Keith Parker

Opinions made without knowledge, thought, or reason.  (Dictionary definition of prejudice.)

Where does the infection start, In the home?
The `Bogey Man` the `Wicked Witch`, fear  
old men and  women who live alone?
The playground where your first prey is
singled out, the red head,  the freckled faced,
the one with specs, fatty, the one with
shabby clothes? Later  the children of
another street on a rundown estate,
or another school where money, religion,
selects the roll? Another village or town with
a different football team and people who eat
different food, worship different gods,
perhaps they love each other in different ways,
but we are always on the lookout for them.
So the sickness spreads and hacks the language,
becomes airborne in the snide aside, the dirty joke,
well where’s the harm? The pub mutter,
the football chant, gang lingo, mob talk,
about the Germans, never defeated enough,
the French and Italians and other unreliables.
The Pakistani`s, Irish, Chinese, Jews, Prots
and Catholics, Southerners, Northerners,
Scots , Welsh, English, Romanis, Travellers,
 take your pick there’s always someone
new to choose. Listen, listen,  your brain is already
defiled, you can hear the words echo from
the sewers, the `N` word, the `W` word,  the `P`
and `Y` words.  Every letter  in an alphabet of insults.
We take our dictionary of spleen, so hatefully constructed,
use it to sooth  the hurt, as we swipe out at,
the lost job, the failed application,
the endless hospital and housing lists,
the overcrowded school, changed shop,
the overloud noise of strange young as you wait
in the city centre bus queue, so different to when
you were young and were a `rocker` or a `mod`.
Always the `other` , LGBT, or Johnny Foreigner, `immigrant,` 
who we now think we know so well. To halt the virus ,
this bacillus, the dark plague we reach for medications,
`knowledge`, `reason`, `thoughtfulness`, that bundle of
our better selves, antibiotics, anti prejudice, to heal
the language. Take them , use  them , speak with them.


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