Refuse the TV.
Perform the crossword.
Attempt the Sudoku.
Push some ink around
inside those boxes.
Experience that quiet sense
For a small half hour
to other events
the newspaper reports on.
This is your escapism:
little tasks to tell yourself
that your mind isn’t wilting.
These things make you
a better person, just not better
than anyone else.
You prefer that my country
determines my hide;
I am aware that our blood runs red
no matter what side it spills on.
Perhaps you suspect me, who has come
with my white paint of tolerance:
white as a cotton bandage
over skin divided by gunshot;
white death shroud.
I will not be tattooed by the sins of our fathers.
I will not be scarred by boxed-in communities.
I will not be baptised in the death pools of our trenches.
I will not stand in the shade of any emblem.
I only salute progress.I only bow down to peace.
Colin Dardis is a poet, editor, tutor and arts facilitator. He edits the online journal FourXFour, and is the founder of Poetry NI, a multi-media, multi-project platform for grassroots poetry in Northern Ireland. He is also the online editor for Lagan Press. His work has been previously published in numerous anthologies, journals and zines in Ireland, the UK and the USA. www.colindardispoet.co.uk