Black nature in residence showcase

You might not know it but I’ve been writer in residence for Northumberland National Park. It was part of a project called Black Nature in Residence.

Led by identity on tyne, four Black writers were in residence across the North-East. As our time comes to an end, we’re ready to share about our experiences.

Come join us for an evening of words and images at our online showcase. Thursday 28 October, 6.30-8pm.

You can find our more about the project here.

And you can grab yourself a ticket for the event here.

A Gratitude List

“My blessings always overflow.” Abiola Abrams

  1. I’m grateful for time away alone in a VW Camper. A dream come true.
  2. I’m grateful for the Autumn light on the mountains in the distance.
  3. I’m grateful for the sound of the sea shhhing me to stillness.
  4. I’m grateful for my babies being well and happy.
  5. I’m grateful for the people who come and go in my life.
  6. I’m grateful for protected boundaries.
  7. I’m grateful for money in the bank.
  8. I’m grateful for projects coming to an end, successfully.
  9. I’m grateful for the hot sweet potato and pumpkin soup.
  10. I’m grateful for the grey heron who’s hunting for fish just in my sightline.

When the wife leaves Without closing the door

In the shape of a tree,

my scar is painted with code.

Through the letting of blood, I wait

for the sound of my screams.

But what I do not plan for

is the mashed up sycamore spinners,

the trampled copper conkers

and the singed bramble bushes.

Graceless and broken,

I get high on the thoughts

of owning myself; the plumage

of starlings embroidered

on an intimate mind. 

Sticky sparks

when the wind moves                    

between the seasons                                     on a moonlit night

there’s just enough       space                       for you        to lie down 

too narrow rooms and too narrow 

                                           thoughts 

keep you trapped beneath       glass      

ground      you     ( like a freak of …)

it draws blood from your hips to stay

everything in this world                           you’ve touched                                       you’ve tried to love 

yet your sticky sparks                    dare 

anyone to come close

Soulspeak

My heart is clear

listening to my gut

allowing space for my mind

to catch up

the sea is air-force blue

and glassy

and speaks to my soul

in a hushed whisper

the same sound and softness

from my clear heart

running free

Climbing trees, juicy mangoes

pliant flesh and ashy elbows

to be running free through the long grass

and burrs sticking to legs, gaze widening

no thought for shiny brown skin

causing hate, no thought for others

just green

Englishness

white starched lace dress

sweat between breasts

so out of place it’s painful

at one time, just exotic plants

traced on paper, here

they touch their wide glossiness

English paleskins

burning red

intruders but still

the belief of ownership

I learn to watch, watch and learn,

to stay safe, to stay alive

I know them better than themselves

and yet I’m the primitive one,

the spicy savage

a transaction in their day.