The following poem and story are two of the contributions to “Stranger(s) In A Strange Land”, an anthology of flash fiction, poetry, and graphic art which will be published in digital format when La Gr@not@ is relaunched.

ALL sales of the anthology will go to 3 projects which work with refugees.

If you would like to submit something to this project, please read

Submissions can be made (in English, Catalan, Spanish, or German*) to the e-mail address given there or (if you prefer) posted in the comments section below. (Graphic art should be sent as JPG attachments to the e-mail address on that web-page. Links to ORIGINAL-work videos can also be sent.)

Another project serving the same good cause can be found at It’s LOTS of fun! (Everybody taking part so far is having a great time!) No previous writing experience necessary. (That goes for this one, too.)

This project can be followed on Twitter: @SiaslStranger

* The first – paper – edition was trilingual: Catalan/English/Spanish. The digital editions will be: 1st in English;; then in Catalan and Spanish; with a trilingual edition to follow. We can handle the translating. But if you would PREFER to translate your own work, that would be even better.


One Of The Lucky Ones

(The Treasure)


I stand here on a new shore,

My knees trembling.

(Not because I am scared

– Although, I assure you, I am –

But because I have been on that hell-boat,

Crouching, crowded, cramped,

For eleven days.)


I am one of the lucky ones:

I waded ashore.

The soldiers are unloading the unlucky,

Some of whom won’t make it.

(There were others who didn’t make it

Even this far.)


I am one of the lucky ones:

I didn’t need to sell my body

To smirking guards at the borders.

My husband paid for the bribes

And my sea passage…

Though unknowingly. (In short,

I robbed him of what I needed.)


I am one of the lucky ones:

I speak English and we had satellite;

So I know that we aren’t on

The shores of Paradise.

I won’t be crushed by discovering

That all my problems aren’t over.

I know that it’s going to be difficult.

Doesn’t that make me one of the lucky ones?


I am one of the lucky ones:

I carry in this one bundle

The greatest of treasures,

The most valuable contraband.

A Red Cross worker

(Noting my trembling legs)

Offered to take it from me.

But I will not relinquish my burden.

(At least not yet.)


My parents believe themselves cultured.

(I was spared the genital mutilation

Endemic in my country.)

But they sold me to a man more powerful

Than even my father: the chief

Of a village; the owner

Of one thousand goats, two wives,

And the only satellite dish within four days’ walk.


A powerful man but a boor.

Technologically ahead of the neighbouring chiefs

But backward in every way.

I endured him for three long years.

Even though I was intact,

He could not give me pleasure.

But he did give me my treasure.

And to spare her the knife, I ran.


I am NOT going back – and neither is she.

If they deny us asylum (such things happen),

I will kill myself. And she

Will be put into care (father unknown).

Until that time,

I am her mother, she is my treasure…

And I give her up to nobody.


She is one of the lucky ones:

In this new land, I know, there are those

Who will hate her for her dark skin.

For her beauty, she will be jeered at and spat upon.

But she will be intact: she will be whole.

She will not be sold as the third wife to a despot.

Not a lot, I admit.

… But it’s a start.

~ Jimmy Hollis i Dickson




What if…


The border guard was bored. Yet another family of refugees asking for asylum. He looked over the application form.

“Frankly, you don’t fulfil the conditions to qualify for asylum. No political persecution. And this business about your child’s life being threatened. Obviously paranoia. It’s a pity you’re not a stonemason. There’s a shortage of stonemasons and we might have been able to bend the rules. Or you could have applied for entry simply on an immigrant basis. But carpenters…”

He looked at the young wife. Despite being a mother, there was an air of innocence about her. He could go for some of that. Worth bending a rule or two for… HA! And if HIS wife found out, she’d have his balls! Not worth the risk.

He stamped the application form: “Admission denied”, and waved them back over the border, where their own country’s soldiers were waiting.


Joseph and Mary watched horrified and helpless as little Jesus had his head chopped off.

~ Wilhelmina Lyre

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