on Iran

Birmingham's children
could not be silenced by hate
nor Iran's school girls

~

n.b. School girls being beaten to death by Iranian security forces for refusing to be told what to wear and what to sing.

The Birmingham ‘Children’s Crusade’, equally spontaneous, filled Alabama’s police cells. The children knew that their protests, against violent racism, would clog up the legal system, without affecting the economics of their family homes, as a working parent being incarcerated would have done.

In Iran, the vicious treatment of women, is the response of men who have been told “No.”

CLP 18/10/2022

on time

if this is home
what am I doing about it?
home for good or move

~

n.b. Home is not the house, but the location.

CLP 15/10/2022

on Ukraine

evacuate call
cruel deceit of remaining
victims who'll be blamed

~

n.b. A call to Moscow to help evacuate Donbas as Ukraine’s army advances, means the area will only be lived in by people who wanted to stay in their homes, but they risk being called Ukrainian patriots and therefore “enemy” to the recently retreated occupiers. Victim blaming being set up, like an idiot’s chess move.

on music

run through final bars
encores finally completed
melody drifts off

~

n.b. Barbès bar, Brooklyn. Merci et adieu. La fin.

CLP 13/10/2022

on time

Mike Henderson, Blues Guitarist
I got to shake hands
with a guitarist who played
in Bo Diddley's band

~

n.b. In 1986 I met Bo Diddley after he played with a pick up band at Dingwall’s, Camden Lock and still have his autograph. Small(ish) world.

Bo Diddley, carried his guitar travelling solo, playing with backing bands throughout his career. Possible due to the terrible financial terms he had naïvely signed up to with Chess Records in Chicago.

CLP 11/10/2022

on Ukraine

let us not pretend
a Russian life has less worth
deaths are not victories

~

n.b. War mentality dehumanises us all.

CLP 10/10/2022

on time

take it to the street
city walls a buzz with hope
a new Birmingham

~

n.b. Stronger together. Who painted this? Do we fete the artist, applaud the message, or live and work for a stronger, shared future for the peace and security of us all and those who are following in our footsteps?

This artwork is part of a stunning mural in Birmingham, Alabama city centre. It is a collaborative piece from the BLM Artist Collective of that city.

CLP 08/10/2022

on love

take the freedom walk
firehoses, dogs, prison bars
four girls as angels

~

n.b. Birmingham, Alabama, once the frontline of the hate line, a victory for love.

I studied at Birmingham Polytechnic in the period 1978 – 82. Coming to its namesake city has been an education. Real friendly place, as the locals might say, but do not walk down specific streets after dark they advise in all sincerity.

on Ukraine

sat in their silos
weapons of horrific strength
attention focused

~

n.b. Whatever my thoughts on this, writing them would only trivialise the seriousness of the current situation humanity now faces.

on guard

IN YUNG GUNS WE TRUST
threat? self-determination?
people get ready

~

n.b. Graffito on a low-rise social housing development in a beautiful, wooded district on the north side of Birmingham, Alabama. Not just scrawled on a wall, but painted large across the building.

At first, my response to these words was that this slogan, for it is big and prominent enough to be a political slogan, was an act of immature bravado, possibly delineating gang territory. However, this is not necessarily the case. Gang signs are usually more subtle, more discreet, almost meaningless to the naïve passerby, instantly recognisable to friend and foe.

Here in Birmingham Alabama, (the neatest, tidiest city centre in the whole of the USA as far as I have seen), there has been a long history of open warfare on people of colour by racist whites.

As a civil war was fought, as legislation was introduced, as civil rights were argued for and established, the racists have beaten, bombed and murdered people in this small city for speaking up for their basic rights as citizens of the USA. The racists in this city, made it a point to openly and brutally resist the changes USA society needed to go through to begin to live up to its constitutional promise, “all men are created equal.”

Birmingham, Alabama is a place of pilgrimage. A place to pay respect to the church-going children fire-bombed, the Freedom Riders set upon, the brave people who endured attacks by police dogs, batons and boots, our fellow human beings who were treated worse than dogs for boycotting, travelling, marching, sitting in, or simply praying.

This history of living memory does not just disappear overnight. It might be, given the attack on the Capitol Building in Washington DC on 6th January 2021, that some people do not feel entirely at ease with the increasing aggression of the extreme right.

It might be that the public murder of George Floyd and the deadly shootings of so many other black young people by police officers around the USA, has provoked some to think that if the ghastly NRA can argue guns are for defence, then these young people are not going to be sitting on their hands and hanging about for official help in policing their community.

In the USA those, who have made sure access to firearms is so easy, need to appreciate that self-defence means everyone has the right to be armed. These trusting in “YUNG GUNS” are taking the freedom to carry deadly weapons argument for defence to its obvious conclusion. If you believe you can’t trust the police, courts and the prison system to act humanely, who can you trust?

Then, after asking who do you trust, the next question needs to be “Who do you love?”

Unfortunately, sadly, awfully, I have since heard that the YUNG GUNS who had sprayed the blue paint on the wall, (barely visible on the brickwork in the photo above), had been enforcing their own form of terrifying justice locally.

~

CLP 06/10/2022