Tag Archive | Privilege

The Wrong Diagnosis 

  

In my latest poem I recall a recent incident as I take a look at arrogance, and assumptions based on stereotypical attitudes. The event in question happened a few weeks ago as I made my way to Katie’s Bar when a stranger attempted to bark orders at me and in typical Ruth Davidson fashion ordered me to sit down. Naturally I refused to entertain this attention seeker and made my way to my destination where I enjoyed a very pleasant evening in good company. However I decided to write this poem to illustrate that there are just as many ill mannered attention seekers in the LGBT community as there are anywhere else. I have given it the title The Wrong Diagnosis. I hope you enjoy the read. 

The Wrong Diagnosis 

On a quiet autumn evening

I am singing contentedly to myself 

as I walk to my pub of choice 

as it comes in to view 

a stranger shrieks at the top of his voice 

barks orders telling me to sit down 

says he’s seen me around 

really I reply

 walking on I ignore him 

he seems aggitated

 that I pay no attention to his demands 

but what he fails to understand 

is that while his scouse accent may be fine 

his Ruth Davidson style charm is something I can do without 

my world has borders 

and he’s just made the mistake of crossing them 

without my permission 

the line of respectability

has been violated

and history will show he was on the wrong side of it 

you don’t cross boundaries without permission

that doesn’t work it never has and never will

trust me I am not the kind of girl

who likes her world invaded by unwanted intruders

I don’t like the assumption  it implies 

you know boys will be boys 

and claim women as their prize 

this is male privilege of a very British kind 

which states if you ignore me

 I will diagnose you and give you a label

to which I think ‘it will be nothing to one I give you 

and trust me it will take you on a journey 

for which you wish you had never volunteered’  

but the moment he sneered at me 

I smiled knowing I held every ace in the pack 

and he could do union jack to stop me 

I played a tactical game 

because I checked his privilege 

and called him out for his arrogance 

I’d met his type before 

he had plenty to say for himself 

but nothing worth my time 

his crime was barking orders 

believing dog whistles work at his command 

and failing to understand 

a poet will always defeat 

a conservative charm school graduate 

especially one who gave her

the wrong diagnosis 

© Gayle Smith 2017 

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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

Parallel Universe

Hey Readers  This poem is a look at the Scotland of the 1970’s, in the context of our relationship with Europe. This was the Scotland which to a significant extent shaped the woman I would become. What worries me is that this is the Scotland I fear we’ll return to if we vote to leave the European Union I’ve titled the poem Parallel Universe I hope you enjoy the read.

Parallel Universe  

In the 1970’s Scotland wore navy and gray
it was a land of blue collars, smart skirts, and puritanical ways
we had to show respect
for those so-called betters
dressed in tweed and Arran sweaters
flirting with new ideas was actively discouraged
in a nation which lacked the will to break with tradition
we were a country too small minded to believe
we could break free from Britain
it’s amazing what centuries of servitude can do to national ambition
skirting the edges of gender identity
was strictly forbidden
with boys and girls  roles strictly taught
to obedient children
many were conditioned to be proud of the united kingdom
though the monarchy for which some would march in July
would make paupers of them of all
whilst wearing the robes of privilege
to be British was not to like those
who were not us
no surrender written on walls
which had long since surrendered to poverty
but better to be poor than a Catholic according to family friends
who conveniently forgot my dad was a Catholic from Irish descent
in the parallel universe
the unionists demanded
we  must be content to live in
the patriots among us knew
the united kingdom was never a united Britain
a cursory glance at the political map told the story
Scotland the deepest shade of Labour red
England for the most part true blue Tory
despite this we were or so the story goes
all the same
foreigners were to blame
for all our problems
I couldn’t see the logic
we never really had any in Scotland
well not to me
to my way of thinking
no matter where we came from
we were all equals
I was raised to believe
there was no such thing as others
to me we were all just people

@ Gayle Smith 2016