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Roger Clark

Dreams

You stand transfixed
In Al Meera
Gazing at 'peaches and cream'
On the Lux shampoo
Are you lost in fantasy
Or does she look just
Like your girl
In Bangladesh
You guard
Of insecurity

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Out of place

You mop the messy floor
In the washroom
With dignity
Your hair well groomed
And neatly trimmed moustache
Just hints of silver
And an elegance
More suited
To a boardroom
Than a toilet
But your shoes
Are full of holes
And your eyes
Are full of tears

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Folk-fest

You look quizzically
At the years gone by;
Frowning at all those
Who've joined
The slide of time;
Your pony-tail
Is longer, greyer,
And your Tilley hat
More wrinkled.
You dance inside
To bits of half-forgotten tunes,
Still eating childhood's ice cream
Or sipping beer in cups
That are disposable,
Wishing you weren't;
And so, you frown.

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Burkina Faso

What are you thinking,
As you proudly unwrap
Your green and red flag,
In minus twenty degrees?
Do you have black thoughts
About the northern whiteness
Around you? Or
Are you here at all?
Do your coat and scarf and boots
Seem strangely out of place
In the sun of Ouagadougou
Amid the cries of children
And weaver birds?
What are you thinking?
And why do I ask?

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Shirley

Your orange, green and black tape-measure
(In inches, of course)
Curls comfortably, as it always has,
On the table beside you;
And your needles click happily,
Lovingly working the wool together,
Knowing the human warmth they share
And create for another's body and being;
You are your knitting,
With your caring and love,
And your orange, green and black tape-measure
(In inches, of course)

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Earle Birney

No agèd tourist you
Explorer guide and ever young
Who in a magic land
Where trembling minds step warily
Can see horizons out of sight
Of ordinary men

But are you not like us
Do we not follow where you lead
And are we really strangers in this realm
That seems so surely ours

You take our souls
And show them glimpses of themselves

Yet as a tourist guide
You hardly fill the role
You seek no token of our thanks
But what a gratitude there is
And envy too

[...] Read more

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Remembrance Day

An avant-garde game of statues,
Or life frozen by aliens,
The morning shoppers
Obedient to the one-minute siren
And showing 'full cooperation'
With the 'Home Bargains' manager,
Appear lifeless
(In memory of the lifeless):
A deaf old lady, oblivious,
Wanders on to find her Fox's Mints,
Wondering if the world
Has suddenly gone mad,
Or whether she has;
A child, not understanding,
Assumes that everyone has stopped
To listen to her,
And shrieks with pride;
But disapproving glares
And elderly hushes
Count out the seconds,

[...] Read more

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