A lock me up, Boris, and throw away the keys Brexit
They say tensions are mounting
I’m up for the pound taking a pounding
No longer Europe’s little tease Brexit
Maybe we should see other nations
Quite like the sound of some Atlantic flirtations
Only need the odd Spanish vacation
I’m ready for my next exotic squeeze Brexit
I’ll tighten my borders, my own needs come first
The fruits of your cheap labour no longer quench my thirst
My article 50 lies spread-eagled on the table
I swear, after this break-up, I’ll be strong and stable
I’ll subsidise with little white lies
Rule Britannia with bedroom eyes
I’ll have my cake and eat yours too
As long as you know there’s no jumping this queue
So darling, auf wiedersehen, gracias, merci,
Our free trade was first rate
But I’m sure there’s plenty more fish in the sea
But then, it’s 4AM, I’m staring at old texts
I’m missing your French kisses; I’m wondering what is next
The only thing I know is that I can’t quite call it quits
Hey Europe babe, miss you, let’s be friends with benefits
indy100 caught up with Wouters, who said the naughty, double-meaning-ladden poetry was the perfect medium through which to tackle "the sadomasochist tendencies of the Leave campaigners."
After the referendum vote, I noticed that a lot of the rhetoric surrounding Brexit was loaded with potential double meanings, so I started playing around with the language. May’s ‘strong and stable’ sounded like a mate in the middle of a messy break-up proudly declaring that they’re absolutely fine, while you know they’re kidding themselves and were just sobbing in the bathroom a minute ago.
This format of this erotic / ironic flirtation felt like the perfect approach for me to tackle Brexit. The sadomasochist tendencies of Leave campaigners provided a great source of inspiration as well.
Along with the 3.5 million Europeans form the continent in the UK, Wouters hadn’t been allowed to vote in the EU referendum, yet she’s had to apply to stay in a place with no guaranteed rights that’s been her home for over 10 years.
How did that make her feel?
“There’s definitely an increased level of uncertainty about the future,” she told indy100. “We’re in a strange limbo. When I first moved here for university aged 17, I never thought I’d one day be questioning if, or trying to prove why, I still belong in this country I call home.”
I took freedom of movement for granted - an amazing way to broaden your horizon; to study, live, love, travel. The idea of a country willingly giving this up and thereby making their world smaller again never really crossed my mind until the idea of a referendum came up. That’s probably the one feature I’ve missed most in this debate... Amidst all the negativity, I wish that the conversation around the actual benefits of being part of the European Union had been louder.
Although I can sympathise with sections of Leave voters who, at the time, were frustrated at feeling left behind by the government, I am also very aware of the increasing xenophobia.
I’m lucky enough to live in London, which for the most part feels incredibly welcoming and diverse, but I realise this isn’t the case everywhere.
Many other social media users were impressed by her initiative.
Wouters said her poem is an act of defiance - a way of "sticking two fingers up at Brexit."
As I couldn’t take part in the referendum vote, I felt disenfranchised, and compelled to share my experience from the sidelines in a different way... poetry as punk. The irony of not having a voice in the vote, yet already being affected most by its outcome, hasn’t been lost on any of the EU27 nationals in the UK, nor on the Brits living on the continent.
At the same time, I also didn’t want to portray myself as a victim - I have a degree, a job and a house (as well as a native country with a high quality of life to return to, in case it all kicks off.) Looking at Britain’s levels of homelessness, increasing poverty and unemployment, I worry about the impact of Brexit on vulnerable people who are already struggling massively.
Part of the reason the poem gained such traction online is because it's hilarious. Such a serious topic - the future of the country. Why make it funny?
In times of turmoil, I think it’s important that artists can challenge, empower, inspire and advocate through what they create. Art has the power to offer a little slice of love, compassion, dissent or much-needed escapism, especially during societal upheaval.
Poetry and humour are amazing tools for doing that. I also feel that a tongue-in-cheek attitude allows you to get away with so much more as well.
Finally, the poem was filmed in a greasy soon cafe in london because, she said, it "feels like an inherently democratic place with a community in the UK."
"To me, a greasy spoon, much like a great pub, feels like an inherently democratic place within a community in the UK. It’s one of those rare places where people of all walks of life will sit shoulder to shoulder - enjoy their cuppa & share a moment with whoever’s next to them, whilst waiting for their full English."
At the same time, this London caff (the Shepherdess by Old Street) also provided an interesting mix of British nostalgia, Danish bacon & countless different languages being spoken in one space. Sometimes, the poetry writes itself.