Blister Chesterfield, by Rick Dove

sore these eyes,
a predominantly white
and predominantly white
discussing the betrayal
of the Windrush generation,
and their children,
on late night television,
via the BBC’s (and therefore the U.K.’s)
de facto flagship politico show

sore these eyes,
red raw, reminded
of all those times
I was the only black man
in the room,
at a flagship British university,
at a British book fair,
at my British book launch,
in inner city south London,
where I was born,
as I finally realise
what it is
to really feel,
these accidents of birth,
why representation matters,
why they listed us with dogs,
what really happens
to the robots,
when the tokens
for the metre
run out…

sore these eyes,
rubbed raw
by colourblind whataboutisms
of EU nationals,
abhorred by the false equivalencies
of the Brexit petty
point scoring
as they shout,
as people die.

and I wonder
what new dis is this?
or dismissed?

they will, of course,
say later
that the audience
was invited already,
that the panel
were invited already,
that a week
is a long time
in politics,
there wasn’t enough time,
to avoid these “bad optics”
that make these eyes
of mine
so sore…

But you had 70 years
I’ll say,
from 1948
nearly 50 years, to the day,
from rivers of blood
I’ll say,
how much time do you need,
to get better representation,
on the nation’s
flagship political programme,
discussing deportations,
misplaced citizenships,
and “Go Home” vans,
how much time
do you need then
for discussing
what should be done,
about my mum
and dad,
and so many like them,
and decide for them
without them?

And so please, Mr boomer man,
tell me again
how any of this,
is a sign
of political correctness,
gone mad,
I dare you,
tell me again,
better yet
tell it to my dying dad
I dare you.

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