But Freedom Beat The Fear

Freedom is cold air,

Long nights,

And rain on the clothesline.

It’s swimming in the pool:

Pretending I think I’m cool.

It’s sore throats and a berocca.

Going to the sales,

Even though it’s chocka.

Strange places,

With ex strangers.

And coffee,

And kissing,

And drinking,

And singing,

And chatting,

And thinking.

Becoming bolder.

Shrugging a shoulder.

It’s:

This. Is. Me.

I. Will. Be.

You. Will. See.

I never found my lifeguard.

But tomorrow is my bankcard.

Yesterday was time well killed.

Forever is a notebook to be filled-

Meanwhile I’ll just scoff pick and mix,

And smile at the world…

Which is quite significantly full of dicks…

But:

DONT STOP ME NOW

I sit.

I laugh.

I dance.

Because once upon a chance.

I didn’t think I would get here.

But it looks like freedom beat the fear.

 

An Ashtray in Pompeii

You are tentative with your words
As if I am made of butterscotch and bite.
Like you are building
Straw houses in Haiti,
And you aren’t quite sure
If time repeats itself to me.

So I will try not to smile because I know
that my history with the past is recurrent.
I try everyday to sneak and creep,
hoping it won’t spot my silver linings,
But the monster never seems to sleep.

But one day we will try and forget.
Sit and bask in the light.
And play Bach in our bus shelters
And build those houses,
In this heritage site I paid the price for.
And we will see the irony
When we can simply be
As we place an ash tray in Pompeii.
Because we’d buried the past that day.

Those words were my ashtray in Pompeii.

To Kill A Mockingbird – The Man

The Man
He polished his shoes
Before he came
He felt threatened
By the nerds
With their dungeons
And their dragons
Down the stairs.

His daughter told him to come,
Because lately he’s been missing Mum.
His shoes squeaked during the film.
He carries coffee, milky, in a tiny thermos kiln.
He’s surrounded by no. 7 faced women.
Picking at him like partnerless peacocks.
And as the daylight is dimming
He thinks he better be off…
Everyday he misses his mockingbird.

To Kill A Mockingbird – The Woman

The Woman
She read the book by accident
she told us over the gluten free
“Steinbeck and Lee are very different
Such a mix up at the book society.”

She said she wasn’t angered when it ended.
A feather thrown to an angry pit of Dalmatian.
She thinks her neighbour might be gay.
“Talk about guilty by association”.

“I just know what the world is like”
“I knew Tom Robinson was a dead man walking.”
The cat lets the injured bird hop on
Just to keep on stalking.

elderly lady peerimg through curtains

So Called Safe.

Times like this I shouldn’t be here
Its not stopping my stress it’s stemming it
I’ve been helped
alongside the girls who eat tape measures
and the boys who breathe fire.

But as I lie in bed
I’m whispering to my pillow
“The door’s locked.
The door’s locked.
The door’s locked.”
And it’s not OCD talking.

I’m scared because they’ve been kicking the doors in for hours
and we are two members of staff down
and as patients storm the siren screaming doors
the agency blokes don’t know their names
to phone for the police.

We’ve lost three members of staff 
and gained an army of impermanence.
We are 16 beds of vulnerable young people
Yet for nurses balancing the staff ratio has become a craft
The budget cuts are getting deeper
And there’s no one to stop us when we are bleeding.

But what are parents supposed to do?
When Seb is sixteen and suicidal so sent to be safe.
The psychiatrist is supposedly stalling their son’s surge for suicide.
But in a moment Finn throws a fist and Seb’s got stitches.
Seb’s mind must be bad for six stitches to be the safest.
How scary is that?

The ceiling screams when we do,
Staff scatter.
Skin splits.
And sewn on the skin of my teeth
Are slideshows of scenarios
Seen in children’s psychiatric settings.

But we’re safe here. Right?

Where Gay People and Peadophiles Differ

“I like pride, but I don’t understand the parade bit. Don’t people usually march when they are oppressed? We don’t oppress gay people these days do we?”

This is a quote from a chat I had on Sunday morning about my adventures at York Pride on Saturday.

I had never been to a Pride before so everything was new; huge rainbow flags, flamboyant drag artists and merchandise sellers. I went along with my friend who is also LGBT* and Noodle who wore a quirky ‘Guide Unicorn at Work’ sign I had made that morning. As the crowds assembled outside the Minster in a chattering assortment of colour and excitement; the speeches began from the top of a double decker bus adorned with rainbows. This included some words from Canon Michael Smith, speaking in front of the mighty church. As I looked around all I could see was love in its many forms.

The Church isn’t too sure on its stance with homosexuality yet, making the relationship between religion as a whole and the LGBT* community frosty at best. The decision to take part and give the event a seal of approval was brilliant but controversial. Most prominently speaking out against the plan was Reverend Tinker of Hull. He took the drastic step of making clear in a radio interview his thinking that the church accepting LGBT* people as ‘valid’ opens the door for others from the ‘immoral category’ such as peadophiles and serial adulterers. Likening homosexuality to peadophilia. Nice.

This is oppression. We walked in the parade because we are not the perverse or shady characters some people make us out to be. We are people and we are here. Yes, in this country we have made radical steps to equality but on the playground the sniper of all accusations is still ‘lesbo’ or ‘gay’. The week of Revrend Tinker’s radio comment a Canon went to discrimination tribunal because he has been banned from his work in the church because he married another man. In Russia, laws against ‘gay propaganda’ mean that a generation of young LGBT* people are growing up to think they are repulsive. A 2012 study found that 2/5 school-age victims of homophobic bullying attempt or contemplate suicide. 79 countries have anti-homosexuality laws. It is estimated that in South Africa 500 lesbians a year are made victims of ‘corrective rape’ to ‘make them straight’ and in ten countries being gay can cost you your life.

This is not right.

This is not fair.

Rainbows appear in the sky in every country around the world but some people are just too blind to see them. England is making big steps forward, but we haven’t found the pot of golden equality just yet. I wore the rainbow flag because I am proud that I can do so without fearing handcuffs, I wore it because I am proud of all those fighting for better and I am proud of everyone who has ever been oppressed for simply being who they are. I think these things are worth shouting about.