Family Poem – Beans Spilt Over Tea

Beans Spilt Over Tea is a family poem, reflecting on the invaluable support you can get from a friend or family member.

Beans Spilt Over Tea

My aunt, dotty as she was, would sit me down on her crochet blanket covered couch, make a clean sweep of my lame pretexts from the kitchen where she was already brewing up fine tea. Childless, she treaded life in slippers not up to kick, her beady eye hell-bent on bringing to light unspilt beans and lining them up neatly over a cup of flavoursome leaf tea. On her couch, your guts would soon lay bare ready for soaking up and fixing up despite layers upon layers of clobber. Her quirksome footwear was matched by the transparent hands she’d send to craft fair strings of beans into choice jewellery for the road. Protestations and walls would tumble, my beans spill within moments, on my tongue, the taste of clear tea making its way to fixing my guts. She’d purchased colourful mohair wool to crochet the throws on the couch for idling, didn’t mind in the least if tea and beans stuck to the soft fibres. She still doesn’t.

Family Poem – Beans Spilt Over Tea

Resilience Poem – Paper Plane

Paper Plane is a resilience poem, a description of how children can and do rise above tragedy, full of bravery, strength, and love.

Paper Plane

When Father died and Mother lay sick in bed, the child stepped up and made a paper plane, ready for take-off in minutes. But the howls of his little sister and his brother’s dirty diaper messed up the flight schedule.

Not to worry, he thought to himself, I’ll sort them out and bring them on board. Nappy changed and tears wiped, he cleared them through security, though soon halted by the guard’s x-ray glances. Too much hand luggage, he said, no knives permitted.

But Father died and Mother’s sick in bed, the child protested, handing over the banned items with a thick smile to keep his siblings reassured. At long last, they were ready for departure.

The paper plane’s jet engine drowned out Mother’s asthma attack during take-off. Up, up and away they flew beyond birds and clouds, weightless through thinning air, beams of light, and passing time.

When Mother’s pocket alarm shot down the paper plane, the child stepped up and phoned emergency services. You’re lucky, mom doesn’t need to go to the hospital, they said, prescribing potent medicine she’d have to swallow for years to come.

No one batted an eyelid when the child grew up to become a pilot, sure didn’t he bring his siblings on flights every day for years, they nodded to each other. Thank the Japanese for Origami, the child would always say.

Resilience Poem – Paper Plane

Imperialism Poem – New Rules

New Rules is an imperialism poem, a reflection on outside interference in the political landscape of resource-rich nations.

New Rules

God help you  
if your land is fertile
your tribe spills liquid gold
your leaders are wild or bend in the wind.

Kings, queens, and merchants will grease palms
hatch Machiavellian plans to grab the riches
roots allotted to you and
cut the green grass on your side of the fence.

The donkey's kick to counter imported blueprints
is hoofed by its chiselling clone
a qualmless ass
with a book of new rules.

All is fair in love and war /
kill, jail, injure, lie, oppress, steal, maim,
bomb, manipulate, grab, eradicate, eliminate
silence, gag, dispossess, burn out / you and yours.

They'll fish your pond in silk suits from glass towers
spinning spurious yarns, casting smooth lines
crowing to save you in case you're ass-backwards
black is white and white is black.

God help you
if your land is ransacked
your tribe spills blood
your leaders are dead or bend in the wind.

Peace Poem – Common Ground

Common Ground is a peace poem, a reflection on conflict resolution and the absolute need to build on our shared humanity – first and foremost.

Common Ground

 digging up common ground and
magnifying similarities
break ground for 

sisterhood
brotherhood
solidarity
love

fencing in and
highlighting differences
choke out

sisterhood
brotherhood
solidarity
love

Poverty Poem – Landfill Lives

Approximately 15 million people across the globe live off trash. Landfill Lives is a poverty poem, an attempt to highlight this horror.

Landfill Lives

 scavenging for scraps 
no spellings or subtractions again today

when you're poor but don't want to sell your body or beg
landfill treasure hunting calls

to feed mother, father, sisters, brothers
shacked up in a metal hut perched on a pile of trash

you've got no rubber gloves to shield against
broken glass, syringes, rotting flesh, and faeces

no face mask to armour against
the stench of garbage and shit

no blindfold so you can pretend
to be at school / even for a minute

dowsed in deadly diseases, you work all day
2.50 the compensation

that'll buy you some bread, carrots, and rice
won't stretch to a sausage or chop

one kid / thrilled to have spotted an outfit
scrubbed up and went to school

only to be told he was too smelly, too disease-ridden
no landfill kids here please
Landfill Lives – a Poverty Poem

Capitalism Poetry – The Big Race

The Big Race is my contribution to capitalism poetry, a reflection on the value and ethics of free market rules.

The Big Race

Race day brings swarms of 7.7 billion runners, limpers, jumpers, 
hoppers, one-leggeds, joggers, sprinters, crawlers,
wheel-chair-bounds, and dead-weights.

Mixed weather at the starting line, with sweltering heat, biting
frost, piercing hail, leaden showers, mild breezes, balmy
sunshine, and tepid temperatures painting the 7.7 billion
springboards.

Onlookers discover a hit-and-miss medley of footwear among
footed competitors, air-cushioned breathables alongside
dirty protruding toes, itchy sweaters besides sunburnt or
frostbitten torsos.

To call some athletes would be in bad taste, those at the back
of the field, behind the 7.6999999 billion, scrambling for a
foothold. As for the legless, some are blessed with crutches,
others are not.

Blood, tear, and sweat-costing brawls about hunger pangs and
homes or the lack thereof break out hither and thither.
Meanwhile, the starting line is smooth and fair - free passage
for 7.7 billion pros and rookies.

At the bang of the gun, they're off, the field cut at once,
billions dropping like flies before the first hurdle from
pre-race exertions, blisters, deadweight equipment,
leglessness, balls and chains or sloth.

An unruly mob of spectators hurls power snacks and energy
drinks at the foot-cushioned frontrunners wearing non-sweat
running gear, soon coasting toward the finish line. When they
tire a little, they hitch a rest on a bunch of no-hopers.

Sponsors bestow them with enviable endorsements like foot rubs
and shoulder massages or cool sponges to the forehead.
Buoyancy-boasted and basking in tough-training-rewards, the last
few rivals dig deep, not shy of a dirty trick or two.

One or two teeth-grinding, heel-digging once-amateurs
latch onto the glory but never quite catch up. The red ribbon in
sight ignites the final sprint to draw out the winner.

Gloating to a prominent reporter before getting his trophy, the
champion applauds splendid organisation, fair-play, and credits
gruelling preparatory work. The first handful of losers seethe
a little over a glass of prosecco.

As for the bulk of the 7.7 billion, some vow to try harder, some
cry foul-play, some despair and die.

Cultural Identity Poems – DNA Diversity

DNA Diversity is one of my cultural identity poems, a reflection on national and cultural identity, xenophobia, multiculturalism, and racism.

DNA Diversity

I’m not the pure-bred I thought I was / I’m a mongrel. Paid top dollars for one of those DNA-ancestry tests and now have to swallow that I’m a cross between a Poodle and Dalmation, with deep traces of St. Bernard, Collie, Setter, and Greyhound.

My twenty-seventh cousin seven times removed was a champion sheep-dog, my great, great, great, great aunt pulled sleighs across the Central Siberian Plateau, my great, great, great, great, great uncle worked chased foxes across the Scottish Highlands, while my third cousin twice removed got dumped in a ditch in Alaska, and, not to mention my great, great, great, great grandmother the boldest Dingo dog ever.

This made me think twice about starting the habitual scrap with that dimwit half-bred next door this morning. I bet we’re related.

Cultural Identity Poems – DNA Diversity

Solidarity Poem – Pooling Resources

Pooling resources is a solidarity poem, a reflection on eight billion individuals inhabiting or co-inhabiting the same planet – together.

Pooling Resources

con'verse
co'habit
co'llaborate
co'suffer
co'produce
co'work
co'grieve
con'join
co'mmunicate
co'here
con'figure
co'incide
co'inhabit
co'invogorate
com'bine
com'prehend
con'valesce
co'harvest
con'celebrate
co'nnect
co'share
co'care

inter'act
inter'twine
empathize

Society Poems – The Circus

The Circus is one of my society poems, a celebration of showmanship, courage and hard graft in and outside the ring. There’s room for everyone!

The Circus

 The firmament fans the stench of rubber
pegged down into earth covered in sweat-stained sand
lit up by elegant elephants, teary tigers and 
ruled by a man bigger than Walter Mitty

This is no splendid stage, no Broadway, no Shakespear
madmen gather, trollops trot
over blocks, through fiery rings
some hanging by a rope, a thread

Ill-faced clowns tumble
to harvest howls of one hew or another
to swallow idolatry
in greedy gulps

Fat and suited, the ringmaster proclaims
the death-defying darings of the trapezists
a woman, a man condemned to
near-certain demise 

to steal a bunch of unruly onlookers
cheering, sniggering, mouths agape
the candy-munching French fry brigade
from daily doldrum

Up to the top of the firmament /
they venture into a swinging tide
from star to firm grip
a hair's breadth from doom

beneath, clowns, acrobats, horses, jugglers,
fire-eaters, hippos and Harry Houdini
white-knuckled and whipped into shape
by the worst showman

span the redundant net above the soft sand
feathered birds don't cascade to curtain calls
clowns fumble fervor-filled
the tiger roars 

As the firmament spews its last shower of stars
the glory of the sweaty sand and armpits
grits the icy road
outside