Brazil 2014

Brazilian street artist Paulo Ito has created the World Cup's first viral image. Photo courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pauloito
Brazilian street artist Paulo Ito. Photo courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pauloito

It is all kicking off.

Riot police go in hard, storm the favelas

To sweep away the poor,

And money is passed

To FIFA – look at that corruption!

Surely a yellow card there?

But no – the referee waves play on.

Demonstrators gather in defence

Link up with strikes and protests

Face a hail of rubber bullets, clouds of gas,

Inequality to bring tears to the eyes.

And those who can afford a ticket

Enjoy the carnival.

£13bn for stadia but nada for the people.

Movers and shakers are in the royal box.

But where are the slums, the homeless?

Nowhere to be seen in sanitised coverage.

From satellite to satellite, the signal is passed,

And the police take up an attacking formation –

Clash with the millions occupying the squares.

As money-men do backroom deals,

Wads of cash change hands

And stones pelt the commentary box,

A boy holds up a banner in protest

To win indigenous land,

But we didn’t see that.

We are not in control of the footage.

Just feast on the football,

The samba, the passion, the silky skills.

Forget about grinding poverty.

Football and beer numb the pain of life.

And a scything run by Death

Into the penalty area, the grass fed with the blood

Of workers who built this magnificent spectacle,

And as the ball passes to Qatar

In a move worthy of Sepp Blatter,

There is a world still to play for.

The revolution is far from over,

We still have a chance to equalise.


You can read some more of my poetry in ‘Little Red Poetry’ (£4 pbk, £2.50 pdf e-book).

All proceeds go to build a new party for ordinary people, against cuts and privatisation. Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Copies are also available from Left Books

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