I’m not offended by the fact that others
aren’t the same as me:
how the fuck could I be?
the only one in the room:
can’t recall if Toni Morrison or Maya Angelou
advises not to be that, but I never had a choice.
Grew up always knowing I’d not be one of the boys,
never certain of unqualified acceptance as a girl:
there are days I feel as if it isn’t just rooms but the world
that there’s no-one else like me in,
and I don’t mean I’m unique,
I don’t mean I’m artisan, handmade, bespoke, boutique,
I mean the world feels like a funfair
where I’m wheeled in as the freak,
accepted as a turn because I learned to entertain you,
a lust-object to chasers who say girls like me are ‘angels’
when they don’t care for our halos
but the things between our legs,
cause when a chick has dick plus tits who gives
a shit about her intellect? Now,
if I can deal with this day after day, night after night,
why are you so angry that some people just...aren’t
Because that’s what it’s about: don’t try
to hide behind religion, don’t say
you’re not racist, that you just object to Islam,
because if that’s the case then why were your mates
casing the gurdwara?
Sikhs aren’t Muslims. This is basic.
You lot really should work harder
at learning to distinguish one brown person from another
but why try, when the one thing you’re
not blind to is their colour?
And just as you deny that you’ve selective colour vision,
you lie and claim you even have an LGBT division,
when nothing else backs those initials
but your cynicism:
I missed the running battle
when you gathered in Newcastle,
because I was lying back on
a couch, wearing blackened tanning
goggles, having IPL
(intensed pulsed light beams) fired at my face
and, yes, it hurts like hell,
but doesn’t feel like the disgrace
I felt when I had to cross the street
to get away from you
the way I’d hang out in the library
when I was back at school
because I knew you owned the yard
but didn’t own the future:
sure, you were nasty, you were hard,
and I was just a loser
who wanted to be Kitty Pryde
instead of Wolverine,
but I was going somewhere.
Never told you about my dream
because I knew that boys like you interpret
difference as a weakness:
I kept it close, I kept it secret,
but I knew that I’d achieve this.
Still I crossed the street when you pitched up
mob-handed in my city,
munching on free fry-ups
from the welcoming committee
at a bar which I won’t name
(but which pretends it’s Gotham, shittily).
You were drinking, cussing, bussed-in
from as far away as Brighton,
all just here for a ruck, it wasn’t just me
that was frightened.
On the bus back home apologists insisted
you were peaceful:
but you didn’t look calm, plotted up
down there by the cathedral,
and you didn’t look zen, shirtless,
shouting, on the evening news:
though that’s not surprising. Half-ten
and already on the booze,
and you claim that you’re defending
all that’s good in our society?
Just what is it you’re protesting
against – sobriety?
There’s nothing you can ever say that’ll enlighten me
because you live in the dark ages,
even dress up as crusaders,
burn Korans while never understanding
what’s between their pages,
the quotes you use selected
to prove it’s twisted –
but I bet that you eat shellfish
and still claim to be a Christian
(Leviticus 11:10 forbids that – why not check it?).
You won’t prove that you know the truth
by sampling riffs from holy books,
but they say we’ll know you by your fruits
and what you bear is rotten
before it’s even off the tree.
Maybe you’ve forgotten
the story about Muhammad Ali
when he refused the draft?
What he said to reporters,
whenever they would ask
why he wouldn’t go to Vietnam,
swap gloves for trigger fingers,
was that no-one in the Viet Cong
had ever called him ‘nigger’.
You’d probably deny it,
but I think it’s pretty classy,
and that’s why I’ll never march beside you:
because no Muslim called me ‘tranny’.