Charlie SST10 Performance Version

28 Jan

But whilst warmth breaths through you, Habibti

my child, you are alive

which is all that matters.


You were born to a world on the brink of burning

to a room

of nine other babes

that will die before their first lit candle.

This half-lived life

is built on ghosts

that bleed through bricks.


Be ignorant through innocence,

be blissful but blind

to the towers you bring down

with your closed-eye melodies.

Hold on

to the colours you see

to tint the hopscotch nightmares that chalk our streets.



Deafened by bloodshed dreams that plague

your lullabies. I’m sorry, my child,

for the endless nights

of tiger-eye raindrops

that rage across a grazed horizon.

One day, Habibti, I promise

you will see the stars from my sky

not these that fall and burn

around us.


Count the spaces between

my fingers, match them with yours

and I’ll keep you safe

from the window through which you watch this world.

Come inside, Habibti, stay indoors

for puzzles come in pieces

not parts

of a body, strewn in the alleys.


Believe me,

a good heart triumphs

but some men cannot see

the way they see their own little girls.

Same dress

same smile

same heart

won’t cover the darkness that engraves your face.

And your tarnished skin

will forever bring them knocking


I’m sorry

For no child should bear witness to her friend

pulled from the rubble, leaving behind

red-buckle shoes

feet still fastened inside.


And I’m sorry


These hands cannot hold

you when the silhouetted masakh

play peril in the night.

Be brave.

Creep under the floorboards

just like I said. Wait

for shots to sound no more

footfall fades and blood

slows to a drip

and this world keeps on burning.


Now the ghost of my

half-lived life

bleeds through the bricks.


But whilst warmth breathes through you, Habibti

my child, you are alive

and that is all that matters

to me.


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