UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Winning isn't easy

'Winning isn't easy' is a poem by IGP Poet-in-Residence Cameron Holleran

The word Berlin in light up letters on a yellow background

30 October 2018

‘Do you still think you can control them?’
Brian Roberts, Cabaret (1972)

Berlin bakes – a dry heat.
This is my second visit. Last time I did not know myself. With company, I visit the Schwules
museum and the memorial for homosexuals who were rounded up and murdered by the nazis.
I am reminded of the benevolence of straight people,
that – if all this is replayed – my friends and I won’t make it out alive.

Throughout the city, I read two words on peeling posters, tattered flags, scratched-up stickers,
banners sagging after years of rain: REFUGEES WELCOME. No caveat applied but
some have little pictures of a family of four – holding hands, fleeing to the left.

A week later, two refugees will be accused of murder
in Chemnitz. Summer heat adds to the rage of Teutonic sons
who sieg heil in veneration of a loser as they tear up the streets – not an isolated case.

In Charlottesville, they marched.  In London, they marched.  In Chemnitz, they marched,
with more marches coming. No-one said that I
would have to spend my twenties fighting nazis . I’m tired, and that’s how they win.

I rewatch Cabaret and scream with Sally in a tunnel as the trains pass overhead.