Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Poet's Corner - Ian Bradley Marshall

Ian Bradley Marshall is a former police officer and RAF serviceman turned lawyer and writer. Here he pens a poem about a young man who recently came out to his mum.

Ian who had not come out when Justin Fashanu died said he remembers "not only the shock, but the media, the backlash - here a decade on, still the same prejudice in professional football".



I'm seventeen
my life before me
but the shit's hit the fan
because I came out to me Mam

My mates say I'm a fraud
I've tricked 'em
and should've come clean
but how the hell could I
when what I am
I didn't even know myself
until now?

And how could I anyway
after Pastor's sermon
the other day?
He says I'm on my way to hell
a one way ticket
and when I tried to argue back
he quoted Romans 1
to prove his point

I can't be bothered to argue
I'm only seventeen
but deep inside me
I don't feel unclean
I don't accept I'm finished

Okay - maybe I did ask
for the smack round the 'ed
but I stood my ground instead;
and the cut lip
broken nose
cracked rib
are worth the price
for those who
made the ultimate sacrifice

I'm a winger, centre-forward
and right full back too
Well that was last week
this week - persona non grata

So, no, in answer
to your question
I'm not gonna give in
I'm gonna stand and fight
here on the beach
and by six tonight
I know a few more
will stand with me
for word has got out
and then I'm leaving

Yeah? Yeah!

Tony, the bully
nineteen and nasty
saw me on the platform
stubbed his ciggie in the wall
spat on the ground
veered away from the gang
and made a bee line for me
cheered by all and sundry

I saw his boots
Not nice
I knew I was in for a battering
He spat again
and the gob hit the ground between my trainers
his gang cheered him
and jeered at me
laughing like hyenas

I winced, yeah fuck,
of course I did
This is Tony
He's shit hot
the bully
the gangleader

YOU! Cum ere!!
He grabbed my shirt
I'm 5'10
He's 6'4
No contest
I smelled his breath
Actually, it was kinda okay
I winced to brace myself
for the punch
the knee in the groin
followed by the imprint
of his boot on the cheek,
his trademark

LISTEN! Act tough
Go on. Stand up!
Stop shaking kiddo
I know where you're coming from
And you just promise me one thing
You personally let me know
of any shit you get into
just coz who you are.
I like you.
You're a good kid
Resist 'em mate
Take no notice of those twats
I won't let anyone lay a finger
on yer

Ya got that?
.... Yeah.... Toe...Tony

Hey stop stuttering
you're making me nervous!
Me mates call me that
It's my second name
But you?
You call me Gav
Yeah Gav.
That's what me Mam calls me, see.

As Toe, no Gav, turned
there were no jeers no cheers
just bewilderment and shuffling feet
on the cold grey platform
opposite Newcastle Metro
my new mate pressed my hand
made as if to punch my side
but tapped heavily my pocket
and was gone.

As he looked back
he spat and shouted for all to hear
'So remember lad. You've been warned!'

An instant cheer and loads of jeers
but they didn't see the wink of the eye
the gleam of light that flashed brilliant
from within him
I was shaking

As the train accelerated out of the station
leaving behind a life
prejudice and name-calling

I hadn't got a clue where I was going
but resting my hand on my side
still aching from Gav's last pseudo-thump
something else
I reached into the pocket
and pulled out
two fifty quid notes
and a fucking post it note
in a scrawl!

It's all I've got mate
some overtime at Tesco
You need it more than me
Just stay in touch
And come back soon
And a smiley!

You know there are friends
and there are also friends
who stick closer than a brother
And that's in the Bible!

READ MORE FROM IAN AT http://ianbradleymarshall.com/default.aspx

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