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The Refugee

By Lillian Allen

Silence rocks the night
nerve stretch tight
snapping left and right
anger peels…
a straight faced appeal
to the Canada that can
to save him

no one appeared
or dared to care
for the solitary heart
that paced the night

morning brought light
more panic and fright
for the vacant of days
that faced him

he ran from the light
took a balcony dive
plunges his life
to the pavement below
that plagued him

nothing resolved
a few problems got solve
two months rent defrayed
the credit companies got swayed
on his apartment a sign says
Now Renting

Added: Wednesday, June 25, 2014  /  From "Women Do This Every Day" (1993), used by permission.
Lillian Allen

Lillian Allen returned to the stage with full vigor in 2012, launching her new reggae dub poetry/spoken word album Anxiety. Allen, who grew up in Jamaica, immigrated to North America as a teenager, is internationally recognized as a godmother of dub lyricism, rap, and spoken word poetry. Her debut book of poetry, Rhythm An' Hardtimes became a Canadian best seller, blazing new trails for poetic expression and opened up the form. Her other collections, Women Do This Everyday and Psychic Unrest are studied across the educational spectrum. Her literary work for young people includes three books: Why Me, If You See Truth, and Nothing But a Hero.  

Allen is also a recognized authority and activist on issues of diversity in culture, cultural equity, cross cultural collaborations, and the power of arts in education. She is a professor of creative writing at Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU). She has also held the post of distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Canada's Queen's University and University of Windsor.  She was a featured poet at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2010.

Other poems by this author