Curtainsides

Len drove Heavy Goods Vehicles

Twenty years in domestic haulage

Then at last he pulled the big-one

A multinational, with networked-storage

 

Amir was a farmer’s son from Eastern Africa

One of millions subdued by President Shula

His only desire was to make his life richer

By trying to escape the dictatorship-ruler

 

For three long months he’s grifted and drifted

Western Europeans would complain bitterly

Of the treatment he got in Libya and Egypt

Then a boat of near-death to the heel of Italy

 

Racial abuse when hitch-hiking through Lazio

He couldn’t fight back, hadn’t eaten since Naples

They took-turns to kick the carognesco negro

And if you’re incognito, you can’t get your cuts stapled

 

Len first saw Amir just-south of Brussels

One of four skinny black men waiting by a tree

The Federal Police started exercising their muscles

Next thing……………………. there were only three

 

The cute thing is that if you don’t officially exist

Then it’s impossible to be ‘officially’ dead

You can’t even be ‘officially’ murdered

And nothing will ever officially be said

 

But it wasn’t Amir that they laid to rest

The lad had started to undo a curtain-side

He had scarpered when he saw the unrest

And Len’s truck was his chosen place-to-hide

 

His destination was England’s bright lights

He had heard that it’s a very good country

Public Health Service and Human Rights

And just as important – a stable currency

 

They got to Calais on a Wednesday night

That’s when Len first noticed he had company

As he rearranged his load and secured it real-tight

Amir’s leg protruded from behind pallet-three

 

They looked at each other for a lifetime-complete

Len observed his wretched and pleading stare

Until finally, he returned to his driving seat

No explanation offered as to why he should care

 

Len spends the crossing considering ‘exposure’

The moral-maze of informing the Border Agency

Plenty of English jobseekers haven’t found closure

But it’s obvious this kid’s had enough vagrancy

 

The next hurdle, heartbeat-sensor checks in Dover

But much less-frequent, if truckers don’t flag-it-up

“We need more resources” say the border forces

“We can’t search them all for Africans down on their luck”

 

 

Then the M2, the M25, a drop-off near the M3

Another soul-less distribution depot

And, with no more than a flick of the head,

Len gives Amir his Instructions to ‘Go’

 

Back to Colden Common, to a modest rental

A few drinks with the lads every Friday

The cosy familiarity of the Cask Marque local

Four pints of Wadworth, in surroundings-untidy

 

He takes his usual place with his drinking mates

A plumber, a builder and local person-of-note

He observes their stories and hears them relate

How politicians betray them, even though they don’t vote

 

But next-time they are going to vote ‘Brexit’

To help-keep the scrounging bastards out.

Our Len thinks back to Amir’s pathetic stare.

And he just sits there………… and he says now’t.

 

Copyright Jody Redmires, 2016

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