THE LOOK OF LOVE
The Public eye
facial perception of me:
Fierce, mad, dangerous.
a certain look,
I don’t do – love and affection.
I only do –protection.
Juddering, jarring bones.
A space –
for my girlfriend.
She moves to sit down.
A man sneaks into the seat.
I glance at him.
It is not a stare.
It is not a stare.
He gets up,
eyes gazed down.
‘What was that?’
‘The look? The expression on your face?’
take the long route –
put my hand down his mouth,
down his oesophagus,
take a left or right,
rip out his heart
through his neck,
present it to you,
instead of the shortcut through
rib-cage intercostal muscles?
Yes, that one.
You, my dear
future mother of my children,
That’s A look, not THE look.
a journey feeling longer
than it needs to be.
A boy –
Is full of wide-eyed wonder.
‘Rainbows are wonderful.’
Is a sunny day,
even in our Endz.
‘We have the best library in town.’
He goes there
to explore new words.
Press on palm-centre, fingers will ball.
‘Holding hands isn’t cool, dad.’
A nice day for a walk?
One foot in front of the other.
Kids ask, ‘Where are you going? Can we come too?’
It’s a great day for a stroll.
Only cross when there’s a green man,
Over the black and white lines.
The garden hedges look fine.
There are so many cars about,
can’t be good for breathing or plants.
‘What are lungs made of?’
‘How do they carry oxygen around the body?’
That’s an interesting question, son.
You can find the answer from me, or the library.
‘We have one of the best in town.’
There’s John’s corner shop.
Brown skin, Bradford accent.
but you wouldn’t know which is which.
Maybe pop in for an ice-lolly later.
Sun is shining.
rolling down stairs in suitcases with his mates –
I can’t save him from that kind of foolishness.
‘Where are you going?’ More kids ask.
It’s a nice day for a walk, a stroll, a meander.
I knock on a door.
Me and my son enter.
He waves to the followers behind.
I shoo them away.
Half go, half stay, trying to peer through the curtains.
This is the start or the end of a journey.
We can take the long route
or the short route
to a resolution.
Whether I have blood on my hands afterwards is optional.
Because I know the consequences.
My son knows
all the colours of the rainbow,
goes to the library
to learn new words like
pulmonary artery, pericardial cavity.
There are other words,
harsh ones, hate-filled ones
I don’t want him to understand
or know the meaning of, in his heart.
I breathe in.
has racially abused mine,
outside the place
he gets his books.
What are you
going to do about it?’
I do not know
what the people sitting opposite me, see:
A caring conscientious human being?
Superhero, supervillain or nemesis?
Someone who is willing to rip out organs if necessary,
with very few words?
the power of speech, the nuance of fists.
chlorophyll is plant haemoglobin.
there is a spectrum of light we can’t see –
just like mental wounds, internal bruising.
I am black.
I am man.
I am a father.
In my world:
are the same damn thing.