Inspiring Older Readers

posted on 21 Oct 2016


I am the good immigrant by Alan Gibbons


I am the good immigrant,
The best of the desperate,
Photogenic in my wide-eyed desperation,
Unthreatening in my downcast passivity.

I am the good immigrant,
Vulnerable, childlike and silent.
I don’t grow facial hair
Or allow my voice to deepen,
My balls to smack my thighs
With a threatening slap.

I am the good immigrant,
Feminine, obtainable, doe-eyed.
I don’t have periods,
Grow breasts, walk with a sway of my hips,
Threaten the fall of new good immigrants
From my loins.

I am the good immigrant.
I sit in shit for months on end,
Cross continents and stay silent
When you call me lazy,
Stuff my knuckles in my mouth
When you say I want your benefits,
Choke on rising bile
When you say I have nothing to flee from.

I am the good immigrant.
My goodness is beyond reproach.
I tremble under canvas,
Shudder in stifling containers,
Wheeze and blink when you welcome me
With CS gas.
I am the good immigrant,
The good immigrant
You may yet make bad.


Alan Gibbons

October 2016

( photograph :  DFID - UK Department for International Development - Refugee children from Syria at a clinic in Ramtha, northern Jordan)