Brexit Passions

I am condemned by others, wearing Asda’s finest, loving the curry, hating the Indian, them that visit Spain for sun with chips, who thought Labour was for the working man, they made the cross of wood and nails of iron.

That I must carry as this was born of my silence as factory whistles and streets of common worth became black and white movie reels.

Yet I stumble at shaky pensioners wanting back a childhood of back to backs and Empire cakes, and the Daily Mail Pharisees preaching whose life, whose tongue, speaks for me. Yet where was I when the tree was fell and the coal dug for the smelt of iron?

I watch a man round as a cottage loaf, t-shirt bare arms showing tattoos of faded love and sinking ships as a woman, hair dyed young, worn jacket too big for a shrinking body, kisses away his tears. I walk on, mothers are a story that others tell.

Let me help, another man says. Yet he speaks hope too loud like a Bible reading where God wears jeans and Angels are your buddies.  But he walks with me to rattle away the cawing rooks pecking at scattered seeds.

She doesn’t cry in the wilderness. So give her face to courage, let her smile words at bitter lips, let her be the icon lit with candles where flowers are gathered to rest.

Yet I stumble at save us flag wavers defending the big lie, the golf club wise men seeing no star. Yet where was I when the tree was fell and the coal dug for the smelt of iron?

Of the three, this woman listened between words, gave a wordless touch, let the day decide the colour of lipstick and if a Judas kissed she’d hit and forgive latter. When they called the sea a moat she and her sisters ran over waves to show how free they were.

Yet I stumble at those tongue smiths who made hard words too polished to see, who played the game, who spoke holding only rotting apples. Where were they when the tree was fell and the coal dug for the smelt of iron?

I am stripped, left nothing to reap, made a single road, given a shroud for a wedding dress.

It will go away, this wood will flower with May blossom, the nails will strike bells, candles will light the way not weep at dark silence. And pain is but thunder clearing a sky for dawn mists.

Forgive them for they know not what they do.

As I fall, hold me, give me warmth, reach out to each voice, make them a choir, sing with birds and dance with the breeze, make heaven seen.

And from dark cold valleys will come new turnings, new woods and places to dig and in clearings will be hands to hold and smiles at our fresh steps.

i am not a silent poet


I wished upon a star

When was that night of Christmas lights
in streets shine-wet, the splash
of footsteps, windows bright for the curious
and you, hand cold and rough
as I tasted wood smoke of fireside happiness
Our conversation as empty
as the puddles, just a reflection
that vanished as the car swished
by letting you make a joke about snow
I wanted to say ‘fuck’ but you had.

Now even the roses on the bird-cage
are plastic as the voices
that made me invisible,
like cast off toys in attics,
then dogs barking
said it was time to kiss the cross,
keep eyes cold,
like rows of your brightest books,
but outside leaves rustle in the wind
and distant birds dot across the sky
saying all that matters.

I am not a silent poet

Sent from a town of broken stones

From this boat of the day,
bodies on the beach by age.

Red football strip boy, market chic girl
looking ready to wake up.

Amira once laughed at a goat kicking a football
when Jamal ran to get water

Now pictures,
scrolled past
at breakfast catch-up.

Broad lapel suit man,
hands hard from field work.

Quasim who loved the sound of birds
above the cold springs of Ain al-Fijah

Now just a job saved.

Woman in simple black.

Anwar who closed windows to dance
with bare feet.

Now a voice without words.

Writers for Calais Refugees