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

 

Consequence of loss

The shock of the cold weather is something we should be used too after living all these years, why does it never feel that way?


icey-windows

The ice-cold air stings ears

Its whistle stimulates tears

You only popped to the shops

But it’s as though they’re lopped

Off. Push cycle peddles harder

If colder but it’s faster

Ignore the hood of your hoodie

It’s not cool, youthful but shoddy

This will teach you a must

As off the bus too late you cussed

That favourite warm hat gone

It’s too late for looking wan

It’s an age degrading mind

That finds many things left behind

The ice-cold air stings ears

It whistles, not calming those deeper fears.

 

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.

HMP

Love off the rails

Commuting by train can be such a bore but who of us hasn’t played harmless games to pass the time?


The rocking of the train’s worn out velveteen seat
relaxing where it fits for tired head and hot pulsating feet,
no longer a nostalgic rhythm clickerty-clack, clickerty-clack,
just a quieter comfort from the featureless seamless track.

Images and colour change to quickly for appreciation,
soundless tannoy’s speak of each fleeting, nameless station.
Reflections flash past but too many to clearly view,
the attractions they feed in thankfully, limited to a few.

Amongst the crushed static travellers, few are familiar
although one or two stir up something more vascular
and you hope for a look or even a glance,
but features remain aloof, romance, no, not a chance.

Focused thoughts then seem to raise an attraction,
if only in a mirrored windows dark streaked reflection,
their eyes look deeper into yours, synaptic layers mingle,
you wonder just why they are so obviously single.

Sharp the thorns of rejection stick hard in your eyes,
with such overheated attention, is it such a surprise,
only you can’t give it up and these looks continue,
when you do find a smile, it steps past with ne’er an adieu.

Your station sequels in, the crush carries you in its sweep,
eyes open at what was a pat surely, on your one bottom cheek,
you reach back to find the as yet unseen set of warm digits
they clasp at your reaching and together you and they fidget
but hold on as you move to the freshness of the platform
where smile accepted you stroll, life partners, thankfully home.

paris-men-holding-hands

Winter

Withseasons8Winter the weather turning decidedly cold and wet, I though it time to bring out a few observations on the last of the seasons; hope you enjoy them


 

White wastelands glisten from chocolate box tops,
for most, these are things of memory where the fantasy we hope for stops.
Autumn’s detritus soaked by dew and more often frost,
means that the coldest of seasons has the years kindness, for now at least, lost.

Modern trends help make shorter days, normal days,
and with cold air less of a problem most can still relax and laze,
in the comfort of automated centrally governed heat,
steamed up windows belie the balmy temperature of your pampered and rather toasty feet.

The suns lower path is something only natural,
but you have no advantage and rearrange you diary try to make it more or less compatible,
car share mums dictate the drama of the daily school run,
with many trying to fit in work, it doesn’t take much weather not to get everything done.

But when we can, we make the most of the time,
start to plan for the seasons one great event, not too early but through pre Christmas sales you still do climb,
hold back? no sir, throughout every department the temptation’s ever there,
but you can always hide those secret presents somewhere, perhaps under the stair.

Distract from the practical to enjoy more of the theme,
a winter’s wonderland, you may even get to watch your local football team,
or rugby as they plunder the balls across ever muddied grass,
you cheer and whistle, scream ‘Wot, Ref’ when your favourite player has been dumped on his ass.

Snow lovers in current divergent climates have many a doubt,
and now have to plan ahead to get piste, just one or two if they can on an Alp,
those who stay home, take brief advantage, and hopefully some more,
of the odd days of white stuff done more safely with less risk of avalanche horror.

Others dust off the sled, that’s been hung in the shed,
find a slope, push, scream, bounce bang crash, you’re glad of the helmet on your head,
drag only slightly damaged yourself back home and a piping hot bath,
perhaps stick to the track now but at least you created a memory and had something of a laugh.

Then Christmas is here, at last, its been just too long,
excitement bursts from every corner, bright, baubley bounty, even the odd festive song,
‘Its not the same as it was’, that’s the usual comment my Gran’
who remembers nuts in your stocking and rare treats only seen at this time, of the white bearded man.

Festivals fly fast and then, oh dear they’re all done and gone,
New Year sees your decorations packed, the world looks rather plain and perhaps just a little wan,
They say its the lack of sunshine, nature’s natural, vitamin D,
all I know is that its just a matter of time as the world spins, and what will be, will be.

Why would a lover leave – a second time?

This is a sequel to – Why would a lover leave? You might like to read that one first HERE.


Hope had been so far out of view
that when your lover returned was it you
that need to pinch yourself of was it fate
that was twisting the knife as you stood craving at the gate

Was he for real
was he here to steal
your heart once more
or punch through to your core
and leave you rolling
clasped to a pillow enfolding
waiting for the pain to leave
as you silently sob and heave

But the touch of familiar warmth bodes well
and forgiveness flows from you from your invisible hell
as you stave off the urge to slap that perfect face
knowing it would only prematurely end the race
that you strive to win only by coming second
your eyes lock into his beauty and he is silently beckoned
into your arms where you hold him roughly
and scold him gruffly
only the words are of love and passion and empty vessels being once more filled
if you let any of these feeling out what fragile love you hope for would surly be killed

So with kettle boiling
and hidden tears scalding
you smile and attempt not to over-power
knowing that this could last for-ever or just a faction of an hour
he gives nothing away
but at least for now he will stay
for a heated roll in some metaphorical hay

But you can live with that
in the one bedroom flat
that is for now at least
a cornucopian out-flowing lovers feast

All to soon the morning is finally at its break
and cruel fate once more attempts to take
but some certainty this time lingers on
and he doesn’t slip through your fingers to be gone
but back he slides into the crook of your arm
and for now at least all in this emotional bubble is calm.

Why would a lover leave?

Lovers

Towards the playground

This is a prose poem that is an extract from a much bigger work that I might share over time. I had the pleasure of reading this today in a public performance given by one of the writing groups I am part of; Writers Without Borders. Check them out if you would like to know more about a great group of talented people.


Suddenly all mysterious right out of the blue, school days approach all unknown and new with only one saving grace it seems, a big brothers singular job to look out, Just, if he must, for shy little you only, with the safe sight of home gone he quickly, cruelly, lets go of your tiny trembling hand and walks on at a pace that leaves you blind, while you shuffle reluctant feet, scanning all around, all alone, uncertain of where to go, you run on to where hopefully there should be Others that might somehow happen to know.

Then you see all the other kids, running riotously around, they seem to know each other quite well, not that you can really tell, but doubt delights to confuse you and you’re still not all that keen.

Then recognition intervenes and there, two you smile at but being oh so painfully shy, you still only manage a limp ‘Hi Ian’, and ‘Hi Jimmy’, but they pass you right on by. So you try ‘Hi Helen’ but it’s the same and fully daunted you don’t go for the ‘Hi Peter’, who’s the one that you favoured, it’s sadly all to clear that even by this one impossibly perfect pal, you’re still not really counted.

A bell rings loud and it’s into class rooms all strange with seats that give cold comfort but you diligently do just as you’re told…. is this really what school’s like, till you grow up and get, so very old?

But then with paper and pencils and writing and sums, it all somehow seems to add up to something that actually, quite possibly, could just be fun, so perhaps it’s not all that bad and you decide to give it a go, just for today though, only on trial, you might go with the flow.

Soon then it’s playtime and with cold milk and growing hope you corner your pal Peter, “Hello, would you like to share this?” but with hard spoken “No!” he leaves you all alone again, to just sit and stare into your clean fresh iron hanky and here your disappointment you blow.

Despite many such hardships, this little school turns out not all that bad, days roll into weeks and soon fast forward to unimaginable years, what was all that fuss about, those cold academic concerns, those febrile confusions, bound up in such ridiculous childlike fears. But you have yet to discover that, in whatever educational age, you;’re never going to break into real school society where despite teasing glimpses you remain on the rim of those circles of seemingly impossible friendships .

Perhaps it’s just your mind that blocks such views with perceived incompatibility or can you allow yourself to make that small yet massive move to lift the impenetrable veil of Inclusion…but already you know you’ll suffer the wastelands of Exclusion.

school-playground-006

The Faith Militant

This is not my work but I was so moved by its powerful imagery I felt I had to share it to a wider auduence this morning. Well done Candice.


All through day and much of night
Flanks and mane, wet and steaming with exertion
Horses wild eyes rolling back in whiney
Pointed ears catch praying ravens cucolded in ramble
Her dress of tallow slung behind her
Trousered legs in leather
Brocaded by scars
Bare feet tattooed red coal
She is needed by everyone
Her very land straining to be closer to her unflinching fight
Clear barley fields with fire
Foxes, streaks of blood, scream premonition
Gather your children, they’ll
Show no mercy
Gutting girls on poles
Savage scarecrow
so we ride
To end your claim
Those you thrust open
Mending hymen by arrow
Blue face paint makes us demon
Vermilion hair
Yellow teeth bared

Black eyed warriors, low in saddle
Clipping tree lines like acrobats

She rides front, glorious
Silver on her head
Between her breasts
Her daughters flank her
Dark people of green isle
Speaking ancient
Clutching rabbit pelt and Dragon

Woman

Life

Bloodied thighs

Riding to battle bare chested
Milk cold on breasts who harness children
Fight for those who come after us

Boudica
Queen of Britain
Stepping out, tall sillouette
Against shadowed hill
Chalk and green man

Consonant Roman’s
Eerie barriage in closed rank
Purposed usurper
Open and flex

Somehow despite your metal
And masculine sputum
You stand unsure
Repulsed and fearful
Perhaps
Smelling menstral blood
The feathers of her
Quill
Rising in urgency
Faith
Militant

She left in her step
Legends of protection
We will not lie down
Forgo
Give up freedom
Be raped without protest
We are descended
Coppered
With Isini
Courage
Born with knife and
Swiftness

Witness our
Mother
She lives still
O-er
Migrating waters
Cliff and forest
Britannia
War and peace
An English
Child’s
First lesson

All poetry sole copyright of Candice Daquin. A Jar for the Jarring on sale through Amazon.

Source: The Faith Militant

Painless Agony

99 words that speak quietly of a dark night


 The night wasn’t there. The sleep wasn’t protecting me. The smooth-faced young warder was harvesting newly formed skin from my raw back; I was past screaming.

Working a hand loose I grabbed that distracted face as it concentrated on peeling my epidermis. Catching a finger through his large earring, he was incapacitated with the pain and I made it clear that I wanted out.

Staggering from weakness, hanging onto muscular shoulders, we moved awkwardly towards the brightness of our escape.

The alarm went off at the side of my bed and I shuddered myself out of the nightmare.

 

Painless Agony