Don't go there SIANAARRGH!

It takes a lot of confidence to be this ridiculous.

Scorched Earth At Poetry And The Piano

Tonight was a special night. Tonight I debuted my latest performance piece, ‘Skin/ Scorched Earth’ at Poetry Luv – the monthly spoken word event I perform at. This month’s show was held in the very intimate, slightly otherwordly, almost decadent, very East London-type venue 515 in Bethnal Green. The bar was dimly lit and jam packed with familiar faces. Everybody I personally invited came, and some even took to the stage and shared their own work. My pianist, my wonderful friend Mariam, played the piano as though her life depended on it. Her accompaniment to my piece was chilling, moving… stunning. And as always it was an honour to share the stage with other very talented spoken word artists.

 

Skin/ Scorched Earth

You told them that you don’t like your skin

You cried because it’s too dark

You’re trying to be more like honey or caramel

You’ve accepted that complete snow is too much work

 

You buy bottles and bottles of the stuff

And you buy perm too

To de-kink and unkink you

 

You set yourself on fire

Everyday. Three times a day.

 

You scrub and scrub

Cocoa is not for you

 

Hell fires on your head, in your chest, in your bones, and in the marrow

And your once smooth, chocolaty skin is now scorched earth

 

As you pick off the scales

Wipe off the dried blood

Clean the puss from your harassed scalp

You gently lift the remaining, now thin hairs

In your rituals of abuse

 

The mirror and your mother are your worst enemies

And you are the enemy worst of all

Afraid that the sun will undo ten years of hard work

And hundreds of years of climbing up the castes

 

Being mindful not to swing

You’re not a monkey like the rest

 

And next on your list is your bulbous nose

You want the nostrils thinner

You want the tip sharper

 

And you want them to slice chunks out of your hips so that you can fit in

And you can wear clothes from Topshop, H&M, Urban Outfitters

Without fears of small waist, thick thighs, an ass as big as a spaceship

Or any Coca Cola bottle stereotype

Diet, sugar-free or less

 

You’re searching for respect

Lost your identity long ago on cotton fields and sugar plantations

And you don’t want it back

 

Your skin does not fit with the person within

The jigsaw pieces aren’t fitting together

And this is why you tear at your skin

And set yourself alight

And give others the match to do the same

Scorched Earth

 

And the earth is still burning

And you think that fire settles into snow, finely laid

 

My dear you are mistaken

 

Once the fire is cold you’ll be left with coal

And you already know this

 

You refuse the firemen

Refuse the fire blankets

You’re addicted to the smoke

And the stench of flesh

The smell of your flesh on fire

On show

Naked for all to see the catastrophe of this one-woman show

 

And you hate all those with skin like yours

In case they remind your white friends

That you too are from a bottomless hole

And that you too are black

And black holes make craters in your moons

And your moons make craters in black holes

 

Dark sides of the galaxies

And even darker sides of every story

 

And your goal in life is to marry into white

So that you can at least dilute the night

That you were born with

And born into

 

So that your children too

Do not feel the need to set themselves alight

And scorch the earth of their caramel skin

Burning everything inside

And everything inside

 

On some days you conclude that you want to die

Because

 

Your black is defiant

Your black is resilient

Your black is powerful

And your black is strong

Too strong to simply wash away

Your black is beautiful

Your black is the beginning

And not the end

Your black rises from its ashes

Day after Day

Time after Time

Night after Night

Love after Hate

Hate after Fear

Fear of the unknown

 

Black holes that swallow earths.

 

And you order ten more bottles

To set yourself straight

To mend your broken

To fix your self hate

To turn your darkness into light.

 

Catch Mariam and I from 3:22

 

 

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