Original source material
Dumb as Dirt
This is what it said, ‘One hundred feared dead off Coast of Yemen.’ Amongst the traffic of the news, the bottleneck of headlines. News is news and it’s not your life. Anyway it’s Yemen.
Today you woke up and wanted to sob, you don’t know why, there was no reason, not a one. Nevertheless, the sob was ready to come out, to break forth, a child ready to be born. The cosmic energy of the world would surely change if we all sobbed with sorrow and/or consternation, in realisation that books have lied and we are all so dull. A tuning folk struck through time and routine. We-are-dumb-as-dirt in the key of C.
They were from Somalia, Somalians. What do you know? Somalia, ‘Black Hawk Down’, faceless masses of shining brown ‘Orc like’ (Guardian review), ripping apart soldiers like a huge virus. Crawling over helicopters and tanks – a bacteria attacking the good old boys who were just trying to help. They don’t look like you, these people from Somalia, they look nothing like anyone you know. Except that one time when you asked that boy, young man really, where he was from and he said in a small voice Dharfur. And despite the fame and infamy, all you could think was how small his voice was when he said it. All you could think was nothing, but instinctively, instinctually respect was required, you knew that. A sitting back and a considered nod of the head ‘Ah yes, Dharfur.’ But he didn’t really look like a Somalian, not really. So this is what happened; they were on a ship.
You have never told anyone this, but you are afraid of your own happiness. They were on a ship and they threw them, the pirates, the crew, threw them overboard.
Mornings are worst for no reason, the tiredness just doesn’t shift. When you get on the bus and see the middle-aged man take the baby that once clung to him to school. The baby girl he once knew sits in a separate seat and he reads the newspaper in a beige raincoat. And you think there are not enough people like him in the world. He must be a good person. You woke up and it was as if you’d been thinking while you were asleep and you woke up thinking, never missing a beat and interrupted yourself. You checked the clock 5am not 4 – that’s OK. If you don’t wake up at 4 then you’re not crazy or depressed. This is what happened, one hundred Somalians, on a ship, leaving, in the middle of the sea, a faraway ocean.
Would that the iron in the blood were steel so the rust in you could not be felt. You hear the displeasure, the rattle of everyday.
Thrown overboard, making the deal void. It says what happened – the waters were shark infested. Well what do you expect? A country with no law.
You expose yourself to horror, you disgust yourself with everyday atrocities. It does not tell us men, women, children. It reassures us of the lawlessness of the waters. There is nothing about the prayers, the temperature of the water, the sound of someone fighting an animal, in water, to live. The darkness, the relentless night. The clarity of a fact is all and not everything. One darkness for another. How many are fighting for the lives right now. And why aren’t you? Why aren’t you?