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original poem by oli higham

Real people are never fake
And fake people are never real.
The zoning regulations of monochrome,
Split like pre Mandela apartheid.
Painted with the same brush
But from different pots.
Some daubed with the brilliance of perfection.
As for us, the bristling feel of discolouration
Covered with the gloopy residue of failurehood

We walk with heads drawn low by markers
That signed our certificates of not being part of them,
The bright toothed, the smiling brigades of togetherness.
Avoidance of contact with their sneering eyes
And their reflective sheen, eyeballing our exclusion.

And it’s all so black and white.

They stand on a different canyonside,
Elevated above our levels of stature.
The gulf between, a sea of air to bridge.
No foothold to start a stage of grappling,
The distance too impenetrable.
For we are us and they are

And we dare not speak of drifts of consciousness,
Of night time stories and wisps of fleeting thoughts,
Where we find ourselves leaving these shores
In boats of crudely stapled refuse.
Blowing into sails filled with storm cloud breath
In the panicked knowledge that if the wind should cease
We could be dashed upon these rocks once again.
We choose not to gift words to these dreams.
Standing on these rocks hurts less than crashing afresh
After we make foolishness from valiance
And display that
Escape is not ours

It’s just so black and white



We hear those whispers of a bastard child,
Wrapped in perfection and shed of graveclothes,
Who can straddle ravines that dwarf the grandest canyons.
A foot in both camps, enthroned to crowns and rightful places
And betrothed to lowliness and broken faces.
Hands, adorned with royal riches, wipe tears
From eyes transfixed on points of earth,
On dirt and rust, eyes predisposed to down.

And spills truths out of lips carved from beauty itself.
That strain necks as eyes are thrust skywards.
The rumblings that the complete feel as broken as we,
That their masks are tied with stronger cords,
Their shields slip less and hide more
But their muscles bleed like ours.
Their hearts beat in time with our sorrow.

Cupped hands, scarred like our souls, magnify promises
Shouted out like words that need to be shared faster than legs can run.
Promises, sweet like ripe mangos on summer days
That the division of we and they is void.
Nullified in honesty, made to dust in raw hearts.
That our ship may sail, that ports of tomorrow are ours.
That today is done, and bloodied skies may set.
That second chances are served like feasts,
That overflow from wineglasses and silver plates,
Spread on tables buckled under under graceful weight.

found here


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