Raise Me Up / Put Me Down

You may not put me down
but you never raise me up,
When I beg for a hand
you recoil in disgust,
And it’s not what you say,
Because that’s never much,
It’s the torrent of meaning
in the silence
that scatters like dust,
It’s your almost-touch,
Your almost-lust,
It’s the half-looks
from the corner of your eye,
The soundless sigh
as your eyeballs roll
from left to right,
The ears that are open
yet never hear me cry,
or care for the why,
or care to be bent,
The apathetic air
in which I lament
even trying
to incend a reaction,
Your inaction speaks volumes,
A Wikipedia of
flaccid intent,
Instead you just stay away longer…
or pretend,
Discontent to be in the presence
of this pitiful wench,
But, see, that just doesn’t make sense,
Because I’ve always been
broken glass
that you adeptly circumvent,
And you should know by now
that you’ve always had the power,
That you’ve always known just how
to raise me up,
So enough’s enough,
If you cannot
– if you will not –
raise me up,
Would you please,
Please just
put me down.




As parents in these days and times
we have a tendency to catastrophise,
To juxtapose our nineties lives
onto this generation of shares and likes
who hide their hearts and souls inside
emojis, snaps and filtered smiles,
And we think we understand their plight,
But we just skate the brink of real insight,
While the media just firelights
and fans our paranoic minds,
So that in all we see, we see red lights
and the real ones go unrecognised,
Our helicopters may be flying high,
Yet still we fail to realise
that if we’d just let go of misplaced pride,
And broach things with an open mind,
If we donned their shoes and walked their miles,
We wouldn’t miss the warning signs,
We wouldn’t damp their bold desires
or clip their wings before they fly,
We’d be not afraid to stay advice,
To listen once, then listen twice,
Because alas there is no user guide
But this is a job we must do right,
For the sculptors of our future time
have warped the clay they hide behind.


They sent Chris
and that is so unfair,
Because I like Chris
but I don’t want him here,
So as he fills the air
with his positively positive
verbal diarrhoea,
I quietly think of
how to make him disappear,
And the answer is clear,
So I tell him
what he wants to hear,
But my black dog knows;
He senses fear,
And he lays across my feet
with a puppy-like stare,
Whimpers as he pins back his ears,
Searching my soul
through my glassy veneer,
And he sees me here,
My intentions laid bare,
And he knows
that I know
that he sees me here,
And I see that he’s scared
that Chris is still here
saying all the right things
that I’m failing to hear,
But then my brain switches gear,
And I know that I can’t
because Chris has been here,
Because fingers will point
and the blame will be clear,
A blame
and a shame
that could end a career,
And that wouldn’t be fair,
And I wouldn’t dare,
Because no-one showed up,
But Chris is here,
And I like Chris,
And he acts like he cares,
And he tried,
So I guess I will try too,
It’s only fair
It’s the right thing to do.

For now.


A snake curled an apple in the coil of its tail
as his forked tongue whispered toothsome tales
and sibilant lies that were thinly veiled
as dulcet promises of a great white whale,
Of the thing that I’ve sought to no avail,
Of lust, of desire, of love uncurtailed,
Of success here and now, where others have failed,
Of a sensual ambrosia, of the heart’s holy grail,
But it’s nothing more than a fairytale,
Spuriosity shimmers in his sultry scales,
And it’s charming and it’s tempting; a wind in my sails,
But I shall not be lured down this snake’s faithless trail.


I’m an empress
but I stand exposed
in my finest clothes
my state of mind
is juxtaposed
with my state of face
which is predisposed
to smile at those
who would be opposed
to my inner thoughts
my innermost
desires and fears
remain untold
they’re sewn into
my shining robe
pose as
jewels and bows
or else this guise
might well
forced to bear
what others know
of this empress
in her
finest clothes.

Cold Stone

My eyes they beg
for your attention,
For you to steal a glance
in my direction,
My hands reach out
but they just fall short
of the stone cold walls
of your stone cold fort,
And my deeds are many,
My intentions pure,
Yet still I waver,
Still so unsure,
My heart, it seeks you
day after day,
But my mind
can feel you pull away,
I ask so little,
I want not much,
I’d settle
for a fleeting touch,
A half smile
that barely lifts your eyes
would hush
these wretched butterflies
that whisper, taunt and
Snuff out all hope
that you’re still mine.

Token Black Friend

**DISCLAIMER** This is a poem that has been brewing for years, and refers to an awful period of time at work about a decade ago. It’s not meant to offend, it is simply what poetry is meant to be; a raw expression…



Token Black Friend

my best behaviour,
Just smile and keep their favour
no matter what the labour
– Don’t offend –
Even if you must pretend,
You have to act like them,
Laid way way back,
So I don’t snap,
that stereotype
of just another angry black,
Hair kept on track
in tracks,
Or on the straight and narrow
– relaxed –
Ever chasing that tell-tale shake
that tell-tells my sisters
I got the good stuff,
Not the hood stuff
that burns and breaks,
Or I’ve got that afro sheen
that’s somewhere in between
dry and greasy
so when They ask
Can I touch it?
Is it sheepy?

They don’t have to be uneasy,
Sleazily wiping their palms
in secret disgust,
Not that I should be fussed;
I didnt ask to be touched,
by their microaggressive
Each time they ask:
Are you two related?
Or ask who I’ve dated
and then:
Oh I don’t mean to be crude,
but are rumours true?

How would I have a clue?
I don’t know
Do you?
Oh, for the more subtle
enquires about
the food that I eat…
I always feel the need
to say
Well, I love shepherds pie!
I don’t know why,
I guess it’s easier
than that uneasy eye
when I’m forced to describe
cassava leaves,
or rice and peas,
or okra with tripe,
You eat tripe?!
Yep, that’s right.

And what music I like?
Well, all sorts!
I say,
Downplay the blackness
of my tastes,
Make myself eclectically swayed,
Culturally greyed,
Just to allay their discomfort,
my essence,
Scrub out the presence
of my ethnicity,
Well, apart from the melanin you can see,
For fear of being devalued
– or worse –
Paraded around like a curiosity,
A collector’s item
with the highest finder’s fee,
A quaint little rarity,
Come and see my
head scarf-wearing
token black friend,
Isn’t she a gem?

Poetry Book – This Haggard Alice by Serena Malcolm

After 19 years of writing poetry I have finally taken a leap and published my first book of poetry. The eclectic collection entitled This Haggard Alice showcases an array of styles, topics and emotions, thereby offering something for everyone – hopefully!

It’s currently available to buy through Lulu (click the button below) and will be available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble over the coming weeks.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement.

Serena x

Opposing Poles

Their intimacy is filled with holes
as the weft unweaves and the warp unrolls,
The light the darkness crept and stole
fights to keep a slight control,
But this disentanglement of souls
wraps them each in strangleholds,
The gravity, it takes its toll
as they strive to fit each other’s mould,
Promises that were oversold
untie the knot, and, truth be told,
they’re magnets of opposing poles;
They may attract, but will not hold.

The Good Wolf

I don’t know how
but I fed the wrong wolf
and now
she’s morphed
into a black dog
with a howl
that resounds at a pitch
that devours
every rationale,
A foul bitch
who thirsts for the
first crack from the whip
that she filched from
the clip on the
slave driver’s
as he verbally ripped
my spirit,
And my mind slips
as the calls of the spirituals
with the taste of the blood
in my spit,
The feel of the grit in my eyes,
The ache that resides
in my spine,
And yet the pleasure is all mine
for the pain is designed
to make me quit
or mentally submit,
But I call bullshit,
I refuse,
I just won’t do it,
Because as the black dog looms
there is no room
to confuse
punishment with fuel,
What I owe
with what is due,
The privileged few
are not immune,
Although they do so choose
to be deaf,
I will have my pound of flesh,
Starve out this hound
of death,
Drown out the sound
of her final breath
with the roar of my success,
Shackles ground
and freedom wrested,
Until all there is,
Until all that’s left here
is the good wolf…
It’s the good wolf, yes.

Poetry by Serena Malcolm Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

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