At least we had Sir Trevor McDonald

When we first came to England,
we’d watch BBC Newsnight at ten
and without fail, there’d be a Black
and white mugshot of a young Black man,
accused, jailed, on the run
be warned, do not approach,
dangerous, drugs, drugged,
dreadlocks, armed, knives,
pistols, smuggled, search warrant
warrant for an arrest, on going investigation,
wanted for theft, armed robbery,
stabbed, stabbing, burglary,
arson, forgery, fraud, shot
immigrant, migrant, deportation,
questions must be raised about
black on black
violence, the community, African, Caribbean
the influence of rap, grime, drill,
Fathers- where are the fathers?
Jailed, juveniles, jobless,

and we’d watch this with our
takeaway kebab in our cul de sac
in Northern England where I learnt I was black

and the BBC would have Black guests on
only when one of us was stabbed, killed, mobbed,
like Black people don’t have opinions on the stars,
the impact of invasive species on the Northumberland coast
the influence of Hitchcock on modern film-making
or even allow us to cook our own foods on TV.
Jamie Oliver making mushy jollof rice on prime time channel 4
like it was harder to find an aunty or any uncle to do the job.

anyway, we’d switch to ITV where we – at least – had
Sir Trevor McDonald.

Millennials

Time Magazine and the like call us “Millennials” in their headlines
An unclaimed moniker increasingly used to describe or explain away
The microwave, new-age-wave, I-want-it-right now,
Wi-Fi, possibly-bi, download-won’t-buy Generation Y,
Restless youth. Silence treated like a curse, distraction a staple

We participate in. Like I am now, setting my evening meal
Before my tablet, playing the 24 hour news channel,
It’s 7.30 exactly and a new batch of news is brewing

EBOLA, lands on the screen with a hard hitting drum beat
Like an afro electronic boy band headlining a tribute concert
With fans in masks or body bags swooning at their touch
And side-line newscasters declaring quarantine on unkempt Africans

Next on the agenda: IMMIGRATION, how PC can we be about POC say the BBC
Eh? You mean to say they’re taking our jobs and taking our benefits
At the same time sir? White men on podiums dressed in stern looks
And fixed gazes shaking their pink cheeks like British bulldogs

TERRORISM ALERT; OMG someone tried to assassinate the queen,
Pakistani or Somali or Saudi, the three Muslim musketeers
Someone tried to blow up somewhere for some reason
One for all and all for one, doesn’t matter which one as long as they’re all gone

Now time for the weather Jeff…
I get up and wash my plate, amazed
Xenophobia so well cooked, spiced and served
Easily digested with pasta and chicken soup

You don’t need an incentive to hate here.

Yet this seemingly fucked up, quasi empty, broke
Not broken, searching-for-salvation generation
Won’t taste, won’t chew, won’t swallow it,
Will spit, will chant, will beat, will be beaten,
We’ll get back up, we’ll spit, we’ll chant, we’ll beat
Spit chant beat and the ages will declare that is when
The kingdom of heaven began.

KABUL, CHIBOK, BANGKOK, HONG KONG, CAIRO, FERGUSON,
TRIPOLI, DAMASCUS, IGUALA, ISTANBUL, GAZA,
Millennials are sanctifying the streets
Becoming mortar and brick between tribes and tongues
Amplifying our voices, bringing down regime walls
Finding significance in being more than just hope
Only justice and peace can satisfy us.