. You Sit On The Back Row | London Progressive Journal
A non-partisan journal of the left.

You Sit On The Back Row

Sat 2nd Apr 2016







You sit on the back row

watching the action unravel

- a child at a border fence

blinded by tear gas,

a dictator, ninety-two now, partying on

in his drought-ridden dictatorship,

the seismic aftershocks

of an underground atomic explosion,

a massacre in a high school,

starvation, rapes, torture, beheadings.


On stage, public speaking

is an art of deception,

the candidates in the roadshow

building walls with their rhetoric,

and party smears all that’s on offer

to purge our dystopias.

The Senecan pageant rolls on,

its bloodthirsty improvisations

remorseless as clockwork;

the roadshow antagonists deliver

the lines they have learned by heart.


It must all run its course, you think,

nothing can change it now.


Except you, in the darkness,

free to stay, free to leave,

can exercise freedom of thought,

and now the lights come on

leave your seat on the back row,

walk out onto the street, into

the rest of your life and there,

resolute in the hurl of traffic,

make what difference you can.

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