Richard Pierce

Life, Politics

Day 147

I’m starting this before I go on air in 25 minutes, but I won’t have it finished by then. I’ve been at my desk since 06:50, and have already achieved much, which is a relief after a couple of days when I’ve found it difficult to get up before 7, and when I’ve felt the day has gone before I’ve even got started. Nothing to do with putting pressure on myself – just everything to do with the feeling that time is going twice as quickly as I’m used to.

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time thinking about how normalised the illegal war in Ukraine is becoming (maybe I’ve said this before, but how can any war be legal?). 93 days it’s been going on. And all the illegal other wars in the world for even longer. It is difficult not to feel hopeless in the light of all this, and this morning (and last night) part of me feels just like hiding away from it all. But that’s what the powers that be actually want – for none of us to show to the courage to stand up against what they are doing. I have spoken about observational poetry and writing before, especially when the observations come not from being on the ground myself, but just from pictures I see on TV. And one observation is – what’s the point of obliterating a country you’re illegally conquering? Just to destroy the spirit of that country? Nonsensical power games that cost lives. It’s unbearable.

Five hours later 

My mouse stopped working one song into the show, which caused some hilarity, a lot of panic, the same song being played twice (If You Tolerate This by Manic Street Preachers), and a mad dash into the house to get a wired mouse and a battery for the wireless mouse. The wired mouse will from now on live in a drawer under the broadcast desk. Talking of which, I’m toying with the idea of actually building a broadcast desk in our bedroom on the shelves which currently house my vinyl. That would eliminate some clutter from A’s room (that she uses to broadcast from on Wednesdays), though it might cause some logistical issues. And I don’t think M would be happy to have it in any of the other rooms. Maybe I’ll just not do anything…

Straight from radio desk to work desk at 13:02, to delve into emails and respond.

Lawnmowers have come out in force in the gardens around me. Life goes on, apparently, in its usual jumble.



The room is dark now, and only the merest skinny glint of light comes in through the window opposite the bed, and a tiny shimmer through the old gap under the door, a gap that must have been there for centuries, judging by the patina on the wood, and the scratch marks on the walls. Aggie lies on top of the duvet, fully clothed, and wonders if all this furniture is Robert’s or if some of it came with the house. She breathes deeply, tries to keep it as quiet as possible so that she won’t disturb Anna whose breathing next to her is no shallow and regular. She closes her eyes and tries to visualise the place she mentioned to Robert and Martin, the place with all the flags and ships and the sea right next to it, the place where she thought she had been injured, the place where she thought she had been saved. But they’d said that the timing was all wrong, that it was too long ago, that all those flags were flying years before she was born.

The pictures are blurred, the ones in her head, and the memories with them, and her confusion becomes one of uncertainty and fear of loss, of something about her corrupting and corroding. She thinks about Poland’s proximity to Ukraine, of how even this moment there are missiles flying over those artificial international borders bring fear and death to uncounted people, untold families torn apart, bodies torn apart, blood bonds severed, and some man somewhere sitting behind an enormously long desk watching his feeds live and taking pleasure in seeing people and cities explode, a pleasure as perverse as it is evil, a pleasure that has nothing to do with the defence of his country, or his love for his country, for he has no love for anything or anyone but himself. And another screen, minute, discreet, right next to those of his deadly weapons doing his work remotely, anonymously, that he keeps looking at, where a never-ending scroll of numbers rushes past, where he counts his personal fortune, secreted away from those he claims to trust, from those he wouldn’t trust, not with his money, nor with his fortune, nor with his megalomania or madness. And a shadow behind him, a slender drifting shadow in a long black dress, arms bare, simple golden jewellery draping the wrists in real lustre, a shadow that lifts its arms as it stands behind him, and wraps them lovingly across his chest, and a cheek descending slowly to the top of his head, the eyes on his screens, and a gentle subtle smile on the white flickering face, and a gentle kiss onto his thinning hair. Aggie feels sick, but she can’t open her eyes nor look away. And the angle changes, and she’s watching from inside one of those screens now, as if she were part of the ether, as if she were part of the network, and she sees the face with the kiss, and the lip tugging away from the gums in a sneer even as the kiss completes and the man smiles, and the sneer stays, invisible to him, and the arms grasp him tighter, an imitation of passion, and two gold blades escape from the bracelets even as the arms still embrace him, and slide silently into and through his chest until they emerge from the other side, and his smile, instead of fading, stays on his face, even as his blood drips out of his mouth and onto the table he’s leaning on. The blades withdraw, the arms release, the face, her face, Cassandra’s face, stops sneering, backs away from the dead Putin, towards the back of the room, and dissolves. And, on the screens, the artillery falls silent, the bombs stop falling, the tanks roll backwards, the trees grow green again, and the war is over.

Aggie opens her eyes, looks at Anna, but Anna’s gone.

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