Pure as driven snow perhaps?
That illegal white powdery snowy stuff?
White Dove – Paloma Blanca - is an anthology of poetry and prose by Gibraltarian author Kailash Noguera.
To add the context, I’ll quote from the intro in his own words, as that will sum it up pretty quickly:
I remember my first sexual experience, I was hardly ten years old.
I can’t say it was good but it wasn’t bad either, I also remember my first joint, my first porro as we call it around here, that was funny. I didn’t like it so I thought drugs were not my thing, boy, I was so wrong.
I came from a good working class family but that life wasn’t for me, or that’s what I thought back then. I loved the streets, the streets were like my second home, so you know, being a street kid you run into street things, one of them being drugs which led to trouble and delinquency.
My life as a drug user and juvenile delinquent made me the person I am today so, honestly, I don’t regret it.
My mother tried very hard to give me the best, which she did, she gave me everything, she showed me the way to God, she showed me the meaning of respect, love and other important human qualities, so maybe that I do regret, I regret causing her pain when, as I mentioned before, she gave me all the best.
Long story short, after the drugs were out of my head and system, other hidden qualities came to light, positive qualities which were always there, but lost by the dark side I chose to live.
I realised my passion for art, especially poetry, music and cinema. So here are some of my writings and poems, which may even make me find my real self.
Kailash voluntarily went into a detox centre in Spain, intending to stay for a few months, but found the detox centre as bad as prison and absconded, if that’s what you do from detox centres.
Instead he locked himself in a flat and decided to get off the drugs on his own.
White Dove, with writings in both English and Spanish, recounts some of his experiences, his dreams, and his thoughts about life and love.
At his last court appearance for assault, his barrister produced his writings as part of his defence, and he was allowed to retain his freedom. The sad fact of life inside prison is that had he been sent inside, he said he would have been back on the drugs.
He’s currently working full-time and has another book waiting to be published.
The Wind Whispers Freedom is the English section of the book. Here are some excerpts from his poems, I’ll add the full ones to the poetry section later.
Looking for my Liberty
I stand behind steel bars locked away from life, a trapped soul in a dark hole waiting to see the sun as I look back to my juvenile past, my first cigarette, my first love,
My first lines, my first problems with the police
Memories of my hang-outs in my childhood patio
Now look where I see myself now
Lost in murkiness, locked behind an iron door.
Like a white dove I wish to fly away and hide from this world, in search of a new
beginning, a journey to a better place
I have paid my punishment in a cold cell, for my freedom I fight to see the light again.
My days as a Street Dog
I remember my days as a street dog, I never wanted to live long
Alone but felt so strong I took the world my storm
‘Cause I thought my weakness was long gone
Even though love was around me I felt lost and Satan trapped me
My faith quickly replaced by thoughts of death, I was not afraid to abandon earth
Left the books for a knife, ready to take on life
Never feeling sorry for the pain I cause even when they dramatized
I never felt terrorized
In a maze of violence and hate, confusion came to my fate
Broke me away from my childhood friends
But I was not aware that the poison I shared made me not care
My anger to society was rising I lost strength but gained toughness towards my enemies
Ignoring my self, my biggest nemesis
Battling against the world constantly, envy I felt for those living happily.
White Paradise (full poem)
I had many friends, it was all fun and games,
Now most of them are dead, who is there to blame?
Some of them are crazy, they call them insane, not knowing they were once students with straight ‘A’s,
I managed to escape after so many internal tears but now I live with fear ’cause I know some day I’ll return,
I cannot escape from that paradise I truly hate, I should have realised but now it’s too late
Forever trapped in the white paradise where many mothers cry
Forever trapped in the white paradise where many children die
Forever trapped in the white paradise, tomorrow I might say goodbye.
Dear God, I’m looking for your son, Jesus, so he can get me away from this ghetto prison
Trapped behind cocaine walls the poison of Satan’s claws
Temptation knocks constantly at my door, pain, I need no more,
Flashbacks of cold withdrawals hunt me all along,
There’s no way I’m staying behind these walls
Fighting hard but I give up, trying to survive working nine to five
Sometimes it’s not enough so as a part time I live a life of crime
Watching my mother cry I wonder if I’m guilty, ’cause at risk I put my liberty.
Dear God, forgive my sins as I sin for necessity, that’s how it’s got to be
I don’t want luxury, I just want to live as a comfortable human being.
and the closing lines of the last poem in the English section:
The Wind Whispers Freedom
The wind whispers freedom, smooth air, my eyes see perfection, my reflection seems so clear, no sign of fear, I hear the sound of freedom so near,
observing, alone I stand here, listening to the sweet sound,
the wind softly whispers freedom.
All work copyright of Kailash Noguera and published with the author’s permission.
Cover illustration by Brian Perera.
My view on White Dove? I thought it was good and very powerful. Most of my readers are English-speaking, so I haven’t added any of the Spanish writings from the section called ‘Perseguido por la Oscuridad’ although I will add a couple to poetry. Interestingly because of the language construction, they have a different feel to them, and they are equally as good.
And on cocaine.
According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), Spain and the UK have the highest rates of cocaine usage in Europe among young adults aged 15-34.
Actually at the latest report, which is based on 2011, Spain and the UK have the highest rates for prevalence of cocaine use among all adults (15-64), young adults and youth (15-24). So that’s easy, doesn’t matter which age group you look at.
Worldwide the only country to beat those stats is the USA. And after the top three of US, Spain and UK, the next country is Australia (I don’t know why I am surprised at that given the availability of drugs more than 25 years ago when I was living in Sydney), and then Denmark, Canada, and Ireland.
[Note, those stats are only looking at Europe, plus Canada, Aus and the USA]
And an extract from an overview to the tables:
Cocaine is, after cannabis, the second most tried drug, though levels of use vary greatly between countries. It is estimated that about 14.5 million Europeans have used cocaine at least once in their life , on average 4.3% of adults aged 15–64 years. National figures vary from 0.1% to 10.2%, with half of the 24 reporting countries , including most central and eastern European countries, reporting low levels of lifetime prevalence (0.5–2.5%).
About 4 million Europeans are estimated to have used the drug in the last year (1.2% on average). Recent national surveys report last year prevalence estimates of between zero and 2.7% . The prevalence estimate for last month cocaine use in Europe represents about 0.5% of the adult population or about 1.5 million individuals.
Levels of cocaine use above the European average are reported by Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and the United Kingdom. In all of these countries, last year prevalence data show that cocaine is the most commonly used illicit stimulant drug.
Local newspaper Panorama provided a perspective on the drugs issue in Gib.