Day 33

A poem by Koleka Putuma

Overview digital gestures


europe asks if it can touch my hair
europe touches my hair
my braids flung across its borders
it pats me down in
dutch / colonialist / pencil test /
invasion / yes sir / eina! / no sir /
raised arms and parted hips

i have mastered
how not to look angry threatening
a visa with an expiry date and
a return ticket proves
i will perform and leave
i will sign books;
careful to be understood
careful to hear and spell each of their names correctly
while they mispronounce and mutilate mine
i will smile with the injury of
my ancestors
still haemorrhaging
on my face
i will gather my braids back from the blue eyed official;
say dank je
and move towards the carousel

in europe / or overseas
you are the sickness / and the cure
in europe / or overseas
the platform stage saves those who know how to save themselves

© Koleka Putuma 2020

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