The Impatient Plant

The Himalayan Balsam’s scent
clogs – a laundry swill of smells –

lingering – invasive – out-of-place –
underlining the call to action –

Since its foolish introduction
it’s no longer welcome here

Almost sticky – swollen with pollen –
it waits with near-primed seeds

until it fires ripe-wide explosions
finding further incursions

Balsam Bashing – its removal –
is now a nationwide fixation –

The bent stem-cutters – the pullers –
are impatient traditionalists

who tug – with gardening gloves –
working hard at their final solution

Disputed Questions of Truth

Aquinas floats in his grave
and Socrates will not swallow –
their thoughts have been inverted –
their words are sounding hollow

A strategia della tensione
is courted by the State –
those clowns in the Senate
will let their votes bring hate

Salvini is banning love –
he cracks his sharpened tongue –
as his men buff their batons
to swipe the foreign sons

He’s shutting corner shops early –
the dens of drugs and plots –
he refuses ships safe harbour –
those boats which bear the lost

The different are set to suffer
as Salvini cracks his whip
on the skin of migrant settlers
who had found their hope in risk

The borders close on promises
as the ports are mopped of tears –
the Far Right drops the barriers
to block their far-right fears

Samara

Anemochory takes this seamless child
of these immigrants – landed from Europe –
and urges her to fly

We named her Samara because of her wings
and the hope that she will carry
our future further

Her family has been resident here – four centuries –
but historically are the dark foreigners
among landscape and cities

She is Anglicised among childhood memories –
kids awe at her presumption to fly –
We call her spinning Jenny

Murmur

On the rushed film set
we were re-hushed
for the recording
of a wide shot on B

and we – the extras –
dressed as coppers –
waited in the
bale-tipped barn –

Turning was bellowed
by the unsmiling AD
forcing a quietened
conference of uniforms –

there holding a debate
on colour and race
in hardly whispers
which were kept low –

a murmured conspiracy –
We acted without scripts
and mimed our interactions –
Nothing good was said.

Any High Street

It has become a confusion
of charity store drop offs –
butted to trim nail bars
and empty estate agents –
and now this English town
has a gaudy tanning shop

The bench-rested watch
the parading mothers –
taking note of the too-bared
shoulders and legs
the unnatural colour
of those buggy shovers –

these age-anchored repeat
their Daily Mail complaints
about floods of immigrants
as the pale-faced punters book
to turn brown in the new salon
of not-very-English tans.

Englishmess

Reduce the Brits – take away their tea –
and Jaguar – Mini – and Wedgwood pottery –
All sold off – the last of British treasures –
what’s now left to make Britain special?

The Great British dinner – battered fish and chips?
Actually a recipe from Jewish immigrants –
The gold we hold in the Bank of England?
No – it’s ‘ta’ to Huguenots for banking millions –

Ah – nothing more Albion than our ancient royals?
Nein – migrant blue blood now long-despoiled –
But Punch ‘n’ Judy – that traditional beach farce?
Alas Italian – their commedia dell’arte –

OK – Saint George – a true Sainted Brit?
No – a Syrian son – with a dragon – illlegit –
Right – polo – how English – on the lawns of Windsor?
Sadly for you from the dusty kingdom of Persia –

That mothers’ ruin poured from gin distilleries?
Been shipped in barrels from overseas –
Pigeon racing – ’tis Northern – an ‘Oop-North’ fancy?
Nay lad – flown in by Belgian bird-loving royalty –

The Womens’ Institute – cake and Englishness?
Sorry – Canada made it and Wales repossessed –
That well-mannered bear – who as kids we well knew?
Ah – even Paddington Bear is a foreigner too –

This country of confusions – imports and invention –
is at its British best when admitting immigration

E031118

I V*w*l Fr** T* My C**ntry

*ngl*nd, *ngl*nd,
y** *gn*r*nt f*cks,
r*g*rg*t*t* ‘Th* M**l’,
th*r* y**r tr*th *s pl*ck*d:

‘H*m*s for Wh*t* Br*ts’,
                                 ‘F*ck the d*rk-sk*nn*d’,
‘*f th*y *r* M*sl*m,
                                 d*n’t l*t ‘*m *n’.

*fr**d *f th* w*rld,
th*s* n*me-c*ll*ng r*nts,
k**p th*s, ‘y**r’ *ngl*nd,
‘c*s *t’s * pl*c* *f f*ck*d c*nts.


 

The Swimmer

I didn’t know her name,
before this play of Games,
but she, Yusra Mardini,
the swimmer of that sea,
pushing on, to cross again,
as a refugee, an Olympian:
She trod waves in the Aegean,
over long-drowned Queen Aegea,
there they swam, towing to shore,
a fearing load, that smuggled horde:
Dropping once more over the side,
into the pool, her place, her life,
but no more acfearful Syrian,
Mardini has arrived, she is swimming.

Fear of Flying

1.
We looked down at our craft,
a rubber dinghy, rescue-orange,
not Charon’s promised ship,
but we are tied to it now,
to get us thirty-three kilometres,
to a safer place:

I had paid for a life jacket,
with my last fifty dollars,
the going price,
and strapped the aid
to my youngest’s body,
losing him in its bulk,
assuring him it’d be alright.

Salt on my lips burnt to remind me
that we faced poisonous channels,
that we do not swallow the water,
that we only taste the air:
God’s last breath.

And I looked him in the eye,
my eight year old child,
this century’s offspring,
not saying anything,
instead silently praying,
that we both survived.

2.
I fear flying, with him,
a ridiculous agony of what could be,
if we dropped from the sky,
but here we take to the water,
in a simpler, but, more dangerous craft.

I left my wife, his mother,
buried too deep to recover,
her headstone delivered
one night by Putin,
on orders, whatever they were:

I cannot speak Russian,
only Arabic, French and English,
being a Syrian, a descendant of Eblan,
the first world power,
before New World wars ever began.

3.
Our useless boat almost sank,
on its launch, but we bailed,
clung, held each other –
my legs went dead in the crush –
Under breath: God, please, if that could be
the only death tonight.

I woke to still-no-land,
in the damp sobbing, lit by the glow
of phones held up,
seeking signal distance;
my held child slept,
ignorant of the sleeplessness
I endured

as a parent, guardian, keeper,
watcher, life guard
who cannot swim.
Then the water joined us,
Achilles heel-first,
here, vulnerable to the sea.

This was our nose-dive,
and I held him, we descended:
He chilled in the tall waves’
lifts and drops,
spitting out coin-foul water,
bailing our throats with heaves:

I slipped under as that jacket
took him away, to the other side,
his limpness no more weight,
no buoyancy required
in the underworld,
a cold, cold death
for my warm-clime child,
and me.

Three Thousand


Three thousand children,
some missing,
wishing to be schooled,
but, still waiting:
Cold-camped
in shallow-rooted fields,
no siblings;
those long lost,
arm-locked into fear.
No formal lessons for any of them,
no sit-scraped classmates
for these other faces:
Hunger, forever, their learning:
Juvenile lives marked, tested,
almost buried
in this foreign field.


St. George’s Day

Saint George
born high in Syria,
now lies low
from our media:
Caught in Calais,
no marching on,
he lost his horse,
along with Ascalon.
God-battled lands
flattened his hope,
so George put his faith
in a leaking boat.

Now wrapped, red crossed,
in a rug,
his sight is on England,
but his heart is not:
Seven hundred years
we held him high,
waved him at enemies
and in football cries,
adored him for securing
a maiden’s life,
but now we ignore
his French-field cries.

If George can sleep
through winter’s maul,
and wake to breathe-in
Europe’s thaw,
to hear the death-rattle
of the Euro-dream,
quietly loosened
from treaty-schemes:
Shipped over the Channel,
no law to halt,
He could attend
asylum’s full court.

Hounslow, beneath
a wide flight path,
bedded in rooms,
three to a berth;
George can rest
his travel-tattered wings,
attempting to battle
our parochial sins:
Instead he’ll put
his head to his chest,
And wish to return
to the people he left.