Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ama Sumani



Time for confessions ….
Were you the one
Who formed the weasel words?
Were you amongst the sheep
Who voted for this ‘law’?
Is this what you voted for?
Were you the one
Who signed her death warrant?
Were you one of the immigration cops
Who dragged her onto the flight,
Muttering, “ I was only
Carrying out orders. Somebody else
Would have done it if I had not.”

This how a Holocaust begins,
You watch, disconnected
As they take one defenceless black woman
From a cancer ward,
Give no thought to her fate,
For though she has countless friends,
The money needed will come together too late,
She’ll be too exhausted to fight on,
Knowing that for justice she’d have to wait
Until the oceans froze and the skies wept blood,
Long after she’d been murdered by the state.
Who’s will be the next name to be chalked up on your gory slate?

What has Latuff's cartoon got to do with the poem that follows? I am making a point here. This is the same fight and we are dealing with the same enemy.

Monday, March 17, 2008

2008 Grav Slam



There I was, like the last miners’ picket,
Stranded outside the ground without a ticket,
When a voice whispered, “Follow me Butt.
I know an entrance that’s never shut
.”
And so I can tell you, I was there
Where the flags flew the thickest in the cold evening air,
To see Grav lead his girls out by the hand,
Hear his voice boom “Mae Hen” louder than the band.

High ball, crash ball, ruck and maul,
The soundest brick in a great Red Wall,
The big man stormed everywhere,
Laying waste to blue shirts without a care
Until the final whistle blew
And the roar of 80,000 grew
And the foundations of Cardiff shook
And pubs overflowed wherever you looked.

Faced with a post match interview, Grav gravely shook his head
And with a grin that split his face from side to side just said,
That was the most gruelling game I’ve ever had.
Just goes to show, this artificial leg’s not bad
!”

No one who isn't Welsh will understand this poem or even care what a 'Grand Slam' is. With so much misery abounding it's time for some unbridled joy and another celebration of a great man and a Welsh legend.

Friday, March 14, 2008

March 17





The memory of your blistered skin
Makes my flesh crawl even now,
Forty years older and no wiser,
Conscience fragile, still paper thin.
Your face spools round and round
The screen, flickering in flame.
The camera pans onwards,
Here the scorched landscape,
Olive groves ablaze,
There the cratered city,
Green flags defiant through the haze.
Da Nang, Beit Hanun
Our nightmares blur as one,
But always the same face,
The same ravaged eyes
Come running straight at me.

It's almost the 40th anniversary of the anti-Vietnam War demonstration which was charged by mounted police in Grosvenor Square on March 17 1968, my political baptism of fire. I wish I could say that things had changed for the better. I am pleased to say that the celebrated cartoonist, Latuff has agreed for me to use his cartoons on this blog. See above for the first one....

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I am not afraid



I have heard the roar of fighters
Blot out the skies.
I have felt the hot wind
Ripping at my eyes.
I have seen the world
Disintegrate in lies.
I can smell your fear.
It comes as no surprise
To one as young as I.

Tell me you understand.
Reach out and touch me
Restless where I lie
Look me straight in the eye.
Explain why your face
Grows paler than this cold, cold clay.

There’s no need to hesitate.
The dry taste in your mouth,
As you struggle to find the right way
With words, will pass. It’s never too late
To admit you find yourself
In the wrong time, in the right place.
With no way out. There’s nothing left
But to share in my fate, or

Like the gatherers in the night,
Wait for the first cracks of the dawning light,
Be calm. but be ready to fight.

Photo shows children in Gaza. According to the BBC, conditions there are now the worst for over 40 years and the Israelis are threatening 'a holocaust'.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Naming the Dead




1- Eyad Al Ashram, Male, 26
2- Musleh Abu Ali, Male, 17
3- Jakline Abu shbak, Female, 17
4- Eyad abu Shabk, Male, 14
5- Basam Muhammad Ubaid, Male, 45
6- Basam Ubaid, Male, 15
7- Hamza Al jamal, Male, 40
8- Abdallah Abd Rabu, Male, 4
9- Ibrahim Alzain, Male, 25
10- Mustafa Zaghloul, Male, 32
11- Hamada Abd Al hameed, Male, 29
12- Saeed Al hasheem, Male, 23
13- Husain Al batsh, Male, 27
14- Samah Zaydan Asalya, Female, 17
15- Salwa Zaydan Asalya, Female, 23
16- Tala't Dardona, Male, 29
17- Mustafa Abu Jalala, Male, 28
18- Hasan Safi, Male, 25
19- Abdallah Abu Shaira, Male, 18
20- Mutasim Abd Rabu, Male, 24
21- Hamada Saleh Al abad, Male, 16
22- Mustafa Manon, Male, 22
23- Muhammad Sleem, Male, 24
24- Muhammad Abdalrahman Shhab, Male, 23
25- Ali Al Kitnani, Male, 15
26- Tal'at Dardona, Male, 17
27- Sana Ghad Al abed Saleh, Female, 16
28- Ahmed Albatsh, Male, 16
29- Muslih Muhamad Muslih, Male, 17
30- Thabet Junied, Male
31- Sultan Al zain, Male
32- Mustafa Abu Jalala, Male
33- Muhammad Al atar, Male
34- Nael Abu Alon, Male, 20
35- Muhammad Abd Al mouti Sleem, Male,
36- Saed Dabour, Male, 28
37- Hamada Saed, Male
38- Mahmoud Rayan, Male
39- Jedjad Hatem Abu Hlayal, Male
40- Thari Abu Aubaid, Male
41- Tamer Weshah, Male
42- Ahmed Saleh Abd Al rahman, Male
43- Muhammad Abd Al qader Oqylan, Male
44- Hasan Abu Harb, Male
45- Abd Al rahman Atallah, Male, 60
46- Ibrahim Attalah, Male, 30
47- Sua'd Atallah
48- Unknown
49- Unknown
50- Unknown
51- Unknown
52- Unknown
53- Unknown in Khan Yonis City
54- Unknown in Khan Yonis City

I have no words for poems.