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).
Copies are also available from Left Books