i see you looking down your nose

at the styles that comfort me

and the beats that hold me close

all the while wondering, but do you see ME?

i watch your grip tighten

painted manicured nails digging desperately into the folded fabric of your bag

as you quickly cross over to the other side of the mall

and wonder if you care

that I went to bed hungry again last night

my tattoos, they cause your eyes to narrow

while the deeper scars i hide fail to even bring a tear

the terrorist-styled picture of me receiving my graduation award

winks ironically at your tuxedo’d clean-cut serial killer pic

i am invisible until i am a threat

my group identity bearing down upon your individual self

you, they, them, those people

constantly trying to make my i wear the guilt of my ancestors

“i am not them, they are not me, just as much as you are a them and you are that we”

“Oh, I’m not racist,” you will say and as if to please the court

quickly follow that up with a half-mumbled declaration that “Some of my best slaves are black!”

i start to believe you may not really see colour

cos you certainly don’t seem to hear the cries of the “other”

or feel anything when it’s our bodies being beaten and not your dog being shouted at

or taste the atmosphere of suspicion that rises the minute i step into the room

you do, however, seem to still be able to smell fear though

when i am the one stepping into your friendly neighbourhood whatsapp group

as i suspiciously walk suspiciously down the road to my house where i ever so suspiciously live

so maybe yours is not totally a non sense situation

which is why as you move around in your mono-cultured bubble sensation

you are still able to see everything in rainbow

you may know my name

or at least the one you have given me that’s easier for you to slide your tongue around

but do you know my story

do you even know the beginnings of who i am

can my they ever make it into your we?