Enandin 19h

For the sake of completeness I'm putting this here. It completes the previous four poems all inspired by my daughter's marriage.
This was my speech at the wedding, I wrote it as an ode and it was my first and only public performance as a poet!
We had a fantastic day, my daughter had a dream wedding and I did get a few laughs.

Do I lose a daughter
Or gain a son
That's the question
I've been dwelling on
We always wondered
If she'd manage to find
Someone to love her
And treat her kind
The worry was
She'd pick an arse
Who'd ruin her life
As well as ours
Then came Simon
Caspers’ ghost
And I thought 'why aye man'
He's better than most
He could have been smart
Or good looking I suppose
He might have been fit
With a distinguished nose

But we'll take him as he is
Geordie accent an' all
Head in the clouds
But he’s quite good on the ball
And you never know under the skin
There might be great qualities
Hidden within
He does like a tab
And a flutter or two
He drives his own cab
And he loves a brew

So he's chose as his bride
Our feisty wee daughter
The angel of the north
And all that we taught her
A wise man many may think
Or a lamb that's led to the slaughter
Steph was in old Aberdeen
When he came on the scene
So he had to travel far
In a souped up little car
While she trained to be a teacher
Such a brainy wee creature
I have to confide
The apple of my eye
And the thorn in my side
But today all we see
Is this beautiful bride

So Simon took her to stay
Down Newcastle way
Where he taught her to speak
Like a duck with no beak
'Hey man'
I've heard her say
When the world and its dog
Weren't going her way
He's certainly opting
For a pressurised life
By choosing our Steph
As his awful wife
Sorry, lawful wife

They've already started
A family affair
With Lacy and Leo that fine little pair
So all of the best
On your journey ahead
Too late now
To choose freedom instead
But if there is a recipe
For loving bliss
It might go something
A bit like this

Keep your ears open and your mouth firmly shut
Always smile widely
And nod like nut
Remember woman
Can't be explained
So never try
And never complain
The last one
Is probably the hardest to do
But if you master the art
Life'll be much easier for you
And if you ever ask what's wrong
And she says 'nothing'
Work it out quick
Because it's a trick
And she's sizing you up for a coffin

If you can master
These rules
Before it's too late
Then you'll delay your trip
To the pearly gate
And if you've wondered
Why men often go first
Here's a little fact
I can put you onto
It's no medical thing
Or a genetical spring
It's as simple as this
It's because we want to.

But a word to the wise
So it's not a surprise
In the years that are yet to come
Look at our Steph
Then look at her mum
And if it's true what they say
That they turn out the same way
Then today your goose may be cooked
Because Simon my lad
Speaking as her dad
If that's how it works
Then you’re fucked.

In the gallery of a town, art was duly contained
and cared for carefully without contamination.
There was a painting there, painted with oil
paints that rained and formed a picture of a bird
on a canvas of vivid blues, browns, and greens
that fixed eyes on it like webs to hair.
The artist spoke:

“We are all swallows: proud, free, agile.
We are all oceans: formidable, hostile.
We are all stormy weather: thunderous.
We are all columns: supportive, calloused.

Entwined we will walk,
down to and up to the sands,
into elixirs made with salt;
swelling our joyous hands.”

Men, women and children all strolled by,
and let not one of them see the lows and highs
of the artist's soul. A boy stood there with
no-one: his uncorrupted eyes walking up and
down the mined canvas. He felt no sand
under his feet; he felt no wooden skin and
complexion in his hands.
He spoke:

“We are not swallows: ashamed, caged, stiff.
We are not oceans: defenceless, mild.
We are not stormy weather: soundless
We are not columns: defective, defiled.

Like slaves, we sing
on top of the wings
of new-born Spring.

The ground we sowed and toiled,
reaped dangers of fantasy untold.
Soul-reaping bird-singers
singing the siren song to us.
But we must not fuss.

I bleed the colours
of a deadly rose garden.
Red, yellow, blue, green:
colourless eyes remain unseen.”

Lady Ace 5d

One day
You'll feel the way I do
(I'm sure)
And stride your way over
And knock on my door

You'll promise
And swear
To do nothing at all
Except to be there
If ever I fall

We'll look at each other
And breathe
And exist
And hope
That the other one's presence persists

Your arms will surround me
And there we will stay
In calm, peaceful safety
This way

"What is loves biggest fear?"
He whispered.

She spoke back.

Ben Jr Mar 20

How did we get here?
Where we hide our thoughts,
And only speak in fear,
Just so we don't get caught,
So we keep to ourselves our opinions and ideas,
How did we get here?

How did we get to this?
Where we have a limit of a way to think,
And we limit our right to freedom of speech,
All just so we don't offend thee,
How did we get to this?

The men who are meant to serve,
Can't handle the truth,
So we don't tell it as it is,
Coz we know what they'll do,
From courts to jail and at times beating,
Yes that's true!,
So it all comes down to what they'll choose,
And they smile like its all good,

So we have to hold on to our dictionary for a consult,
Just so when we speak we don't accidentally insult,
'cause you know the big men can't take a joke,
Or a poke and what not,

And its not that we can fight,
We can't take them up in a round with all their might,
They'd squash us down like a bug,
And then just shrug,

How did we get here?,
Its not like they need it to earn our respect,
We've already voted for them,
How do they not get it?,
We did it with clear mind,
And know that they ain't perfect,
Why do we have to regret?

So I sit here just asking,
How did we get here,
I thought things would be better,
Instead we all now have to look over our shoulder,
How did we get here

Lawrence Hall Mar 20

Speech of Freedom

I will listen – now tell me what you think
And tell me what you think, not what you feel
Not what you were commanded by bullhorns
Not chants beginning with “Hey! Hey!
     Ho! Ho!”

I will listen – now tell me that you think
You, not a crowd, a hive, a swarm, a shoal
You, not a mood, a whim, a committee
You, not a photocopied manifesto

Because I want to hear you – you, not echoes
I will listen – now tell me what you think

Freedom of Speech
maxime Mar 20

I don't need to look into a mirror to see that I'm turning into you.
I already know that I am slowly deteriorating.
Nightmares plague me,
So horrible I am trembling and barely breathing when I wake.
There isn't a single person who makes me feel safe.
You always told me you were wary of everyone.
Including yourself.
The words that fall from my lips are formal, protected, carefully calculated.
My words sound like their coming from your mouth,
Like you have possessed me and will never let me free.
The wanderlust is the most painful.
I'm pulled by the sharp knife twisted into my gut.
Wanderlust makes me reckless. Wanderlust slowly kills me.
Tell me, darling,
Am I haunting you like you're haunting me?
The further we are apart, the more we see we are alike.
Before too long you'll look in the mirror.
You'll see my face instead of your own.

This poem doesn't flow the way I want it to. I can't seem to fix it.
AB Mar 9

I have stories in my head.
I have feelings in my heart.
I have songs in my mouth.
But the words don't flow.

I want to write of adventure.
I want to sing of good times.
I want to express how much I love you.
But my mind forms these thoughts too slow.

I want to tell the stories of heroes I've dreamed up.
I want to compose ballads that stick in people's heads.
I want to write of love and life as I've experienced them.
But as I grasp for the words, from my hand they go.

I want to write. I should start today.
But here, in this moment, I don't know what to say.

It's always a struggle to make myself write and to put my thoughts to paper

words drenched in love
for some
a dangerous declaration

her disheveled heart
speaks only after dark
whispering over the phone
stuttering syllables stitch
stories to shadows of secrecy

let’s strike a comparison:

pen on paper
for me
a novelty
pen on paper
for her
a crime

to think out loud
to read you the soft words
of my beating heart
i am praised and applauded

to think out loud
to read you the strangled words
of her bleeding heart
she is beaten and taunted

why may I write with freedom
while she writes with fear?

why may i be viciously vocal
while she is sold into
solemn silence?

i can
without being told
i need the permission of a man

but she can’t
lips sewn shut with threats
hands tied tight with rules
the men shout:
shut up
be quiet
do what your told
fit the good wife mould

her father competes for the
most submissive
dull daughter
and so he lies—

“my daughter is a
‘good girl’
no interest in
or poetry.
she never desired
to go to school”

accused of lovers and affairs
her verses spat upon
her lines snickered at
her brothers rip up her notebooks
they rip up a literary soul printed on
pages doused in tears

there she is
on the edge of an arranged marriage
risking death to have her two-lines heard  
they call it a landai
can’t you hear her
voice crying out
to be validated

here I am
on the edge of a couch
binge watching Netflix to avoid what matters
they call it procrastination
you know me too well
a millennial pretending
to not have time to produce
the littlest of letters
smallest of sounds

granted poetic privilege
i often throw it away  
the loud whispers of the NGO’s
scratch at my door—

“what a waste!
  what a waste!
  the basic human right
  she dies for
  sadly is the right
  you take for granted”

she’s on the other side of the world
but i feel her pain prick at my heart
while i try to do her story justice

she lit herself on fire
dying for love
a flame of rebellion
a martyr to the little girls
desperately wanting to feel
the weight of
a pen in their hand

she speaks because she has to
i speak because i can

she says more even when it means
she’ll suffer

i say less even when it means
she’ll continue to suffer silently

i’ll never realize
what i have until i lose it

she knew from day one
she didn’t have freedom
but that she would fight for it
until her last breath.

Yes, it's International Women's Day. Let's make a big deal about it.

This original poem, written in 2015 and re-edited since then, is inspired by a New York Times article, “Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry.” I was completely torn when I first read it, as I never knew writing about love and being creative, for many women, had them abused and killed. I've had numerous journals full of stories, read aloud my poems to a 100+ audience; I couldn't believe the severe oppression and lack of free speech that was embedded in the lives of Afghan women. This poem stems from the comparison of women's rights based on cultural differences.

Mirman Baheer, Afghanstian’s largest women’s literary society works to liberating these women that have for so long been silenced. I encourage you to take time and read the article below, let's get real about change.  #beboldforchange

Dovey Mar 1

What if in all actuality
I’ve been speaking sins?
I preach what I don’t understand…
Unfaithful lies escape from my lips

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