If freedom had a colour what would it be?
The Egyptian flag has three:
red; black; white –
none of these seem quite right.
Black is the colour of asphalt
which no longer keeps
just feet on the ground.
White is the flash of flesh caught
in headlights, face scarf-less,
body undressed by eyes regardless
of how many layers it does or doesn’t wear.
Red is for virginity tests, the blood that
might or might not flow,
just so that you know that she knew
she’d never be free
whatever the result might be.
There is an eagle on the flag too,
suspended in the middle,
wings clipped, dipped in wax.
If it makes it up to the light
and lets the wax melt –
unafraid of what lies underneath,
Will it find it is just one layer,
With the last drip will
the feathers shine and
the sky no longer seem
In the Revolutionary Smoking Room
Open the window. Isn’t it –
despicable deplorable disgraceful suspicious untenable untouchable delightful delicious unbelievable unstoppable grateful curious
tweetable filmable this is fucking serious
debatable inflatable never ever tedious
remarkable reliable spiteful pretentious
responsible blameable beautiful ferocious
– Yes. Can I have another cigarette please?
Where does it go?
Whose pocket does it fill?
Will it spill out one day
from storage barrels?
Will it be aged and vintage,
with a smoother,
more sophisticated taste?
Will who gets to sip it be based
on social status or wealth
or health or race or gender?
Or will it just be free for whoever
finds the cellar where it’s been stored?
Do they turn it to ensure it doesn’t go bad?
I can imagine that stolen time could
let off quite a whiff if they don’t take care
of it properly, with professional services
contracted out to the best in the field.
Maybe it is at a digital-detox spa?
Enjoying growing tall and fat and not being
spat at with each new email.
Eating nutritious meals in preparation
for being the very best time it can be
when it gets back to the real world.
I just hope it didn’t find itself
in a pocket with a hole in it –
and so many pockets have holes don’t they!? –
spilling down into the hem of a coat
or jeans or jacket – machine washed
or dry-cleaned – never to be seen again.
Anything but that and I’m almost sure
it will come back.
Dating in Cairo
Tree trunks so huge
you could hug
and not touch hands –
which would certainly
suit some people’s plans.