Poem: Jemima Mitra – ‘Why I’m Scared To Travel Alone’

By June 15, 2020 Blogs, News, Poem

Here’s the second instalment in our poetry series themed around racism in Yorkshire, and the UK – produced by Hull punk poet, Jemima Mitra.

 

Written in memory of Joy Morgan

 

My friends tell me I should go alone

And experience the world by myself,

But I don’t think they understand

I’ve placed adventure on a dusty shelf.

 

Immigrant lives have become disposable

In our broken world,

Everyday an advert

Trying to get us sold,

On the idea that these people matter

Add some sad music too,

To try and convince the general public

They’re just like me and you.

 

It hurts me to know,

That the outcry isn’t as much

If an Asian girl goes missing

Or if a Black man gets killed.

‘Cos when people of colour suffer

Everyone seems more chilled.

 

Maybe it’s because it’s so frequent

That we’re all desensitised,

But it’s all our responsibility

To remember these are people’s lives.

 

Do you care when Black youths are lost to knife crime?

Will you still care about them

When it’s not a trending hashtag?

Will it take a more local discovery

Or another body bag?

Will you say it’s such a shame

And take another drag?

Will you proclaim in a subtle brag

Of how woke you are

And that by telling your dad off for saying “paki,”

Society has come so far?

 

My friends tell me to go by myself

But they don’t understand my fear,

Of escaping to a different place

That is so very far from here,

Because here I have my family

And friends, people that will search in a hurry.

But even their voices if I went missing

Would be lost in the news flurry.

 

I want to experience cultures,

Some of you don’t know how lucky you are,

That when you leave the country

You don’t worry about getting spiked at a foreign bar.

You can walk strange streets

With excitement and wonder,

You don’t constantly worry

About making a safety blunder.

 

It’s hard to stay positive

When the differences are so clear,

For girls of colour in particular

It’s hard to escape from here.

I’d like to go backpacking

And taste the exotic cuisine.

I’d like to walk alone at night

And for my legs to not cause a scene,

To strut with the confidence of a

Young James Dean:

A rebel without a cause

Travelling without a pause

And living life to the full

Instead of living a life that’s null.

 

But brown bodies are disposable right?

 

And no one needs to hear their plight

Because we’ve heard it all before:

Slavery, colonialism, war after war.

Persecution of colour

Has conjured a life slightly duller

Because we’ve never been seen

As important in all of history.

So now can you understand how its hard

For someone like me?

 

Joy Morgan was missing for months

And the best coverage she got was through

A retweeted picture on Twitter.

Doesn’t the media know

That there are people out there who miss her?

 

But what I’m trying to say is

That no matter how often it happens,

That we matter too.

And if I go missing

It probably won’t make local news.

But won’t you look for me

The way they’d look for you?

 

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