As a black child growing up in the 90’s they said I was lucky because my hair was long, when I cut it they said my beauty was gone They also said my ‘bird legs’ needed meat When on holiday they said the sun would turn my lips black, I should protect them from the heat Flamingo was my name Skinny but with striking long hair it’s all they saw, not the rise to my fall or all them closed doors and them closing in walls Some long days and summer nights I stayed awake preparing to fight Throwing away all my fears and getting rid of the never ending fright Through my ambitions and losing my inhibitions I made my life alright Do not judge me, for you do not know what I have been through as I stand before you in this light I am more than my hair In my shoes I have stumbled and walked With my mouth I have prayed and talked I have visions of my missions and I know he listens As I aim to accomplish my dreams, I dream of a life of freedom where my pain will be eased and my family and friends will know peace and where I will mean more than my skin colour and where I will mean more than my hair
Jemelia’s poem ‘United’ has been published in ‘The Fly On The Wall‘ Magazine in September 2020, her other poems; ‘Grandma and Grandad’ and ‘Protests’ have also been published in September in a Journal (Chambers) in Scotland, England. Black, Dying to bloom and Visions of possibilities have been published in The Melbourne Culture Centre (Australia) in October 2020. Yesterday will be published in Morepork Press (New Zealand) in October also. The Daily Drunk Mag (USA) and Saccharine Poetry has also recently published her work. Jemelia has more work forthcoming in other magazines and journals and has recently had her chapbook ‘Love, Joy, Tears, Beers and Poetry’ published.