Home Grown Refugee

This is a piece written about taking my Nigerian girlfriend to the remote and very ‘English’ village where I lived back in 1979

Home Grown Refugee

In a place where white is historically the norm
face of colour was brought although still born…
in the same country, here she was delivered,
to a place where faces frowned and sentiments shivered.

Feelings hidden, forced smiles slice forward
while onlookers take an all too obvious step backward,
Although people are just that, just people,
She finds herself excluded, a social cripple.

Faces stare showing gross disappointment,
and sensitivity falls well short of warmth or compliment.
Only one stands up for this wrongly excluded,
And tries to point out the pain of hate to the deluded.

Forced to justify her race, her colour and even creed,
It’s like a trial, you cringe, and your ears almost bleed.
It’s hard to believe this face of colour could be so cast down,
Not quite cast out but a refugee still, only home-grown here born.

Can we ever see past skins of a different pallor?
What does it matter, the faith of the wearer?
Who is so much better to make a discriminatory judgment?
Where can this terrifying difference find positive evolvement?

Eventually accepted, she in general, but not specific,
Life is tolerable, maybe acceptable, but somehow peripatetic,
Often referred to as the dark one, ha, sometimes the chocolate beauty,
But underlying the smiles still her difference, sits awkward and acutely.

David Rollason
April 2016


Inside the Walls

This is a piece that should be self-explanatory, for some anyway….

From a quiet without peace
in a box without exits,
sky barred from the inside,
in a world with no light.
Hard bedding, hard seating,
hard walls, floors and ceiling,
hard luck for your freedom
locked safely away.

A pad mate that you had
no choice in selecting,
nice boy or some nut case,
you just hope for some care.
Try making some new friends
take note in the choosing,
you may get a little
more man than you need.

Blue jeans and thin sweat shirt
give no man one quarter,
ill fitting and shapeless,
it’s wear it or freeze.
In cell or out yard side,
time passes but no speed,
your term locked around
you will take its own pace.

With smart shirt and black shoes,
tie clipped at the bull neck,
young warder or old hack
takes pleasure in pain.
Not always the hard kind
but inside your psyche,
they hold all that keeps you
from knowing your name.

With hard times ev’n good times,
the choice is no longer
the one, maybe once
was all yours to command.
Just sit out your sentence,
the loss of your loved ones,
all memories and fancies,
locked safely away.


From a Darkness

This is a piece that I wrote some time ago now as an insight on depression and near loss

From a Darkness that crowds out all reasonable sight,
you crave just the smallest chink of some life-giving light,
if not to complete you or bolster your sagging resolve,
at least it might warm you and make you involve
yourself into something constructive, definitely far more
than hiding all those festering fears behind your minds triple locked door.

From a Darkness that’s oppressive, empty, so cold and stark,
there has to be a way of re-modelling, your once envied mark,
even with all the troubles past, be they by honest curtailment,
who can live without some degree of comfort and mild entertainment
which once lifted your heart, lifted your mind, lifted your body your soul
and worked out a way of reaching, some more meaningful goal.

From a Darkness where light’s been almost snuffed out,
locked away not by choice, its loss only fuels your nagging doubt,
that were you ever someone who might have had any worth,
any kindness, if ever you did, distinctly now, there’s a deepening dearth.
But if you cut out some of your ‘things’, you could move past all that now,
but it’s still down to a strict society to dictates all your why, when and how.

From a Darkness where light struggles so hard to escape,
no matter how much you play it down, stand it up, or ape
in ways that seem so false, many crude, rude, insincere,
fed only by bravado and bluster but formulated from a very real fear
of the stronger side of your menacing, mangled, inverted mind,
that snuffs out what’s left of the goodness, leaving you blooded and blind.

From a Darkness, light somehow has to come through
to give you a life back with some validation, let you start again, anew,
plumb some depths, be more honest, if only it were for real,
some sort of life might be found, one that might even have an appeal,
or is the old one the better one, personable, at least more congenial
do you go with the safe? the straight? or the lifeless and the menial?

From a Darkness, Light, oh yes they tell you it’s all out there,
but it’ll get no closer if you just sit there, blank faced and stare,
but every effort and really trying finds you empty still firmly chained,
‘cus at the back of mind your inner truth is still intact, if firmly reined
to that cruel course you’ve long chosen, embedded now oh so deep,
it’s the way that you are, every minute, even through sleep.

From a Darkness, points of light still sharp if faint ever so tantalising,
but then they always were, no, your lost, to simple romanticising
of what others all managed, albeit with some pain, only to find,
that nothing matters, it comes as no blow but never good, never kind.
You make it seem that you’re still happy, but knowing that you’ve lost,
doomed to live your own life, cold, alone, and very singularly cursed.

From a Darkness, you sit there in the gloom,
it’s safer for all if you stay away, except for a few to whom,
you make out your coping just fine and in a perverse way you still are,
anyway who really needs things material, you’ve managed thus far.
But there In your darkness you steer away from the light,
at least sane society is saved from your malignancy and blight.
But the darkness still threatens, the lights, they seem to be gone
what’s left for you now, perhaps just the one final act and there, it’s done.

Ties Up

This short prose poem is derived from difficulties that I had at school and certain bullies, It is accompanied by what I hope is a Haiku on the matter.

School ties tied in any number of odd ways despite being regulation width and colour and stripe they all look so different somehow. Some are tied short some overly long some friendless not tied round a neck in any way. Mine, clean, almost anyway, starts off neat, just touching trouser top till in the playground if not on the crowded, stale, stifling bus some half-witted buffoon decided to lop most of it off. New day, yet another new tie what adventure will this morning sway. Should such a thing be consigned to a hidden history, for many a reason it doesn’t, it won’t and a curious counter obsession grows into a wardrobe stuffed, if not overstuffed with things of the perverse and diverse in colour, pattern, patina and pronouncement. Things that should never see the light of day, fortunately, remaining inanimate, they don’t – do they?


Tie knotted neatly
soon parted in violence
a bully brokered obsession

Why do I write?

This is a piece that I wrote while having a bit of a writing ‘crisis’ questioning the subjects and styles that I was writing in and about and wondering if readers and listeners were getting what I was going on about. I think I’m more confident because of this self examination.

Why do I write
when it’s sometimes a fight
to get out of my head
what I want to be read.
To make it light
but when in plain sight
it’s reads mostly trouble
and sometimes a muddle
of things that you hope
people may find easy to cope…
with when they read
while inside you just plead
that they take it on board
as you meant, but they don’t applaud
as its dark and unfit
and may drop you in the shit
from a mind that has contracted…
into itself, a brain now so impacted,
those lost cares and sensitivities
banished by many odd proclivities.

So which part of you is real,
why do you deny what you feel
in a world that berates
all the things that it hates
or misunderstands.
Why is it hard to command
a body that has craving…
for things, as plain as paving
but, what it real?
when you must lie of how you feel.

To the few that still care,
are you being very fair
to them or yourself…
or should you put it high on a shelf
in a dark cupboard, locked…
safe away, saves being mocked
and then live out the lie
to the day that you die.

Soon you must make your choice,
decide now on which voice,
the one that is kind,
making noise, beating in time,
made of sugar and spiced…
puppy dogs tails, happily spliced
into a nice little boy,
only this one riddled with ploys,
where you hope to win favour
only really it’s never…
going to work
when a menacing dark
lingers close,
oh so close,
peaking out,
spreading doubt,
sucking down,
tarnishing the crown
that you wear as a cowl…
to yourself, still crying foul.

Now, it’s time to either put up
or shut up,
try to sit,
try to fit.
Is it done?
Yes, it’s done.

Who has won?

The School Cruise

A fruit Cake Just Exploded

This is another extract from memoire that I have recently completed,
‘A Fruit Cake Just Exploded’ ;
the book is available on Lulu.com and also Amazon.

This piece is the account of a
13-year-old pubescent boy having a close encounter with another.

Being at that peculiar age of 13, I had no care for the sacrifices that my parents made. It was my father actually who amazed the rest of the family when one afternoon he asked if anyone was ever going to notice that he had given up smoking. It had been two weeks and no one had. In the early 70’s it was still socially acceptable to smoke although I was the only one in the family that never did. With suitable mock horror and exaggerated surprise, we all pretended that we knew all along, but of course we didn’t. Being suitably uninterested in how my father had managed to give up his 40 a day habit from well before his RAF days, the important result for me was that he had been putting the cash equivalent away and, after a few more months of frugality and healthy living, I got to go on the school cruise.

Leaving the chill of a very British February, we flew out to Naples and then spent 14 days visiting Italy, Sicily, Crete, Turkey, Greece and finally flying back home from a very wet and cold Venice. It was a whirlpool of culture, sightseeing, sea sickness and stupidity. Despite all that or perhaps because of all that, I am left with what is most likely, a rather rose-tinted memory of having a splendid time. Dozens of rolls of film, copious notes and drawings, every daytime minute filled with history and histrionics, trips and trivia. These generally good things thankfully managed to overshadow the more difficult aspects of mass living that I had never experienced before. Dormitory sleeping arrangements, intense airless sweaty heat, constant crowds and noise plus the diabolical food managed to cripple my already fragile confidence. While I lost about two stones in two weeks, not that it should have done me any harm, I did decide that if this was being part of society, mixing with fellow humans was not going to be something I could relish.

The night times were always the worst nightmare; for me anyway. Having hardly ever had to share a bedroom at home I was not used to sleeping with other people, let alone this company of hormone brimmed boys. As you might imagine, night-time was not necessarily for sleep not with all that fun and freedom to be explored and exploited. The teachers were billeted just across the gangway but only made token attempts to control the mayhem.

My role in this chaos seemed to have been decided very early on in the trip, from my already dubious reputation I was the marked the miserable one, the too serious one and in the end, I thought I played my part very well. All I wanted was to sleep and not get into trouble, but it hardly ever happened without one big fuss or another. Eventually, very eventually, the self-styled pirate hoards and their merry followers would get just too tired, fall into their bunks and drift off to the steady rocking of the ship and the background hum of the engines only a few more decks below. It was in this relative quiet of the night that my most feared and yet deeply desired dream nearly happened; it might have actually been a dream but it was certainly very real at the time.

This particular night, everyone was settled although you could always find someone getting up or quietly moving about. Thinking that it was just another toilet call, I lay there and hoped for sleep to finally fall. My assessment had been right and I listened and pictured the relieved bladder as it came back into the cabin and padded quietly, feet slapping gently on the hard metal floor. What I wasn’t expecting was someone climbing under my blanket at the other end of the bunk. Peering tentatively over the edge of the covers, the dim night-lights allowed me to recognise one of our own boys. One of our classmates was a sleep-walker. We all knew about it as it had nearly stopped him being allowed to go on the trip altogether. He lived in the same village as me and was unfortunately, one of my early somebodies on whom I fine-tuned my voyeurism; mainly because of his tightly curled beautiful blonde hair. This now unkempt hair settled itself down seemingly with no notion of where he was, I couldn’t help wondering if this was my reward for being patient or if it was just one big sleep walking mistake.

Not knowing what to do nor wanting to miss any chances, I could only lie there and wait to see what might happen. So I waited; and waited. He made himself comfortable and that was it, so what was I going to do now? As I had no frame of reference, I still did nothing. No one else seemed to have seen him get in the bunk or be bothered about it if they had. Silently, although almost forgetting to breath, my heart and head were getting close to a state of pure panic. Frozen to the sheets rather than animated by my fears I tried to take in what might be happening.

His breathing had slowed and his warm smooth weight had settled comfortably against my legs. He didn’t react as I eventually managed to lift my head up enough to see if there were any clues about what I should, or even could do next. His eyes were shut tight in his angelic face and the blanket gently rose and fell over the contours of his rounded torso, he was fast asleep.

The bunks were narrow but long so although so we were very snug, lying head to toe there was no other option than to be touching at several points along our length but. Despite my normally fantastical imagination, my fear, if that was what I was feeling, couldn’t contemplate any action.

Someone else got out of bed a few bunks down and also went to the toilet, passing right by us as they did, fortunately neither of us moved to attract attention until they had passed. This terrifying moment for me did prompt Owen to roll over, still asleep, to face my legs curling and sliding his one leg up over mine and planting his foot unintentionally in my groin. The move had me completely pinned down. As there was little that I could seem to do, I was interested to find that some of my fears were being calmed by this rather intimate contact. To add to the confusion I could feel my groin expanding at the gentle attention of this soft warm foot. Equally mechanically, I felt the added pressure of his not inconsiderate genitals pressing against my knee; I had no idea what was I going to do with it.

We were both in our fully enclosing night-clothes but this degree of closeness was something that I had longed for and had dreamed of so many times, I couldn’t believe that this could actually be happening, not here, not now! Despite my visualised and now potentially real pleasures, I couldn’t find the strength to make any kind of action. Being so close and yet so, so far from something turned out to be far worse than having nothing at all.

Eventually because of the pain building up in my extremities, I did slowly move my one arm from beneath his outstretched and rather heavy leg. With this one piece of freedom I desperately wanted to reach out to at least make myself more comfortable but the inevitability of touching my soft erection. My rather darker consciousness was pushing for me to reach out further and touch him instead so I did; not being able, or even wanting to resist. A tentative and gentle touch to the back of his enfolding leg didn’t seem to get any negative reaction. He stirred a little but to my surprise, not very much. He rocked a little from side to side to settle himself further and he was now facing down over my outstretched legs and I felt the twitch of his penis against them which in turn stimulated mine even more.

After what seemed like a lifetime, I slid my arm further out into the covered darkness and it met with the firm but relaxed roundness of his buttock cheek. Beautifully warm, it clenched up firm and round to the almost feather light touch of my palm and finger tips. The minute but perfect movement moved more than the earth of my obscure erotic fantasy and I had to quickly grab my now solidly erect member to stop it from exploding its sticky mess over both of us.

With my legs tensed against the possibility of ejaculation I hoped that the immediate danger was ebbing, Owen rolled back off me with a soft groan. His hand brushed against mine as he searched for and then stroked his own tented pyjamas. Knowing that I was closer than I had ever been to another fully erect and seemingly compliant contemporary, I couldn’t move the last few millimetres to actually touch the enticing member. He moved again and I pulled my free hand away as he slipped sideways silently onto the floor from under the blanket; fortunately we were on the bottom bunk. Even in the dim light I could just make out the shadowy outline of his still distended pyjama trousers. With the coldness of the floor his eyes flickered open momentarily before closing again as he made his way silently back to his own bunk just opposite mine. All I could do was lie there, disappointedly gazing out into the gloom as he settled into a deeper unknowing sleep, leaving me with improper hopes and dreams dashed and a puddle of now cold seamen sitting in my hand.

For a love that dare not speak its name

I wrote and performed this piece for a Valentine’s Day public presentation on the theme of ‘Love’ given by Writers Without Borders, 14 February 2015 at the Library of Birmingham.

In this world there’s a love that still dares not speak its chill name
yet is still spoken freely by those glinting in dull or dubious fame,
yes there’s renting of cloth and the odd muffled cry
but it’s mostly all bluff when you look deep in their eye.

History rich has its queens but acknowledged only after…
they are dead and then couched just above the bear bater.
But in these decades, pseudo modern, where man’s closet should be open
he’s still akin to a sleeping dog that’s only safe for not pokin’.

Pink triangles which when worn to the gas chambers horrified…
the world but what lessons did we take, most are lost or now nullified.
Be it culture, religion a personal preference or just nature
what’s so bad with being us, to make a man’s man turn into a hater.

In the gloss of god-fearing fervour some rules do get adjusted
but attrition still sees bodies bashed and sweet heads bloody and busted.
The laws may have changed but who sticks to the rules,
and like witches of old, some would have us still, drowned in deep dark pools.

Life in the world of the many, amongst the plain and the dull
it’s a much different take where, if you feel like fighting for a full…
life if still shrouded in shadow, it’s more often the fear
that a misguided comment will mark you unacceptable, a dirty queer.

People tell you they don’t mind, if you’re light on your toes
as long as they aren’t asked to be sat next to ‘one of those’.
‘Keep your backs to the walls lads’, the air’s freely washed with your shame
for being locked in a love that still daren’t speak its bone chilling name.