North London Nativity and More…

By Sarra Culleno

North London Nativity  

Year 2 file into the assembly hall,
For parents, arrange the order they stand.
In dreidel graphics, white and blue. Or all
Gold jewellery, bindis and henna hands.

Or Angels in white with tinsel halos.
Or vivid, embroidered, lace Baju Kurungs. 
Like Slade, "Khag Ha Molad!" the class bellows.
Wham's best "Pichale Krisamas" is sung. 

King Rama lights the eight-night menorah. 
Nakasura follows star to manger.
Macabees light clay lamps for Ravana.
"Feed the World" sang to end world hunger

And Iftar turkey with all the trimmings
Gifted to Our Lord's humble beginnings.
Huxley’s Hatchery

Glitter and glue may circumvent 
our data projecting trajectories.
Creative clay play might prevent
obedient, marshalled factories.

Let's force the teachers with CPD 
to abandon sandpit epiphanies.
Let's privatise academies
to vertically disseminate hegemonies.

So that four-year-old, newly hatched chicks
never question their place on front lines.
Eggbox builds are worthy risks,
but heads above parapets must learn declines.

Have them too early uniformed,
before they can do buttons up.
"Fear to fail!" they must be warned,
as tiny, unweaned, suckling pups,

While still waking, crying through the night
potential, examination replaces.
Rear them locked in bondage tight,
to crush the runners, climbers, chasers.

We can blame their poor resilience.
The test results are an irrelevance.
We aim to maim the threat; Intelligence.
Miss, What Did I Miss?

Miss, why are we reading a story like this?
So you’ll never have to shoot Lennie in the back of the head.
So to hangmen, Salem’s witches will never be led.

Miss, we just don’t understand this?
Once lessons learned in Double-Speak are done,
you’ll parley and decode that it was our drones
which terrorised families in their own homes.

Miss, why are we still reading this?
So you’ll know the milk of human kindness
instead of panics peddled to numb you mindless.
So you’ll recognise that news is contrived, not reported.
Lucrative narratives sold on facts contorted.

Miss, why do we learn all this?
To save your child and grandchildren too,
from the system of ignorance imposed upon you.

Miss, how can we tell what fact is?
“The sanctions in Iraq killed more people than all of the WOMDs
in all of recorded history”

Miss, why do you bother with this?
Your dignity is not bestowed from up high.
It’s what you must claw for, or die.
Be inconvenient dissents from under.
From margins, monoliths are blown asunder.

Miss, what do we do with all this?
First, shield yourself with insight,
from Roman Games of Circus distracting you to apathies in between.
Then, take flight,
beyond the narrow limits of the spectrum’s extremes.

Sarra Culleno is London born and Manchester based poet, mother and English teacher who performs at poetry events across the UK. She writes about children’s rights, motherhood, identity, gender, age, technology, the environment, politics, modern monogamy and education. Sarra is widely published. She features in many podcasts and radio shows, and was longlisted for the Cinnamon Press Pamphlet Prize. Sarra co-hosts Write Out Loud at Waterside Arts, and has performed as guest poet at numerous literary festivals.

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