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Monday, March 05, 2018

The Day is Still Yours


Naomi Campbell: Being black isn't a trend/GQ

A letter to all "white" people who see people of colour as the minority, the immigrant, the other:

1:-       the day is still yours, I want to say --
to start with something nice
and reassuring;

but nice is always a fucking vice
that grips you by the throat,
that ordinary yoke
choking out the differences

between you and me;
      besides I'm out of nice,
that cupboard is bare, you've built
the walls too high for me to climb
and get some over here;

2:-       but the day is still yours,
and you can have it --
having fucked up the world thoroughly
for a century or two,

and oh -- before I forget
what colour am I today to you?

3:-       is black the latest trend
you are tweeting me to wear,
or is coffee colour caramels
the movement of the moment?

   or to have any validation as an "it"
do I need to be white
as clouds deceitfully high,
but ripe for picking
in a perfectly tranquil sky?

      or should I just make do
and emulate from down here
(or wherever you think I am)
how your budding heads stay unbowed
so headstrong against the sun?

4:-       is it my fault then
when I want to copy that in turn
and you tell me I'm doing it all wrong?

is that why you shoot me when I run?
Or place one of those crosses
on my lawn to burn?

5:-       so, sure, the day is still yours,
because you decide what accolades
to bestow on us after all --
you decide how, why, when and what
will make us a momentus trend;

and how tender your divine attention,
like the fingers of feeling air
caressing a lover's hair
to wake us to your affection --

(oh, and before I forget, too,
let me just say thank you
for letting me stand next to you)

6:-       for a second or so you clear us a path:
for where you walk snow melts
and unseasonal frost declines --
for you are satin light dancing freely,

so, naturally, your shit will shine;
emanating on our rough edges
like playful kites, your farts
will always sound like pixie pipes;

7:-       the world grows with you in play;
but I've seen how many of my children
you've killed today;

I've seen how beautiful
your flowers are in the wild,
but I've seen you cut down
my flowers simply because they are
of a different kind;

8:-       I've seen how you treat your women,
as badly as you say I do;

I've seen your politics,
and the stones you throw
with your tiny sticks,

      and how you pick and choose sides
like you pick and choose your genocides,
and arm neighbour against neighbour
while you watch the fight from afar;

I've seen your view with a room
that only opens to you
with the door left ajar --

(and please don't stand and preach diversity
when my heart is a fucking inner city)

9:-       but I've learnt that if you're human
then I must be, too;

and I've learnt I don't need your help
to stand up and walk past you;

so, please rest easy;
you can still have the day,
I just need you to get out of my way.

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