• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 12

Exotic does not mean beautiful?

exotic is a synonym for alien
& once, in the novels of empire,
beautiful—at least i thought so
—not the colour of my skin.
i didn't know i was the other,
speaking a made up language
no one understands.
is this why i get shot at,
like those explorers in Bradbury's
chronicles, who dreamed of joy
& the Martians thought them mad?
am i mad to be here on this shore;
refugee, alien, a brief step above
animal, without right & sometimes,
i've to smile at the camera
like i'm happy to be here
& it's lonely to be separate,
behind barbed wires again,
near these glistening canines,
sharp enough to bite deep
& i've never liked the way
you describe this in your art—
i mean will i survive the war
i've been running from
since you first stopped by my door?


Exotic does not mean beautiful?

before you visited me,
laced me with iron,  
was i concerned about my eyes,
my hair, my language?
when i step off the boat,
will you say: this is my beloved
—here, a noose to make you
sing—strange fruit.