*Living the Dream by Ash Sharma



The Ganga rushing through the land

Sheets of rain cutting the oppressive humidity,

Orange men scavenging for souls.

Tears flowing

Ashes in hand.  



Dad was an Albion man,

Home in the black country

Never to return.  


Remember those summer days -

Dudley Zoo and Blackpool Pier.

The odd pint of Guinness with his spars.

No dreams of gold in the mother country

Only small brown envelopes on Fridays.  


ICI, Dunlop, GKN don’t remember.

Empires crumbling, workers welcomed.

Invisible men to the end.

Dirty jobs to do, lives to be lived

Love to be found, friends to be made.  


‘Smelly coolie’, ‘fucking Paki’.

They are just jealous.

Be wise. Dad knew much, said little.

Look them in the whites of their eyes

This is home.

Stand and deliver. Laugh out loud.  


Tears flowing, memories flooding.

‘Is this all he’s worth?’

Holy men with calculators

Standing guard on the river’s edge, soiled with foreign currencies.

Ashes escaping in the torrent

Holding back the rage and sorrow.  


England’s dreaming again.

Time to go, forget the gods

No sacred cows, only polluted rivers

And temples to the rich.  


Back in Handsworth Park,

Haridwar, another time, another place

Another life.



This poem was first published in the blog Southern Discomfort. Reproduced with permission.