cleanskin/lilywhite

Police terms for a person who has no connection to terrorism

They carried rucksacks into King’s Cross,
these clean boys, these untouched boys,
these led astray men.
When shoplifting is no longer a thrill,
turn your attention to heaven,
the gold and riches and gaping legs of girls
all waiting on the other side of the big bang,
perverted promises, brainwashing.
Set aside chemistry, childrearing and cricket,
these false prophets, these western sirens.
All you need is to dirty yourself once.
Your names, although hard to pronounce,
will be on every television,
go down in history with your fellow
passengers, just on their way to work,
their flesh the only barrier to your reward.
Proud of your brown skin,
now they call you lilywhite,
what’s left of you,
splattered on a tube carriage wall,
flung hot-baked from bus to building,
not rising through big holes,
your planned escape hatches,
but just residue left to scatter
in the wind over Tavistock Square
or down the tunnel to Edgware Road,
not heavy enough to rise to heaven.
You’ll settle into gutters,
like the ones you tried to escape in Leeds,
the promises of Allah just ashes.

Comments

Teamaster said…
Good show, Collin. Gutters indeed. Gutters for guttersnipes. Gutters for gutless scum. Gutters for losers.

Yes, losers. Murderers are losers. And mass murderers are losers losers. And mass-movement bandwagoneers (who often gleefully or obediently committ murder) are self-loathing losers who try to exchange identity for Cause, self-worth for "greater worth."

I doubt many blombers are religiously motivated, actually. That may be the shirt they wear, but it's all desperate expression or easy immolation from Self underneath.

Too bad these losers (whoever they are - be they real terrorists or mercenary goons for power moves or copycats or secret-government operatives) take other folks with them in their inglorious, bloody tantrums.

Of course, more consolidation of gov. power and intrusion is streamlined. Big Brother here and especially abroad is skatin' on greased rails. Works EVERY time...

Again, let us pity those who died in this messy whatever-it-was. They didn't deserve to get caught up in LOSERS' deaths.

-D.
Collin said…
The really strange thing about these boys/men was that one was a teacher with a small child and wife. This emerged after I wrote the poem. It just boggles my mind how a father, husband and teacher could be led so far astray as to want to blow himself up. What a legacy to leave for your child.

Of course this poem is a first draft. It's already changing as more about the bombers emerge. I had an email asking about the title of the poem. It's a police term for someone who has never been connected to terrorism.
Teamaster said…
Interesting.

Focusing on the police term and the colors, etc., was clever.
Larry Hand said…
Collin, as you refine your poem, you might want to recall that the word "assassin" comes from the Arabic word for "hashish users," which stood for the secret Islamic order that arose in the 11th century. (Which means, of course, that it took Muslims about 400 years to come up with the idea of killing for paradise.) So, the original word meant "drug users," because Muslims would party-up their killers before a kill, giving them the "courage" they needed, and promising them that this sensation would stay with them in the afterlife. Basically, they told these killers that paradise was hashish heaven.
Collin said…
I will keep that in mind Larry. You'll see the poem has evolved again today. The epigraph seems necessary since this appears to be such a British term.
nolapoet said…
Note the racist implications of the British terms.
Collin said…
Robin, I think it's obviously racist, although I heard that cleanskin is the term used for someone who would not have explosive residue on their skin. As for lilywhite...well... as you said.
nolapoet said…
You could have a lot of fun exploring where this intersects with cultural differences.

For example: Are you really seeing things through the bombers' eyes? Compare Muslim ablutions with "cleanskin" and white Westerners' perception of Muslims as all being Middle Eastern brown folks.

This could be far more effective if you told it from both sides.

May I recommend Turner Cassity's "WTC" in No Second Eden, I think it is?
nolapoet said…
Oh, two other minor suggestions:

1) Remove all your linebreaks and see what you get (and where that takes you).

2) Consider changing the third-person reference to second-person to conform with the rest of the poem's more direct address.

R.
Peter said…
Collin: wow. intense stuff. love it.

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