Ode to Derek Owusu
I’m telling a story of skin that binds. Of pursuing
myself. I’m wrapped in darkness that pulls shores.
The sun is inside my mouth, swallowing my laugh.
I’m coiled up. Black. Raised on a diet
of pirate radio and England for a mother. I dance
between letters, obsess over sentences, rewrite my
life. Under the table, raging dust has settled. It wakes
now and again. The roaring earth must adjust like colour
mixing. It must have a hue to it, like thought thinking. Like
hardness turning soft around the clock. I hang on its
numbers like years I cannot forget ticking over. I am
not at home inside myself. Each day, I am quietly quitting
life with each last breath out. I swallow pride and think
of the length of forgetting. Of autumn as a still life.
Of stunning water as it hits my black skin.
Every Evening Ends
The bedside lamp curls
like it’s begging. I’m
in a frame here. Time rests by the
water. From the bed, I live in
a dream made to sink. My
The adhan hollers. The evening
is closing. I wait for the night,
under the cover of my
veil, in the position of requests.
Darkness rolls in like smoke
then silence wails, long,
and my heart streaks in
soft steps, tasting
my sadness in a city widening
by the minute. I’m undercover
suffocating, settling grief,
waiting for the day to wake.
Diversity and Inclusion
We were always here. Talking blood. As
alive as ghosts. You couldn’t
see. We were as black as burns. Not going
anywhere. Did you think we were
time would not scold light. That God’s
decisions would never absorb the days as a metre
for sin. That we
were not all minerals of the globe by design. We are
forgotten children, full lips, necklines darkened
with rage. We have always been brutally
soft, melting spines, roaring kids,
fiercely kind, scarily scared.
We live as each other’s alibis. As
boroughs blending. The silence between
us, simply genes that hug. We were
land reaching toward water,
weary, determined seeds. The
oldest taught us to take shape.
Rounded babies who refused the
darkness of a tunnel. Resigned
to cutting, over being pushed
away. We were warriors released,
interpretations of life’s graces,
of the lungs of giants. Mum
and Dad prayed for these six
angles of their interiors who
argued over the TV, each
a township descending. Till
now, we seek muscular speech
and nothing but, all six of us
travel as one, level below
life, we are drawn to huddling.
Good great God, we live as
waves in love that crash
and disappear again. Trees
growing scattered, blending
suddenly to become an
identical forest. Pillars in the sky.
You were enjoying the lot: the heat of bodies, the buzz of the souks.
Wherever it was going, the meridian of heaven
You didn’t contemplate the departure, of losing us.
It all just came about like death.
The way my grandmother’s cloak stayed bonded to her back,
this thing was alert and ready.
But eviction is also destroying in its entirety.
Drifting blood down sandy streets and shooting
down thought, futures drifting
like exhaust westward. Shadows of screams
weightless, halfway to England.
Voices the trees terribly miss hearing.
Not by me, but the ones in heaven, the ones
who struggle with marred memories of massacre
music. Took their lives
away from you. Understandably, to the rain,
to places they hatefully love, to escape your
Do you regret it, or was it all wordless love,
the type parents give?
Before school, solar power from cassette tapes and cereal. I
am warmed by hope for technology, my shadow
pink from gloss. The rusting morning streets are mottled. I
am a star smouldering into daylight, losing my glaze. Look,
the music posters, the books we haul. The
prayer before we depart. I
am happiest dancing between letters, head to the
heavens. Deep as black, I monitor my darkness.
Wrap it in my English homework, in my plaits. I
wear my own face, heavy and warm. I am
my own secrets which I rot behind. Two legs floating
to school, a developing photograph, still and shivering
all at once. Words wrapped in mink, tilted toward the light. I
voyage on; a child marvelling at imagining.
Idman Omar is a British freelance writer. She has previously been published with Southbank Poetry, Wild Court and Guernica Magazine. Idman is a MA Creative Writing graduate from London, England.