Forbearance and Compassion by Damian Robin

Forbearance and Compassion

She’s beaten numb passed what’s emotional
By bugged, brow-beaten men whose hurt repeats.
Her beaters’ carapaces – hard and dull –
Act deaf to cries that chime her heart’s missed beats.

Unrhythmic beats without a tension drop
And no set beat when she’s electrified,
Those beats of sin can’t grip the sense to stop,
But pulsing beaten gold, her soul inside.

Although the beaters rage with hard-faced hits,
Their consciences lie beat like broken eggs,
Beaten by their boss, who lives in fits
And whisks their mindless limbs to beetle legs.

She gives these beaten torturers no ill
For their core spirits beat with loss of will.


Truth Compassion Forbearance ( zhēn shàn rěn ) are the three tenets of Falun Dafa. It is practiced world wide but persecuted in China where they are often prodded with electrified batons. There were over 70 million practitioners in China in 1999 according to the Chinese Communist Party.



Transplant Assistant by Damian Robin

Transplant Assistant

For workers in China’s Human Transplant Industry where People are Killed for their Organs in State-sanctioned Hospitals

Inside the clanging gates of the hospital,
the new, expanded transplant wing, the nurse,
whose eyes are sunken and responsible,
twists round and makes her family car reverse.

She parks … Shady branch-held leaves hold still …
The hooded, hard-worked engine waves its haze.
Her palm-push slams the door. Cold and ill,
the anchored strain’s been pulling over days.

Not to know was bliss. To add up flaws
was sick. Now unambiguous facts are rife,
she curdles. Smelling disinfected floors
won’t mop her mind. She’s sure she’s taking life.

This theft, her work, should stop. But who to trust
to take where vacant carcasses combust?


Sex in Liverpool City (Three Poems on School Age Sex Abuse) by Damian Robin

Sex in Liverpool City
(Three Poems on School Age Sex Abuse)

Primary Schoolboy

An empty road by All Saints Primary,
a school in Liverpool in 1960 –
I guess. I was maybe nine or ten.

Let’s say it’s Monday. I’m anxious and late. A man
smiles towards me. Not much bigger than me,
he wants to look jolly: a balding head, veined nose.

He shows me photos from inside his coat.
Ordinary women, indoors, without clothes,
monochrome. To me, he seems to gloat.
I’m sure he said to me: “like your mum”
and “sixpence for one” — I think — my mem’ry’s numb.

Tuesday, same thing, late and scared to go in,
to face the faces. The man’s there. The gate
grows welcoming. — Wednesday, I’m not late.


Grammar Schoolboy

I ate in the Dinning Room every day.
I don’t remember the food. However, the way
the head of art touched our “buns”, I do.
Not daily, but enough to get used to.
I cringe as I recall that background creepy
hands on trousers in that all-boy school.
The bottom-touching that became the rule
was partly laughed at, it was so daft, so odd.
But so accepted by the Jesuit squad
— school head and deputy and senior staff
were priests. Though they did not do these things
they had poor insight to the hurt it brings.
I’m sure this carried on when I had left.
But I’ve never checked — I just left.


Further Education

… in a public toilet in Stanley Park;
… in a reserve match at Anfield football ground;
… in a van by the M1 motorway;
… in the front hall of my best friend’s home;

… sunlight streaming windows, or after dark,
… locked in fear (unable to turn round),
… mostly nothing said – nothing to say,
… when discovered, shut from my friend’s home …

my ‘normal’ was an anxious, seasick norm –
no firm friend’s markers, pointers, only mine –
no siblings’ helpful sign, no script design –
no parents’ definition, guide, or form.

Because ‘The child is father of the Man’
I keep this boy as cared-for as I can.

Dwelling Between the Beats by Damian Robin

Dwelling Between the Beats

For Buddhists, Christians, Falun Gong,

and Uyghurs persecuted in China


On stage: no try-out, no rehearsal,

No pretend, it’s real, this show;

Every day’s for sin’s dispersal /

Goods accrual / karmic flow.


Reborn on Earth, dis-junctured ages,

Handed parts of soot and snow /

Repaint-sprayed leaves / rescribbled pages /

Walk-on acts / untimed / full flow /


Pursuit and slashes / fist-face meetings /

Cattle prods / flash / scorch / sound-glow /

There will be more uncharted beatings /

Scheduled chaos blow by blow.

Throughout irregular repeatings,

Higher beings watch, they know.

INTERCHANGE: Heart -Journey by Patti Mckenna-Jones (2018)

Heart – Journey

I made you Alice:

A sandwich of cells by week 3

Anvilled heart, ante-natally canny

Singing by six months

6 weeks gave you voice, ears – could you see?

I drummed you a soul by 9 months (by week 9 you had arms and legs did you?)

Dancing in your lair at 14 months

(14 weeks threaded bone on sinew)

Velociraptors had ‘elegant sufficiency’

At dinner

Compared to me

That dinner of apricot sauerkraut gave us hiccups for nearly a week

Swimming widths in my stomach whilst I almost dreamt

Your marbled vernix; skin so sleek

‘Another boy but tougher’ I mused in bed as kicking your dad,

between organs you’d dive.

After I made you, I was reconfigured

Hauled back from blistered lips

Skin left outside in a deep caesarean smile

Mica –glistening stones, knees, elbows, ankles, ornamental, crone

(Week 23 eyebrows, fingerprints of tin and guile)

Your nails are grown;

It’s time for your journey.


By Patti Mckenna-Jones 2018


INTERCHANGE: Tania Robertson – Bamboo Junction

‘Bamboo Junction’  is a Pocket Poem*,  a development of ‘map’ * originally included in The Venice Vending Machine project by performance artist Marina Moreno at Tate Exchange, Tate Liverpool earlier this year.

Pocket Poems* are individual poems designed to fit in a pocket.  As such they make poetry accessible, affordable and physically intimate.  The work is currently at the concept stage with the intention of being hand letter-press printed.  The jacket colour could indicate the genre of the poem i.e. brightly coloured jackets contain poems by contemporary writers etc.

Bamboo JunctionRobertson_Tania_Pocket_Poems (i)Robertson_Tania_Pocket_Poems_(ii)

* © Tania Robertson