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Rong Radio

Benjamin Zephaniah chose these poems to contribute to this special issue of Peace News

My ears are battered and burned an I have just learnt 

I’ve been listening to the rong radio station
My mind has been brutalised now the pain can’t be disguised
I’ve been listening to the rong radio station,
I was beginning to believe that all black men were bad men
and white men would reign again
I was beginning to believe that i was a mindless drugs freak

That couldn’t control my sanity or my sexuality
I was beginning to believe that I could not believe in nothing except

nothing, and all I ever wanted to do was to get you, and do you
I’ve been listening to the rong radio station.

My future has been blighted I’m so short sighted
I’ve been listening to the rong radio station
I was beginning to not trust me, in fact I wanted to arrest me
I’ve been listening to the rong radio station,
I’ve been dancing to music that I can’t stand
I’ve been reciting commercials to my girlfriends
I’ve been trying to convince myself that what i really need is a sunbed
And a mortgage and some hairspray, the kind of hairspray

That will wash my grey blues away,

I was trying to convince myself that I shouldn’t care about anyone else

But myself,
I was trying to convince myself that I could ease my conscience
If I gave a few pence or a few cents to a hungry baby in Africa
Because African babies needed my favours
Because Africa is full of dictators, and oh yeah

Globalisation will bring salvation!
I’ve been listening to the rong radio station.

I thought my neighbours formed an axis of evil
I wanted to go kill people
I’ve been listening to the rong radio station,
I was sure I didn’t inhale

So why is my mind going stale
I’ve been listening to the rong radio station
I was beginning to believe that Moslems were terrorist
And Christian terrorist didn’t exist,
I really did believe that terrorism couldn’t be done by governments
Not our governments, not white governments,
I just could not see what was rong with me.
I gave hungry people hamburgers you see
I was beginning to believe that our children were better than their children,
Their children were dying from terrorism but I couldn’t hear their children call
And a child from Palastine simply didn’t count at all.
What despair? No children I was not aware
I’d been listening to the rong radio station.

For years I’ve been sedated

Now I think I’m educated

I’ve been listening to the rong radio station
and every time I felt ill, I took the same little white pill

I’ve been listening to the rong radio station,
When I started I was curious but then it got so serious
I was cool when I began but now I really hate Iran
And look at me now I wanna make friends with Pakistan
I wanna bomb Afghanistan

And I need someone to tell me where the hell is Kurdistan?
Yeah, you can be my ally for a while

Until I come to bomb your child
and I’m sure there’s a continent called the Middle East
And I think I can bomb my way to peace
I’ve been listening to the rong radio station.

I’ve been listening to the rong jams

I’ve been listening to the rong beats
I’ve been listening to the rong radio station,

I’ve been listening to the rong tones

From the rong zones
I’ve been listening to the rong radio station,
I’ve been listening to the rong voices
I made such mad choices
I’ve been listening to the rong radio station,

I’ve been listening to the lies
I’ve been listening to spies
I’ve been listening to the rong radio station.

I wanted to know what some pop star somewhere

Was having for breakfast
I wanted to know that I was no longer working class,
I needed to know if the stock market rose one percent
I needed to know that I had a ruler to give me confidence
I needed to know that my life would improve loads
If I had an operation on your nose.
I needed to hear that DJ say Good morning, Good morning
I thought he was there just for me, I loved the way that he would say,

This show was sponsered by
Oh my oh my, he made me cry
I’ve been listening to the rong radio station.
Can you dig this?

I put my self on a hit-list
I’ve been listening to the rong radio station
I’m laughing and I’m crying

As I’m watching myself dying
I’ve been listening to the rong radio station.

Listen to it, can you hear?
Listen to it, can you hear?

Listen to it, can you hear?
Listen to me, keep this frequency clear.


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