Tens of thousands march in Venezuela 2/2/19
This river of democracy is in full spate,
With flags frothing, baseball capped marchers
flood their cities, find strength in each other.
Waving statues of the virgin, home made banners
they march, courage tied tight as their shoes.
Seirra de Perija Barquisimeto
This tsunami of hope, of belief in protest,
seems unstoppable. Yes we can! We can!
My throat catches as I see them stand
rock steady while their anthem soars.
Caracus Petre Barinas
As other words – ‘counter-demonstrations’,
‘the Military’, ‘gringos’ – slip into the article,
I recall my days of foot stomping in Glasgow.
Whose streets? No Pasaran felt easy here.
Fear pricks my skin.
It’s not the net-surfing for cheap flights,
the hoarding of air miles.It’s not the shopping
around for good euro deals, or filling cases
with new clothes for a week’s break.
It’s not the duty free booze or the greed
-grabbed cigarettes, addiction on the cheap.
It’s not the stroll through Border Control,
waving maroon passports. No.
The thing that gets me is the five thousand
rescued last weekend, the six hundred drowned
this year. Numbers, more numbers. Eight hundred
euros for a privileged space in a boat
that darkness-drifts the Med. Good weather’s a lure
for tourists, a bonus to traffickers. The desperate
assured of safe passage in flimsy dingies. Cloud high,
seat belts are fastened ready for landing.
Jungle Fever !
How observant are you ?
Take this fun Facebook test & find out !
Can you spot the mistakes in this picture ?
Are the flak-jacket soldiers fighting a war?
Who’s being ripped with razor wire?
Why don’t they just go home?
Are the soldiers only following orders?
Is anyone in a jolly red camp blazer?
Why don’t they just go home?
Who’s shedding tears with the gas?
Who’s name is this in ?
How near is a cheap-booze hypermarche?
If they don’t like it,
why don’t they just go home ?
A battered box hiding at the back
of the top shelf sings Xmas
Dad’s hand clear and confident
though his writing has long faded.
Cardboard bulges with time’s textures.
Christmas pasts tumble – tattered tinsel
a yellowed fairy eager to make magic
musty crackers, shattered scarlet baubles.
Unravelling tangles, I set the crumpled star
high in place to cheer returning family
Outside the deluge weeps. Azure glaciers
calve, an Exodus bleeds risking all,
Herod’s troops mark doors.
Just a piece of pale twine curled
dusty on the bookshelf
it lay there unnoticed .
This sandy string survived Mons, Ypres, Verdun
When lifted, two copper discs clacked
worn pennies for the Ferryman.
No name merely a number engraved
Imagine a field hospital – you, mute bleeding
skin flapping, angry pain roaring.
Nurses slice saturated grey flannel red khaki, sifting
hair flesh clotted crimson blood, white splintered bone
scouring debris from the mess that was your head,
ticking off your details – Irish Guardsman, McKenzie
wounded in action
Telegram sent to family in Eire.
Dull plate plugged the hole but
your ear forever held the fury of that
last stuttering howl.
The Troubles echoed it down your years
I try to see this cord round your young neck.
White celtic skin bows willingly
eager for a Queen’s shilling
while your neighbours blast
Dublin’s heart in a fight for freedom.
But that eager volunteer slips away
– you were ever a gruff old man to me.
Previously published on Colin Will’s excellent online magazine, The Open Mouse:
Hood up he slides in the side gate
heads across the playground
slinks past gossips.
He knows all short cuts
how to avoid teachers, how
not to be seen.
Hands deep in pockets, an angry
shadow, he ducks past
the tuck shop. Sweet machines
pull kids like iron filings, but not him.
He has no interest in sugar
or sharing. Head bent,
behind draped curtain of hair
he catches no eyes, makes no contact.
Insulated, isolated in his ‘phones
armoured by his tunes, a singing shadow
he drags his feet, trailing laces,
& wonders what it’s all about.