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Who knows what this is really about?

Here is the second poem I read out at the September 2023 meeting on-line.

Sometimes I, and no doubt many other poets too, write a poem and wonder ourselves where it came from, or what it means. The following is an example:


Smart City


(or a Nietzchean discourse on emotion dysfunction in Gaia theory)


When you think you’ve finally made it,

but the message isn’t clear,

then someone asks ‘made what?’

and they’re shouting in your ear

that the blind no longer listen on streets of secret fear,

then you know, yes you know, you’re in Smart City.


So you’re hitting eighty-five in the outside lane,

catching up with where you were

before screaming back again,

and the bank has left a voicemail

about helping take the strain,

don’t you love, just love, Smart City?


Your son is on the game machine,

it keeps him off the street.

The dead and maimed pile up inside,

he’s turning up the heat;

and every bloody victory

is another friend’s defeat,

when you’re living, yes, you’re living in Smart City.


Your daughter will not talk just now,

she’s cutting up her face

in her lonely, twilit sanctuary

that is the human race;

but her picture’s on your screen,

there’s not a pixel out of place.

Thank god, thank god, you’re in Smart City.


The homeless have been swept away

to sanitize the streets;

beggars can’t be choosers;

the Home Secretary clicked delete.

It’s asylum seekers next,

soon the job will be complete.

Oh, life, life itself is very sweet in Smart City.


Now Mohammed’s on the town tonight

and Jesus is on the make;

the Buddha stole the backdoor key

to see what he could take;

and when your Andy Warhol photograph

turns out to be a fake,

then you know, yes you know you’re in Smart City.


The war is screening live this morning

on a device of your choice;

you can watch the ritual killing

of those who have no voice.

The bridges are melting down now

and it’s too late to get across,

but don’t worry, don’t worry, we’re in Smart City.


And everywhere you’ve ever been

you took an image on your phone;

you did not know that you were there

as Lady Gaga seized the throne;

and they’re all in an underground warehouse

in some chic industrial zone

on the edge, the very edge of Smart City.


So climb up to the mountains,

hide out in the wood;

you’d love to disconnect a while

but there’s that tapping in your blood.

The news is in your earplugs

and things don’t sound too good,

because you’re living, still living in Smart City.


Smart City, Smart City,

all around the fortress walls

they say it’s very pretty;

but you know, you know you’ll never leave

Smart City.



© David Urwin 2015/2022





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1 Comment


Alison Blevins
Alison Blevins
Oct 07, 2023

Loved this at the open Mic and love it just as much now. Reminds me of a little of The Jam's song lyrics. Brilliant

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