(in celebration of Chelsea Manning)
Because you were pulled like a snail from a shell
and your name was kicked around like a football
and you were raised on sour milk and diesel air
spawned from sun and swimming pools
transposed to coal and valleys poverty
you learned the art of being bullied.
The mask was around your eyes and your limbs were bound
you woke from delirium to a blood haze called reality
you woke and saw your body lying far below
and felt the tender pull of nostalgia.
Code was a thrill
when you unleashed your message in a bottle
into an optic fibre sea
tough skin grew over the raw pink scars of your redacted name
as you entered the nihilism of spilling secrets
where each secret had other secrets bound to it
like ears on a fungi of ears on a fungi of ears
Your courage was visceral
survived dehumanisation When they couldn’t silence your tongue
they cut your hair
Your name was in neon and it was the name you always wanted
when the light departed first turning a key at the flick of a pen
And freedom will walk you through a tunnel of cherry blossom
to swim in cool waters unobserved
Some traditions live through centuries so we will salute you
with honest cake and paper cup bubbles
When you spoke a chime struck on the side of a ringing bowl.
and that clear note is still vibrating.