MASCULINE AESTHETICS

 

    There was a clay sculptor from old

     told her work not ‘sufficiently bold’.

     ‘Use the clay quick,

     as if flashing your dick,

      we’ve no use for a feminine mould’

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I REMEMBER YOU EXISTED (Rosary Bracelet)

 

In Lewisham your young brown cataract stopped me. Your Bulgarian voice begged me for a sandwich which at the white crusty-roll shop you had piled high with anything and everything, as if that one meal stood in for them all. The jeans who wore you took off and didn’t look back, preparing for the next humiliation pleading your existence…

The world have mercy on you…

Under the big concrete bridge near Plumstead station, I did not see you, man from the East. Not before, nor at the time of, nor after your violent death. As I walk by, your ghost wearing the checked shirt of the poor worldwide, never fails to salute me and politely turns a blind eye to the woe-is-me of the impoverished twenty-first century bohemian by choice.

The world have mercy on you…

At the exit of Notting Hill station, you were much less polite, lean man with the wild-grey hair in the light muttering jacket. You punched me hard in the shoulder as I walked with my embarrassed friend, I assume because you perceived me to fully exist while you did not. Not the same man who lifted his fist underneath my tube map and to my nose and silently shook with rage at his own existence all the way up the platform, while I was pondering my route on the Central line. Nor the sorry figure  who railed at my mother outside Charing Cross Hospital because she dared to pick up a coin on the floor before he did.

I hope the world had more mercy for you than you had for yourselves..

On Plumstead Common, at the top of my street, you ran out of mercy so that an eclipse hits my brain whenever I look over to that clump where you swung silently in the moonlight. Not far from that spot, you, instead, simply ran out of air to breathe and sat down beneath a tree as grey as your jogging suit, or so I imagine you, while the world assumed for quite some time you were just resting.

My memory have mercy on you…

On the District Line, many moons ago, most of us looked down and fidgeted uncomfortably as an old woman sang a few verses of  ‘Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner’, but not before complaining loudly to the whole carriage that ‘London isn’t what it used to be. It’s all liquorice all-sorts now’, not liking that we weren’t all one shade of skin and there were things she didn’t use to see from behind her nets and flowery curtains…

The world have mercy on our ignorance…

At the top of Earl’s Court Road, you screamed abuse at me from behind the buggy, calling me all the racist bitches under the sun because I chased you into a supermarket, after your partner took off with my cards. You and he both knew I was sitting next to my middle-class guilt in the café, as you used his children to distract me and she was scolding me for daring to suspect and for feeling bad for knowing the police turned up far faster than anywhere else I had ever lived, because property is what they really protected.

The world have mercy on those you turned into accomplices, in their little coats on that cold December’s day…

In Kensington Hornton Street, she also scolded me for suspecting and not daring to speak up, as the beautifully tailored suit was shouting at us all to notice how its black inhabitant was being stopped and searched, on the basis of a pure how dare he, because when I said the police are there to protect property it is not ‘your’ property they are protecting.

The world have mercy on your ability to lead a dignified life…

On Eltham’s Well Hall Road, leaning against a tree and by your plaque, you call out to remind me that you once smiled in a black and white striped t-shirt, dreaming of being an architect, until you weren’t and were running up a dark street towards a police station you did not reach.  The truth is it never was there to reach, even after all the blood had poured out of your neck and you were dead, at least not for you. 

The world have mercy on all of us…

In Kensington Gardens, I saw you all mourn the ivory self-proclaimed queen of people’s hearts. She was one of us, you cried. How, how is that possible, I asked? Did she share the heat of your bright colours and backgrounds? Did she know, did she really know? She could not speak for me, how could she speak for you? And is it like me wanting to believe that the prophet of peace or of anti-apartheid are untouchable in their purity?

The world have mercy on our comforting delusions…

At the Hammersmith roundabout, you danced with death in quite a different way. As I have always done since then, I watched you in slow motion come off your bike and pirouette in the air on your own axis, clad in helmet and black leather from head to toe, limbs tucked in like an experienced diver until you hit the black railings hard, a violent exclamation mark. In the days that followed, my frantic googling never revealed your fate or your face.

I hope the world had mercy on you….

In Leytonstone, your pink and white t-shirt smiled broadly at me. In your country, you told me, people were very cruel for being slow at learning and you could not go to school. In my country, you weren’t sure. So in my country you dared to dream of boys who wouldn’t taunt, while you watched news of your country from the big screen TV. In my country you were a slightly more comfortable prisoner.

The world have mercy on your future…

 

The world have mercy on us all … The heavens are telling us to talk to the hand.

 

Debora Mo, 2018