UNITY: A poem response to Black Lives Matter
Updated: Nov 3
This poem captures the moment someone is leaving their house to join the Black Lives Matter protests. It is early morning. They can hear the echoes of others in the street closing their doors to start their working day. The sounds of a news presenter plays on the radio in the kitchen mumbling reports of crowds rallying together causing 'disturbance' and traffic. And the smell of toast lingers in the air- a reminder of the untouched breakfast and butterflies in the stomach flying the rush to leave the house.
In their hallway, the person sees their reflection in the mirror and realises there's more than one person looking back:
Before I leave, I catch my reflection.
A masked stranger I barely recognise.
Upon further inspection
There’s more than one reflection
Faces of hope
And some that agonise
Different versions of me in this house of mirrors. I in you, and you in me.
Many paths leading to the same destination: the goal of unity.
Some of us will march today
and form a lasting bond.
Others will write and petition,
all equal ways to respond.
Because we realise there’s no Monopoly when it comes to this game of compassion.
The fight for our lives is not just a moment, a trend or fleeting fashion.
Mask. Pressed. to nose. and lips. I feel
New family members chant the same and
That there can be a different world
Where boy or girl
Or a binary don’t exist.
Where the colour of your skin
Or your value within
Make you a human with the right to persist:
That we deserve to live and love and breathe and give others the same
So we don’t lose our families, bury brothers with history repeating their name.
Looking at you all I acknowledge your existence
Your pilgrim journey in sacred resistance.
What a beautiful surprise to see a mirror of faces
These bodies within me even have wrinkles and different races
Unified we stand and continue to walk.
We face uncomfortable truths of having to have ‘the talk’
We will not stop this walk
We will follow the paths
And the invitation of this community
Queen Latifah spelt it out
Malcom X walked in out
And the chorus we speak of?
My words were inspired by the idea of imagining what it would have been like to join the BLM protests. I was unable to attend the marches in person due to COVID19 risks living with someone in the vulnerable category and working as a frontline keyworker. However, this poem aimed to highlight the unifying nature of this movement. Many voices and talents are needed to unify and create lasting change.
This poem was selected as a finalist for the 'Your Voice Matters' Project produced by The Black Wellbeing Collective. It was developed into a short film thanks to a wonderful set that supported the cause and vision.
To see how the poem was transformed into a visual performance by me, see below:
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Be sure to check out and support The Black Wellbeing Collective and the wonderful work they are doing. A panel event with all the poets that participated in this project will be announced soon, so follow for more information. Photography by @official_kaicaptur
Thanks for visiting the Riah Writes creative writing blog. Riah is a creative writing blogger/poetry blogger interested in wellness, society, social justice rights issues and the Arts. Follow the blog and on Instagram to stay updated on new content.