Where are you from? No, I mean where are you really from? Go back where you came from? Is that your [insert child, insert hair, insert flag]? Why does everything have to be about race [translation – you. Why are you you? Why are you here? Why.] i. whatever refuses us unburdens us it cannot banish cannot diminish anything but itself ii. for days the women check, their pack, and bladder take the measure of weather and climb they make their choice of knots – surgeon’s, overhand or ____ - they know that mad choir and its barbed-wire noise will not stop know not to expect even the shabbiest miracle their passing shadow darkens every door way and what darkens is always poorly lit, poorly read by what is dull and dank in its small ditch and so they march past the broken rosehip make a compass of its remembered childhood itch they take the path down or up and out and sometimes someone says some thing tries to mar their day from without but black childhood is diaper and learning to pack for the day within as though the rook-black good night meant to keep you iii. they know to say whatever chases me through wood or up shaggy hill apparition or man I jog with one eye on the trees and one on the path behind me let whatever chases me chase me
About this poem
A film-poem written and produced by Tjawangwa Dema. The work was commissioned by the Scottish Poetry Library in partnership with Africa in Motion Film Festival and The Obsidian Foundation. The film-poem premiered at the festival in October 2021, under the theme of ‘Imaginarium: an enquiry into the embodied experience of Blackness and being in a changing climate’.