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?