Kafka Re-Trial

Kafka lands resurrected in Crewe deposited by a silvery alien craft, And whilst he is wondering what to do He is asked to show his pass Or pay an instant one off fine At a cash dispenser of his choice And they are checking all the time On his irises face and voice.

And of course they find that he is not, They discover he just cannot be there, Although he seems as if he is visible, And has hands and toes and hair, If he is not on the Great Data Bank, He plainly and simply cannot be, He is not listed and he is not ranked He is surely not like you and me.

So they cant detain him in custody But they do not have to let him go He never ever happened, period So who can ever tell, or know. So on a lonely bench in quiet shade He sits alone and unremarked, Wondering what games they play, Against the backdrop of the park.

And so, are we just the opposite, Are we all consigned to hidden files, Are machines deciding who we are, Where we live, and when we smile, Is nothing a certain and real fact, Unless computer correlated true, And should your dossier go into error, How can you prove, you are really you.

How do you verify yourself for a loan, If your ranking gets compromised, How do you overturn all their data, Making you a pariah in others eyes, You may hold letters of validity, They may grudgingly know its you, Unless their system grants absolution, There is nothing they can say or do.

So unless we are verifiable as sound, And our image assuages Superhal, No one will ever trust us again, No one will ever want to be our pal, But this is not like yesteryear, When a quick query cleared your name, Your questions are merely registered, And you just get told how to complain.

Complaints are collated and quantified, They are cross filed and referenced, You must never lose this number, And you must never take offence, You are continually adjourned, Or moved to yet another floor, In the hope that you will falter, From all that has gone before.

Meanwhile youre mugged, not statistically, Contract MRSA, but its not on file, Your children cannot read or write, But their qualifications raise a smile, You always hit potholes that dont exist, To save waiting on trains that dont arrive, But whose flexitimes prove you missed, The only one late out of fifty five.

You cry out to be heard aloud, But the echoes mock your voice, You cannot afford the telephone, Cant bypass enforced menus of choice, Cannot contact a single human being, By department, name or reason, All this evolved like a dripping tap, Season upon big brother season.

Then one day walking in solitude, Your will to try nearly quenched, There is the quiet of the shady park, There is the man upon the bench, Who looks at you knowingly, And asks you if you ever read, And says Then I am Kafka, You Must Tell Me What You Need.

So He went up to their doors, The Nameless Man with Faceless Face, And bearded them in their hallowed den, Their plush revered and holy place, And caused unmitigated consternation, As he either was not really there, Or indeed actually physically existed, Solidly sitting silent in his chair.

So they asked him what he would want, If he were real and not mere illusion, For his appearance was so inopportune, His face and features causing confusion, His DNA was an embarrassment, Never born, nor listed, nor created, Never taxed, treated, nor arrested, Never receiving a non education.

So he stood up to his full height, And drew up his deepest breath, That made him seem immortal, And made them all fear death, And his mighty voice resounded, So much the walls retained his words, We want to be individuals again We want to speak and to be heard, We want our voice to really matter, And we want to hear no more lies, We want illusion swept away, Replaced by council of the wise, We want common sense to prevail, And not statistical subterfuge, Which tries to tell us its all ok, When we know it must improve, We want you to abdicate and take, Your machines and Mandarins away, And we want it done immediately, Oh Yes, we want it done today.

Or else I will shine in prime time, And then all will see its me, The man who is not Kafka, The man who simply cannot be, Then where will your credibility go, Will they ever listen to your pleas. No, far better for you to go now, And leave reality to me.

And they went away in disarray, Whilst he heralded a new era, No one knew who the hell he was, But yet everything seemed clearer, Everything was as it appeared, Nothing hidden, no more of the lies, And no one filed his disappearance, When he finally left our skies.

They can media us its always fine, Statistic prove what cannot be true, They can try to justify their lies, Attempt to airbrush history in two, They may perceive us all as fools, Force fed on false soap opera goals, But cannot forever control our minds, Nor assume they own our souls, For Long term lies have multiplied, And now are ringing empty and hollow, What seemed so reasonable yesterday Will be disproved upon the morrow, And with these endless lies surfacing, Just Like The Man Who Could Not Be, The truth will slowly become visible, And the truth will set us free.

Ex systems programmer living in England

In The News:


The Economist (blog)

Remembering life in Romania under communist rule
The Economist (blog)
ON A RECENT Thursday night, a handful of Romanian poets gathered inside a Soviet-era themed bar in New York's East Village to commemorate the Romanian revolution. The irony was not lost on the writers, many of whom shared painful memories of life ...


Los Angeles Times

Teach This Poem seeks to make poetry accessible to students
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One of my favorite digital features is the Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day, in which a new poem is delivered, daily, via Web or email. I don't look at it all the time, but fairly often, and I am glad to know it's there. Here's a taste of today's ...
Emotion recollected in tranquility on University AveRochester Democrat and Chronicle (blog)

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Patch.com

Sarah Lawrence College Launches John and Penny Barr Poetry Reading Series
Patch.com
Sarah Lawrence College is launching the John and Penny Barr Poetry Reading Series, a new offering celebrating the “ever-changing art of contemporary poetry.” Award-winning poet Joshua Mehigan, a graduate of the Sarah Lawrence College's MFA ...


The New Yorker

Ecstasy of Influence
The New Yorker
Emerson paved the way for poets of genius, but his own brilliance lay elsewhere. Credit Illustration by Roman Muradov. In January of 1842, Ralph Waldo Emerson's firstborn child, Waldo, contracted scarlet fever and died within a week. He was five. He ...


ArtsBeat | Five Poets Receive Lucrative Fellowships
New York Times (blog)
Five poets received unusually lucrative good news on Tuesday, as the Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine announced the recipients of the 2015 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships. Nate Marshall, Erika L. Sánchez, Danniel ...


Casper Star-Tribune Online

Devils Tower hosts cowboy poetry celebration
Casper Star-Tribune Online
Celebrate the rich legacy of cowboy poetry Sunday at a special event hosted by Devils Tower National Monument. The Cowboy Poetry Festival will feature three cowboys who will share their Western culture and experiences. Robert Dennis is one of the ...


NDTV

Javed Akhtar to Publish Grandfather's Poetry
NDTV
Noted lyricist and author Javed Akhtar is planning to publish a book on his grandfather Muztar Khairabadi's poetry. He said that while he was compiling the works of his grandfather he came to know that a popular nazm was actually written by Mr Khairabadi.

and more »

Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

Wilkes Univsersity hosts launch for 2015 Poetry in Transit program at Barnes ...
Wilkes Barre Times-Leader
Drawing inspiration from London's Poems on the Underground and New York City's Poetry in Motion, the program showcases the work of local poets on Luzerne County Transportation Authority (LCTA) busses and runs for an entire year with poems rotating ...


Women's Voices for Change

Poetry Sunday: “Unicorn in Captivity,” by Marion Dornell
Women's Voices for Change
I met Marion Dornell when she attended a class I gave a talk for, at the invitation of poet Robin Becker (see Poetry Sunday feature), a professor at Penn State. It was 2010, the year my first book came out. I did a number of readings in my home state ...


The Queensland Times

Entries line up worldwide for Poetry Feast
The Queensland Times
JUDGES are wading through 1000 entries from Nepal to Poland received for the Ipswich Poetry Feast competition this year. Poetry Feast Committee chairman David Pahlke said they were pleased with the number of entries received from poetry enthusiasts ...

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