Monthly Archives: November 2012

Dear Riot Copper

It’s the end of an eventful day and I’m in Trafalgar Square.
People dancing, fires burning, solidarity in the air.
It’s peaceful and it’s beautiful and then out of nowhere
come your shields and batons making walls around some of us there.
As you close in violently, we’re chanting ‘It’s your jobs, too!’
But your job here ain’t to listen. It’s to bully and subdue.
Your glowing wall is now three deep. There is no breaking through
and I’ve lost my friends, I’ve got the fear and don’t know what to do.
Then an overzealous protester throws a barrier your way.
It hits me on the head and knocks me down and then you say
‘Well, you shouldn’t be here anyway
and we’re gonna nick you for public disorder and affray.’
I ask you for some water, or a medic or to get out.
You seize the opportunity to give me another clout.
Do you even know what this protest is about?
Forgive me as you hit me if I start to scream and shout
about what you’re protecting – property and profiteers.
You hide behind that uniform to shield you from your fears.
You can gas me in the face, but you will never have my tears.
I reserve them for my children and their future years.
I was brought up to believe that if you need help ask a copper.
Just like democracy, you’ve helped kill that myth good and proper!
You look at me with empty eyes. ‘C’mon boys, let’s drop her.
She’s getting in the way of our spectacular show-stopper.’
Someone picks me up and tries to help me climb
up onto the statues, telling me that I’ll be fine,
but I need to piss, so I crouch down right in front of your line.
Victory? Not really, but it felt good at the time.
I’m dizzy and my head is pounding. My vision is now blurred.
but still my pleas to you for help remain unheard.
Then I find a woman among you, and though my speech is slurred
she listens and she looks and says that she will have a word.
The copper overhearing next to her couldn’t resist
another shield clip, but with the second one he missed
as I lost my balance. ‘Is she alright?’ ‘Ah, she’s just pissed.’
Then someone from the back line grabs me and I’m whisked
through your three deep kettle and out the other side.
‘Keep walking’ he says. ‘Don’t come back.’ ‘No worries!’ I reply.
I stagger out and put my hands over my face to hide
from the cameras pointing at me. Then I crumple. Then I cry.
I protest peacefully, that day included, so you know.
I have post-concussion syndrome and recovery is slow.
I’ve never felt so frightened, so impotent and small, though
my fight is for my children, and with them it will grow.