LEADERS - not followers

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Posted to Writers Island


Father; Slav
Mother; Anglo-Saxon
Making me
Mixed race
An Ethnic Minority
But only by default
So some might say
In my case
You could say
It’s a stand-alone status
Without official
No visible
Distinguishing features
No support group
No discussion forum
I look and sound the same
As all the rest of us

Because my history
And recent history
Occurred the way they did
I have no history
Only fading memories
Of faded traditions
And soon to be forgotten
Customs and culture

If, like me, you’ve spent
A life away from home
In a land that’s not your own
While your father’s homeland
Remains a foreign place
To him as well as you
Then so the search begins
For a place to call home

And all the while
You do your best
To fit in
Between the sniggers
And nervous smiles
The distrust
Snide comments

“He’s not one of us…
At least not one of them…”

What’s your name… er… mate?”

“Ski-bin-ski…Spelt as said”

“That’s a mouthful innit?”

“I suppose… I never thought…
What do you call yourself?”

“E-ther-ing-ton… with a ‘th’…”

“Oh yeah… that’s…
So much easier…
To say… and to spell…”

And so it goes on
You get used to it
…I suppose


  1. People are ridiculous, and we shouldn't have to get used to it. Dang. This is an honest well written piece. Thanks. It is nice to know your full surname, Stan. One of the joys of teaching is all of the names that run through my classroom. I get some interesting Native American names, but have never had a Skibinski. (It's almost a palindrome!)


  2. Thanks Brenda;It was triggered by one of those inappropriate remarks you don't hear too often anymore - reminded me of childhood taunts and back of the hand comments from other kids' parents that questioned my identity...

  3. People are crass. What matters is who you are, not where you come from.

    This is a great poem.

  4. Thanks I'mnotaverse; People tend to think before they speak these days, but it hasn't always been the case.

  5. Fab poem, Stan - I bet it's more than 40 lines! I get steamed up about nationality, ethnicity and all those other icities designed to separate people. We are people full stop.
    Difference is to be celebrated, not traduced.

  6. Thanks Viv; La difference...Viv(e)...

  7. Yeah, I try not to get around.

  8. Thanks Ron; Most of the time things are cool...

  9. Thanks Whenwordsescape; We're all in the same boat.

  10. My maiden name was Muhly....you can imagine. ;) Well written piece...reeeally good!

  11. Thanks Gloria; What's in a name...?

  12. Stan, I can relate to this piece, my maiden name is Kaler, which comes from Alsace-Lorraine, meaning black forest and my understanding is more French than German. People do assume things by our surnames. It is the way of the world, to pin titles on others. Nicely said.


  13. Thanks Pamela; Something thoughtless someone said to me recently confirms that.

  14. My part of the world used to only have two races, and most of them had scotts or german names. I remember, actually remember, the day I saw someone who wasn't "from here". I'm sure I did stare, but it was wondrous amazing.

  15. Thanks Barbara; I can relate to that too, to an extent, having lived amongst people whose contact with foreigners is very limited.

  16. Hi Stan, you have in-depth knowledge of these things...
    A well written and thought provoking piece.

  17. This cracks me up. I never thought of this kind of mixed race, or that one would feel like a man without a home because of it. What is said to you is just crazy, though. My son in law is Filipkowski. I'm going to ask about his mixed race. :)


  18. One of the things I love about living in New Orleans is the huge melting pot of nationalities. There are so many surnames that most people find unpronounceable that are just accepted here and not even thought twice about.
    This is a great piece - one that will make others think.

  19. Thanks to:
    Andy; Years of experience, fending off the taunts...
    Judy; Bit of a technical point - he may or may not agree.
    Zouxzoux; Most places are like that these days, but when I was a kid I was regarded by some as a novelty.

  20. Well written piece, Stan. Thinking of my daughter and son in law who live on an army base and their children grow up with many ethnicities, many mixes, and don't notice. This is the way of the future, I think.

  21. Thanks Mary; That's how it should be.

  22. Thanks Lucychili; Good to know that.