2017 Neustadt Festival Poetry Readings: Ladan Osman

Sunday afternoon on a City Beach No sand Slabs of manufactured stone I watch two blonds Probably sisters inflate a raft They use a bicycle pump One tries to assemble two paddles gives up puts them in her bag The one with the pump removes her top She’s exerted herself into better posture Her breasts are larger than I expected I think a joke about pumps. Tell myself to look away until they’re in the water I want to see if their tiny raft will hold them They must have left their valuables in the car The clouds and current move north as they enter the water Tony Allen warns against the Bulger Running away from a misery. Find yourself in a double misery I recall a photo of British visitors in Greece frowning at refugees Greek children in gym class while hungry In the direction the raft floats, the sisters paddling with their hands A planetarium I wonder if it houses a telescope capable of seeing the double misery on a Greek island Maybe its lens is too powerful The sides of their raft reads Explorer Their souls are black If you pay attention to movies, white woman often have grinding souls I have seen black actresses with exquisite feet I recall my mother checking my socks in the exam room before the doctor entered The sisters let their ponytails drag in dubious lake water I’m not sure if I hear these lyrics Even if they let you enter they probably won’t let you? Even if they let you enter, the Baron won’t let you, the Baron won’t let you? I note details about their appearances, take off point Just in case I doubt any of our thoughts converge. What is it like to be so free? To drift in water in a country you call your own Unprepared because you can laugh into an official’s face Explain. Offer no apology

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