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Where Do You Come From?

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Taking my first girlfriend
to the pub at seventeen
Crossing the cobbles
of a gunmetal grey 
northern market town
Mitten in glove
warm in our teenage
prototype version of love
A chatterbox pint for me
a tipsy glass of white for her
and we’d find a quiet corner

Invariably, some red-faced
shaven-headed native
furtively eyes my companion
“Where do you come from?”
they’d splutter in their arrogance
“I’m from here” casually she’d lilt
“I mean, originally” they’d spit
“I was born and raised here” she’d softly smile
“But your skin, your eyes, you’re not English”
My heckles rise, her sadness spirals
another evening disfigured
by the spilled white paint of ignorance

She confesses, between kisses
of sobbing tears behind closed eyelids
diminished by sore encounters
shrunken by miniscule minds
How confusing to be from here
Yet made to feel you don’t belong
Then we’re edging off our stools
slipping out the door, thrust back into
the tarnished romance and rainy ruin
of a clumsily decorated market square
tattered tinsel droops with freezing sleet
on a crooked caged Christmas tree

And I’d be sighing to myself
‘This… this is where I come from…’




◄ The Cruelest Moon

First Light ►


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Tue 2nd Jul 2024 22:40

Now with audio...

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Thu 21st Dec 2023 23:01

Ah thank you Graham, much appreciated.

Thanks also to Tom, Graham, Steve, Stephen, Stephen and Hugh for the additional likes and reads.

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Graham Sherwood

Wed 20th Dec 2023 17:20

another evening disfigured
by the spilled white paint of ignorance

Words you wish you’d written yourself. Sad but very relevant Tom.
Well done


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Wed 20th Dec 2023 15:45

Thanks Stephen. Glad you thought so. This was inspired by another contributor to this site who, some time ago, wrote a piece about people with 'unusual surnames' (I think that's how they put it) and it got me thinking about the times when I've witnessed this behaviour first hand and the damage/hurt is causes. I suspect my home town is much more inclusive and forward looking these days - but back in the 90s it was rife with every ist and every ism.

Thanks Nigel, John and John for reading and the 'likes'. 😀

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Stephen Gospage

Tue 19th Dec 2023 21:03

Thank you, Tom. The sharp description and rich language heightens the sadness of this situation. A good poem.

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