These are linked poems created week by week for a year, inspired by the book No Choice But To Follow, and the poets therein who did it first.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

December #2

That's Enough Tough

When you break into tears
at Denpasar Airport,
because the pain in your ear
is an octopus-invasion of throb,
you have crossed the line.
Men stare, assessing.
Women don't cry, not here,
not ever.
One man tries to steal your backpack,
for you have given permission
by being vulnerable.
The official you ask for help
wishes to put you out of sight,
for adults don't cry,
and you must expect this sort of thing
as a strong woman travelling.
The airport medical staff
tell you to stop,
because it's not that bad.
No hospital for you.
Get on the plane.
You will be fine.
In the privacy of the aeroplane toilet,
you sag, and flush away all tags attached to you.
With what's left, you cry again,
afraid and alone.
The toughest act of all
is to say “I hurt",
and it's a badge of courage
to ask for help.

— Helen Patrice


  1. Yet another reason I'll never go back to Bali. The Bali I knew in the seventies is long gone. This is so very different from everything I experienced!


Comments are moderated and will be visible after approval from blog owner.