From the Hood: Sestina SIStina Barcelona

The art of spying, dying and versifying

by Lyndon Hood

Sometimes I think, if I should chance to be
crushed by a falling lump of masonry
my motives may be viewed suspiciously
due to, upon me, the discovery
of passports (between zero and twenty);
not one but two notebooks – and fully three
assorted pencils! – worse, they see
notes made in light verse (not quite poetry)
on current political policy.
Perhaps I’ll be on the TV.

Though I should quickly say, for clarity,
I’m definitely no An Sung Su Ki;
and if I faced a vexed oligarchy
I’d be the kind that’s more inclined to flee –
the one that puts the ‘dung’ in dungaree.
So I’ve not much to fear from inquiry –
though I do like a little privacy
from government (and I am uneasy
they could monitor my telephony
with some impunity).

No, truth to tell, between us three
(you, me and them) my main worry –
if all goes (stranger things have passed) rightly
[I leave aside for now the pedigree
of anyone who came to rescue me] –
I worry some disgruntled employee
when I am cleared, will still spill my story
to Herald, Dominion or ODT –
the business would, if I can speak frankly,
ruin my obituary

with front page headlines (more reports page three)
asking some question that is quite scary
(the answer to which, by the way, would be
‘No’), and it’s a tragic thing when we
go from the journalist to journalee.
[Speaking of media, it’s a pity
The spooks (Hi!), if they’re working properly
(or not) go undetected; it’s only
if they get caught in their skuduggery
they’re in the news – so their publicity
needs work. I suggest a reality
show, weekly on TV.]

If I rose (or fell) to the rank “MP”
(My slogan: This looks like a job for me!
So everyone (I’d say) just follow me!)
Once I’d fixed all our problems, [for e.g.
did you see where the UK’s ITV
had dropped an episode of The Daily
Show because it breached their parliamentary
coverage rules (due to frivolity);
rules like the ones we made in this country
(oh, at the time I took that personally)
and which under my careful ministry
would be less censor-ey.]

… If then I came to lead our fair country
(an event my opponents would decree
a sign of what is wrong with MMP,
but really due to popularity) –
and if, I say, I ever grow mighty
enough to be obeyed punctilliously
(as Captain Hook by his offsider, Smee)
enough to have the leader of the free
world to mess up my surname on TV
then shake hands – touching me!

… being by both tradition and decree
the Minister of the Security
Intelligence Service, my industry
would bring about accountability
and you all could be quite reassured re:
new cash or legal capability
(no public service cuts in this locality…)
not being to build their bureaucracy
to an antipodean KGB
for protecting rugby.

Or, to tell the truth, I’d acually
be so excited to play super se-
cret spy man, I’d apply that secrecy
to anything even tangentially
related, to duck media scrutiny
(despite my habit of spouting glibly
new plans in other fields of policy).
With every sign of dazed complicity
I’d give the spys all that they asked from me
and have them stay for tea.

And as we had a wee corroberee
we’d chuckle at the legitimacy
under the law, of boat-bourne refugees;
and they’d explain why we let in Tony
Blair – not like he came anonymously –
yet did not take him into custody
nor check for a war-crime suppository
(I’d quite forget that fellow from Fiji).
The nation was in good hands, we’d agree
with them in charge of me.

I’d also, as PM, reign shallowly
and discount any facts that disagree –
indulge in even greater sophistry
than does the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
(a man whose remarks have, just quietly
about the same reliability
as the practise of astrology
in regards tectonic activity)
and you’d all have to take it seriously –
all as done normally.

I’d eat no cheese but brie, drink eau-de-vie
and not write any more lines rhymed with ‘e’.

ENDS