THE LAUGHING POLICEMAN

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(Four years ago there was a news story about a young Palestinian boy who was snatched from a protest and beaten to death by Israeli police. Shocking as that is, they also smashed the phones of witnesses who tried to call an ambulance and sipped coffee while he died.  A re-post)

 

We snatched this dirty Arab boy when he was throwing stones;

He looked so fucking funny making all his moans and groans

As we cracked him with our batons and we broke his fucking bones;

When some people called an ambulance we smashed their mobile phones.

 

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

 

The day’d been uneventful, mostly boring, kind of dull

Then we’d nabbed him from a crowd of youths and in the push and pull

We kicked him on the floor then I caught him on the full

With a pearler on his napper and I broke his fucking skull.

 

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

 

The blood ran out around him forming quite a crimson tide

Although the day was hot it took a while before it dried

So I sat and sipped my coffee till I was sure he’d died

Then I laughed so fucking much that I almost fucking cried.

 

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

◄ THE TATTOOED LADY

RITES OF PASSAGE ►

Comments

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John Coopey

Mon 12th Aug 2019 19:04

As I say, Graham it was quite deliberate and calculated.
I posted the original for Don below but I expect someone like you in your “grey” years will know it. ?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hI1nPd7hezM

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Graham Sherwood

Mon 12th Aug 2019 18:53

JC I thought the serious subject matter of your piece was enhanced by the purile comedy theme (sadly I couldn't bring myself to listen to your recording) Brilliant idea!

Without falling into the trap, of which I accuse others, I can only say that, remember for most, today's shock is tomorrow's chip paper!

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John Coopey

Mon 12th Aug 2019 18:34

“Boys! Boys!” (Olive Oyl Voice).
I certainly intended to shock. It seems to me that shock is a legitimate response to aim for in writing.
Analytically speaking (and to prompt discussion on the piece itself) I have used a number of devices.
The flippant tone of the narrator
The violent and very pictorial imagery
And (as I say in a comment below) the juxtaposition of this jaunty tune with the horror of its content.
Yes, I expect it to shock. What I didn’t expect was that there would be controversy about something so universally deplorable.

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Graham Sherwood

Mon 12th Aug 2019 18:24

That's is exactly the point I'm making. It matters little to the poetry, in fact it reduces its impact, when those making comments extensively bang on about themselves and their experiences.

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Graham Sherwood

Mon 12th Aug 2019 17:58

As is often the case with poems that aim for the 'controversial vote' the associated commentary always seems to overshadow the content.

I doesn't matter if the source material originates form several sources. it doesn't matter whether the police were security forces or not. It doesn't matter.

What matters is someone has written a strong and shocking piece about something that may well have happened over and over again and is graphically portrayed here.

When commenters focus on the quality of the poetry written and not on their own personal opinions/experiences we'll all learn much more.

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John Coopey

Mon 12th Aug 2019 15:38

Well, yes and no, MC. Let me put it another way. All the things I describe did happen. But the picture is not of the dead boy. I expect even Google thought a pic of that would be unacceptable.
And you’re absolutely right. I selected this old jovial music hall song quite deliberately for its horrific juxtaposition with the content.

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M.C. Newberry

Mon 12th Aug 2019 15:25

JC - you've certainly put a cat among the pigeons (as usual!) ?
Artistic licence? Agent provocateur? Rabble-rouser? Stirrer?
They all come to mind when considering this blog and its intent.
Certainly, the effect of combining a famous old comedy song from
a time when such things were the stuff of innocent ribaldry with
such horrendous happenings makes its mark as, no doubt, you
intended. But to what purpose that is not already understood and
accepted by right-minded thinking anywhere?
No one would condone the death described or the actions of those
involved. The word "civilised" does have a relevance but it is two-way; as those who have faced a baying mob hurling objects that
can kill and/or maim from the safety of anonymity can surely verify.
"Civilisation" is often a thin veneer barely covering the structure of
our vulnerable man-made societies across the globe. It needs
buffing up not breaking down.

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John Coopey

Mon 12th Aug 2019 12:55

I feel the need to rectify some factual inaccuracies, all sacrificed for the poem. I believe this boy did not in fact die; I have conflated this incident with another. Further, as MC points out, I don’t think these were regular bobbies but rather security forces. But “The Laughing State Trooper” didn’t quite cut it. The drinking coffee and smashing mobiles may also have happened in similar instances. All in all you may think this is a complete fabrication. But the more shocking still that there are several instances from which I can select abuses.

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Don Matthews

Mon 12th Aug 2019 09:23

Off-poem. You're right John. It does make sense.....?

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John Coopey

Mon 12th Aug 2019 09:05

Many thanks for your thoughts, Wolfgang. The incident and others like it are all the more shocking that this is not some distant place we dismiss as “backward” and “uncivilised”. It isn’t Rwanda, for instance. The post-Yugoslav atrocities of the 1990’s seemed the more horrific for being in a “civilised” European country.
Don - When you strike for shorter hours (and personally I always thought an hour was too long) you’re bound to end up with a shorter year.

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Don Matthews

Sun 11th Aug 2019 23:59

I apologise but this is nothing to do with the poem. John says "and others of your short years". I was not aware living downunder our years are shorter. My scientific knowledge has been expanded.....?

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John Coopey

Sun 11th Aug 2019 14:47

Thanks for your thoughts, MC.

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M.C. Newberry

Sun 11th Aug 2019 14:10

The original was a popular music hall song that I recall from my own
boyhood - on a small acetate disc owned by my Edwardian stepfather. It still gives pleasure. I'm not sure that "police" is the
correct term for the security forces employed to face public order
in that area at that time. Let us recall the definition applied here in the UK - the yardstick description of the word police - "means the
arrangements made in all civilised countries to ensure the inhabitants
keep the peace and obey the law. It also refers to those employed
for that purpose."

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John Coopey

Sun 11th Aug 2019 12:02

No race/nation/class holds a monopoly of evil, Dorothy. Nor do they hold a monopoly of virtue.
(And thankyou for the “Like” Branwell).

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John Coopey

Sun 11th Aug 2019 11:41

Thankyou, Don. I don’t Know if you (and others of your short years) are familiar with the original.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hI1nPd7hezM

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Don Matthews

Sun 11th Aug 2019 11:08

I don't know what to make of this
To laugh or bloody cry
I simply shake my head about
And give a great big sigh.......

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