reporting insists on quantifiable data,
friendships immeasurable
lessened anxiety not numerical
how do I calculate
'I made friends'
'I smiled today'
'I felt comfortable'
'I went to another museum'
'I asked for higher pay'
how do I quantify that I no longer cringe and cry
of anxiety at the idea of talking to the bus driver
and looking into eyes
as I publicly talk and criticise
stood on a stage as I
perform that i'm tired of being humanised,
palatable for the white
lies that you spat
trauma of me and my people's stories
my throat flooded with raw emotion, but you tell
them stories making us demonised
you speak of my ancestors,
their stories become monetised
telling my stories, no, twisting them
so that you're satisfied,
with how you colonised,
how you patronise
and how you monopolise on our trauma
a hand held out, maybe it's compromise
but I realise
the hand wielding a knife, ready for my back
when you lose your disguise
i'm tired.
repeating and repeating til my voice cracks,
tired of hearing myself.
why won't you listen to me, to us
we see capacity for change, so make it.
the beauty of the fluidity
some from the start,
some halfway through,
some towards the end
all on their own journeys
the constant flow of people,
free to dip in and out,
it's nice, it's settled, it's safe
the zoom calls, in person meet ups,
travelling on trains together,
travelling on planes together.
from manchester, to karachi, to romania,
to rajshahi, to bangalore, to london,
to warrington, to edinburgh, to oxford,
to cambridge, to bedford, to lahore
we're held together with humility in our
hearts they say,
our hearts,
our hearts.