Sonnet 2,238

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imageSubconsciously, I wanted to be whole
I’ve known his face, his voice – my entire life
The way he looked and tasted to my soul
He’d manifest in daydreams and at night
If fully woke, I’d go and write him
down
In hypnagogic state I’d think him up
In sleeping, I’d make sure he was around
Then he’d be there in dreams or writ in book
My dreams were where he saw me at my best
Not trapped by waking ties nor misery
No hearts be broke, no ‘fessions be confessed
But love made by subconscious wizardry

Yet more to come, a twist to be revealed:
It came the day he proved that he was real.

All Lies Matter – By Guest Blogger, Dyer Wilk

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No, we don’t see them, my fair-skindred friends
The people whose lives we rent and we rend
We see darkness and blackness and blackification
We brand them a “them” – a generalization
We see thugs and killers and sinners who sin
Not fathers and brothers with love deep within
We see crack whores and hood rats who speak English bad
Not mothers and daughters with lives to be had
We see welfare, the lazy, the un-bootstrapped filth
Not children in need with stomachs to fill
We’ll doom them and damn them to prove our moot point
That black folks are violent and won’t disappoint
We watch them so closely for the slightest sign
That they’ll disobey us and step out of line
And if they comply, it’s all just the same
Compliance still buys them a shot in the face
And when bodies lie bleeding, we seek a distraction
Coz their lives don’t matter, not even a fraction

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We Can’t Breathe (The New Lynching)

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REPEAT AFTER ME: BLACK LIVES MATTER

Liberate Tutemet

#BlackLivesMatter

In The States died a black man, his arms in the air /such a threat to the force that they reckoned death’s fair/he was shot through the head and the hand and the chest/making sense to the senseless but not to the rest/
And another with asthma, unable to breathe/while the cops stood around with no care nor reprieve/ No stay of execution, and no conscious guilt/where black murder’s the norm with cops armed to the hilt/
From the womb to a tree still they swing as they die/it’s a very strange fruit tree for this century/And a twelve-year old boy wound up dead on the floor/as his life took a final and evil detour/where’s humanity gone? Has good nature been pinched?/as they take and they torture and finally lynch/
There’s no law any more and no signs of ’em stoppin’/for their decency’s dead and their kindness forgotten/and although…

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I’m being racist, but…

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I’m gonna go ahead and tell you that I knew a black person once. That’s what white folk do to prove they’re not racist, after all. So yeah – I’ll do that. I’ll tell you about the black kids I grew up with, and how black people have affected ME throughout my life – because that’s what we Caucasians do. We make it all about us. And I wouldn’t wanna disappoint. Plus, y’know – when white folk speak favourably of people of colour, they get all the cheers and accolades. Because white saviour, right?

So…

…as a little kid, I kinda sorta wanted to be black. It wasn’t that I particularly wanted to be unwhite, it’s just that, well, goddamn it – black folk were cool. They were smart, beautiful, funny, and lookupable-to. Yes – all of them. In those days, (late seventies – early eighties *I am a ‘little’ old – ahem*) you didn’t have to have a clone with whom to identify (otherwise in my case, there would have been some freckled ginger kid with an enormous nose, rubber lips and gozzy green eyes, presenting Blue Peter).

The tellyfolk I admired the most were people of colour. (Making sure you still know I’m not a racist) From Sesame Street’s Susan (now my son’s YouTube favourite, to make sure you know I’m not raising racists) to Playschool’s Floella Benjamin, it was THEIR skin that stopped me in my six-year old tracks. I still don’t know why. I think maybe I was a little bored of everybugger being white – ’cause those folk sure all looked the same…

My street was ethnically-diverse, too: two doors down, there was a white woman who married an Indian guy, and they had two Indlish kids. And yes – their house always smelled of curry, and it smelled FUCKING AWESOME. He was teaching her how to dabble in the kitchen with experiments in his native cuisine, and I (being a pal of their kids) got to taste the experiments! Me! How lucky was I?! (Loving foreign food:not racist).

I used to knock round with a black girl named M, who, despite having a white Mum and black dad, came out into the world even darker than he. Because genetics. Throwbacks. But there’s a thing, and the thing is this: if we throw OURSELVES back far enough, and climb that family tree high enough, we’ll find BLACK.

M had the darkest, smoothest skin. Dark brown, it was. And that’s all I’m gonna say on that matter – because, FYI, PEOPLE are not coffee or food. (Awareness of inappropriate vernacular: raceless). She also happened to be a World Champion Disco Dancer (no kidding), so to say I idolised her is the undermost of statements.  (Note: black childhood friend = I’m an awesome white kid).

Later on, in high school, I hero-worshipped this pair of lads who’d just joined the school. Twin boys from Nigeria, same age as me. One lad – K – was put into my class, his brother T in another. First thing I noticed about K was how smart he was. I don’t quite know what I expected but it wasn’t this: a boy from another country, speaking English, French, and now joining me in Latin class.

He became THE ONE. The one to beat. Everyone has that competitor, right? Well, that’s how it was. He was the genius of the class (*now an accountant in Paris, by the way), and the aim was to beat the bugger at everything. And ridiculous though that aspiration was, it made me better. It made me smarter, faster, and tougher.

*Making sure to point out that the man gone done good. Because I’m not racist. Wouldn’t want you to think he was a failure or anything.

Not once – not ONCE – did I experience any bullying being thrown his way. Neither was it thrown in the direction of any of the other black or brown kids in school – we just didn’t roll like that back then. Bullying happened, sure (to me, usually – because they liked to pick on swottery rather than hue) – but never white-on-black.

Now, though, things are different. They just are. I wasn’t a racist back then – I was a kid. You aren’t born into bigotry – you’re taught that shit.

Now? I’m TOTALLY racist. I don’t see people for who they are –  I see in colour. When I look at a black man, I see slavery, oppression, the past. I see white people in black people’s eyes, I see what we did to them, and that which we continue to do.

When I see a black man driving a car this side of the pond, I think how lucky he is not to be an Amercian – because I don’t see the individual, I see Messrs Castile and Crutcher.

If I see a black woman driving a megaquid car, or running a successful business, my first thoughts are “how fucking awesome”. I know how hard she must have worked and struggled to get where she is. And that, my friends, is racist.

I don’t do any of this stuff when it comes to white people. I don’t worry for my white friends when they go out wearing hoodies, or for any male friends who are asked to produce their driving licence. I don’t worry that my son will be shot to pieces for complying with the cops – because I don’t have to.

I don’t want to be a racist.  I don’t want to see in colour – but I have to. For now, I have to. I HAVE to treat black people differently; it’s what my heart tells me to do. I have to rant and shout that #BLACKLIVESMATTER until I’m blue in my pale face, because staying silent isn’t an option. And if this means I’m a racist, so be it.

And over here – whilst there may not be guns, there’s the GO HOME brigade. People of Colour or ethnic extraction being attacked at every opportunity. Bricks through windows from “people” (I use the term loosely) who like to see dead babies washed up on beaches.

I’m being totally racist but…now, I’m glad I’m not black. Because this means my son isn’t, either.

And if it keeps me AWARE, and if it keeps me EDUCATED, I will own my racist status just as I own my white privilege – and I will shout even louder. Alton doesn’t have a voice any more; so I’ll use mine to shout once more: BLACK LIVES MATTER. 

Don’t you dare come at me with that “All Lives Matter” horse shit. Don’t say “I’m not being racist, but..” and then go on to be a bigotty bastard. And don’t deny your white privilege. OWN IT.

Read between the lines. Everything’s not just black and white, y’know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRUIT

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The trees I thought had been destroyed
Are growing back again
The fruit’s already on them
And this: it’s really strange

It swings as it has swung before
And comes in black-brown tones
Their hanging place grows taller;
Their seeds already sown.

The trees they often come in blue
With weapons as the noose
For fruit still swings on Coplar trees
And drips with human juice.image

 

CHUCK

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imageI’m going to bathe with Ray Bradbury
And soak in his various tales
Or I might take a dip
With young Chuck Palahniuk
Or read of a Mellvian whale.
I could even have bubbles with Shakey
Or take Eric Arthur – he’s sick.
But if Burgess emerges
like Clockwork his dirges
will feature in my Limerick.
I could take a soakin’ with Edgar
And his ol’ Raven Lunatic
And do some explainin’
As legs get a shavin’
That Chuck’s surname’s pronounced Paula-nick.
I shall maybe go bathe with Sam Beckett
So Godot can maybe find me
And perhaps Stephen Hawking
Can do all the talking
Whilst I bathe and daydream of Sir P.
Ol’ Isaac ain’t gettin’ a look in
And neither is poor ol’ JB
And dear Ben sits alone now
On a shelf on his own while
The others all bow to Chuck P.
But no time for a tale in the bath now
I never do take in a book
The intention is there
To read, wash my hair,
When I’d rather aspire to be Chuck.
For the truth is, I’m sitting here writing
Whilst wallowing in my own muck
I’m soaking and thinking
Prevented from sinking
By mere thoughts of all wordstuff from Chuck.

IN WHICH FROST IS REWORKED

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Infinite roads diverged in a wood
Delighted I could travel all
And be one traveller, short I stood
And walked as fast as I could fall
To new twists and bends in time and space;
Then took another and the next,
And I kept the smile upon my face
I sleeved my heart and welcomed guests;
And all the people on those roads
Had driven me exactly the same,
For many loves became my foes
Those fake loves all writ in true love’s name.
But I kept hope and walked some more
Not knowing if roads would lead to death;
I doubted doubt, unsure of sure
Yet I fell in love with all I met.
Infinite roads diverged in a wood
With finite and unloving men
Most travelled ones were misunderstood;
For love, life, I’d take them again.