For You..

Language Alert. Sorry – had to be done!

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For you…..

If I knew before what I know right now
If I knew the truth the when, why and how
If I knew the signs and which path I’d take
If I knew back then those decisions I’d make

Would I change the road that I wander along?
Would I change the tune, sing a different song?
Would I trade the lows for a new set of highs?
Would I change my mind, be astute and wise?

If I could turn back time and find a different means
If I could change the view and see some different scenes
If I could find reverse and turn my life around
If I could undo life and change the lost to found

Would I live my life to a different tune?
Would I change my sun for a midnight moon?
Would I stifle love and silence my cries?
Would I turn to you and say my last goodbyes?

Would I fuck!

Broken Dreams

Broken dreams
How careless it seems
To give it all
Yet still to fall.
Not good enough
Not strong and tough
Just cold and tired
And differently wired.
The hope is dead
And all we’ve said
About me and you
Is torn in two.
Abandoned hope
Gone up in smoke
Burned to the core
Blistered and sore
Silent goodbyes
Wrapped up in sighs.

 

For Our Friends…..

For Our Friends……….

 So many feelings and thoughts inside me
Beginning to stir me from sleep,
So many unanswered hopes for the future
No longer making me weep.
You blamed naivety for building these dreams
And then just going away,
I called it hope that fired all our wants
But couldn’t be bothered to stay.

 I guess you were right
I guess it takes time
I guess you knew the rules.
Although I can doubt
I now know the game
That abandons these dreaming fools.

 Throughout our talks of our past and our futures
We were able to find the light
The friendship just grew and cleansed the resolve
Without limiting our vision and sight.
My salvation came through one grace of fortune
So bright and refreshingly clear –
We both share one thing that will always be there
When sadness and trouble is near.

 You made me look hard
And answer with calm
All that I thought was dismembered,
My words then took over
My doubt disappeared,
Your friendship forever remembered.

Children In Care – Masters Dissertation

(Apologies that diagrams and pictures have not uploaded, there are issues with numbering and spacing becomes irregular towards the end of the document)

 

What are the issues impacting on the educational achievement of Young People in Care at Key Stage 4?

INTRODUCTION

The aim of this dissertation is to ascertain some of the issues that impact on the capacity of young people in care to achieve GCSEs at age 16. Research highlighted in the study suggests that young people in care under achieve at the end of key stage 4. As a youth worker in the Education of Children in Care (EDCiC) Team in Leicestershire, understanding the barriers and issues affecting attendance and attainment levels are key factors in engaging young people in care in positive learning experiences and improving outcomes.

The study includes a literature review focusing on social policy and changing emphasis, community, social exclusion, youth work principles, learning theory, the European perspective and power, empowerment and anti oppressive practice. A qualitative research approach was employed, to explore individual experiences and feelings. Semi structured, in depth interviews were conducted with 6 participants who spent their teenage years within the care system. They were encouraged to tell their stories and reflect on the issues that impacted on their education whilst they were in care.

Findings from the research and the literature review have informed the discussion and analysis with developing themes around individual circumstances for individual people, multi-layered issues and learning theories. These, in turn, have helped to construct proposals for the summary and way forwards to explore multi agency approaches to providing alternative education environments, tackling the impact of social exclusion and developing emotional literacy, to question the restrictive and limiting parameters of the project targets and to continue to promote youth work principles in the EDCiC team.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Leicestershire Youth Service for affording me the opportunity to work as a youth worker within the Education of Children in Care Team, and for their continued support whilst undertaking my MA, and staff at DMU for their support and guidance.

Thanks also to the individuals in the Youth Service and Education of Young People in Care Team for their time debating relevant issues, for sharing their expertise and knowledge, for bringing to my attention relevant materials and resources and for their continued interest in my studies.

Thank you to my children who have looked after themselves during my studies, and made an excellent job if it, and to my best friend for his unwavering support, strength, encouragement, madness and listening ear.

Most of all, my thanks go to those who gave their time participating in this research by answering endless questions with patience and openness.

As usual, I am grateful to all the young people I work with, from whom I learn far more than they do from me. Continue reading

Don’t Let Them Be Forgotten

Trees that whisper past the confines of Auschwitz
Tell of death chambers, crematoriums and massive grave pits.
Tearing at the silence which reigned with no resistance
Hiding hatred bred through fear, neglect and total ignorance.
Echoes of Treblinca, Belzec, Majdanek and Sobibor
Bereft of any reasons, of what it was all for.
Persecuted relentlessly, no hope of any relief
The world stood by and watched, only later showing grief.

The man, the boy, the mother and babe
Their deaths were indiscriminate,
The old, the young, the rich, the poor,
Suffer child, for the sin of being born Jew.
Well did you really expect the world to help you?

A silence of terror, they were the victims of insanity
“World conspirators”! – the enemy of Christ and Christianity!
Nowhere to run to when hatred is waved without care
At the tagged, collared and labelled, so the rest could stop and stare.
The horrors are not only the reality of murderous death,
More for the wasted loss of hope and dignity and faith.
For the murder of the innocent, of the hunted, homeless nation
And for their absolute suffering and their total degradation.
The man, the boy, the mother and babe
Their deaths were indiscriminate.
The old, the young, the rich, the poor
Suffer child for the sin of being born Jew.
Well did you really hope that the world would rescue you?

The man, the boy, the mother and babe
Their deaths were indiscriminate.
The old, the young, the rich, the poor
Suffer child for the sin of being born Jew.
Only please, don’t let them be forgotten by you.

The First Time

A Sons of Anarchy, Chibs and Juice Ficlet based on the prompt: 

“Juice tells Chibs something he’s never told anyone before.”

(Set somewhere around season 4 or 5, but timeline a bit suspect. It fits between my “Give and Take” and the prequel “Swings and Roundabouts”.  Established relationship).

Warnings:- Some Spoilers.  Some swearing.  Some sexual content.

Dislcaimer:  All characters and main story line belongs to Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter.

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The First Time

It’s no secret that Juice has a ream of vulnerabilities and insecurities darting through his mind in any given moment, but it’s at times like this that Chibs has to remind himself that it’s okay to have a few of his own. By ‘times like this’ read late. Or early, depending on your point of view. It’s somewhere around 3am, and the dark, dead of night is rapping against their window along with the relentless rain. Chibs lies warm in their familiar bed, cushioned against a spent, post-coital Juicy, his arms wrapped tightly around his nestling lover. He loves this time when they’re drowsy with unquenched sleepiness, swathed in the afterglow of intensity and passion, safe and together, whatever ills in the world far away. A tender warmth envelops them both, lulling them not into a false sense of security, more a tranquil, mellow mood that allows those insecurities to surface softly and materialise gently.

Not for the first time, Chibs wonders what on earth Juice sees in him. He looks over the pretty Puerto Rican’s lithe body and glances appreciatively at the taut muscles and velvet skin, the dark, wide eyes and the sexy, sensual mouth that Juice uses to full effect, smiling modestly. Post-orgasm, serenity emanating from his being, Juice is always a little reserved. He’s shyly picturing how their bodies moved together, the sounds and noises that escaped his mouth, the gyration of his hips, the sensation of breath, tongue, lips and hands over his skin, the grasping and grappling of bodies, the biting, licking and tasting, and the begging pleas for deeper, harder, faster;

“Please Chibbie, more …….. fuuuck, please, babe?”

Chibs could hardly refuse him when he asked so nicely, and they’d cum together, one hot, sticky mess.

Although he may be reticent whilst recalling the memories, that’s far from the adjective Chibs would use to describe his boy during the act itself. Juice is less composed introvert, more wild, unashamed and demanding enthusiast. They each shudder at their train of thought, their individual recollections triggering new waves of longing and they clasp tighter, moving in to a deep, yearning kiss.

It’s in this state that they’re able to have their most intimate conversations. It’s a relative concept. They rarely find the words for long, demonstrative exchanges, but this is the time they’re more likely to share their thoughts. At his vulnerable best, Chibs decides to broach the subject that’s been playing on his mind.

“What are ye doing with me, Juicy? Ye could have anyone ye want, man or woman.”

It takes Juice by surprise. First of all, he’s not used to seeing Chibs this unguarded, and he realises the Scot is seriously putting himself out there with this. Secondly, he’s never considered himself much of a catch. Yes he’s had his share of crow eaters and one night shags, but relationship wise he’s a novice and he’s always assumed himself too much of a fuck up, carrying too much baggage to really impress anyone or sustain anything.

“But I want you, babe. I think I always have. Everything I want has been wrapped up in you for a while now.”

“When, sweetheart? When did ye start to see this grumpy, old fucker as someone ye were interested in being with, physically?”

Juice contemplates, scrunching up his face, thinking hard for his reply.

“You’re not old Chibbie. You’re not even grumpy most of the time. You’re a good fucker though, babe!”

Chibs snorts, glad of the levity but still keen to resume the conversation.

“C’mon lad, tell me how come I managed to snag me a gorgeous, sexy, young fella, apart from being the best fuck for miles around?”

He lowers his voice slightly, the smile replaced with a thoughtful expression.

“Seriously Juicy. I’m not fishin’ for compliments, just trying to understand, and if I’m honest, feeling a bit insecure about it, love. Thought maybe if ye explain it to me I might be able to understand it better.”

Juice hears the slightest of tremors in Chibs’ voice and understands the importance of his response. It’s not that he wants to brush this aside, or to say something purely to ease his lover’s angst, but he wants to get it right. He owes Chibs more than his life, he certainly owes him that.

“I don’t think there’s been like a moment, it’s been more of a slow burn. Before I went to Stockton it felt as if we started to get to know each other better and we were spending a lot more time together.  When I was locked up, you were always my go-to, where my thoughts went when I needed someplace safe.  Those late night calls on the burner, the visits, that’s what kept me sane, especially with all the shit that went on in there.  Then when I got out I sort of fell into you.  It just sort of happened.  I don’t mean it was an accident, it seems to me now like it was always supposed to be, I just didn’t realise before then.  And now it’s like you’re part of me, that if you weren’t here I’d be without a limb or something.  To be honest I never thought I’d be with a man willingly.  I don’t see the need to label it, but I still don’t think of myself as gay.  It’s just about you, Chibbie.  I just fell for you.”

Chibs throws him a puzzled look. He wants more information and he waits for Juice to enlighten him.  Juice squeezes in closer, pulling Chibs’ arms tighter around him as he resumes his explanation.

“I guess the first time I thought about you in that way was in Ireland.”

Going to Ireland was the first time Juice had left the country. Even on the journey over he’d noticed a change in Chibs.  Of course, that may have been down to the God awful flight, the noise and discomfort of being in the vast belly of a cargo plane, but he was watching his brother carefully, sensing his restlessness and his growing anxiety.  When they finally arrived in the lush, fertile countryside he didn’t think that the Scot, adopted by the Irish and eventually exiled State side, felt any sort of welcome returning to his former home, just a mounting unease.  He was tense and edgy.  He remembers his alarm at Chibs’ unrestrained anger toward the Ulster police and his mood matched the dull greyness of the sky.  Juice could see the suffocating oppression clouding over him as they got closer to Belfast. 

Arriving at SAMBEL, Chibs had greeted old friends and family warmly. It was obvious that he had loved these people dearly and it was difficult for Juice to comprehend that Chibs had lived a whole other life that he knew nothing about.  The entire club had been privy to his reunion with his wife and daughter.  There was no hiding the tears and depth of emotion in that meeting, seeing his Kerrianne for the first time in years, almost a grown woman yet still, essentially, his quiet little girl.  Juice had met Fiona before when she’d visited Chibs in hospital after the car bomb, but that didn’t prepare him for the power of this encounter.

Juice first noticed it properly when they were sat around the clubhouse. Chibs was lodged between his wife and daughter, an audience of various Irish brothers converged around them regaling tales of a shared past. The talk was thick and fast, Irish and Scottish brogues entwining, laughter escaping loud and freely while spirits, both theirs and the liquid variety, flowed easily.  Juice was sitting a way back at the bar, observing, with a strangely unfamiliar feeling knotting his stomach.  That was when he realised he was jealous.  For a start he didn’t understand why, but as he thought more it dawned on him that he felt envious of the fact that these people had a shared history that he would never be part of.  He was watchful and mistrustful of them, felt overly protective of Chibs.  This was his best friend, the person he knew best in the world, and he had no link with him here in this place.  In Belfast he had no bond or connection to the man he had come to rely on so heavily.  His feelings and affection for this man who had looked out for him, given him words of encouragement and reassurance when he needed them, went far deeper than he’d realised before.

Seeing Chibs with Fiona, watching them share private conversations, secret smiles, old jokes and stories, sent his jealousy into overdrive. He knew it was irrational.  He liked Fiona. He was glad that his friend had this opportunity to rekindle his broken relationship with a wife and daughter that he loved so much.  He was grateful that Chibs had been given this chance to put some demons to bed, to right some terrible wrongs, to be happy for a while.  It was long overdue.  Yet for Juice, it was the loneliest he’d felt since he’d joined the club.  He felt cast aside, lost and alone.  Fiona could take Chibs away from him.  If she wanted to, she could destroy his lifeline, because, it seems, that’s how Juice had started to see their friendship.  It was with a heavy heart and a fatalistic perspective that he began to re-examine his relationship with his friend.  It wasn’t sexual but there was an element of the physical in that Chibs had always been so tactile.  There had always been hugs, slaps, arms around the shoulders, hands on the back of his neck, quick kisses to his head or cheek.  Here, that felt alien to Juice.  It felt like a secret they shouldn’t be revealing in front of these people. And Juice wanted it to be him that made Chibs smile and laugh, who brought that grin to his face, those crinkly lines to his eyes.

Juice felt proud when Chibs asked him to watch over Fiona and Kerrianne. He wanted to protect them and get to know them because they were part of a man, a brother and a father figure that he loved and respected.  And he did get to know them.  Fiona, scary and volatile as she was, spoke to him about Chibs, asked how he was doing and whether he was looking after himself.  She asked Juice to look out for him when they got back, to make sure he didn’t get himself killed.  He laughed with Kerrianne, gently mocking her, bringing her out of her protective shell.  Yet when Chibs was with them, he felt small, irrelevant, out of place.  He felt as if he didn’t belong.

Juice draws himself back to the present and tries to surmise his current thoughts.

“I guess that was the start of it for me. If you’d asked me then, I wouldn’t have been able to define it.  I wouldn’t have thought it was the start of what it’s become.  But realising how jealous I was of Fiona then, how lonely I felt even when you were in the same room because it was different, it just made me think.  I wanted that history with you, I wanted to be the one you told stories about to make people laugh.  I wanted to be the one to put that smile back on your face, Chibbie.  Sounds stupid, I bet?”

“Nay lad, not stupid. I never knew.  I was so grateful to ye over there, for looking after my girls.  I wouldn’t have trusted anyone else to do it for me.  And truth be told, it was never the same between me and Fi.  We tried to make it like it used to be but there was too much space between us.  I’ll always love her as the mother of my girl, and for herself in a lot of ways, but we both realised we can’t go back.”

“I’ve never said the words before. I mean I said them to my Mom and sister when I was a kid, and to the guys of course, but I’ve never been in love, so I’ve never meant it that way, but I mean it now….”

Juice pauses, partly for effect, mainly because he’s petrified. But he remembers the way the conversation started, the intimate whispers and touches that led them to this point.  He remembers Chibs’ uncertainty and self-doubt.  He remembers his own feelings of being isolated, lost and alone during their time in Belfast, and how found and healed he feels now.

“I love you, Chibbie.  Love you so much, babe.”

Chibs’ doubts and fears melt away. He’s sure they’ll re-surface at times, but he’s okay with that.  For now, he knows that Juice will need his own reassurances.  He’s just confessed his feelings for the first time and he recognises that will sit heavily on him, not because of the disclosure itself, but because of his misgivings that anyone could love him back.

“Ah, Juicy sweetheart. I love ye too, darlin’.”

As they finally drift off to sleep, still wrapped tightly together, Chibs knows that he can help him with that.