by Fiona Spreadborough
A Cardo Mariano Planta tea would be perfect, very strong, bitter, yet full of healing :)
I use the park lavvies when I wanna pee, wanna wash, wanna change my sannie, fill up my water bottle, look at myself in its half cracked mirror. Half cracked mirror reflects half cracked life. I don’t have a hairbrush, I hope one day someone leaves one behind at the sink, even a comb would be dope.
I’m kinda special, I’m a statistic, woohoo, one in every 122 people, who, around the World are now refugees, displaced or abandoned. Look on the bright side I tell myself, at least I don’t need to worry about traipsing round Ikea for furniture.
I collect peoples leftover sandwiches, biscuits and papers from the bins and watch people’s lives as they walk through the park or sit on a bench, talk of love, hate, bills, kids, affairs, life and death. I know lots of people but they don’t know me, they never see me, cause my clothes are ragged, my hair is matte, my shoes are holey, my eyes are hollow but I’ve got some banging hoop earrings and my heart is good! And I always share the leftovers with the tiny sparrows in my bush, my chirpy housemates, sometimes to bloody chirpy!!
I’m getting on a bit now but I can read and I see all the young ones and lost babies and oroughwar-torn lives that roam zombified in this glorious, leafy green, urban jungle, from the children’s swings, to rose garden, to duck pond, to prostitute corner, it once was the pensioners bowling green but council cutbacks! Nowhere for bui doi to go, the dusts of life, endlessly trembling from looking into the mouth of hell, smelling the breath of Satan.
My only crime was being a naughty catholic strumpet and getting preggas out of wedlock; it was irrelevant I was raped by my brother-in-law. “Be Jesus” me Mammie wailed as she closed our shiny, gloss black front door with brass letterbox and number 69 glowing above the spy hole. She always done the sign of the cross when she stepped over that threshold and she refused to give our address out over the telephone, even if it was the Lord himself on the other end! That door was closed, not with me behind it, no, slammed hard in my face, so hard I think I still have a chipping of gloss black paint blocking up my right nostril, years of pain, I mean years of paint trapped somewhere deep inside me.
So where do you go when no one wants you? I got my bush in the park, but I’ve been everywhere and nowhere, I sometimes sleep near the local gym in winter as they have big warm air vents that send out invisible hugs and cuddles for me to fall asleep with and pretend that Brad Pitt is really my boyfriend and my life has just been a film and I’m about to win an Oscar. I do tend to dream big even though I am homeless, well it cost nothing.
My comrades of the “unclean, dusts of life” are very international and no they aren’t fucking drug dealers and whores, theirs many children, half the Worlds refuges are children. Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Rakhine, Colombia, Venezuela, Sudan, Congo, Mongolia, Central African Republic, it goes on and on, the places are endless, the faces nameless and blameless and me from North London via Dublin well that’s almost tame. I have a lot of time in my earthy burrow under my bush to read the endless print I pull from the bins.
I met a young girl recently in the park at Prostitute corner, pretty but scared, squatting down with a small bowl begging. Her fingers around the bowl were so bony, I thought she was going to break and turn to dust in front of my eyes.
She spoke little but I understood.
“I’m from Rakhine, from Chibok, from Iraq, from Mongolia, from hell,” she said
“I have 50 million starving babies pushing out from my pelvis, fighting to latch onto an impoverished breast, hanging between my legs because they don’t have the strength to pull themselves up and I don’t have the will or courage to lift them. I don’t want to see their faces or their eyes because their dying. Born only to be raped, tortured, abused, slaughtered, heads torn from their limbs used as footballs, suicide vests strapped to their skeletal weak frames. No food, no clothes, no home, no money, no hope,” she whispered.
“The umbilical cord isn’t a lifeline it’s a hangman’s noose."
I wrapped my arms around her, no words said, just heartbeats that drummed it, just breath that released it, our fear deep inside, scared to hope, what are we to BECOME?