No. 23 of 27 Poems for International Women’s Day 2015

  On The Bridges


Save a thought for the married woman

Who has trouble defining a cuddle

Who straightens her back to haul water

In cogs

To men at their higher tables

Then eats alone in her kitchen


Strength to the wedded child bride

Who lost her place on earth

Through a rung out and brain washed


Genitally mutilated

Before her breasts became bargains


Force be with the mother millions

Who have trouble remembering joy

And fearlessly sneak grain

From man guarded sacks

For what child hangs on their frame


Rise up the other hemisphere women!

Assemble on your bridges

Adorn your skin with tattoos and piercings

Swap polyester pinafores for First Nations weaves.


Let fly the purple and green pamphlets

Over mosque domes and church spires

Megaphone your messages into havens

For the mother-deprived, sprawled and urban


Keep up the momentum

Bus in the hijabs and the full-stretched cleavage

The jeggings, the burqas, the suburban sisters

Refresh the statistics and the real situation

On the bridges for every nation.


No.15 Poems for International Women’s Day 2015

                         Hijab Me

Under this creation in polyester

this Paisley pattern of swirls and curves

and icing white wedding cake coloured dots

all pinned up with Pound Shop clips

bejewelled and bedazzled

is me.

Here I am

My eyes aren’t always downcast

like I have no spirit

of fire and anger

nor is my mouth always sealed

and shut in modesty.

My hair swirls too.

It moves in one combed mass

in one slow motion wave

Inviting a touch, a caress


Last August when the sun scorched

dog waste pavements

my sister had her Mehndi party

in the sports hall

above the mosque and Tesco

My mum and sisters were dressed in Primark’s best

Elsie from next door came

She saw we had hips

that moved like hers

and hair that swings

and bare arms strong to carry plates of hot samosas


and real china plates.

were toned from bin pushing

and moulding  rolling chapattis.

She touched my hair.


My hijab

like a hoodie’s hood

reminds me of who I am

and where I want to belong

I can be in myself


Me as Woman

Woman as Me.

My senses converge in the space between my brain

and my chin

and without my head covering

I may look like someone else

But I can assure you it’s me.