PAD/009 –  from these moments of dear light,


found poem

50% of young black men unemployed, 

what we need are a few lines of purple

Black people four times more than white to lose their jobs 

to fill the gaping hole in our hearts with hope

suspected of committing a crime, stopped and searched for no reason

these noisy sparks could trample our souls, damage our being

police abuse their powers, they commit a crime

we got to listen to the leaning season

the justice system not provide a fair trial when arrested under ‘SUS’

we have to hang on, try to get through winter

a Black youth stabbed, stopped by the police on his way to hospital

when the wind picks up and snow marks our path

 police presence and then more police, a crowd gathering 

such tears, such unstemmed tears makes everything muted

three days a protest against racist policing, a rallying cry

 listen when you step out again, vulnerable and raw,

gather the colour purple, great, big, fluffy heaps of purple  

from these moments of dear light

PAD/ 003 – stand on any corner of the fire city, look west to death

After Eve Ewing

we come from fire city, it’s been so for generations.

we show the whites of our teeth, to put you at ease.

we real cool*, sound and safe. down in the ashes of our homes,

we know how to conceal, the flick of flames,

through practice. we advise you to not come any closer, 

not to touch our hair, say, or our anointed skin. we know.

we burn our own lips before we speak of our tiredness

and frustrations,  before we call out your actions for what 

they really are. don’t look at the sun, yes that hot. 

we lie down, spread out ruby, vermillion, red lapping waves,

thinking of an alternative era when fire kissed truths burn

our birth into freedom and laughter and love.

*homage to Gwendolyn Brookes too x. 

PAD/ 002 – Brixton, 1981

Brixton, April 1981

Late evening of early Spring, 

air thick and close, after days of noise,  

the streets are quiet.

I hold her hand and clasp him in close

as we walk the length of the street.

We have to get home.

The heat shimmers just above the tarmac. 

The heat sizzles between the bricks. 

We walk. 

Head down, make self small, away 

from the attention of riot police,

we skirt around rubble, glass and papers.  

Keep walking forward. Eyes forward, 

hold hard onto the flesh of my babies,

eyes on the safety of our front door. 

But for how long? Things have run wild 

in a matter of hours. It’s a tinderbox 

on the verge of being set alight again. 

Time Out Magazine No 421 April 17-23 1981 Brixton Riots

Emotional Labour

‘It’s hard to be calm in a world made for whiteness. ‘ Austin Channing Brown

My last post, Black Fatigue, was written in a moment of anger, hence all the mistakes. Not mistakes in the argument or feelings but in the spellings and grammar. But I make no apologies. Sometimes it’s good for the soul, or good for me to let the anger out that I’m carrying around, moment to moment, daily.

It’s probably one of the rare occasions, I’ve allowed myself to vent as I have learned through years and experiences being an angry Black woman gets me nowhere. But the flip side, where has being an amicable and amenable Black woman got me? Probably well down the road of mental health issues and questionable wellbeing.

A week on, and I’m still sick and tired of the things playing out in my life as I move through this world in the body of a Black woman but still not recognised or treated as a fellow human being. I could even say that things have gotten worse as with time, more slights and ignorance and lack of awareness of their actions and inactions accumulate. Continue to accumulate as I get older but also as I attempt and fight to be met eye to eye with others as a human being deserving of living and striving within this world.

I oscillate between exhaustion and anger. Being depleted and fired up. And the worse thing of all is those that cause this suffering are oblivious to it. And even when I take the time and energy to point it out to them, how their actions are being unfair, unjust, unreasonable, and not seeing the situation in it’s totality they get on the defensive, do not engage with the issue, but deflect it away with comments like, ‘ I won’t engage with you when you’re being so aggressive.’

I stand by my post Black Fatigue. I just wish I’d mentioned emotional labour too. I can see now, as I reach 50 years old this year, that I have spent my lifetime trying to fit in. That means trying to be white. That is the only way to be let / given an inch in this game/ society/ life. I’m expected to be white because this is the cultural way of being. White people believe being white is right and good. Anything ‘other’ is wrong and should do everything right to become more white.

Now as I continue to question this standard, the way of operating in society, in the world, I’m going to become more and more angry and exhausted because I’m constantly being judged for being a Black female in a world made for whiteness. Everywhere I turn, in the street, on social media, on the TV, my self-esteem is being chipped away while living with the disparities in job opportunities, health care, education, and in the justice system. And I’m supposed to be happy and grateful when someone white talks about diversity and offers a crumb as if it’s taking a risk.
And then if I have the audacity to ask for more, there’s tears.

I’ve taken a break from social media as I was falling into the comparison spiral trap as well as putting pressure on myself to produce. But I see now what I was doing was performing. This is my pain and this is my joy. I was striving for the viewer, for you, to see me, treat me, like a fellow human being. It appears it’s the only dance I know. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to be white at the same time as trying to convince/explain/ argue that I’m worthy, that I’m a fully functioning and feeling human being who deserves to be here for your discarded crumb. Fuck that for a game of soldiers.

I’m taking back control and my power so I can control my rage. Not to protect others but myself. I’ve got to make sure now that my anger doesn’t destroy me. I’m putting in emotional labour with me, for me now.

Day 15 – NaPoWriMo – Musician

black and white bus stop sign
Photo by Autumn Dunne on

Ted Blaine, musician
After Gabrielle Calvocoressi

I journey back sometimes
and remember when I was riding
up front in that hot metal can.

I could see her in the rear mirror,
patting down here hair
and fixing her lipstick.

I should have done things
differently, little things,
like carried her bags

into the service elevator.
Let her know that I didn’t
think it was right, the way

they treated them Negroes.
One time, I heard her humming
while watching the world whizz by.

It was awful sweet the way
she could drift off into the music.
My mama was the same when she

had breath in her body. Sometimes
I dream of singing. Mostly
it’s that Billie’s comes back.

We’re traveling in the hot tin bus
but we’re upfront together
and she’s telling me

a thing or two about improvising
as the trumpet runs off
dancing with the piano.

Day 12 – NaPoWriMo – Triolet

Today’s prompt from NaPoWriMo is to write a triolet. I love just saying the word, ‘triolet’, never mind writing one.
The triolet form involves a fixed rhyming and line scheme which is pretty simple once you get your head around it. The first line is repeated in the fourth and seventh lines; the second line is repeated in the final line; there are only five original lines, and the rhyme scheme is ABaAabAB.


Triolet: shooting at blossom is a spectacle

Why isn’t one bullet too many times to shoot anybody?
It’s a crime for cherry blossom to fall too soon,
How much gratuitous violence is taken by a blackbody?
Why isn’t one bullet too many times to shoot anybody?
Translucent and tender like the flesh of a fledging chickadee,
we are all bone and blood and teeth under the white of the moon.
Why isn’t one bullet too many times to shoot anybody?
It’s a crime to see the cherry blossom fall too soon.