Des Mannay

“Focused on hard-hitting social issues… poems which made a statement”
~ Sabotage Reviews
“One can almost hear the words thumping aloud on the page. One can only imagine the rapturous response of an audience listening” ~ Menna Elfyn

Des Mannay has won prizes/been shortlisted in 6 competitions and been published in 16 anthologies. He supported ‘Attila the Stockbroker’ on part of his ‘Arguments Yard’ tour and has performed at Unity Festival, Maindee Festival, Hub Festival, Stoke Newington Literature Festival, KAYA Festival of World Music & Arts, Merthyr Rising, The Seed Festival, Green Gathering and Walls:Muriau, the Welsh mental health arts festival.

Des’s poems have appeared in ‘I Am Not A Silent Poet’ online journal, ‘The Angry Manifesto’, ‘Proletarian Poetry’, ‘Yellow Chair Review’, ‘Indiana Voice Journal’, ‘Stand Up And Spit’, ‘Red Poets’, ‘The Scum Gentry’ ‘The Round Up’, ‘Poetry24’, ‘Winning Writers’ and ‘International Times’. Find on him Facebook by clicking the link below, or on Twitter @hooliganpoet.

ON THE DEATH OF MUHAMMAD ALI

Goodbye butterfly
You stung like a bee.
You stung me!
From you I learnt
resistance!
To all the
‘nigger, nigger – pull the trigger’
playground taunts
I could reply –
“C’mon Bugner!”

The kids at school
never listened
to ‘Blue Mink’.
They didn’t know
that what we
needed was
a great big melting pot.
My parents did –
they had me

The ‘Ugandan Asian’ crisis hit
and I became called
a ‘Paki’ overnight
because Enoch was right
and I should go back
to where I came from
even though
I was ‘there’ already
And to some Asian kids
I was a ‘gori’

And the white girls
didn’t stay too long
because they
didn’t want to be
called “dogmeat!”
by their peers
and parents.
Shove thy neighbour
So tell me –
what the hell
is the colour of love?

And the ‘Rastas’
wore Wales football tops-
they were red
gold and green.
To them I was
a threat also –
‘Babylon!’
I could not
go back to Africa;
a place I’d
never been
And my heroes
all spoke perfect English –
Sidney Poitier, CLR James

The old-old ladies
in Cardiff’s docks
told me about
the real Africans –
when they came,
how tall they were,
how smart they were
in top hats, spats and canes…

And my grandad
was a ‘Cru’ man
and then he
joined a crew.
He sailed
the seven seas
and settled in
the bay of Tigers –
raised a family.
And my father was a ‘half caste’ –
that’s what they
said back then.
And he would
sing Calypso
as he did
the washing up –
but said
Jamaicans were
johnny-come-lately’s.

As I got older
boundaries blurred
Bigotry, which
came in waves,
rescinded
like the tide
I became
‘exotic’ –
Amerindian?
Latin-American?
Because of long
straight black hair
and Melanin
darkened skin –
myth-maken identity
yet again

And I don’t know
where I come from –
but you don’t know
where I’m going.
But I do worry
that the tide is
coming in again
and
sometimes I
(really do)
“feel like
throwing my hands
up in the air”
so – goodbye butterfly,
you have spread
your wings.
And I
have been stung
by the world….

ON THE BUSES

A single ticket to Newport:
is all I bloody need
A single ticket to Newport:
with small change I plead
A single ticket to Newport:
I’ve got kids to feed
A single ticket to Newport:
get flirty and I’ll breed
A single ticket to Newport:
hair that does recede
A single ticket to Newport:
cut me and I’ll bleed
A single ticket to Newport:
aggression fuelled by speed
A single ticket to Newport:
addiction is the creed
A single ticket to Newport:
anxiety is freed
A single ticket to Newport:
I’ll follow any lead
A single ticket to Newport:
challenge me – I’ll cede

A single ticket to Newport:
aw – c’mon fuckin’ driver
A single ticket to Newport:
wot – no change from a fiver?
A single ticket to Newport:
feel breath mixed with saliva
A single ticket to Newport:
I ain’t no duck’n’diver….
A single ticket to Newport.
Look mate – I’m a survivor……

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