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.


Take a look
at your fear,
Held hesitant,
Fragility evident,
A hatchling in the palm,
An elephant self-evident,
A gilded curiosity,
Its raging animosity
swathed in the dulcet charms
of a humble veneer.
Take a good look at your fear
At the foot of the stairs,
Fingers grip the bannister
and splinters manifest,
Tiny shackles; they ensnare,
Holding you there,
Frozen, bereft,
Clipped breath
in the silence of death,
Metaphysical, yes,
But unsuppressed,
And in its vaccum
you cannot progress,
You can never rise,
Your opus will not materialise
and you will die
with all your music
still inside,
and unadmired.
So swallow these trite rites;
Swallow your pride
and realise
dreams can be realised
when your fears are
not only cast aside,
But used as tools,
As kindling,
As fuel,
To burn the limits
of your mind
and bathe the path
to your
in a most

The Aftermath

It is in the silence
when the gunfire ends
It is then
that the throes of war begin
to show their scores
upon those who have fought,
Those who are forced
to pose the thought,
“What now?”
Because in the midst of the bout
You never once
question how
the ‘after’ will play out,
You just look after the ‘now’,
And you live for the now,
And you master the now
’til you’re martyred somehow,
Kowtow to the drum,
March on til you’re numb,
‘Til you bleed and succumb,
Until all you’ve become
is a lifeboat undone
Untethered, unsprung,
A vessel upended,
That is mired, expended,
That the hollowness rended,
When Ares relented,
When He sat back contented,
When the silence descended,
(Oh how the silence tormented!)
When the gunfire ended.

His Angels

His angel was someone who we never knew.

And his angel wore pale blue.

And his angel, too, wore a dark blue tunic.

And was missing a finger tip,
Spoke with a twang
through parted lips
and drawled.

And his angel was bald.

Was Northern.

Was tall.

And is angel was small and had black skin.

And brown skin.

And white skin too.

And his angel laughed
with a laugh that warmed us through.

And his angel was grieving too…
Lost a loved one, true,
But still they freed him
Still their pain relieved him
Their dirge; a reprieving psalm.

And his angel was someone who’d passed,
But as they passed
they pressed unpause so that we could restart,
Scorched an indelible mark
upon our hearts,
And in our lives.

And so forever in our minds,
And so eternally obliged,
Until our very embers die,
We shall remember this gift of light.

We shall remember you.

The angel who
we never knew.

Coat of Arms

When the arrows of their hatred
breach the balustrade,
I don my battered armour,
And I do so unafraid,
My way is paved with hardship,
With ignorance as grout,
Each step upon this endless road,
A lash from Massa’s knout,
And all the while winds whisper,
“You are not as good as me”,
But I fend off every catcall
with the shield bequeathed to me;
Generations came before us
Stocking arsenals of lore
to help teach our children they are worthy,
That they can fly, that they will soar,
So time to polish up my armour,
Pass on the torch my mother bore,
And bestow upon my daughter
the weapons for her war.

Poetry by Serena Malcolm Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

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