Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Africa LGBTIQ, African Feminism, Crea(c)tive Senses, Poetry, Queer Politics

Iwe-Ijer – Book of Witness

Below is is a selection of poems written as a 7 day diary of my life in Stratford [home of the recent London Olympics] London which I call the “Book of Witness”. Why Witness? Because my entire being is a witness to this part of my life 24 hours a day. This way I hope I can bring my experiences to the surface.




14/08/2012 14:10

A deep rage slithered across
Across his face as Baby emerged.
He looked ready for a fight
Arms akimbo legs planted firm.
Instead a proclamation booms
From his darkest deeps:
“I want him dead. I don’t care.
The outcome is worth it.
A bother again who must be
Stepped on. You do all the
Threatening and you label
Baby the “troublemaker”
Who doesn’t like peaceful
Co-existence even while your
Very mass is pitted against it?
“No expense spared,” Bulldog
Carries on. Not caring if Baby
Heard his poison or not;
Threatening. “Do it and I’ll pay
Handsomely,” said Bulldog
Standing by his sick beamer.
Timed-out phone sent flying
Everywhere in a plastic and
Metal explosions what Bulldog
Would like to do to Baby; Baby…
His girlfiend put him up to it.
Happily he joined others out
To spill Baby’s blood. For now, he
Tends his sick beamer; fuming…

14/08/2012 – Racket

Believe me I don’t play tennis.
The closest I came to it was in
Childhood. A bothersome tooth
Knocked out by an unlikely blow.
When I got this job I was over the
Moon. Then one day during lunch
I remember that same pain; ouch.
Another place another pain. I heard
Everything plus her resounding,
“I don’t cares” slaps dealt in her
Words all for a laugh. Four hours
Of it grew into forever or so it seemed.
My heart pounded I spoke in
Confidence off air in words
That became knives to my ears.
I lingered to catch word and away.
They trickled away fine as Gari.
No wonder I mistook it for lafun…
Why the racket? She can lie, that’s
Why I took to calling her the racket.
Alway a deal a big deal, a racket…

15/08/12 – How so far?

We’d really like to sack you but we won’t
Tell you that. We call you darling, darling;
Babes, babes; make eyes behind your back
And like “I didn’t have to tell them”
Throwaways; just like that…
You are ready deep down deciding
Something else: “You failed, you
Failed, you failed; you did”
Is what you said out loud.
Next week brace yourself.
By the time we’re finished
You’d be begging us to let you go
Instead we welcome you to work
As part of our team. Our insurance
Policy: make life working
With us hell on earth for you.
Already all our customers know
Your dirty secret, see?
We made sure they did,
We told them man!
We cannot lie to our
Customers for you!
So all week long they
Misgendered me with impunity
-Cis priviledge at its worse and
Me a tolerated mascot
Right out of the job under cover
Of failing myself not the race.
“We have our ways for
Getting rid of folk,”
Adele said, “we make things so
Hard you until you are
Begging on your knees:
Let me go, let me
Go like the child of two you are,” you said.
Death hold: “next week you are on the shop
Floor with me. We know you weren’t kept
From the word, “go!” Who said life Was easy?
The word sank in, “objectified!” no doubt all
None. Not even when you crack Tell dry jokes to
Cover your tracks. Always after getting caught
Red handed. Your smiles looked grim too…
Even when you asked me, “how so far?” I knew you chamellion…

The vague idea of mate-ship makes me wretch but that’s just me.

16/08/12 – Mate 1

The day before even as early as that you dealt me a blow.
“Good morning,” I said wishing you well, I thought.
“Good morning my son,” you said trying to unsettle me.
“Go get me some tomato,” said Simbi. No good morns today…
No, just a quiet lingering, “soup!” again without qualifier
Knocking my identity for all its worth; to her, nothing.
“Good morning,” I said to Amebo and her husband.
“Good morning,” waved Amebo but her husband obtuse
The following day dealt me another slap. “Good morning, mate,”
He said. I turned round, took the measure of him in and
Gave him a smile, “that’s Amebo’s job isn’t it?” They
Both looked shocked even their daughter looked peeved.

“I’m not your mate. A simple good morning would have done just fine!”

Mate 2

Still the next day. Got as early as to Wake up thinking, “hell, I’m
Late; I’m late!” waking up at 19:51 is late wind down not
Get up for that early morning Gburu-rush. Yes, Gburu. You
Heard right. I ought to have known getting up at 19:51 as I did.
To a parent encouraged child losing her voice shouting, odd.
She was shouting, “Man, man, man you banchud, man” and
My only worry wasn’t my agenda. I feared grow to be your mother:
Feral, sitting in front of your council flat looking for a patzis.
If only you knew half the story? Would you still take a bribe
To make your silly mother love you? I’m only on the door of
50 or is ageism the new outsider prize? Sorry I can’t be your mate.
If you want to know about me, ask me. I’d happily answer you.

I’m not your mate. A simple good evening would have done just fine.

17/08/12 -Contact

No alien abduction by green figured beings
It didn’t see it coming. It was so sudden in its
Arrival. Dumbstruct by its insistence I almost
Missed it. The certainty of the touch that I could not miss no matter how hard I tried;
no matter how thick my skin.
The contact of her hand on my breast was undeniable. She was
Coming out; I was on my way in to change having finished for the day.
A moment that took my breathe away -assailed me and remains still.
What was she looking for that she Must touch me so? Such curiousity As to leave me baffled. Or was
She just trying to convince herself via texture
Her hand on my breasts a moment to check me out check them out too. No mistaking it. I felt the contact for sure. Words fail me.
Was that electric or simple deserved offense? What?
“Have a lovely week and darling, she said and
away like a flash she vanished; but for the feeling: ever present…

18/08/2012 – The Moon

There’s something romantic about the moon
This morning. It is a fading face of a full moon.
It plants a kiss on the eyes in a soft morning sun
A first light rouge on heavenly cheeks plus dimples
The myth of wolves tyrannises the heart momently.
Nightfall and a full moon; daybreak and the dull boom
Of obsessive, “outsider outsider look look” yahoo-ing
Even a day off is no rest for the wicked who say
“look look it’s the nutter he’s dead inside,” with shot.
Nothing is seen nothing is heard but an unspoken gem:
“Thank you!” as Alhaja does say whether good or bad.
Wolves are surely about and a pathetic seduction reigns.
No fear just unconditional love. My love. Natures love
What happened to us absolute among animals as we have become?
Forever wish-wracked in humungus doubt & fear void
Yet constantly constantly in bondage in fixed abandon.
Fading moon remnants of a fuller sharper self until then
Yes, nightfall again and that distant call yaaaaahhhoooo!
Not female not male just a self enduring alone; outsider?
No an eternal party a rubbing of shoulders from yonder
Both neither and nevertheless a human being alive alive.
Arriving in fullest prowess at that ordained nightly hour
What mysterious cadence? Still there sat around the fire
Listen to wise echoes deep so skin deep my bones sing
Hello daylight hello fading full moon hello; goodbye…

19/08/2012 – Open-fare

“How did you know he isn’t a woman? asked a woman that night.
“Everyone knows that?” said a child’s weary wavering voice; scared.
The heat wave meant leaving windows open to catch the elusive breeze
You heard everything that night.
All night long it was open fare from far
From close these nightly fighting voices of authoritarian neighbours.
Everyone had axes to grind concerning what you were
Only to erase you 24 hours of hard slug
And their apperture honed focus burned into you
Via audio link up in the square behind the flat
Where the cloak of night Shrouded their identities fast.
Who do you report that to?
What’s the crime? Hate crime; transphobia;
Exclusion by reducing me to a pariah vocally.
Switch on the light of the bedroom
And the rest is open fare; open fare Jubilant like kids on speed.
Everyone came out with shared hatred in their hearts.
“Let’s see what it is,” said one voice.
“Then we’ll believe it is or not!”
Open fare loud voices goofy laughter.
So much more of the same rubbish.
They’d nothing else to talk about but what sex you are steeped their paranoia
Still as they were going to war over what you’ve got between your legs; again.

21/08/2012 – Attitude

Militant hairstyle was the first to strike
Dressed in black and black and ready
For a fight. From Aldgate she rubbled
All the way to Tottenham Court’s rouse
And continued ever more everytime
Some other passenger boarded the bus:
“He doesn’t look like a woman,” said
She billious as hell if someone hadn’t
Heard her rigid commandments shared.
To my ears a swamp of vector bees
Out for a kill. And she waited until the
Last moment blocking my way inclined
To narrowcast her way to making sure
Every being on mother earth knew the
Viral presence in their mist: men don’t
Be fooled he’s a man women don’t be
Fool he’s a man,” she cried for any ear
That would hear her poison proliferate.
She carried on in her possessed way
So ill she sounded yet trying to make
Me ill just because I wouldn’t take mine
For granted as other people do willy nilly
She was on the war path for sure and as
We got off as she scouted for other mongrels
To her course. There were many. Last stop.
Her last straw stood to attention like an arm
An extension of the bus stop. Incredilous!

Poems and Photo,  © Mia Nikasimo, August 2012