The Shielder

@KaremIBarratt

23 06 2017 escudero 2

 

He could not save him.

He ran fast, with his make-shift,

Cardboard shield, and jumped before

David, a second too late.

They were no friends, not like, you

Know, from school or the boy scouts

Or the long-time neighbours kind of mates.

They were kin more like in Henry V,

Where all who sheds his blood with

Me is my brother on Saint Crispin’s day.

He jumped with all his might,

But the bullet fired with hate found

Its way to David’s neck.

“Don’t died on me,” the shielder said,

As he pulled David away.

But he did.

On the street that was their battleground.

David had no lethal weapon, except his

Youth, his naivete and maybe a rock.

That, and his hunger for freedom.

Enough to make the national guard

Feel threaten and make him pull his shot.

Some comrade-in-arms took his body,

And shielder stayed behind.

And he sat on the pavement.

And the child-warrior cried.

 

(This is based on a true story that occurred on June 22, 2017. David Vallenilla was shot dead by a Venezuelan national guard, as he protested foe freedom, and the picture above shows when a “shielder” as Venezuelan call them tried to save him)

23 06 17 escudero

Universal Law

@KaremIBarratt

sad-man-silhouette-on-bench

 

It is a universal law that no stranger can break your heart.

Not the deep, truest, intimate inner sanctum of it.

Perhaps the pain of others will wound it, crack it, with time even harden parts of it.

But no stranger can break it.

It will not be your boss or your nemesis,

The rude passer-by, the indifferent or hateful people crossing your path.

No.

Only love has that very exclusive and powerful power over your heart.

Only those whom we love can break us down.

 

Flaming Tower

towar inferno@KaremIBarratt

 

 

Sometimes you just run out words,

Out steam, out of tears.

Sometimes you become a dried river,

And your heart a cracked piece of land

Where no seed can grow.

Sometimes the world is just too much.

And although you are faraway,

You can hear the screams, the crackling

Of the flames, slithering up the building

Like a winding snake, a fire snake,

Searching for it wings and take flight,

Caring not for a little child, an old man,

A family of five. The fire snake wants

To become a dragon and fly.

Was it the gas? Was it the cladding?

Was it the alarms? Was it the policies?

What turned a gigantic block of flats

Into a torch, lighting up the night,

Breaking it with shattered windows and shrieks,

With the sum of all fears,

Falling down with the debris?

And amid the emptiness and broken heartedness,

The anger and the pain, they see us, in shades of grey,

Plastered faces on a wall, scrawled names and post-it prayers

Asking for a glimmer of impossible hope.

And sometimes the world is just too much.

 

IN THIS LAND

@KaremIBarratt

Dedicated to the victims of Manchester and all the Britons affected by terrorism

Union-Jack

In this land of green valleys,

In this land of white faces,

And yellow and brown and

Pink and black, and hundreds

Of tongues, singing like birds

The stories of journeys that

Ended in this home,

In this land of tea and beer

And pubs, and curry and pizza

And sweet and sour pork, of

May poles and Chinese New Years,

In this land of bangles and boots

And flouncy dresses and green tattoos,

In this land of discontent at times

And silly football fights,

Of bookers and charity volunteers,

Of summer festivals in the mud

And druids around the Tor

And scientists writing their quantum

Music of the spheres, and robot and

Man muscling together to create a car

A train, a super plane, soon a rocket

To reach the heights where the stars

Of yore inspired a pen to call a boy Romeo

And his girlfriend Juliet,

In this land that feels as old as time

And yet so new, where it takes a walk

Or two to find a cow or a sheep on

The borders of steel and brick cities.

In this land when some have it good

And some quite not so, in this

Land where no politician is ever

Taintless and we can argue for ages

About left and right, in this land

When sometimes the shadow of

Hatred sneaks between the roses,

In this land we look and talk and think

And hope so differently, yet alike.

In this land, there is no fear.

For time and time again

Those who tried and failed

And those who tried and hurt,

Have found that, in this land,

We take crap from no one,

Not even our petite selves,

When it comes to stand together

And defend this land of grace.

And we will weep for our children

And young and old, killed cowardly

By a freak with a bomb, an assassin with a car,

An idiot with a machine gun on a Turkish beach,

A traitor with a knife.

We will weep and cry and pray, if pray

If what we do. We will hold each other

And hug a stranger. Light candles in

City centres and lay stuffed elephants

And pink hippos on a carpet of flowers

On the middle of the street. And we will

Remember, but never give in.

Not once shall we give up

That which make us unique:

The values forged by millennia of

People coming together from every

Corner of the world. And of all

The names we are called, United and

Great are engraved in the centre

Of a core, wherever we have been

Britons by birth or by choice, by a

Lineage extending 20 generations or

By a grandpa that came 30 years ago,

Seeking the British dream.

And in this land, our land,

Some of us will take our tea

And some of us will celebrate Ramadan,

And some instead of quiz night will

Hold Salsa nights.

And we’ll remember our dead children,

In this land.

And our mums and dads taken away

In an act of senseless rage and pseudo-revenge.

But in this land, we stand together, come what may.

And no matter the storm or the violence

Or the threat of the fear,

Together we will keep this land great,

United in a cheer, a beacon of freedom and

Hope and peace and beauty and innovation.

For we are Brits and when we fall, we

Breathe, we swear, we shed a tear, we dust off  our knees,

Get up, stand tall. And  then we go and carry on.

 

 

Dear Ukrainian Friend

@KaremIBarratt

 

Ukrania Venezuela

 

Dear Ukrainian friend whom I never met,

I want to apologize for what I never did.

For those days of darkness when

Your roof tops where nest for snipers,

Hunting your youth and your elders.

Those days when you when out to fight

Armed with make shift shields, bicycle

Helmets and baseball bats, to return the

Bombs, the gas, perhaps the fear.

I bet you posted pictures on Facebook,

Showing the bravery and the blood,

The face of your friend, now gone,

The granny running holding hands

With a boy she never met before.

I bet you told the world in tweeter

And Instagram what was going on,

You reported, you showed, you screamed

You beg for a minute of air time,

Because the suffering of your people

Was more important than the fate

Of the poodles of a movie star.

It took time for the world to notice.

It took longer for it to care.

Perhaps I saw one of your pictures

And just scroll down, because my day

Was sunny or maybe just too

Cloudy and you and your people

Were neither my circus nor my clowns.

I’m sorry.

I am so, truly sorry.

If I weren’t brown my face would

Go red with shame.

I understand now your frustration

Of those days, the feeling

Of crying in the wilderness of

A life too busy, too full, to stop

For anybody.

I guess when you think about it,

You kind of understand, don’t you?.

The world is so crazy and there are

So many things going on, all the time,

In all places, like if the fabric

Of time and space had ripped and

All the “heres” and all the “nows” have

Collided into a single point. Become

A singularity once more.

But it hurts, doesn’t it?

It hurts when your pleas,

when your explanations

When your story is met by silence.

Sometimes a sad emoji.

Rarely a “this so sad”.

And you are grateful for every

Crumb of compassion.

Your good side anyway.

Because what you want,

What you really want, is people

To scream with you, “this is bad, this

Is wrong, this is murder, make it stop!”

You want the political version of Green Peace

Telling the world that, you, potential

Polar bear, are about to die.

That the country you love and grew in

Is melting faster than any ice cap.

You want some brave photographer

To take a picture of you, alone, floating

In a flimsy sheet of ice in the middle

Of the sea. Maybe then they will

See it before is too late,

Before the purple rivers of blood

Flood the streets and you become

A horror story, like Syria and Uganda.

But I guess there is a quota of corpses

You got to pay before networks grant you a minute

Or two of their precious time. Before

They send their bravest journalists,

With their bull-proof vest and iron hats

To your corners, to the park where

You used to play, to the ruins that was

Once your school, to the hallow buildings

With ghostly eyes, to tell the world

About what when wrong, and how it

Got right.

Because it will get right.

Will it get right, my Ukrainian friend?

Does it get right for everyone at the end?

My silent war is at the north of the south

Of what was once the New World -but

It now feels so old, so crappy, kids dying daily

For something called freedom, something

They believe is worth dying for. Kids that have

Not known any world but this, of red tyranny

And false paternalism. But Father government

Has shown its teeth, long and sharp

And like and angry Saturn is devouring

Its offsprings. And yet they stand, still.

Steadfast. Going to their protest, their battle fields,

With their makeshift shields and flags,

And Grandma’s baking gloves to throw back the bombs.

Old and young. Resolute. Dying and falling.

But standing still. Not turning back.

And in my Facebook page, in my version

Of SOS and screams for help, of

Any kind, I get the odd comforting message,

A sad face here and there. And the silence,

The emptiness of that rectangle that

It’s supposed to be the mouth piece

For my friends, my acquaintances, those

Who care for me. And I never dislike

The colour white as much as I do now, looking

At the blank space created for non-comments.

It must have been like that for you

In those dark, scary days. I think

It was Banksy who said that people

Would watch anything with a kitten

In it, and painted a giant, cute one,

Over the wall of a destroyed home

Blown up by a war.

I am sorry I chose the kitten over you.

Or the flower, or the meme, or

The last joke, or the recipe of the pineapple cake.

I’m sorry if humanity, as a whole,

Did not stand by you until the very end.

By I am holding on to you,

My dear Ukrainian friend.

Holding to the hope against hope,

Holding to the dream that justice,

Like Morgan Freeman would probably say,

We will prevail. Venezuela will prevail.

The blood on the sidewalk will

Become the blood of a new day, a new born,

And all this pain, all this loss

Will not be for nothing.

 

Revelation

@KaremIBarratt

dragon fly 21

 

There was a boy at the pond,

Sitting quietly, lost in thought.

There was a sun ray at the pond,

Anchored to the water.

There was a cloud over the pond,

Engraving her ethereal self on

The still, innate well.

There was a dragon fly at the pond,

Catching rainbows with her wings.

There were rushes around the pond

Singing silences to the heart.

There was a sleeping puppy

At the pond, wrapped by

Flowers and grass.

There were pebbles by the pond,

Painted by dew and dust.

There was a curled leave on the pond,

Sailing softly into the eternity

Of the round cosmos that was now its home.

There was a perfume on the pond,

Lingering with essence of water and morning

And wild flowers and croaking frogs.

There was a beauty at the pond,

Made of child and wind and leave and dog,

And Art Nouveau dragon flies, and murmuring

Rushes and specks of light, and dancing flowers

With skirts of grass, and totem rocks,

And ethereal, cloudy mantles from above.

And I saw God.

 

Well

@KaremIBarratt

woman lakefc

 

Sometimes I am trapped inside my skin.

Literally.

My muscles shrink and expand,

Without me having a saying in the matter.

I shake.

I freeze.

I twist.

My eyes close and for a minute or two

I am blind.

Paralyzed.

A serpent tied to an electrocution chair.

But inside, I am singing lullabies.

I tell myself stories.

I remind the inner me that I am alive,

Well, in my very own, particular way.

And I’m hearing everything,

Aware of it all, in spite

Of my convulsing body,

My rolling eyes, my twisting tongue,

And my funny snores.

I exist.

In the middle of the storm.

I am more than a condition,

A mental health code.

I am the shaking, sleeping, confused

Woman, who apparently

Cannot control herself.

But inside I am floating on a lake,

Looking at my own sunset,

Alive, alert,

Knowing it will well, somehow.

I will be well.

 

 

 

The Void

@KaremBarrattgenesis-carmona

(The girl in the image is Genesis Carmona. She was killed by the Venezuelan government for daring to protest for freedom and a better life. This was three years ago. In the past three weeks, almost 30  Venezuelans, between 14 and 60 have been killed by the government forces for protesting)

 

The parent of a dead child

Learns to live with the unimaginable.

Echoes of a voice walk by her side,

The phantom of a laughter

Rests upon his shoulder.

The parent of a dead child learns to

Live with an unfillable void.

A gaping wound that never quite heals.

A hole around which she and he have

To learn to build a new life.

The parent of a dead child sometimes

Wishes the world would stop,

Become quiet, frozen. Slow, until

There is no motion and life becomes

A still shot from an old film.

The world never does.

It never complies.

It cannot afford to stop rotating,

Moving, changing, making leaves fall

And then bloom again.

And the parent of a dead child

Must learn to live with this:

With this going on, this flow,

This life that stops for no one.

No even a grieving parent

Trying to come to terms with

The unimaginable loss.

They tend to walk a bit slower,

The parents of a dead child.

They tend to stop more, watch

The roses, see the bees come

And go among them.

They tend to sit longer.

In the park, on the bench,

In the garden.

Eventually they smile again,

A little at first. A resigned smirk

That sometimes grows like a

Waxing moon, showing all the teeth.

And yet, at the end of the lips,

Where the top and bottom one meet,

There is a sigh, a longing,

A desire to reach out and get her

Back, embrace him once more,

Hold them tight, the dead children,

Breathe life-force into them,

See them grow in one minute,

Watch them go, whole, sane, into

The shadows of the people enjoying

The sunset, the end of the summer,

The bonfires on the beach.

The wish that will never come to be.

And they walk home,

Back to the little hole in the soul,

Sometimes so minuscule you

Could miss it, sometimes so huge

It could swallow you in one gulp.

Big, small, visible, intangible,

But always there.

The void.

 

 

 

 

The Water Wind

@KaremIBarratt

rainy-window-sad-child-girl-window-rain

 

The water wind rolls down the mountain waves.

The day’s forgotten wash fights it bravely, like a bull.

Out side, a bomb-less war of flashes and blows.

Inside, chicken and corn, my bored head hanging

over late homework, while Mama stirs the soup,

Humming to herself, and the babe watches

the kamikaze rain splatter over the window pane,

Andrea hugging her battered doll,

sucking her thumb, furiously.

‘It’s alright, child,’ Mama chants, undecided,

between thyme, celeriac or parsley, the beads

Of the rosary gleaming, as she rolls them

Incessantly around her left hand.

 

 

The Hell Between His Ribs

@KaremIBarratt

minotaur-sleeping-woman-horizontal-large-gallery piccasso

 (image by Pablo Picasso)

 

If there is anyone out there who listens,

Anyone who cares, who has the power to

Move moons and stars, gods or demons,

Makes no difference at this point in time,

Please listen to my imploration, to my plea.

Pull, seize, suck this love from within.

Extract it from the marrow of my bones,

Burn it from the retina of my eyes,

Block it from the spidery highway of my brain.

Free me from this hunger, this need,

This thirst of him, his presence, my drug,

My destruction, my broken bridge

Over twin cliffs.

I have lost my shame, my name, myself.

I have dragged my pride through the mud

To lick his feet. Everything I have thrown

To the winds to follow him to the

Darkness of his soul, to the cavern of his

Heart’s obliteration. He touches me, pushes me,

Calls me, ignores me, caresses me, denies

Me the warmth of his skin. He weeps

My name amid his desperation;

He spits at my face in his feverish rants.

He loves me, he hates me, he needs me,

He looks at me with despise.

He is the wind and the sea to

My sailboat with no pilot.

He is the fog to my night sky,

Hiding the guidance of the stars.

He feeds the seed and crushes the flower.

I cannot save him. No one can.

I am not his angel in disguise,

His muse, his last chance.

I have tried. With all my faith,

All my strength, everything I am

I have lie down for him to

Find the light and be unchained

From the hell between his ribs.

And he clings and bites and drains

Life from my existence.

I am just another rotting walker

In his zombie apocalypse,

The nameless crewman who

Will die before the film is halfway.

I am collateral damage to his

Rage, his revenge against the world.

And this love, this curse, this

Death-wish that ties me to him

Has me mummified. I cannot run,

Cannot fight, I see pieces of myself

Fall away like stone leaves from

A decayed temple and I don’t know

How to stop it, where to run,

How long will I hold on before I

Get lost in his labyrinth -no Ariadne’s

Thread for me, no Icarus’ wax wings.

And the Minotaur bellows, thunders,

Rumbles as he runs towards me,

His horns scraping the narrow halls,

My back against the wall.

And I pray. To demons and gods alike,

To save my hide or make quick the end ,

To save my spirit, spirit me away,

Show mercy, have pity at my stupidity,

My weakness, my fear,

Hear my screams as he comes closer,

My howls, my knees humbled to the ground,

The horns an inch away from

From the crystals of my tears,

And I tremble and I cry -shriek,

As he brands me with the acid, burning

Tip of the steel rod he calls his love.

And then I know.

There are no demons.

There are no gods.

There is just him.

And my soul’s Armageddon.