Surreptitious Surveillance by Deanne Heron

Poetical Justice – Black citizen challenges traffic camera


  • Fantastic storytelling … If only many people would tell their story in such an honest way,” Alex Pascall OBE musician and educator.
  • “Brave attempt to question the camera and the judge
  • Deanne Heron welcomes your review and creative comment  for publication.
  • Deanne Heron, author
    Deanne Heron, author


Madam you are brought before me in this court for criminal damage to public property.

Do you have anything to say in your defence – what is your plea?

You are a law abiding citizen with no previous convictions as far as I can see.

Please state your case quickly this day so I might grant you clemency.

I am guilty Your Honour and to illustrate my case I have quite a lot in evidence to say.

Because I don’t think I should have been brought here in this disgraceful way,

In handcuffs in great embarrassment flanked for all to see by guards.

This traumatic experience, Your Honour, will leave me permanently emotionally scarred.

So come closer, dear reader, draw up a cosy chair and get yourself a drink.

While I show this Magistrate how to open his eyes, dust cobweb from his brain and think,

Let me tell you all a complex story of the sad modern human condition,

And the state controlled dependency of our 2014 technological position.

I’m a simple soul with no knowledge of things of the brain just a little basic biology.

My eyes glaze over and my brain shuts down when it comes to the wonders of modern technology,

But I must admit in recent years I like many others have had great cause for concern,

As there seems to be a peculiar plot for control which I cannot for my life discern.

Once upon a time, we’re told, we were created organic with bodies and sharp minds free.

We had individual choices as we evolved of where to go and what we wanted to be.

Then came competition in the garden, quest for power, jealousy and the great equality divide,

The differentiation of who should consume and who be consumed or provide.

When engineered tribal war and man-made religion did not subdue the masses – that’s us,

You used lies and technology to steal our souls and created fake humans without impetus.

Now psychological warfare in case we get wise again and consider revolt is what is used for harassing,

Modern cattle prods of surveillance in cities like sheep curtailed to stop us amassing.

Dear reader, recently feeling rebellious, I was tempted to speed through traffic lights on amber,

My heart missed a beat and I gasped at the camera when it flashed and made me wonder,

If I would receive in the next few days a postal violation fine, cos my tyres had breached the line,

And if I did not respond quickly would I be carted off to prison with a criminal record to do time?

As I waited for the traffic lights to change, I could hear my mobile telephone’s ring,

Your Honour, my eyes were fixed on the surveillance camera, too scared now to do a thing.

Then I see the strange piece of equipment like a bird straining its neck on its perch,

While one camera diligently watched the crossing, the other was trained on the door of the local church.

I was angry, I admit, intruding Big Brother CCTV keeping us too scared to express our wish to be free,

To speak out, discipline our children, take back and exercise our precious individuality,

It seems technology has become the perfect tool for stalking the poor and ethnic minorities.

Wielding whips on slave or prison ships, hangings and castrations are now outdated economic priorities.

Your Honour, tell me please, what is the real reason behind the surreptitious sinister surveillance?

Who films our every step in the guise of safety and to keep what exactly in abeyance?

Do these strange fruit on lamp posts, have power to mould thoughts and reprogram minds to conform,

To the state required Martial law of obedience and docile unnatural norm?

Madam, I admit I too am puzzled and cannot answer your questions relevant as they may be,

For I am just a Magistrate bound to obey the rules and uphold the law as you can see.

Please continue your thought provoking story for all in this court room are enthralled,

I think we’d all like to know why so many of these bloody cameras have been installed.

Unaware a stressed mother crossed the road pushing a pram and holding a little hand,

Your honour, she had no time for my idle musings as I questioned rules and tried to understand.

Then a vacant student casually cheated death by traffic as he guided his pristine bike,

And gave a finger gesture to an outraged motorist and told him to take a hike.

Enter a dishevelled young man with something hanging from his lips that looked like a spliff.

He slowed down to help an old lady hobble painfully across on joints worn with age and stiff.

I smiled as he waved a courteous thank you to the cars waiting at the lights now changed to green,

And it gladdened my heart to be part of this touching human every day scene.

As the surveillance camera with intruding cold eyes continued to watch,

I wondered if it missed the compassion of this scene and many other things that it should catch.

Why wasn’t that camera working when my neighbour’s Gran was robbed and that young girl was raped?

Why didn’t the surveillance cameras film that so the real criminals didn’t escape?

There are no cameras when boy racers two inches from your bumper with flashing lights try to run you off the street,

Drowning out my Bob Marley’s conscious lyrics with loud derogatory rap music’s heavy beat.

Why wasn’t the Mercedes caught on film that over took me on the inside lane at fifty in a thirty mile zone?

Sending flying all over the road the workmen’s long redundant abandoned traffic cones?

Why don’t they film and fine the local Council for the huge pot holes and cracks in the roads,

That I’m sure must be in breach of some part of the Highway Code?

Then there are the permanent road works – they’ve been mending our drains for over a year,

Causing rush hour traffic chaos on the high street morning and evening without a care.

And I understand they didn’t film the man who torched the Caribbean Club in his Klu Klux Clan mask?

Is it because they’re a corporate tool and that’s not part of the remit of their mysterious surveillance task?

So how were they able to film that gun in the black youth’s pocket firing round after round,

But they didn’t manage to film the officer who shot and kicked him senseless to the ground?

Your Honour, still pondering, I went to buy my lunch and clutching my fried chicken and spicy soup in a cup,

I came face to faceless machine gun like surveillance camera as I idly looked up.

Trained on the Caribbean food van from a gullible multi storey block,

Why would the State be interested in where we buy our lunch I wondered in confused shock.

Mr politician do you like the look of my lovely golden dumplings and spicy vegetable rice?

And like me are you concerned that they charge the right value for money price?

Or are you tracking and noting innocent people to catch the guilty few,

Simply because you have the power and an agenda and nothing better to do?

Why are you storing our private information in your computers just in case,

A crime is committed and the photo fit picture vaguely fits my face?

Does it really help you to produce your creative crime and demographic statistics?

While you reduce the size of our carrot, the bigger grows the corporate master’s stick?

The State is our God, we shall not know what we want, dumbed down, prescription drugged subdued,

Big Pharma damaged, media subliminally directed economic fodder to be used.

For in its benevolence it provides all our needs, fuelled by planted desires for photo shopped perfection,

We consume, tuck, snip or nip and bleach, inject and employ invasive liposuction.

For if you should really teach us and remove the mental and physical shackles,

Of brain fog inducing poisons in our food that makes us aggressive with raised hackles,

We would see the stagnant blanket of hate strangling our world more clearly,

We might have more of a desire to be our brothers’ keeper and hold morals and justice more dearly.

You could not contain us once enlightenment shows us we are capable of greater things by far.

Money we should spend to fix ourselves we waste heading for space and to pollute the stars.

Fear of hell fire or horned hoof devils are gone and unconditional love is the best tool to help us win,

We don’t need to live in obscene affluence and watch the world’s bones stick through emaciated skin.

For protesting, you criminalise, demonise and ostracise while Rome and Babylon burns,

Breaking white and black bones and spilling the blood of the working class, the wheel turns.

I know your bloody history of divide to weaken and conquer across the ages, so paranoia sets in feeding fears

Suspicion falls on everything now – my phone, television and car… everything has eyes and ears.

No illegal immigration and, not on probation but I think the fillings in my teeth record my thoughts and double as a tracking device,

Because being a simple law abiding citizen for the powers that be will no longer suffice.

I have lived to see the 21st century, numbered and labelled before I had a name,

With my first breath, polluted air, food and minds began their job to curb and maim.

As some become comfortable with intrusive technology in the fantasy world of films and television,

We who know privacy and rights of the individual, are laughed at as old fashion.

The young accept Big Brother in their lives in the real world as the way things should be

They are distracted with entertainment, addicted to social media but too blind to see.

Sit back and relax while we bring everything into your home and take the strain.

If it’s too good to be true then it is, for everything has a price – no pain no gain

We’re told nothing is free so what price is this intrusive benevolent Nanny State?

That packages and shepherds us docile to a falsely secure unknown fate.

And we will live unhappily ever after until our beautiful planet gets sick of us and combusts,

Earth to earth, ashes to ashes and dust to polluted acrid cosmic dust,

Then will God have another go – back to the universal drawing board?

Having learnt a valuable lesson not to create any more humans next time He’s bored.

Your honour, I got so mad after buying my lunch and coming back to sit and eat,

To see my car on the back of the police truck disappearing down the street.

I couldn’t believe it was mine for I paid my parking ticket and didn’t over stay.

So I’m guilty that was why I threw the brick at the camera for that just ruined my day.

I attacked the camera and yes; I over reacted I am not going to tell you any lies,

But I was so upset at the injustice, Your Honour, I just wanted to scream and cry.

I lassoed it with my scarf and with Herculean strength born of anger, pulled it to the ground,

Then I whacked it with my umbrella and gave it a satisfying kicking so sound.

It was after the officer handcuffed me that I noticed the newly painted double yellow lines

He said if I’d behaved they’d have given my car back with only a minor fine,

I think I swore at him then and told him something about the conception of his mother

He tightened the cuffs and said if I knew what was good for me I shouldn’t give him any bother.

On the way to the station I calmed down and told the officers my story, trying to make it witty,

I was really hoping they would forgive me, understand and have some pity,

But they rolled their eyes impatiently as we drove and told me that they didn’t give a buck,

They marched me in then booked me, threw me in a stark cell and locked me up.

I’m glad I battered the surveillance camera, Your Honour, and smashed it with all of my might,

For these are the working class’ greatest enemies now against which we must all fight.

Slavery did not obliterate my ancestors but now I feel black people have met their match,

Cos we don’t need whips or chains, house negroes or Uncle Toms on constant watch.

That is my honest story, Your Honour, of how I came to be in your courtroom here.

I love this country; I’m a law abiding citizen, it’s not that I don’t care.

So now you know my story and it is your story too, one you’ve heard many times I’m sure,

Please don’t send me to prison and tell them to throw away the key once they lock the door.

Madam, there is nothing more for me to say but that you have made an excellent case,

Of highlighting how far down this inhumane road we’ve gone and yes it is a disgrace,

I see my colleagues are nodding so please allow us to join your cause and go outside,

But we’ll start with the cameras in this court room and buss their blasted hides.


About the poet

Deanne Heron was born in Jamaica but came to live in England in 1967. She is a qualified counsellor/trainer and foster carer. She has published two volumes of short humorous stories, written in standard English with Jamaican patois dialogue, called Pardner Money Stories. Deanne reads her stories on local radio as well as presenting news and Black History Month programmes.
Deanne also has a personal interest in Black History and as such has delivered presentations to schools and heads of education establishments on the need for black history to be taught to young people.
Deanne’s primary school teacher’s love of poetry sparked her own interest in poetry and writing in general. She has found writing poetry an escape and a very therapeutic way to cope with racism and the harsh life she experienced in Britain on her arrival.

© Deanne Heron 2015












55 thoughts on “Surreptitious Surveillance by Deanne Heron

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  15. An eye opening, thought provoking wake up call into the world we live in today. Presented in the unmistakable, literary comical style of the fantastic writer and poet Deanne Heron.

  16. A Great piece, which uses many language techniques such as: similes, metaphors, personifications, oxymoron, sarcasm and more, to excite the reader.

    The use of the Courtroom analogy and stating the case in the writer’s defence is classical and engaging however, having used this instrument so skilfully, I would love for other aspects of this tool to be involved and I thought the case for their involvement was made however, I acknowledge this may compromise the case as it was made. In context, I would also like to hear a little more about initiatives’ that we, the dishevelled, dejected downtrodden have or are taking in a world-system where we are not acknowledged as key players.

    Some colloquial language used delights and appeals to particularly younger readers. I particularly enjoyed the Judge’s remark, “I think we’d all like to know why so many of these bloody cameras have been installed.” My earlier point about indicatives’ might best be answered by saying we have long-time acknowledged that “the size of the carrot is now a utopia and perhaps irrelevant, though “the bigger grows the corporate master’s stick”.

    The Judge’s summary, “But we’ll start with the cameras in this court room and buss their blasted hides.” Tends to mask a reality and for me, it’s not the systems but the ‘Gatekeepers’ and ‘programmers’, but exciting all the same.

    Skilfully presented and a really good read.


    1. WOW!! Tony thank you very much for this reflective and thought-provoking, constructive commentary. I will definitely take on board everything you have said. I know it is a LONG and quite complex piece, so I appreciate the time you and other readers have taken to read it through and to be so encouraging in your comments.

    1. Thank you Imani. I love writing but I like my writing to ‘say something’ and give food for thought. I am so happy that this epic poem appears to have done just that.

  17. Truly amazing. Wonderful storytelling ability. Drawing the reader in ‘as that could so easily be me’ and ‘yes I totally agree, thought it was only me’. Plus what a great sense of wit, written with skill, empathy and truth. Very thought proving.

    1. It just makes me smile when I read comments such as this Nads which makes me realise, yes… I did get my point across but not in a boring preaching like manner… maintaining a bit of humour to highlight a serious topic. Bless you.

    1. 🙂 🙂 Glad you made your tea before you started reading and that the poem held your interest. Thank you for reading it and for taking the time to comment Rose

  18. Thats a testament to your Great Talent and Black human consciousness ..
    In America we deal wit dis everyday..
    One Love ..

    1. Edward, I know you are an accomplished poet and a very busy person so for you to take time out to read my poem and comment, I am very grateful. And sadly, this is not just a problem in the UK, but in many countries around the world these days. Thank you for your precious time

  19. A wonderful journey seen through the eyes of… myself! I could relate to so many aspects of this poem. This is a tremendous skill Dionne x… 😊

  20. As usual Deanne your writing is cryptic and full of depth. With profound messages within. In my mind it encapsulates Today’s era and how so much has changed. The values, moral and belief. People are sheep in this social media game. Your story smacks of injustice at the hands of the focus on being small things. When there are so much bigger things for the justice system to concern itself with.

    1. So true Susan. That is what I wanted to get across, that society seems to have lost its way, no longer appreciating the important aspects of being human and valuing the little acts of kindness which separates us from the animals. I know you have a deep understanding of people so you will understand the point I’m making precisely. Thank you my sister.

    1. Really glad you enjoyed my poem Tracey. I know that you are a sensitive kindred spirit who cares deeply for others, so thank you for your continued support and encouragement

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