Migrant Tales Literary: Poem – Beyond Recognition

by , under All categories, Mark, Migrant Tales Literary


Part I

Jella played with the sand, spade
digging earnestly at the dry earth.
Jaref thrust out a hand, grabbing
thief-like, as older brothers do.

Jella cried. First in despair, but
then in the corner of the yard,
there under the peeling gable,
standing troubled, forlorn,
like a totem of the oppressed.

Jaref knew himself declared,
a bully in the sight of the world.
Conscience prodded, but
he just stared – stubborn, defiant,
squatted in the shallow sand pit,
a small distance from the house.

And though he might deny it,
her pain dug at his callow heart.

The screaming rocket hit the upper floor.
Noise erupted, huge and flat
like a tolling bell,
clasping at Jaref, stealing him instantly
towards a soundless universe.
He watched, mute, as the gable wall fell,
smothering his sister in dust
and unearthliness.

Part II

The newspaper mentioned five dead.
In hidden rooms, crumpled maps
on wooden tables showed
pencilled roads towards retaliation.

Part III

Jaref knew nothing save an absence. An age
of gnawing deafness to the world.
The youth veered towards maturity
while hope and beauty lay feigned,
swathed in a stained white shawl,
sleeping in a dusty grave.

Pain wrapped in numbness,
a weight pushing on all sides.
Only one sure relief,
a raffish friend, seeking to console –


A force majeure mission,
for love brutalised beyond recognition.

Part IV

Jaref strapped on the belt.
His friends looked on solemn.
A remote trigger.
He walked away resolved
to find his place,
to stand among the unknown faces
as a totem of the oppressed
at the margins of the broken spaces.

Part V

Aschil, soon to be twenty and married,
busied herself among the stalls. A proud
father wafted like a shawl at her side,
offering the easy advice of one not
given to fussing over craft or colours.

He was there to serve, in a declaration
of his daughter’s worthiness.
His role merely to proffer his wage,
though he beamed with priceless joy
for his daughter’s coming of age.

Part VI

She peered inside the shadowed interior
beneath a gently billowing canopy,
at wares strung on bright yellow strings,
lights and lanterns of myriad crystal bounty,
all winking blithe in the morning sun.
A light, she reflected – a good omen.

As Aschil turned, the tented wall lit up.
Time becalmed. And piece by piece,
the thronged scene split asunder,
as flying shards of fevered metal roared at
the crowds with furious thunder.

Canvas and flesh yielded without rebuff.
Aschil fell, eyes staring at the final terror.
She let go her last breath, crushed.

A love brutalised forever.

Part VII

The newspaper mentioned 43 dead.
In hidden rooms, crumpled maps
on wooden tables showed
pencilled roads towards retaliation.

– Mark

  1. Risto

    Hi Mark

    Maybe this man’s work could interest you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linton_Kwesi_Johnson

    Sure do check out his “Sonny’s Lettah” (on the album forces of victory):

    Linton Kwesi Johnson – Sonny’s lettah (anti-sus poem) Lyrics
    Album: Forces of Victory

    Send “Sonny’s lettah (anti-sus poem)” Ringtone to Your Cell

    From Brixton Prison, Jebb Avenue London S.W. 2 Inglan

    Dear mama
    good day
    I hope that when these few lines reach you they may
    find you in the best of health
    I doun know how to tell ya dis
    for I did mek a solemn promise
    to tek care a lickle Jim
    an try mi bes fi look out fi him

    mama, I really did try mi bes
    but none a di less
    sorry fi tell ya seh, poor lickle Jim get arres
    it was de miggle a di rush hour
    hevrybody jus a hustle and a bustle
    to go home fi dem evenin shower
    mi an Jim stan up waitin pon a bus
    not causin no fuss

    when all of a sudden a police van pull up
    out jump tree policemen
    de whole a dem carryin baton
    dem walk straight up to me and Jim
    one a dem hold on to Jim
    seh dem tekin him in
    Jim tell him fi leggo a him
    for him nah do nutt’n
    and ‘im nah t’ief, not even a but’n
    Jim start to wriggle
    de police start to giggle

    mama, mek I tell you wa dem do to Jim?
    mek I tell you wa dem do to ‘im?

    Dem thump him him in him belly and it turn to jelly
    Dem lick ‘im pon ‘im back and ‘im rib get pop
    Dem thump him pon him head but it tough like lead
    Dem kick ‘im in ‘im seed and it started to bleed

    Mama, I jus couldn’t stan up deh, nah do nuttin’

    So mi jook one in him eye and him started fi cry
    me thump him pon him mout and him started fi shout
    me kick him pon him shin so him started fi spin
    me hit him pon him chin an him drop pon a bin
    – an crash, an dead

    More policman come dung
    dem beat me to the grung
    dem charge Jim fi sus
    dem charge mi fi murdah

    mama, doan fret
    doan get depress an downhearted
    be of good courage
    till I hear from you
    I remain
    Your son,