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Two Poems: Crossing Frontiers and Crossing the Road

Althea Romeo-Mark
Wednesday 24 April 2019

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Crossing Frontiers

The faces, within bullet proof cubicles,
wear emotionless masks. Greetings are brisk.
Bureaucrats are robotic-ready with drilling questions:
Name? Country? Reason for visit?

They will listen to the stories
of the nobodies on slow-moving lines,
from a land without rain;
and a country where the rich
own everything except some souls;
and a family from a place
where clan is killing clan
to assert domination;
and people born into the wrong religion,
butchered and burned;
and mothers, daughters and sisters
living low down in human hierarchy,
mere beasts to many, forced into servitude;
islanders from places where
the sea has reclaimed the land;
the helpless fleeing volcanoes
awake after years of sleep;
the homeless escaping
the destructive marriage
of deadly wind and rain.

The well-secured listen. Duty demands it.
They have been anointed to lord over others,
decide the fate of brothers and sisters
of different shades of skin,
different nationalities and cultures.

Do the stories fall on deaf ears?
Are the nobodies’voices
just a droning sound,
the white noise of routine?

©Althea Romeo-Mark 2018,

Crossing the Road

(“There but for the Grace of God….”)

They said he died
like a chicken crossing the road,
body thrown into the air
and on the landing-smash,
his spirit flew like a feather
into the evening light,
the sinking sun catching it,
taking it down,
taking it back
from where it came,
into the mist,
into the abyss,
the beginning of things.
We were wide-eyed-witnesses.

Did he matter?
Did he leave behind
markers of his deeds, his worth?

We turn away, run away.
Our fragility and
mortality headlining our thoughts,
sparse achievements hanging
like clothes over a fence.

Realism is now neon-lighted,
for “there but for the grace of God
we go.”

© Althea Romeo-Mark 2018

Born in Antigua, West Indies, Althea Romeo-Mark is an educator and internationally published writer who grew up in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. She has lived and taught in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, USA, Monrovia, Liberia (West Africa), London, England and in Basel, Switzerland since 1991. She has published six poetry collection, The Nakedness of New, 2018 (USA) If Only the Dust Would Settle,( UK) 2009, English-German, Beyond Dreams: The Ritual Dancer, (Liberia),1989, Two Faces, Two Phases, Liberia, 1984, Palaver (USA), 1978, and Shu-Shu Moko Jumbi: The Silent Dancing Spirit (USA), 1974.

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