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Nick Nakorn - Skin Deep

No blood ran in rivers
When I was a child
Warm-beer-England delivered
The upper crust ran wild

Lining up dominoes
Nineteen sixty five
Nine years old still feeling white
Just glad to be alive

Real lads played hero games
I came to despise
Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen
Both had Caucasian eyes

The ones who looked like me
Were Biggles' deadly foes
The enemies of the state
The cause of all our woes

And Grandpa cheered for Powell
Though he loved me dear
Cheer up my chap you're English
He said, and drew me near

Pictures of my father
An aristocratic Thai
Confounded the illusion
All slitty-eyes must die

T.V. from Vietnam
Shootings in the street
The boy's check shirt just like mine
The blood pooled at his feet

Before the shot he stood
The gun cold at his head
Bewildered, unbelieving, scared
I watched, I cried, I fled

And millions there were
Neither white nor black
Governed by the rule of sword
The subjects of attack

Western Schools don't report
Eastern Intellect
Half-casts become invisible
Unless in some dark sect

Father, multilingual
Elegant to boot
Stands in grainy black and white
Wearing a western suit

In colour some years later
Shaven head, orange robe
A monk still on probation
Explores a brave new globe

And I too moved within
To break my own success
Beginning to believe that
To have much more is less

Fast-forward two decades
I write to an old address
Perhaps my father lives
I'm nervous, I confess

Perhaps he's dead or gone
In spirit or in form
To late to return
His offspring to the norm

For days and weeks I wait
For e-mail or for post
The pictures of my father
No more real than a ghost

And Asia basks in spillage
From an American Dream
Village girls sell cheap sex
And quarter all esteem

Bangkok canals are roads now
Thai forests are logged out
Yellow skins have bought and sold
Their culture for a shout

So why should I care at all
About my random genes
A snap-shot angry mongrel
Posed in some English scenes?

Then, one Saturday morning
A Thai-stamped letter falls
Upon my Devon doormat
Within my English walls

A greeting and a photograph
His hair now white and proud
A perhaps contented man
And I cast off my shroud

Click here to visit Nick Nakorn's website

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