Should’ve Checked Trip Advisor

It’s World Refugee Day on Thursday 20 June 2019, particularly poignant in this month when we’ve seen German boat captain Pia Klemp face prosecution by the Italian government for rescuing people at sea

Should’ve Checked Trip Advisor

You’ve chosen to take a swim
on a rather foolish whim,
and you’ve even brought your children.
I must say, this spot’s a bit grim.

It’s outside of the tourist season.
To help you is probably treason.
Saving lives gets us sent to prison.
They say asylum is not a good reason.

Before I pull you out from the high seas,
could I look at your passport please?
You’re travelling without a visa?
We’re not allowed to save refugees.

My government has given the order.
You’re illegally crossing the border.
They’ve approved this form of torture,
so it can’t really be classed as murder.

©️Janey Colbourne 2019

Mic Drop. A poem about a certain issue at poetry open mics.

poetry open mic

Mic Drop

It’s a non-stop mic drop situation,
a cause of much deliberation.
At the open mic poetry nights,
there’s a need to adjust the microphone height.
It seems we have a broken mic stand.
It just came off in my hand.
Yet again the mic’s cut out and dangling,
and we’re awfully sick of wrangling
with this wayward piece of kit.
Let’s stop before it’s all in bits.
As wild and fearsome as a deckchair,
This gear’s invoking mild despair.
Can we find a way to prevent this wreck?
There’s not much need to have a sound check,
just an estimate of how tall we are.
Perhaps we should stand against the wall?
You can order us all by height,
and spend less time in a technical fight.
All the five foot twos come forward please.
Still, I’m guessing it’s quite likely this blessed thing will seize.
I’m dying to give you some assistance,
when I see the mic stand put up resistance.
You can’t attack it like that! It’ll just come loose.
You do know that it unscrews? Although not necessarily when you choose.
You may observe with a brief assessment,
it is made for infinite adjustment.
This micro stage is rather small, resembling a ledge.
I’m wincing as I see the feet of the mic stand teetering on the edge.
Don’t put it there, oh fuck…
I have to stop myself from jumping up.
Yes, I know I’m a bit of a control freak.
It gets mentioned to me pretty much every week.
As if me sat here, with my jaw clenched, is going make the slightest difference.
You don’t need any interference.
I know I have a problem, it’s just my fussy brain.
I have a tendency to mumsplain.
It’s all going fine, it’s a minor issue,
and a source of some amusement.
Even if the whole thing’s come undone,
we’re all still having fun.
I can see I need to let it go, so,
I’m sorry. I’d better sit down, shut up now, and let you get on with the show.

©️Janey Colbourne 2019

Captain Marvel You Are My Hero

Representation is so important. This month it is fifty years since the Stonewall uprising that was triggered by a raid on a gay bar in New York and and that led to the first Gay Pride march, which are now held around the world every year. Fifty years ago being openly gay or transgender would lead to arrest. Today there has been much progress but we still have a way to go. Only this week a gang of youths were arrested for attacking two gay women on a bus in London .

Captain Marvel also shows a lead character that is a woman portrayed without objectification and oversexualisation. Marvel Comics films have done a lot to improve representation of the marginalized as lead characters in mainstream media. Don’t underestimate the importance of this.

Captain Marvel You Are My Hero

Captain Marvel you are my hero,
the one who really speaks for me,
the first female hero of an action film
to truly act as a lead, autonomously,
dressed, not in underwear, but actual clothes,
the way the men are usually seen.

You don’t need to be told to control your rage.
You won’t allow it to be denied.
You know exactly when and how to use it,
never out of control or misapplied.
Your righteous wrath is your superpower.
You know it’s time to fight for freedom.
With compassion and insight, you direct your strength
in defence of those in need.

I see you in your flannel shirt and jeans,
not a skirt in sight.
You’ll accept no less than equality,
standing up to the patriarchal might.
Strong women together in solidarity;
your best friend’s a pilot too.
We can tell she’s your girlfriend really.
I’ve seen the way she looks at you.

There are those who want to moderate your power.
You’ve woken up to their manipulation.
No longer broken by the charms of liars,
you won’t be blinded by infatuation,
nor the predatory intent of a random stranger,
demanding a smile, or a ride.
Mister, it’s not you she likes,
it’s your motorbike.

You don’t know the validation of representation,
if you’ve never had it in your life,
growing up with self doubt and constant frustration,
although you sense that this is not right,
until you feel that empowerment for the very first time,
released from gender based limitations
and realise this sense of expansive space
is what it’s always been like for the guys.

©️Janey Colbourne 2019

Silence in the Meadow

It’s too easy to idealise the past, looking back to an imaginary idyll through a rose tinted lens, and I’m sure those who lived in poverty in the past would think we are very lucky to have such lives of comfort, and of course we are, but I still think we’ve lost something since the enclosures of the land in the 18th Century, after which the rural population significantly decreased and town populations surged. I’ll be performing this poem as part of my set this afternoon, Saturday 1st June, on the Manchester Histories Soapbox stage as part of the King St Festival in Manchester. This year is the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre, in which protesters demanding election reforms (still an issue today) were slaughtered by the authorities. The theme of my poetry set will be social and environmental justice.

Silence in the Meadow

Once, the fields were filled with folk, sowing seed,
raking grass, reaping corn, singing songs.
Their children laughing, barefoot, in daisy crowns,
enchanted for a moment by the curlew’s
haunting call, the zig-zag dash of the hare, tiny
nest of harvest mouse, plump blackberries fresh from hedgerows,
small faces streaked with purple smiles, while parents
sang the harvest in, weaving words, weaving bonds,
weaving winter food and friendship, to ward away the fear.

But now the fields are empty, restyled as unspoiled countryside,
scenery for the affluent, while weavers
live in cages, safe, warm and sterile,
till brambles wither, curlews cry unheard. The harvest mouse is homeless.
No children run to warn the hare the harvest comes.
But for a lonely diesel engine, there is silence in the meadow.

©️Janey Colbourne 2019