Youth

When you told me it was over
it had only just begun
the clock had ceased its ticking
and we still felt very young

Those everlasting children
in 1942
were taken from their villages
and nothing they could do

While concrete jungle architects
constructed city spaces
we thought we were invincible
in a middle Earth oasis

But history snatched our shoes away
and filled our hearts with fear
so soon our safety set upon
and dragged us out of there.

And now our broken spirits
seek an everlasting home
where innocence is not a crime
and we live (once more) as one.

Pressure

Girls with thick lashes
Kissing boys with moustaches
Rocky relations
Under trowels of foundation
Beautiful children, insecure and afraid
Hiding behind expectations we made.

When the fear bites
When the tears sting
When they’ve tried too hard
They simply remember we asked them to fly
and then they don’t feel …

and we wonder why.

Storm

This storm reminds me of Jaybee, my first friend, who was there to welcome me to school, with toy bricks
and a mean brother who chased us both and threw her in the pond.

At weekends, once upon a summer, we hung out with our Chinese pals, at a boating lake in the park. Jaybee had achieved her gold medal, and was a great swimmer, just as well, because
she fell in, on the way out of a row boat.

The next weekend, we met our Chinese pals again. Jaybee stayed safe, sat on a rocky wall, and me beside her. I said wouldn’t it be funny if…
and I pushed her, in jest.

In a beat which broke the surface of our friendship, Jaybee fell into the
water. Splash! She was angry and it began to rain. Lightening quick, monstrous guilt thundering down on me, I said let’s go to my house and get dry.

We ran – Jaybee, our Chinese pals and me, pouring through the rain,
shivering, laughing, each almost as wet as Jaybee. When we got to my door, we spilled through it like a flood of young forgiveness,

But Dad told our Chinese pals they
were not allowed in. Those words
rang louder than the splash, louder than my heart beat. Incomprehension roared louder than the storm.

Employment

At the shiny 8am traffic island,
two freshly employed and eager
young triangular flamingoes arrive
pressed between hardboard, balloons
on their backs announcing deals of the day.

At 5pm, they stuff pale clipped wings
back into hooded jackets and wade
away through pollutant traffic haze,
deflated balloons bobbing, filtering
disappointment through turned down beaks.

Ride

So mounting life we’ll screech and ride and burn

careering round the country without lights

we’ll roll our bikes get up and spit and learn

 and dash on through the dark dragging our rights.

When we are younger helmets guard our thought

as down those lethal hills we shift and fly

our heads are strong our muscles flexed and tort

as hairpins bend and buzz us round and by.

Chicanes defied we leap our faith and nerve

and pay no heed to riders left or felled

unhindered by the boulders and the curb

past flags and friends as though we are propelled. 

When whipped and lapped by attitude we swear

at step and crossroads, brake and all but chunder;

footfaulting in our sudden wheel of care

we grip the bars to stop us going under.