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  • I am David.

    I am David with the sun setting on empire.
    I am David with storm clouds filling the Western sky.
    I am David, a solitary light - extinguished,

    but now, rekindled.

    I am David
    on a cold slab
    at St. James' Hospital

    I am David

    with wild hemlock as temptation.
    I am David of the wild flowers.
    I am David, alone, on a corner in Chapeltown.

    I am David who dances for free beneath the sky.

    I am David of the black cherry
    whose fruit drops to the earth.
    I am David called by the river.

    I am David

    without a chance
    except for the mercy
    of passing strangers.

    By Owen.

    The Baggage Handlers is a creative writing drop in for writers and artists living with mental health distress, in Leeds UK. We meet regularly in Leeds City Centre, to write in celebration of life, our journeys and stories. Co-facilitated by writer Rommi Smith, in collaboration with members of the group, we work together to use creative writing as a tool for positive mental health. Currently, we are exploring the life and death of David Oluwale. Working together, we are creating a play-length poem, which we will perform as part of a forthcoming symposium in honour of David. This symposium takes place on the 23rd/24th January 2013.

    David Oluwale arrived in Hull as a stowaway from his native Nigeria in September 1949. He served 28 days in Leeds Prison for his crime. Twenty years later, in May 1969, he was pulled out of the River Aire, at Knostrop in Leeds, where he had drowned. David had spent ten of the sixteen years between 1953 and 1969 in High Royds Psychiatric Hospital; for the other six years he lived rough on the streets of Leeds. In November 1971, two Leeds police officers were acquitted of the manslaughter of David Oluwale, but were imprisoned for assaulting him.

    Much has changed in Leeds since then. We believe the city can now understand and sympathise with David’s difficult life and awful death.

    For more info:

    WEBSITE: - including for more details of the forthcoming symposium.


    FACEBOOK: Search for Remember Oluwale - The David Oluwale Memorial Association
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