I’ll be sharing my thoughts, ideas, questions that have arisen whilst enduring the UK Coronavirus lockdown. They may take any shape; poems, short stories, rants etc. all first drafts (or close enough), in attempt to overcome a fear of sharing work that isn’t finished, to keep sane, to connect to world…

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So today I spent most of the day reading and my writing wasn’t connected to the Coronavirus outbreak at all. Isolating alone has awarded me with time and space to sit and consider life in general. Today I submerged myself into Roger Robinson’s, A Portable Paradise, published by Peepal Tree Press 2019, if you don’t know get to know- quick, fast! Roger only went and won the T.S. Elliot poetry prize 2019, anyways, was inspired to write this for ‘uncle’ Roger…

Uncle Roger 

(for Roger Robinson)

Lets get things clear

I have ten uncles on my Mums side

and two on my Dads, Roger Robinson is not one of them.

But there is something familiar, a connection despite the distance, like when each time I see my uncle Carlton, sometimes years apart but the broad mouth, the family signature, grinning on each of our faces.

In his voice, I hear comfort and music, like my uncle Colin’s early morning drumming in the 80s. His words make my head nod and hands wave like when listening to Dennis Brown “Revolution’ vibrating through uncle Colin’s room.

His writing is a devotion to his people, like on each birthday, without fail my uncle Fazel will come check me. When I was young, a fortnight wouldn’t pass without a visit, a tickle and a hug, his familiar stature a climbing frame of endless joy.

In his teachings, I unearth new talents within, like when my uncle Lewis, taught me how to skip rope, in the back yard next to the rabbit hutch, patient and steady, encouraging each new leap forward.

In his poetry I find refuge, like when I found myself barefoot and beaten down in the dead of night, and Uncle Manley opened his front door, poured cocoa tea and covered me with a blanket, fried dumplings, picked ackee and soaked salt fish for breakfast. Said I could explain when I was ready to speak.

When I was ready to speak,

Uncle Roger asked ‘so what did you do after…

When you got yourself outta trouble what did you do Ioney?”

I told him I collected stones,

from the street, from gardens, from roadsides, from beaches.

With not one flinch of his eyebrow, or line of judgement marking his face uncle Roger said, ‘write about your stones Ioney, write about your stones’.


© Ioney Smallhorne 2020