A found poem for those massacred in the Ataturk Airport Attack.
Red streaked, with faint violet hue
Planted deeper, in Ottoman soil,
a visionary poem of mixed populations,
mosaic colourings, diversity.
Small flowered symbol of paradise,
hybrid of complex origin.
Fragrant form and symbol of
beauty in a formerly
between East and West
a declaration of love.
Red streaked, with faint violet hue
amongst cut flowers
delicately feathered where they fall
a still-life painting of death,
stem by stem, chamber by chamber,
a blight with black center,
by pathogens of darker empires
burned by passion
a form of currency
in a tissue culture.
Tulips are called lale in Turkish (from Persian: ‘lale ‘ When written in Arabic letters, ‘lale’ has the same letters as Allah, which is why the flower became a holy symbol.
‘They’re mutilating little girls’ breasts in Cameroon to “protect them” from Boko Haram.’
Phillip Obaji Jr.
My mother takes in ironing, women’s work,
feeding her ever-growing family.
Neighbours bring thin bundles to our tin shack,
sweet-scented sweater-soft girls, breasts swelling,
creasing their outsized blazers, school blouses.
I cannot look. While they’re playing, squatting
in the bustling backyard, catching beetles
under cracked coconut shells, I’m listening
to laughter and lamentations, shop-talk
barters, over coffee drunk from chipped cups.
Bargains struck, their mothers leave, playtime stops –
beside hot cooking pots and smoothing-rocks –
Mama irons soft breasts back into girls’ ribs
to walk our unsafe world unmolested.
The image halts, a snapshot from Saudi Arabia
A man stops, arm suspended mid-swing, machete poised.
The police, the military, suspended walking away, backs turned.
The woman’s pleading ceases, paused with her last breath
The article stops before her beheading leaving us breathless too
The report discusses the ramifications, east / west relations
What if the status quo stopped?
What if skirting issues stopped?
What if the pausing of open dissent stopped?
What if the turned backs stopped?
What if the ignored human rights stopped?
What if persecution masquerading as cultural difference just – stopped?
But stop, stop you say.
I don’t understand international relations.
My simplistic arguments won’t stay the hand of a persecutor,
…… Alter the course of military might or
………….Stay the screams of a petrified woman.
Don’t try to understand issues beyond me
Better people are working to make them
Karen Barton is currently studying a Creative Writing BA (Hons) with the Open University and is the moderator for several online creative writing forums. She is currently setting up a writers café group where creative conversation will flow like caffeine.
Rough hewn aggregate of bad seeds,
From violent father, insouciant mother,
A conglomeration of disappointed
Ambitions, abandoning by lovers
That further chipped away and misshaped you
Pent up rages that sought retribution.
Born from your bad seed,
Transient fathers and violent mother
Too smart for my own good, apparently
Prejudged, No better than I aught to be
Kept your dirty secrets, hidden bruises
‘Neath incongruous charity shop clothing,
Capacious folds shrouding my raw scabs
Scars map your angers compassionless course
I manufactured my moral compass
Picked my stony path through your bleak landscape
Sought safe havens, locked doors barred your attacks
‘I’ll hate you when I’m grown up’, defiance
Shouted through door jams crack,
I’ll tell everyone, they’ll all know the truth
Complaisant, you knew I never would.
Mouth shut as the doors I cowered behind.
You swaggered to your bed, shared with my
Sister, the next warped generation, I
Waited, listened, fearing a ruse, shivered
Huddled against the radiator, heat
And hope, dying
Life went on, surviving, I escaped,
My sister left home, finally, you were
I carry you still, the burden I shoulder
The fibromyalgia caused by trauma
Ground teeth, aching gums from years clamping
But this is my life, roughhewn aggregate
Worn smooth like my teeth, that open, release
This conglomeration of memories
That tell my truth, no retribution here
Just release from you, release from all fear