones, I give way

            to the member for Borstal North:

nod, nod, nod off. The spores

            float out of the doors


to infect another generation:

            the dark dense eyes

hardly blink. There is shooting.

            Three minutes each, that’s


all you’re allowed now.

            That is a life, by any standards.

All day the talking. All over

            bar the shouting


at the television.

Parliament Channel

The debate on bombing Syria lasted all day.

2 December 2015


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