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Blog - Richard Downes

Initial: Nick Names


A hate crime officer I once knew gave me a book with ideas I could use to write from. This is the second installment from the first page. It impinges on my history. It tells a tale or two. It doesn’t mean to upbraid anyone going through spiteful name calling. Nor does it offer any solution.

When did the hate crime begin for you?

Initial: Nick Names

Where does hate crime start
In isolated schools
Where one delicate child
Appends the word ‘cow’
To the surname of another

I don’t think so
If bovines and spiders are all we see
The only things we can find a name for
Then the hate can’t start here
Not when there are bigger issues
To be fought

From where does hate crime grow
On office floors
Where one employee
Calls another ‘Gimp’
As a friendly start, an introduction.

I don’t think so
Not if what he calls me
Is equal to the things I call him
And resonate in a culture of give and take
Again there are bigger issues
To be fought

Does hate crime begin its flow
When we play language games
Made to amuse, put a slant on the news,
Turn the screws
On a funny bone or two

I don’t think so
Not if I know the rules
of the game being played
Not if I can compete
Not when there are bigger issues
To be fought

But then it seems
I got off lightly
My name has much as I might hate it
As finally arrived intact
Throughout the cause
Of all those bigger issues
That I fought.

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