International

Justified

This week, two reports found that the actions of Officer Timothy Loehmann in shooting dead black 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland Ohio on 22 November 2014 were "justified".

Tamir Rice
Shot down twice
First his life and now his name
Deadly cops and children's game
Loehmann wins
Mortal sins
Bloodlust and pride
"Justified"

The Best-Laid Plans

Drifts here together with his buddy
they pitch up with prayers and plans
A stake for a patch where they can scratch out
a living with their own hands
The preacher says labour makes you holy
your gold must be earned not panned
But nobody never gets to heaven and nobody gets no land

Thirty-Five

The life expectancy of a Black trans woman in the USA is just 35. This is a villanelle about that shocking statistic.

Black boys grown women fighting to survive
In freedom's land are some folks not allowed
To live beyond the age of thirty-five?

Dysphoria and prejudice connive
From gender manacles to funeral shroud
Black boys grown women fighting to survive

Haters Gonna Hate

Haters gonna hate
Dictators gonna dictate
Tyrants gonna tyrannise 
Rebels will rebel and rise
Rival rulers gonna ride
Rebellion's discontented tide

Bombers gonna bomb
Pogromists will pogrom
Fighters gonna fight
Families gonna take flight
Borders gonna rise
Papers gonna scandalise

Twenty-One

A reflection on my son visiting the Stonewall Inn because of his passionate commitment to LGBT equality, only to find that he couldn't go in.

I remember the age of consent cut from twenty-one
A landmark amongst all the battles our struggles have won 
And now it's the age of admission the Stonewall Insists

Crossing

Written after going through the Thousand Island border crossing from Canada to the USA.

Queue, crawl, window down, good day
Who? How many? Where from? Which way?
How long? What for?
Been here before?

Park, get out. Through those gates
Forms, names, numbers, dates
Terrorist? Spy? Crimes to confess?
(Does anyone ever answer Yes?!)

Become Not Women

In 1848, in response to the 300-strong Convention for Woman's Rights in Seneca Falls (USA) and its Declaration of Sentiments, a Philadelphia newspaper urged the city's ladies not to join the new movement and become women but to stay as "wives, belles, virgins and mothers". Here's my poetic response:

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