Sarah Clancy

Sarah Clancy is a page and performance poet from Galway. She is the author of three collections of poetry - ‘The Truth and Other Stories’ (Salmon Poetry, 2014), ‘Stacey and the Mechanical Bull’ (Lapwing Press, Belfast, 2011) and ‘Thanks for Nothing, Hippies’ (Salmon Poetry, 2012).

Note to Self

look at fence, wall, checkpoint, detention centre
look at wire, breeze block, sheet metal,
look at sandbags, concrete road-blocks and portacabins
look at reinforced glass and interlocking door systems
consider that the factories that made them
are all staffed by humans and how it took others to erect them
in our specially selected zones of exclusion
and that on some level those people
knew what they were doing

think of small components for very large weapons
how someone dreamed up each piece of them
and check out our latest technological solutions
for the crisis of humans moving from one place to another
watch a human resource put their night vision goggles on securely
and check their thermal imaging system
for the outline of something warm and human
on the shift where they clock out clock in to an automated system
remember no camp could exist
without people to build it

look at legislation and its deceptions
where international protection
means much swifter deportations and indefinite detention
where everything is a metaphor for something,
look at getting a handcuffed person on a plane
to extradite them and see that a second person
is on the sweet end of those handcuffs
and has no particular meretricious distinction
except for those invented by officialdom
to make them feel different so they can do
what would otherwise be unthinkable

remember that someone starts that plane and flies it
and before that some yawning human rubber-stamped
the letter to warn application number 237
that someone was coming to get them
and then went home to take their own children swimming
and before that again some other person in an office
deliberated about a place that they had never visited
that they wouldn’t be seen dead in
and determined that it was a safe country
in the legal definition
as if that meant anything

remember that there’s never been a wall
that someone didn’t build
or a border that was anything but abstract,
think about how there’s never been a noose that no-one fashioned
and remember that on both ends
of all this all this infrastructure there are only humans;
it is us that's doing this.

Poem copyright © Sarah Clancy.