What Makes Us Special?

Reduce the Brits, take away their tea,
Jaguar, Landrover, and Wedgwood pottery,
all now sold, the last of British treasures,
what is left ‘Great’ 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, its ‘ta’ to Huguenots for banking millions.
Ah, nothing more Albion than our ancient royals?
Nein, migrant blue blood, now long-despoiled.
But Punch and 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 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 ‘Up-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 embracing immigration.

Aside

It exists today, another foul descent,
where thousands of sickening acts are set:
Saydnaya – Assad’s concrete playhouse,
a lowly spectacle, directed from Damascus,
those dark rehearsal rooms set for Death.

He stands blindfolded, a metre above,
as if waiting on the missing prompt,
knowing this, now, is his unseen drop:
He prays too fast his final lines,
having suffered others’ rehearsal cries.

In the darkened cells, dragging overhead,
there is still no sign of anyone’s God,
instead an ark of the beaten remains,
humans left alive to endure the pain,
hourly woken by screams from this show,
which plays out each night on the floor below.

A last dance of kicks in strangulation:
The skinny ones flailing fast,  hung prostrations.
Then, under direction, their legs are grabbed,
and with that embrace their final warm breath.

And we will watch, us, the streaming audience,
the dig and lift of Saydnaya’s murdered,
from under loosened mounds in that desert:
Syria’s long dead then all laid head-to-toe
in the revival of evil’s latest show.


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.

With Rough Landings to Come

For my children

It is a stone’s throw
from the cliff edge,
tossed to a seascape,

ever washing away;
our chalk-bordered
vertical face,

atop Beachy Head –
their sign to be placed:
‘No Foreigners Allowed’

to be hammered
into the hardened Downs
by those already here –

the washed-up,
the hating, those pale,
English mongrels.

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 the 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 Cross donated 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;
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, ‘neath 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 will put his head to his chest,
And wish to return to the people he left.