A Prisoner's Speech to a Magistrate

(with respectful reference to the Bertolt Brecht poem 'A Workers Speech to a Doctor')

By Mike Church (from Issue 13)

       You tell me to stop stealing
       While you eat my slice of the cake
       You tell me not to drive cars
       While you coast home in a spacious new saloon.

       Home for us is a crumbling council estate
       Until you decide to punish us with prison
       Unaware that many of us were incarcerated at birth,
       Birth.
       What birth?
       It's like asking a flower
       To flourish in a dark room.

       Home for you is pleated blinds
       A designer kitchen
       And an imitation log fire
       Watching the 10 o'clock news
       And panicking about the sinking morals of society
       Frightened that we might take something off you. 

       On Sundays you sleep late
       Before you peruse the quality papers
       While we always sleep late
       Because there is nothing to get up for
       And we look at the pictures
       In the Sun and the Star
       To keep us illiterate, illegitimate and illegal.

       You punish us, you fine us, you imprison us
       But, most of all, you despise us
       You want to keep us a breed apart
       The suits from the sleeping bags.

 

       You tell us to stop stealing
       While you eat my slice of the cake,
       You tell me not to drive cars
       While you coast home in a spacious new saloon.
       Well we will not obey your laws
       Until we eat off the same plate as you.