Tag Archive | Exclusion

Bonfire Of Promises 

On a night when some people celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes with celebrations and firework displays I take a slightly different look at bonfire night. I do this by  taking an alternative look  at the issues of austerity and the homelessness it can and does to lead to. In this poem I explain why I believe the I’m alright Jack mentality has resulted in a culture of apathy in which people are content for others to suffer so long as the suffering doesn’t reach their door and this allows the more reactionary Conservative forces within the UK establishment to have a bonfire of promises. It is with this in mind I have titled my poem Bonfire Of Promises I hope you enjoy the read. 

Bonfire Of Promises 

As I stand in the cold

watching fireworks explode

 a cavalcade of colours

light up the evening sky

like a rainbow

but with no pots of gold at the end

I am lucky when the evening concludes

I will return to the shelter of my flat

after time spent with friends

enjoying the warmth of their company

as the weather turns colder

I walk past a homeless girl

checking my pockets to see if change can be spared 

on this occasion only goodwill can be shared 

and that won’t fill empty stomachs

or remove hunger pains 

in a world where nobody listens

and politicians feed the public a diet of slogans 

designed to blame others for our problems

scapegoating is the road to ignorance

and acceptance of rules

made by others to tighten their grip 

on us and our circumstances

till we believe change is no longer possible

and as long as we’re alright everything is going to be fine 

all we need to do is shut the door

on the outside world

and pretend it doesn’t exist 

but there is a warning in my words 

if we do take this road it will be the vulnerable who suffer 

as we start to view minorities as others 

and allow governments to make

a bonfire of promises

 © Gayle Smith 2017

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Eclipsed

As many of you will know this is National Poetry Day and this year the theme for the event is freedom. Like all the themes chosen to celebrate this day it can be interpreted in any number of ways but inspite of mywell documented support for both the Scottish National Party and the cause of independence , if you have come here looking for a braveheart claymore wielding poem in support of my party or cause your going to very disappointed.  I’ve written plenty of those poems in the past and will do so again when the occasion demands. This however, is neither the time nor the place for it. Instead i have chosen to look at the top in a more petsonal capacity by addressing those hard won freedoms that should be the hallmark of any civilised society and the danger to them from the Conservative goverment and The Great Repeal Bill which would give UK Prime Minister Theresa May the powers of a medievil monarch. This is the most dangerous piece of legislation brought before any parliament since the German parliament passed the Enabling Act in 1933 which paved the way for Hitler’s reign of terror. I’ve given it the title Eclipsed as i genuinely fear for our rights if this passes into law. I hope you enjoy the read 

Eclipsed
Freedom 

For this Glasgweigan 

means being able to assemble 

with my friends at a place of my choice 

raise my voice in demonstrations 

or poetry nights

fight for the rights of others

as well as myself 

I’ve never been the selfish type 

some kinds of freedoms are greatly overhyped 

like that to offend others

in the name of free speech 

freedom means having within my reach

the chance to make the most of my skills and abilities

walk the streets with dignity 

unafraid to be who i am 

whilst respecting others 

even when we may disagree on certain issues

it is not a woolly concept

supported only by guardian reading 

bleeding heart liberals 

and must be availble to all citizens 

not just those who can afford 

to send their children to the right schools  

it is imposing only rules considered reasonable and necessary 

for society to function properly 

but in all honesty 

not everyone is as free 

as should be the case in a civilised country 

I recognise freedom can have an ugly side 

if allowed to go unchecked

to me it’s all about respect 

we can’t afford to neglect our hard won rights 

or the sun will go down on them 

and as we sleep through the darkest hour of night

we will wake up to find them eclipsed 

 © Gayle Smith 2017 

People’s Friend 

As Jeremy Corbyn addresses the masses at Glastonbury I give my thoughts on a middle class man addressing a middle class crowd and pretending to be a friend of the people. I don’t know why but this working class hero stuff is something I just don’t buy. You see if you are a unionist of any kind you are essentially a conservative maybe not in the economic sense but you certainly are in the social and cultural senses of the word. I’ve given the poem the title People’s Friend I hope you enjoy the read. 

People’s Friend

A middle class man 

quotes a middle class poet 

to the middle class gathering 

at a festival in middle England 

with ticket prices which only the rich can afford

meanwhile champagne socialists 

ignore Scotland 

till they need our votes to gain power 

at a Westminster election 

if we dare to challenge them

they call us insurgents 

leading an insurrection

as the self righteous  luvvie brigade 

play pretend politics 

with a crowd to apathetic to care 

about humanity 

and grandpa Jeremy desperately tries to re-live his youth 

as proof he can hang with the cool kids

except the kids he’s hanging out with 

aren’t quite as cool as they would have you believe 

and this imposter did a cut and paste job 

on large parts of the SNP domestic policy 

and had the brass neck to claim it 

as radical

as his vision for the many not the few 

even a so-called red couldn’t ditch the slogan 

which had tints of a Tory Blue Tony 

and just like that phoney his mask is beginning to slip 

You see voters like me won’t take lip.

from a Brexiteer who will always put himself first 

as he cynically attempts to manipulate the less aware

he has garden paths to lead them up 

and garden parties to attend 

this man whose style at Prime Minister’s Questions 

was enough to give me  indigestion 

raising points which we were meant to believe

 were sent by ordinary people 

rather than focus groups of party members 

the honourable member for  Islington 

is and has always been a servant of the Westminster agenda 

and had only  one mission for Britain 

namely to win the colony back for the crown 

unlike some I never bought his story 

the people’s friend , I see him as  just another red Tory 

though maybe not in the economic sense 

I’ll cut him a bit of slack 

but anyone who believes in the union flag 

is and always will be 

a conservative at heart 

it doesn’t matter how nice they are 

or how trendy or cool they pretend to be 

if they don’t want be to free from the last chains of empire 

they subconsciously out themselves as hypocrits and liars 

every time the word socialism passes their lips 

the little Brits lack the awareness to realise

you can’t have socialism in a kingdom 

united or otherwise 

it depends on the class system to survive 

as a middle class man 

who quotes a middle class poet 

to a middle class crowd 

knows only too well

as he pretends to be the people’s friend 

and remains no friend of Scotland. 
© Gayle Smith 2017 

Santa’s Christmas Message To The People Of Scotland.

Hey Readers

On day 5 of Blogmas I discovered that Santa has a very important message for the people of Scotland. I found this on the Scottish Memes and Banter to whom I give acknowledgment as creators of this art.

I think the message contained in this photograph is one that the people of Scotland have a right to see as it is a direct message from Santa for those who don’t believe in him.

As Santa points out in his carefully crafted critique no adult can complain about their children believing in him when there are some so-called  grown up’s who are so gullible they believe in something a lot more dangerous

This belief puts Scotland at risk from Trident, and leaves a resource rich nation vulnerable to exclusion, poverty and xenophobia whilst our wealth is plundered to suit to the needs of the few in a parliament which is remote from both Scotland and reality. So what is the name of this danger to our country, our culture, and our civilisation which has made Santa so worried for us he has written us a  letter of concern ? I think at least some of us know the answer.

It’s called Westminster Rule

image

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

The Cruellest Of Storms

Hey Readers This poem was inspired by the writer and journalist Will Black who asked his Twitter followers of which I’m one to #WriteAPoemAboutTories with the most retweeted poem winning a copy of his new book Psychopathic Cultures. Having written many political poems in the past including a good few on that particular party I needed no second invitation to take up the challenge and this is the result of my efforts I’ve given it the title The Cruellest Of Storms I hope you enjoy the read.

The Cruellest Of Storms.

It blows from the Thames.
this cruellest of storms
batters down the homes
of those most in need of shelter.
the icy blast
of the coldest political weather
for generations
shows this united kingdom
is not the united nation
some would like to believe.
former industrial towns and cities
never recovered from the 1980’s
but this new Conservative party
has nothing new to offer
people long since thrown to the wolves.
rules made in Eton
show contempt for those 
whose families can’t afford to pay
for private tuition.
this is the reality of democracy
Westminster style
where the billionaires rule
and sneers are masked by painted smiles
worn for public consumption
for the  TV  camera
and pictures for their friends
in the press.
no wonder I voted yes in the independence referendum.
the thought of Iain Duncan-Smith
cutting benefits to the sick and disabled
fellow citizens being unfairly labelled
blamed for all our social problems
because they are not us
disgusts me beyond rage.
immigrants are human beings
I know Glaswegians and other fellow Scots from many different lands
understand that my dear green city is a place of welcome  for all.
meanwhile in Tory Britain
we are excluded from the ball
not deemed worthy of an invitation
or a seat at the table
this pooling and sharing of resources
does not apply to the place
which decisions are made
about how to spend money
in a land of sour milk with no honey
where those with little or nothing
must make a choice between food and heating
in a country which is marching relentlessly to the right
where tax breaks are given to the wealthy
and trident is considered more important
than inner city children gaining access to education and opportunity.
there is no sense of community from those who lead the worship
in a man mind thyself society
where those who have will get
and those who don’t will be ignored
and the moral of the story is
Vote Conservative and all will be fine
meanwhile at the other end of the line
millions are striped of their dignity 
in fortress Britain social mobility
is a gift given only to those who can afford it.

@ Gayle Smith 2016

I’ll Prove Myself A Poet And Get Lippy On The Stage

Hey everyone. As I write this post I am one very happy lady. You see on Monday morning  I received confirmation from Glasgow Women’s Library that I am an entrant in the Harpies, Quines, and Feichters, all female poetry slam which takes place at Edinburgh’s Forrest Cafe this evening with a half past five start.

I am it’s fair to say already thinking ahead and have started to think about what poems I may or not want to use on such an auspicious occasion. So far I’ve changed my mind at least a dozen times and will probably change it at least that amount of times again before reverting to the original set I thought on at the beginning of the selection process.

You see picking a selection of poems is a bit like selecting the right lipstick to wear to a special occasion. If you know the occasion and whose all going to be there then it should be easy but somehow there is always something crops up and it’s never quite as straightforward as you think.

This I think will be a very tough decision to make partly because I don’t know who else is competing and that means taking a leap of faith in both yourself and your poetry. This is never easy but in the atmosphere of an all woman slam believe me I want to impress. This is important to me for a number of reasons not least of which is the fact that I may be the only transsexual woman in the contest.

It is also important for me not to let myself down, so it isn’t about winning the traditional sense of the word though believe me I would love to win the title it’s about winning the respect of my peers by giving the best performance I am capable of giving. It is that and that alone which will in my eyes decide how well I’ve done on the night.

This to my knowledge is only the second all women poetry slam ever to have taken place in Scotland and if I am correct then I will be keeping up my 100 percent appearance record in these events as I performed at the first such event which was held in Edinburgh’s Banshee Labyrinth as part of the celebration of International Women’s Day 2012. Indeed it was the organiser of that event Claire Askew who gave me the heads up on this one. In the three years since that last all female slam which was won by Rachel McCrum I have not only become a more polished performer I have I believe become a better writer and I have done it by working hard at my craft and in the process of doing so I have found my own unique voice. This is a strong female voice with something to say on the issues that matter to me. I hope to make that voice heard tomorrow in Edinburgh tomorrow night and for once I believe the format of the slam may actually help me and work to my advantage.

With regards to the format for this inspiring event,  I like the fact that instead of cutting two-thirds of the field after the first round half of all entrants will progress to round two before we get down to the serious business of judges selecting the final three and  eventually deciding on our winner.  This is what I call female democracy in action and I have to say I am thrilled to be invited to take part in it.

As we women are allegedly the chattier sex we obviously have more to say than men do or so the theory goes. Personally I’m not sure I subscribe  to this theory but what I do believe that we value each others words so may be that’s why the rounds in this slam are slightly longer than usual.  Instead of the usual two minutes for the first two minutes and three minutes for the final this slam gives participants three minutes for the first two rounds and four minutes for the final. I have to say i think this is a brilliant idea as gives me and the other participants a chance to perform poems we wouldn’t normally get the chance to do at events like this unless we reach the final .

I also like the idea that the slam is being held in the late afternoon/ early evening as this could be a great benefit to women who have to travel a considerable distance to compete in the event.  This start time could  have some significant benefits for with regards to increased participation as it may well  be better for those  participants who may need to think about arranging childcare and personal safety issues which are among the hidden factors many women have to factor in before making any arrangements factors which so often result in exclusion from events not because we don’t have the talent compete with men but because circumstances often prevent us from doing so.

 To say I am really looking forward to pitting my wits against some of the best women poets in Scotland would I think be a wee bit of an understatement and I look forward to an occasion which I am sure will be memorable for all the right right reasons. I hope I can rise to challenge and perform to the best of my ability if I can manage that then  I will be more than happy with myself . You see it matters  not where I finish in the pecking order, nor whether I am a first round causality or the winner of the title.  What  matters most to me tonight is I prove myself a poet and get lippy on the stage and I do it with style  amongst a crowd of harpies, quines, and feichters. 

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X