God Bless us All

I spoke to God one evening on a Summers day,

My prayers begging for the presence of a soul lost once with skin the colour of earth,

A voice that once grumbled “Travellers not Gypsies”,

The sour taste of persecution still ripe on her tongue,

My knees bore to the ground for his grace and mercy,

Pleading forgiveness for the ‘Gelem, Gelem’ etched into my spine,

And the ‘Opre Roma’ entwining my speech as a lasting connection to a station that the Divine now claimed,

What had my familiar eyes carved by centuries of survival endured,

Oppression didn’t end in 1945 alongside the gallows of eugenics echoing a European corridor,

It lives on with Becky down the street,

Dave up the road,

Simply feeling uncomfortable at the thought of occupying the same space as the dreaded pikeys,

It’s a gadje on Tinder lamenting how exotic it would be to taste the fruit of tarmac and tambourines,

Because that would surely show how rebellious Chad could be to middle class parents sipping Chardonnay on weekends,

I will not be your Esmeralda,

For unfortunately your tarot cards read oppressor and not lover,

I implore to the Lord Almighty to show our reflection in both the waters that provide the essence of existence,

And on the screens to which feed us empowerment of the day,

Because capitalising on our romanticism as folklore is but another addition to not seeing me as a person,

But as distant from it as Peter Pan,

Providing nothing but a fantasy experience,

A token of accordions and velvet tracksuits to satisfy the assumptions of ‘Wendy Darlings’,

Only to disappear at the vengeance of a real Captain Hook in the absence of fairy dust,

My sanctuary is flocking to the bosom of the Divine,

Because as a famous song once said,

I thought we all were the children of God,

And my Lord have I given you my Genesis,

Only to find my cries as soft as a Psalm against a wave of voices as jagged as the fences that caged us to our fates,

I’m sorry,

But you can’t silence this undesirable with gas or weaponry,

I open my eyes and blow out my incense,

I unlock my phone,

July 2018, Serbia, parents call for segregation from Roma children in schools,

24th July 2018, a one year old roma baby is shot in the back with a compressed air weapon,

21st July 2018, Slovakia, a Roma man is beaten into a coma whilst his attackers scream “We will kill you, Gypsy scum”,

Opre Roma,

God Bless us All

Lois Brookes-Jones