Us by Syeshia Sweeny




What’s so threatening about melanin?

it doesn’t enter the mindset you’ve settled in ‘cos your livelihood ain’t been meddled with

nobody is forced to fight to insist on your right to exist

with voice

with law

with fist

nobody is denying your right to breathe,

to walk

to jog

to birdwatch

you’re cool, you get to switch off

I get to confront the pain of another 

brother slain

bright as day

camera footage

identity badges and names

you get uniformed privilege

we don’t get the benefit of doubt ‘cos of the broadness 

of our mouths

of the sun in our skin

of the power within

they’re determined to extinguish greatness

no equal platform, they use apparatus

systems and scaffolding

I am exhausted by the excuses, excesses, the perpetrators being excused on account of feeling threatened when beckoned

he was unarmed

you were unharmed


burying black bodies





how many shed blood?

I’m out of line for being enraged?

you are not consciously engaged

you don’t get to tell me how to feel just because you feel nothing

each execution is a reminder they think we are nothing

we are unsafe

we are confronted with hate

we will not accept this fate

we call you out on silence

we point the finger at compliance

we shine light on the blood on your hands

we must take a stand

it is not enough to disapprove

so colleague

so ally

so friend

if your heart is open then so is my hand

they want to break our spirit

but nothing touches it

as drained as we feel

we would choose to be Us over and over 

we would choose to be Us over and over

Us by Syeshia Sweeny

Syeshia writes poetry, short stories and plays with an interest in experimental writing and influences drawn from theatre and music. Themes include identity politics, mental health and contemporary living. In addition to literature, she has a particular interest in multidisciplinary arts and immersive performance.

7 December 2020