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Brexit Ballads



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All Rights Reserved G. S. Mattu 2017

© G. S. Mattu 2017

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Preface to Brexit Ballads

Triggered by Article 50



Brexit Ballads

Deep Plaistow

Article 50

Preface to Brexit Ballads 2017 [return to ToC]

A fundamental part of poetry is the pursuit of music in words. The terse, brief words that make up Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty must now go down as one of the most influential poems of our times. It is epoch-making poetry. We reproduce it below, its metre a bold declaration of its unknowability and years spent in inactivity, dusty on a ledger, now the focus of a crowd of desperate seekers of meaning. We join these ranks, peering into this hieroglyph for a glimpse of the future. Our noses are up against the glass.

And with these vague words we grasp at our vague fate. The clumsy rhetoric, full of holes, of bureaucratic arseholes, holy politicians and journalistic blackholes, now makes us a society in (wholly) grey margins. We have unknowable meanings. We are inchoate. Poetry has never dealt with absolutes and so Article 50 is perfect, convoluted, hearkening to some unwritten and unwritable ‘constitution of the British Isles and the Commonwealth’ that never existed and never will exist, even as the Union itself unravels like (‘UK’-produced) spaghetti on fork.

We plunge now into the madness of an early election, scheduled for June 8 2017. What will it bring? With whatever it brings, it must bring poetry.

Triggered By Article 50 [return to ToC]

I am an article, 50, male,
White, words, motive words,

Slick little words that gasp and

Grasp into strife.

I mean, you’re okay, but

This country’s full.

You’ve no constitution for this, snowflake,

Triggering is hard. It takes a man.

It’s a man-size job.
The standard issue phone

Breaks the news as an egg

Breaks into a cup of love.

It’s covered in the grease of your

Pudgy pork banger mitts.

You mean nothing even to yourself.

You crashed the car because

The pain was something you desired

Binnacles and bonnet rash.

Qualified majority votes clings to your

Trousers like sat-down-upon shit stains

From another evening hunting for truffles

In the cavities of favour.

I mean, you’re okay but

They’re just different ain’t they.

Mother said, “I smelled curry on my Woman’s Own”

Taxicab [return to ToC]

The face of Brexit is a reddened black cab

Driver still peeling from Tenerife and


Clutching the wheel of an TXII,

Their blubbery heart attack faces

Imagine acts of great violence

A shank in the guts on the

A13 flyover at Barking.

Fevered wet dreams

Of fumbling back door sex

With a facsimile

Of Theresa May MP

Right honorable, ma’am,

hands in the Privy council, ooh

This country’s full up, urgh

Leave it aht, ya kant


What have I done? Oh my God

What have I done my

Withdrawing member

Blenheim [return to ToC]


Green the grass
In the sun

Shining stunning.

The country kin folk
Have churlishly changed

These last few years

When we wrote opinion pieces

In the liberal media

Now we till the soil

Serve food wrapped in foil

Hurting heartily! It’s been hard

On all of us

Except those

Who got richer

Listen !

Why won’t you answer

I used to write for CIF?

Brexit Ballads [return to ToC]

Voice! // Hear me now.

Toilet already a site of dismay // run of the mill wreckage

A steel bird to T-O // still an X marked on a video

But today we rest in repose // red drink of ruin

Hearthfolk 100s of miles hence // but I am rendered hale by

Bright Brexit in our lungs // like this metal dust and dirty dollars

Loonies in the basement // laughing at our leaders

Article fifty active// and actually honoured

Will of the masses made // by parliamentary power

A truth! Hear the bells! // Tell the story, Gurdalf

How you grew strong // gabbling in tongues wrong

Sheltered by the English // from the winds of life and promise

The Windrush of energy // fuelled the Black Country

In a second class existence // stones through the windows

Men with no protection // working the bellows and anvils

Belching machine of promise // cut down by devils

Deep Plaistow [return to ToC]

Forced out of the kitchen by your mother’s

Fat arse, I take shelter in the Osborne issue

Standard lain like a limp cock

On the living room table

And I realise that Brexit smells

Like wet dog

Like boiled cabbage

Like stale fags

Like spilt beer smashed into carpets;

Like that shit Post Office that only sold

Actual postal materials and Silk Cut

And the man had a face as grey as

A four day old condom.

Brexit smells

Like overdone stew flavoured

Only with salt, ash,

And dried parsley. Your wooden spoon black

Like wet onyx; Brexit smells

Like a 70s TV stand sat rotting out in the rain

Its chipboard interior warped like a fat slug

That you squished

With your shoe

Because it was funny

Because you’re a bastard

Like the rest of us.

Article 50 [return to ToC]


Any Member State may decide

to withdraw from the Union

in accordance with its own

constitutional requirements.


A Member State

which decides to withdraw

shall notify the European Council

of its intention.

In the light of the guidelines provided

by the European Council,

the Union shall negotiate

and conclude an agreement

with that State,

setting out the arrangements

for its withdrawal,

taking account of the framework for

its future relationship with the Union.

That agreement shall be negotiated

in accordance

with Article 218(3)

of the Treaty

on the Functioning of the European Union.

It shall be concluded

on behalf of the Union

by the Council,

acting by a qualified majority, after

obtaining the consent of the

European Parliament.


The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.


For the purposes of paragraphs 2

and 3,

the member of the European Council

or of the Council representing

the withdrawing M e m b e r

State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

A qualified majority

shall be defined

in accordance with Article 238(3)(b)

of the Treaty

on the Functioning

of the European Union.


If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin,

its request shall be subject to the procedure

referred to in Article 49.

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