I was abroad last year when an abortive coup took place in Turkey and for a couple of glorious days it looked as though the dastardly Erdogan might be overthrown.
I wrote this poem, not based on the events in Turkey but instead, about the chaos that usually accompanies events of that kind.
Since the coup all roles are reversed:
the high are brought low and complain
that prison conditions are grim;
they are missing their daily Champagne
so their thirst, now their bubble has burst,
stays unslaked and their prospects are slim.
Now the torturers, to their chagrin,
are tortured with pliers and shocks
and the State executioners’ heads,
one by one, incline on the blocks.
Prison guards, now imprisoned, begin
long sentences. Mutiny spreads
through government offices, grey,
where clerks smash their ledgers and flee
to canteens with laughter and cheers,
where the tea-ladies poison the tea,
while out in the street banners sway
and homeless men crouch over beers.
The populace gathers in knots
on street corners and city squares
but nobody speaks of the past
or the future, for nobody dares.
The sound of occasional shots
rings out. The sky grows overcast
and thudding of rotors above
brings black helicopters with guns
while distant explosions illume
the sky like additional suns.
The city has no place for love,
for love has no place in a tomb.