I Wrote This For Me.
I wrote my first poems with tired eyes and tousled hair, stole away
the words that had remained since before I knew about ‘context’ and ‘literary devices’,
but knew to trust my mum’s knowledge and my sisters’ feelings,
tucked them in my pockets, stained my fingers with the pace that I could follow sentences at and
laughed aloud at adventures which
never concerned me,
or at least,
did so without me realising. I was a
12 year old with serious habits, critiqued advertisements and emailed companies for being too ‘white-
centric’, too ‘uninclusive’, too… ‘fake’, and then dipped straight back into that Harry Potter like
Hermione Granger had never shaped me, or I couldn’t hear The Babysitters Club in my ear, or Maya
Angelou standing firm, delicate, strong and wild and beautiful all at the same time, all to dash my
problematic habits, thinking about Other Girls and Cool Girls and Gamer Girls and dividing the
differences that disappeared as I drew on what I didn’t always know.
What I didn’t always know:
What reading lists don’t tell you, save for the colour of the paper they’re written on, direct reflection of
the content, almost… almost… ALWAYS, I am a
little girl who wondered if the hero could, yes, think like me, and yes, be the blurry imaginary best
friend I took to talking to in corners of the playground in primary school and yet,
did they ever dare to let me wipe back the fog on the window, clear it with my sleeve and see… me?
Within the opacity, see
brown girls who brought books to snack on and then choked on them later, felt the sting of a whiteness
Wounded, I am a
student who wrote in Murakami, Baldwin, Ishiguro on the library bookmark of ‘esteemed’authors they
gave us, bit away the core of the apple
and choked on it, but rose up, not from any kiss anyone could give me but the
kiss I gave to myself, told myself to
In the same vicinity of middleclass institutionalised racism, and ‘oh, are you a foreign student?’ and
stares down the street from those who see too much and not enough and are blinded by a headscarf
and just never know it, I am a
brown girl reading and thinking and wanting to grow,
evolving? evolving, and refusing to back down, this is my
rebellion and I am the one causing
the ripples of water that extend to my own feet and outwards,
brown girl, book child,
Within the silences that rise around me, I am deafening.
The funny thing is, I’m not always trying.