Barriers — Pam Knapp

(an audio version of this poem can be accessed through the Loud Voices Silent Streets youtube channel in their “illusion” series)

The barriers aren’t there
                         They’re walls of thin air
Built by ourselves to keep us where
Success is measured in numbers of locks and how tightly we’re fettered in self personalised stocks

The barriers aren’t there
They’re walls of thin air
Built by ourselves to keep us where
History lies, says it used to be better, hiding its horrors beneath interpretive pressure

The barriers aren’t there
             They’re walls of thin air
Built by ourselves to keep us where
Star roles in pigeonholes go viral and strength in glass ceilings sees revival

                        The barriers aren’t there
They’re walls of thin air
Built by ourselves to keep us where
Ideas are replicas of friends’ likes and thumbs-down icons have malevolent spite

The barriers aren’t there
                                                            They’re walls of thin air
Built by ourselves to keep us where
We give Instagram snaps license to lie, and are crushed under forces to conform and comply

The barriers aren’t there
They’re walls of thin air
Built by ourselves to keep us where
Words are only as attractive as the mouths that speak them or deemed worthless in the reign of the sound
bite kingdom

The barriers aren’t there                                    They’re walls of thin air
Built by ourselves to keep us where
Post codes and main roads are alive with knives
where children take kudos in exchange for their lives

The barriers aren’t there
             They’re walls of thin air                        Built by ourselves to keep us where
Relief from our cutting stops life from combusting

The barriers aren’t there        They’re walls of thin air             Built by ourselves to keep us where
Aging equates to diminishing,
something to hide
and have shame in

The barriers aren’t there
They’re walls of thin air
Built by ourselves to keep us where
We need to repeat and repeat and repeat to see what’s not there.


***

Pam Knapp
lives in the UK’s rolling countryside of the Sussex Downs, close enough to London to feel the heat, far enough away to avoid being burnt. Optimism is her greatest asset. Her recent writing can be found in Dreich Magazine, Green Ink Poetry, Owl Hollow Press and In Parentheses Literary Magazine.