The Cutting Season, by Karen Barton

The Cutting Season

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Broken Tulips by Karen Barton

A found poem for those massacred in the Ataturk Airport Attack.

Tulips

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

temperate world

between East and West

a declaration of love.

 

Two lips

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.

 

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip

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.

Ironing Out Problems In Cameroon – A sonnet for stolen womanhood by Karen Barton

‘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.

Stop by Karen Barton

……………..Layla bint Abdul Mutaleb Bassim

Stop,
The image halts, a snapshot from Saudi Arabia
Stop
A man stops, arm suspended mid-swing, machete poised.
Stop
The police, the military, suspended walking away, backs turned.
Stop
The woman’s pleading ceases, paused with her last breath
Stop
The article stops before her beheading leaving us breathless too
Stop
The report discusses the ramifications, east / west relations
But
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
Stop.

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.

Unlocked and Got Past by Karen Barton

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

Alone

I carry you still, the burden I shoulder

The fibromyalgia caused by trauma

Ground teeth, aching gums from years clamping

My mouth

Shut

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

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 an writers café group where creative conversation will flow like caffeine.