Capitalist Dreams

In the spirit of Mayakovsky

The World is Sick of Dreaming

Sometimes I wish my bed were as high as a mountain, but then I would be scared looking over the edge.
Sometimes I wish my flat were huge, with vast halls, with rooms as big as cathedrals and ramparts; a palace like El Escorial, but then I would soon get lost.
Sometimes I wish I had a thousand amusing friends, but then which one would I talk to every day?
Sometimes I wish that I could eat the best food in the world when I wanted: the sweetest, blue-corn tacos with cuitlacoche, but I’d soon sicken and fatten.
I wish I were so rich I could buy a racing yacht with an interior trimmed in gold and white leather and a helicopter with silver blades whirling.

Hold on.

Excuse me.

I don’t actually wish for that; for a yacht with a gold washbasin.

Wake Up!

The world is sick with dreaming
It’s not just me
I’ve seen it in your febrile eyes too.

These wishes are curses.

A narcotic of ambition
These wishes are evil spells.
Woven to trap butterfly minds.
Manufactured desires

Meant to subdue and neutralise.

Wishes designed to dupe the struggling young graduate, the lottery ticket buying pensioner, the underpaid nurse, the teenager in the box room, the free-lance model, the teacher marking 100 essays before an inspection, the workplace bullied, the disabled women and her care worker from Romania, the young Ugandan swimming pool attendant, the old Pakistani night watchman, the small Nepalese cleaning lady.

All of them are caught, all of them stung, paralysed and dreaming, dreaming, dreaming…

…dreaming greedy, winner-takes-it-all nonsense!

In Nairobi I dreamed of eating a hill of cherries.

To hell with the dreamers!

They are dreaming from soap opera scripts,
Inspired by movies made by sinister Svengalis.
Encouraged by people who have already got it all stitched up.

Forget those fantasies,
Explore reality.

Demand love and human dignity.
Demand an education and a good job.

Demand council houses and a plot of land.
Demand that nature be protected.
Grow vegetables, live near birds, bees and trees.

Wish for something worthwhile if you must wish.
Wish to live in harmony with your neighbours.
Wish for equality, workplace democracy.
Wish for an end to exploitation.

Vote for the kind man, the kind woman
Don’t vote for the well-off,
Overeducated, eccentric

Devil may care masher
You secretly wanted to be.

Work for an end to poverty.
Work for an end to disease.

Defend the rule of good laws.

The world is sick with dreaming
And it’s not just me.
I’ve seen it in your febrile eyes too.

Capitalism is as evil as the monkey’s paw.
And if it keeps its hold of this planet
We will soon wish we were dead.

I wish for nothing now, but to get rid of these possessions.
To pack up and leave this place.

To go home.
And to live.

To go home to New Malden
and work alongside you
without illusions and to live,
wide-awake, in your company.

Phil Hall is a college lecturer. He is a committed socialist and humanitarian. Phil was born in South Africa where his parents were in the ANC. There, his mother was imprisoned and his father was the first journalist from a national paper to be banned. Phil grew up in East Africa and settled in Kingston-upon-Thames. He has also lived and worked in the Ukraine, Spain, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Phil has blogged for the Guardian, the Morning Star and several other publications and he has written stories for The London Magazine. He started Ars Notoria in May 2020.