If It Stops: Audio Poem In Collaboration With Tanaka Mhishi

 

Recently Rhymes With Orange poetry collective, of which I am part of, had an eighth birthday party. I had a five minute slot in it and really wanted to write something to acknowledge Black Lives Matter movement. I teamed up with Tanaka Mhishi, an incredible poet, but the poem we wrote was quite long; while you can view the abridged performance here, the video above is the full version. The theme of the night, which we kept to, was “memory”.

Sitting With Discomfort: How To Be An Activist

Before I say anything else at all: SILENCE IS VIOLENCE. White allies, we must support the Black Community. Here is a petition to include Black British history in the school curriculum. There is, in fact, an existing social enterprise that aims to do just that – support The Black Curriculum here. There will be more resources at the end.

Now, about me… My name is Rita. I am white and Polish. I come from a country that is racist, sexist, homo- bi- and transphobic and ableist and I, despite efforts, am all of these things, too. I have now lived in London for eight years – eight years of looking at a society very different to the one I grew up in with an outsider’s eye, reading, learning, processing. I will never be done learning – but I am ready to speak and add my voice to support.

Continue reading “Sitting With Discomfort: How To Be An Activist”

Things That Need To Be Said

Hello again. I’ve been gone. And now I’m back. And this is about the kind of blog this is going to be.

I know that some of you originally followed me for poetry and mental health content. There will still be some of that. However, I’m about to try and change my platforms to activist ones. I have always been politically involved (cursory look at my Twitter would prove that), but I now want to write longish pieces. I now want to write essays. So let’s get into this.

I am a feminist. I am part of LGBTIA+ community (the meditation on my allyship/bisexuality can wait for another day, plus genderfuck and drag). I am an anti-racist and am learning how to be more of an anti-racist. I have been galvanised. Enough is enough.

I am massively annoyed, struck, grieving, terrified and all of the things. You name it. I’m ready to do some work. Hope you’re with me.

Day 30 of NaPoWriMo! It’s Time To Stop

Day 30 of NaPoWriMo. It’s been an adventure! I’m so happy to have done it. Such a great way of creating and sustaining a practice. Of course I couldn’t have done it without mates from Rhymes With Orange collective and general support of friends. I learnt a lot and had a place to put my unsettling quarantine feelings. So if you followed this journey and read my poems, thank you ❤️

it’s time to stop now.

won’t make a shovel from a broken limb,

relax white knuckles, wipe red eyes

there will be time enough to fight

breathe. soothe. find love in clean windows

tidy a corner. enough. soul is small

enormous cares about meaning and outfits and

dust. for now I’m a lizard on a rock

see you in the sunny spot.

Day 29 of NaPoWriMo: An Ode To Cat

For though he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.

Jubilate Agno, Fragment B, [For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry]

Christopher Smart – 1722-1771

Cat, I adore you for very little reason. 

You twine round my calves when mood strikes,

clamber up a diagonally placed plank, 

(with little grace, but you make it every time). 

Cat, you are black with white tie, white bits 

on your paws. Lying in a splash of sunshine. Watching 

you soothes me, gait neat and liquid, barely made jump 

to the top of the fence, your fluffy presence, 

trying to trip me in the kitchen with excess of joy

For all your affection, you look mildly suspicious

Or perpetually surprised. 

You hardly speak, but make your meaning known, 

You jump on my door handle when you want company.

Some days I pass by an empty room and you 

lift your head from a curled up bundle of body-fur 

gazing at me calmly, warm, sleepy. Cat,

your happiness is contagious. I breathe in when you purr, 

breathe out when you lean into my hands. 

I like how much music you make, noisy 

for a creature of tiptoes. Sometimes 

you catch my hand in your paws and bite gently, 

cat, maybe this is home. Or 

as home as London gets for me.

Day 28 of NaPoWriMo: Cook With Love

what you put in the pot to cook and eat

makes you. you, the cook. you, the pot, too.

some days you’ll eat rot.

sprinkle cheap salt, bitter laughter.

some days, you’ll choke on, navy blue.

poison will snake its way through or kill. oh yeah,

healing’s on you.

you’re given, then you make do. do, make

make best of, live with. you

the pot, the cook, the dish. always

on heat. hot tin stove. stepping slowly, neatly

painting tomato Pollock on the kitchen walls

chopping tar into mozarella balls.

some foods, not forgiven. surviving

is first. swirling taste of lead

in my mouth. Saying “I have learnt to love”

that little trace of tar. forgive, not forget.

what you put in the pot to cook and eat

remakes you. you, the cook. you, the pot, too.

Day 27 of NaPoWriMo: About Age

Apples and Snakes prompted on Twitter to talk about my age and this happened:

33. I don’t know how
to birthday. 30th was
kind of perfection. Solo show
first. In later years, I took
bull by the horns and threw
brunches, cooking up a storm, to listen to
friends from different zones of life
try hard. I don’t even know. I
tried hard. 33. Jesus age,
apparently. In the first 3 months
of it. Used to rush in
now I drag my feet. Trying
to get better. The end can come in
weeks, days. It was always so,
but now you can bring death home
from grocery store. I’m sat in sunshine
do not pass go. Billionaires will
get out of jail free. Never thought I’d see
a day just like this. Me,
33. Not very
good at it. who is

Day 26 is Care Blanchett, Wearing A Suit, Doing Her Own Damn Thing

Is Twitter real life
or is it fantasy

I don’t know, but I
found meaning today
in a thread of Cate Blanchett
wearing a suit.

dove gray, chequered
loose or tailored
hair slicked back, spike-gelled
collars, décolletage
serious-faced, grinning
parted lips, spinning
posed, relaxed
open jacket, buttoned-up

all I ever want
is a library of suits

so I too
can move
like Blanchett.

#NaPoWriMo Day 24: Climb Up My Spine

climb up my spine like dread

but with your tongue, melt it up

my chest, a spiral staircase

take me on a journey of myself as

you glide around and

around like you’re swirling ice cream, a shot of

mocha in vanilla, you smile, I feel

a jolt inside. I think I

ripped something. A part of me that thought

I cannot be loved

is currently bleeding relief.

.

and I don’t want you to see, I try

to wipe myself immediately, eyes

dry on command, bleeding now contained, internal

turmoil but you read it with your mouth, pull back

to frown at me

are you okay, you say

beautifully confused. I don’t always have

words, (for someone who has

all the words), when it cuts,

tears mostly tell the story. I tell you

I tell you, I tell you all of it.

You don’t leave.

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