Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Auntie

Enlarge poem

My Aunt’s hands are soft and brown
And they smell like cumin and coriander.
She is a gardener in the kitchen.

Auntie I remember your skin
The way some people remember the bus route
I know I need to trace it to go home.

The world of work, bus bells and sirens
Are harsh alarm clocks
I would rather wake gently
In 5am light
Your softly whispered dua’s
Welcoming the morning.

Nadine Aisha

Featured Poem:

Hopscotch

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“Alright tight pants?”
He says to me.
I am 16.
“I like the way you wear that
piece”
I am 23.
“Nice puss ** ** ”
I am not a cat.
“Yowsa”
“hey beautiful”
“isn’t she
Gorgeous
Stunning
Bollywood Babe
I want you”.
Sat on the bus with a strangers’ hot breath
“I want you”.
I still feel his heat furnace in my ear when I hear
“Sexy”
“Gorgeous”
“Beautiful”
“Fit”
“Stuck Up Bitch”
“I’d give her one”
“What’s wrong?”
“Can’t you take this?”
“It’s just a compliment?”
“Where’s your boyfriend?”
“What’s your name?”
“Darling, I’d – ”
No
“Has anyone ever told you, you look like Nicole Sherzinger?”
“Has anyone ever told you you’re beautiful?”

Has anyone ever told you
they don’t stop
Telling me

They’re paving my streets with cobbles
“Are you Spanish?”
“Are you Greek?”
“Do you speak Iranian?”
“Oh,
You’re just another sunbed addict.”
No.
I’m tripping as I walk
on
“But you hair
But your eyes
But your skin
But you don’t look Scottish
And where
Where
Are your family from
Originally.”
How I wish
“How I wish I had your tan”
“Is your Dad in the Taliban?”
“You should go back home now”
“Go Back home”
“ Go Back to – ”
Where?
“Your mum
Your mum’s a paki lover”.
I am 14.
“Slut”
She was 43.

These words they’re like Tuesdays
There’s one every week.

And I’ve grown to tell you at 25
That racism, sexism, still so very much alive
Leaves me grasping keys like a soldier in a war
Just to get from here to my front door
Fought on these streets
Of you and me
I exist
Between “Are you Asian”
and “Nice Tits”
And lets
Just name
the problem here
That since childhood the streets I’ve walked I’ve walked in fear
And never once did that fear begin
In the mouth of a woman.
Though this is where it has ended.

These words I’ve given you
I’ve held them pressed between palms
And Yale locks.
Consulted them like a guidebook
To my own hometown.
And though they are not mine
I am leaving them
Here.

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Biography

Nadine Aisha is the author of Still, a debut poetry pamphlet exploring women’s stories and women’s survival.

She is active in the movement to end gender-based violence, and works creatively with young people to educate and empower. She has blogged for a number of Scottish organisations about feminism and violence against women, and has worked with young people to create theatre exploring sexual violence. She has been published by the Dangerous Women Project, performed solo shows at both the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the social justice Just Festival, and is currently the writer in residence for YWCA Scotland’s #FeministFest 2016.

Born in the UK, Nadine Aisha is of mixed heritage and had a Zimbabwean-meets-Indian-meets-Yorkshire upbringing. Her favourite quote is from Angela Davis: ‘walls turned sideways are bridges’.

Nadine Aisha

Biography

Nadine Aisha is the author of Still, a debut poetry pamphlet exploring women’s stories and women’s survival.

She is active in the movement to end gender-based violence, and works creatively with young people to educate and empower. She has blogged for a number of Scottish organisations about feminism and violence against women, and has worked with young people to create theatre exploring sexual violence. She has been published by the Dangerous Women Project, performed solo shows at both the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the social justice Just Festival, and is currently the writer in residence for YWCA Scotland’s #FeministFest 2016.

Born in the UK, Nadine Aisha is of mixed heritage and had a Zimbabwean-meets-Indian-meets-Yorkshire upbringing. Her favourite quote is from Angela Davis: ‘walls turned sideways are bridges’.

Auntie

Enlarge poem

My Aunt’s hands are soft and brown
And they smell like cumin and coriander.
She is a gardener in the kitchen.

Auntie I remember your skin
The way some people remember the bus route
I know I need to trace it to go home.

The world of work, bus bells and sirens
Are harsh alarm clocks
I would rather wake gently
In 5am light
Your softly whispered dua’s
Welcoming the morning.

Featured Poem:

Hopscotch

Enlarge poem

“Alright tight pants?”
He says to me.
I am 16.
“I like the way you wear that
piece”
I am 23.
“Nice puss ** ** ”
I am not a cat.
“Yowsa”
“hey beautiful”
“isn’t she
Gorgeous
Stunning
Bollywood Babe
I want you”.
Sat on the bus with a strangers’ hot breath
“I want you”.
I still feel his heat furnace in my ear when I hear
“Sexy”
“Gorgeous”
“Beautiful”
“Fit”
“Stuck Up Bitch”
“I’d give her one”
“What’s wrong?”
“Can’t you take this?”
“It’s just a compliment?”
“Where’s your boyfriend?”
“What’s your name?”
“Darling, I’d – ”
No
“Has anyone ever told you, you look like Nicole Sherzinger?”
“Has anyone ever told you you’re beautiful?”

Has anyone ever told you
they don’t stop
Telling me

They’re paving my streets with cobbles
“Are you Spanish?”
“Are you Greek?”
“Do you speak Iranian?”
“Oh,
You’re just another sunbed addict.”
No.
I’m tripping as I walk
on
“But you hair
But your eyes
But your skin
But you don’t look Scottish
And where
Where
Are your family from
Originally.”
How I wish
“How I wish I had your tan”
“Is your Dad in the Taliban?”
“You should go back home now”
“Go Back home”
“ Go Back to – ”
Where?
“Your mum
Your mum’s a paki lover”.
I am 14.
“Slut”
She was 43.

These words they’re like Tuesdays
There’s one every week.

And I’ve grown to tell you at 25
That racism, sexism, still so very much alive
Leaves me grasping keys like a soldier in a war
Just to get from here to my front door
Fought on these streets
Of you and me
I exist
Between “Are you Asian”
and “Nice Tits”
And lets
Just name
the problem here
That since childhood the streets I’ve walked I’ve walked in fear
And never once did that fear begin
In the mouth of a woman.
Though this is where it has ended.

These words I’ve given you
I’ve held them pressed between palms
And Yale locks.
Consulted them like a guidebook
To my own hometown.
And though they are not mine
I am leaving them
Here.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (1)
  • Pride (0)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (1)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (0)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (1)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Auntie

Enlarge poem

My Aunt’s hands are soft and brown
And they smell like cumin and coriander.
She is a gardener in the kitchen.

Auntie I remember your skin
The way some people remember the bus route
I know I need to trace it to go home.

The world of work, bus bells and sirens
Are harsh alarm clocks
I would rather wake gently
In 5am light
Your softly whispered dua’s
Welcoming the morning.

Comments

Your email address will not be published.