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A Diatribe.

By ANTHONY HOWELL.

Aren’t you as angry, as angry as me,
About how the svelte smooth girls you see
………..never so much as glance in your direction
………..and as enraged at your own old age’s
………..vain attempts to evade detection?
Aren’t you as sure you will lose that erection
………..well before you score, and aren’t you as choked
………..that you never hear English
………..spoken in your neighbourhood anymore?
Aren’t you as vexed that no one has the least respect
………..for your property and that you can never save
………..sufficient cash to be what you were meant to be?
Aren’t you as angry about how you can’t
………..ever award yourself a pardon
………..for past misdemeanours,
………..And about how the boorish sort of immigrant
………..likes to drop his beer cans in your garden?
Aren’t you as upset about the misguided views
………..you cannot help but see
………..reiterated on Facebook
………..and about the propaganda churned out by the BBC?
Aren’t you as sick of the belligerence of Americans
………..eager for change of regime, and the introduction
………..of liposuction, shaven pubes, boob jobs,
………..man buns, unisexual loos and radioactive tans?
Aren’t you as disturbed about how you keep forgetting where
………..you’ve put things and how it is the West ends up
………..on the abhorrent side of every war?
Aren’t you as cross about losing your teeth as you were before
………..about how dim and enfeebled elderly people are?
Aren’t you as angry about how abusive idiots can be
………..when they’re convinced they’re in the right
………..and about the arthritic knee
………..that gives you pain both day and night?
Aren’t you as angry about the spate
………..of conditioned zombies that you meet,
………..and how you simply can’t achieve a significant loss in weight?
Aren’t you as miffed that you never have anything decent to wear
………..and that there’s a resurgence of
………..religious zeal and metaphysical fear?
Aren’t you as alarmed about the pollution of the oceans
………..and about losing your hair?
Aren’t you as incensed that sentimental townies
………..have made our country sports illegal
………..and that lesbian paedophiles
………..have infiltrated the Brownies?
Don’t you dislike it that poems espousing animal rights
………..now have lucrative prizes fairly within their sights?
Aren’t you as upset about the toxic effect of the Blairites?
………..Don’t you despise elitist wolves
………..who go about in social clothing?
Aren’t you as angry about being poisoned by the chlorine
………..introduced into our water
………..and about how each belief presupposes the slaughter
………..of those who oppose it?
Aren’t you as dismayed about the growth of our arms trade
………..and how it’s all been done before
………..or has already been made?
Aren’t you as worried about how nuclear power
………..is leaking out of its damaged stations
………..and about the indifference of unaffected nations?
Aren’t you as hurt by the treachery of certain so-called friends
………..and as alert to Hollywood
………..awarding the white helmets
………..while totally ignoring
………..that they serve the Caliphate’s iconoclastic ends?
Aren’t you as troubled about the deep state?
………..Doesn’t it conspire to sow the seeds of hate –
………..nation against nation? Don’t you get as tense
………..about irreplaceable monuments
………..and their relentless destruction?
Aren’t you as horrified as I am about the ethnic cleansing
………..being carried out with glee
………..by Israel and Myanmar, and can’t you fucking see
………..how usual it is for unscrupulous people
………..to end up by proving inordinately powerful?
Don’t you feel as angry when some humanitarian critic
………..is labelled anti-Semitic,
………..and aren’t you as appalled
………..when genocide gets done
………..by anyone, regardless of their creed?
Aren’t you as angry about each dirty deed
………..perpetrated against independent secular states;
………..about the media, how it mindlessly berates
………..those attempting to steer the world
………..in a more intelligent direction than
………..the one in which corruption has it hurled?
Don’t you maintain that academia fools
………..the humanities into becoming mere finishing schools,
………..and haven’t you felt as affronted by the certainty
………..of those who are indubitably mistaken?
Aren’t you as distraught about the libelling of your reputation
………..and about how feeling is valued above thought?
Aren’t you as convinced that people ought
………..to do better than to allow their businesses to collapse
………..and as displeased about the sleaze
………..Hillary has gifted to the democrats?
Aren’t you as bothered about your voice and how it can never be heard,
………..how your views are dismissed as absurd,
………..and don’t you hate how institutions bow to managerial dictats?
Aren’t you as mortified by the derision
………..you aim at yourself when defeated by technology,
………..or when some vicious oligarch fools you with his ideology?
Aren’t you as angry, don’t you care
………..as much about how austerity has destroyed welfare
………..as about your increasing loss of memory?
Aren’t you in despair about our polluted air
………..and the takeover of independent publishing by conglomerates?
Aren’t you as sick of the arguments
………..that reinforce the existence of the super-rich
………..and choked about the cleaning lady bitch
………..who made off with that heirloom you inherited?
Aren’t you as furious about the lack of available
………..sexual intercourse, intercourse that once you felt you merited,
………..and do you really need to wonder why
………..what draws you to it still
………..seems so far away and unattainable?
Aren’t you as sure that everything has its price
………..and that not a single one of your onetime partners
………..will ever deign to consider your advice?
Aren’t you as horrified and as oppressed
………..by those insidious data worms
………..making your laptop their nest
………..and by your lack of resistance
………..to contagious gremlins and persistent germs?
Aren’t you as depressed about the increasingly miserable weather
………..and doesn’t the sheer drudgery of maintenance
………..drive you to some bitter end of tether?
………..When is there ever not the washing-up to do?
Aren’t you as astonished how abrasive Continentals
………..can allow themselves to be
………..in this run-up to divorce,
………..and fed up that you are in no position to afford
………..some luxurious holiday among hospitable Orientals?
Aren’t you as perturbed, as everyone is, of course,
………..about how easy it is these days
………..to contract some appalling disease and about
………..the failure of your books to garner serious praise?
Aren’t you as angry about your lack of reviews
………..as you are about poetry being assessed solely by
………..incestuous competitions and don’t you suspect
………..that editors actually relish rejecting your submissions?
Aren’t you as resigned to how a reputation
………..isn’t really designed to be
………..some laurel crown that lingers,
………..and don’t you regret the vanishing of those
………..you have allowed to slip through your fingers?
Aren’t you as concerned about no longer being able to
………..consider yourself a European,
………..and about how everything breaks down?
Aren’t you as ashamed as I am that this land of ours
………..is currently regarded as a clown,
………..and that the booze affects you today
………..in anything but a positive way?
Aren’t you as annoyed about not having been
………..for a canter on a decent steed for ages, sad to say,
………..and about the distortion of the vote
………..by the wealth of unscrupulous foreign lobbies?
Aren’t you as disgusted by the stupid way the West
………..treats Russia like some dark demonic goat,
………..and about the arming of our bobbies?
Aren’t you as annoyed that you’re not strong-minded enough
………..to resist your own neglect,
………..and that the drugs you puff
………..have all but destroyed your intellect?
Aren’t you as angry, aren’t you as pissed off
………..about how independent countries get attacked
………..if they don’t cling on to a nuclear threat
………..with which to defend their sovereign borders?
Aren’t you as fatigued by how each newspaper delves
………..in the past for dirt that can bring down reformers;
………..cheesed off as well by how nobody these days
………..ever seems intrigued by the idea of a threesome?
Don’t you go ‘Grrr’ at how bored you are
………..now that you are no longer lithe and lissom,
………..and at just how boring repetition makes your ways
………..now that you no longer own a car?
Aren’t you as angry about there being only one planet Earth
………..and about the certainty of death?
Aren’t you as saddened at the death
………..of so many friends and former champions
………..of your work and shocked that you don’t have the power
………..to change how it is or anything come to that?
Aren’t you as angry about how ugly ordinary people are
………..and about how you must appear
………..as ugly to them, now that you’re bald and fat?
Aren’t you as bothered by bitches and bastards
………..with bees in their bonnets and bats in their belfries?
………..Buggared by all the exaggerated grievances
………..projected by people with issues? A treacherous hell frees
………..them all, to thrive in some heaven of causes.
Aren’t you as nauseated as I am about
………..their safety concerns, their clauses
………..guaranteeing a prejudicial egalitarianism that
………..favours minority at the expense of merit?
Aren’t you as saddened about the world our children will inherit?
………..Don’t you feel exhausted and unsteady,
………..out of patience, drained of all your energy…
Or are you still as pissed off, and about ready to top yourself?


Anthony HowellAnthony Howell, a former dancer with the Royal Ballet, was founder of The Theatre of Mistakes and performed solo at the Hayward Gallery and at the Sydney Biennale. His articles on visual art, dance, performance, and poetry have appeared in many publications including Art Monthly, The London Magazine, Harpers & Queen, The Times Literary Supplement. He is a contributing editor of  The Fortnightly Review. In 2001 he received a LADA bursary to study the tango in Buenos Aires and now teaches the dance at his studio/gallery The Room in Tottenham Hale. He is the author of a seminal textbook, The Analysis of Performance Art: A Guide to Its Theory and Practice. Details about his collaborative project, Grey Suit Online, are here. His latest collection is From Inside (The High Window).

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