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Friday, 10 October 2014

"Singapore Customs"



“What’s this?” crowed the officious
British ex-pat Customs Officer.
Looking down at my Army Issue
Machete strapped to my battered
Army Issue suitcase.

“You can’t bring that in ‘ere!
That’s a lethal weapon, that is!”

A more useless bit of kit is hard to imagine,
In it’s pressed cardboard sheath,
And it’s heavy riveted handle
That would cut and blister
A sweat soft hand to ribbons in minutes.
And it’s impossible to sharpen edge
Could hardly be called lethal.
Unless you wanted to batter something to death
With it’s blunt edge!

“You can’t bring that in ‘ere,
That’s a lethal weapon, that is!”

Luckily he hadn’t looked IN my suitcase!
He’d have found the Headhunter’s mandu,
Razor sharp, the machete I really carried on ops,
With it’s stylised hornbill handle with the beak
That curled round your little finger
And stopped the thing from flying out
Of a sweat wet or monsoon wet hand.
Or the quiver of poisoned blowpipe darts!
Now they really were lethal!

I wasn’t in the best of moods!
I’d been kicked out of my beloved Borneo
At a moment’s notice!
They’d thought to retain
My trusty 7.62 FN
But had returned my ‘personal weapon’.
And found me a last minute seat
On a Singapore Airlines flight!

And there I stood
In the bright lights of Singapore Airport.
Dirty, tired, in a pair of rotting jungle boots
And a set of Olive Greens
That hadn’t seen starch
Or the dhobi man’s iron
In far too long!
And I’d missed my tea!
And if this officious prat kept me much longer
It looked like I’d miss my supper too!

“You can’t bring that in ‘ere,
That’s a lethal weapon, that is!”

“What the fuck do you call this?” I asked politely,
Pointing to the ugly little Sterling sub-machine gun
They’d returned to me before I left,
Hanging round my neck like the eternal albatross!
And the full magazines hanging from my belt!
“Souvenirs?”
For me, Peace had broken out!


Copyright © Res JFB 10th October 2014