Poetry Workshop Showcase

In March, we hosted our very first London Poetry Workshop and Open Mic! We were so inspired by your openness, engagement, and beautiful poetry – so much so that we would love to share what some of you have written here, for the rest of the community to see.

Future Feminist Fantasy

by Emma Chan

I really used to hate my body,
And I’m still not entirely comfortable within this skin.
Even though the days of burning shame,
At not being as smooth and slender as a Just17 model are gone.

Sometimes I fantasise what it would be like,
To travel through time and the seasons,
To move through this world,
Feeling comfortable in my skin and unsurveilled.

In Spring I’d skip carefree,
Through council parks stuffed with glibly cheerful daffodils.
Focusing on the heady scents of fruit blossom,
And not the fear of being cat-called or told to smile.

As the heat begins to rise,
First warm and then unbearably hot,
I shed my layers of clothing and walk almost naked,
Dressing for comfort and not to hide my rolls of flesh.

Then rain sets in and the air cools,
But I am kept toasty-warm,
By the glow of smoky bonfires,
And the layer of down I have allowed to grow all over my body.

By the time the cold Winter bite comes,
I am happy and fat.
Gorging on the celebratory food of the season,
Without a care or thought for January diet shame.

Everyday Feminism

By María Diego Vicente

everyday feminism is not wanting to be anyone else but me. it’s loving every woman – even the ones that do me wrong – especially them.

everyday feminism is letting my grandma knows i understood what she did and honouring myself in ways my mom sadly never will.

everyday feminism is crying myself to sleep and still run up to the top of the hill on the following day, despite knowing that, again, i might break and flee.

everyday feminism is showing my inner child the power she once held within and how it runs in our blood, how it belongs to our kin.

everyday feminism means still having fears but no more layers,
for if someone answered our prayers, it was not a God, but some creators.

bridges have been burnt because this is now a women’s world;
we stayed and learned, we fought and earned.

think twice before you speak, don’t try and come to us
because everyday feminism means that we will always fight back.

When I Publish My Diary

By Brynna Boyd

I want to write a book about us 
called A Queer Girl’s Guide to Ruining Friendships. 
It would read like those elementary diary stories 
with doodles and lined pages 
and sketches of little tiny hearts at the part 
that details the first time we kissed— 
what you could call 
Step One 
of ruining a friendship. 

It would be a coming of age 
authored by my inner dialogue 
It would be a Black girl coming of age 
written in the age of knees on necks 
and death and death and press about death 
and violence that is normal to live 
but illegal to teach 
but it wouldn’t beg you to treat me as human— 

it wouldn’t beg you to think I deserve love 
because the world sucks 
and this is a girl that cares 
and tries in her little pockets of society 
to make it better— 
It’s not that kind of book 
and when they make it a movie, they won’t cast someone lighter as the lead and if they have to make it animated
then they have to, 
to invent a girl that looks like me. 

Lauryn Hill would do the soundtrack 
and my mom would look like Oprah 
and my family would be Black without the ish 
and the main character is the it girl and she’s Black 
she’s the it girl and she’s Black 
she’s the Black fuckin it girl, 
and it’s easy to love her 
It’s natural to love her— 
like falling asleep, or rain, or weeds, or sunrise— 
It’s like sunrise, but it doesn’t take the turning of an entire planet to love her. It doesn’t take a million cells and particles and elements in seeds and soil at just the right time to love her 
It doesn’t take a white noise machine and weighted blanket and total darkness to love her
It doesn’t take breaking up with the white bitch to love her or nondisclosure to love her. 

This is not a sob story, 
this is not an apology. 
She takes up space without apology— 
she wears her natural hair 
and she dyes it 
She puts on colorful clips 
and faux locs 
and real locs 
and then she chops it all off and shaves a sankofa into the side of her head and people call her fine instead of brave for living in her skin. 

She wears dresses and lipstick 
but she’s still gay enough. 
She considered herself a virgin before her friend 
but she’s still gay enough. 
She’s queer and loud 
and if there’s a God 
that God loves her. 

and no one is woke for loving her 
and no one is down for loving her 
and no one is rare for loving her. 
Her affection is vast, and it’s bred 
through the cheesiest threads— 
of friends first, fake dating, just one bed. 
It’s a book full of tropes and triumphs, 
but no triangles 
because her love is shapeless 
because her love is abundant 
and she knows she’ll be ok because love is abundant 
and her tears dry because love is abundant 
and I wrote this book because love is abundant. 

This book is not a call to action or a cry for help 
It reads like a diary of someone in a world that makes sense It reads like the memoir of someone who knows what she deserves It reads like the diary of the Black fuckin it girl.
Who knows that lies ruin friendships 
Not kisses 
and knots in her stomach are anxieties 
Not remiss 
and the doodles in the sides of her journal will be closed in 
with the rest of what life was right now, 
with a good bit of pain 
but a great deal of comedy and comfort 
scribbled over prayers 
and written with glitter pens. 

Bio: Brynna Boyd (she/her) is an emerging writer who recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in Communication & Leadership and African & African Diaspora Studies with a minor in English. She has always had a love for writing and has found community through sharing her work at slams, school events, open mics, and local writing groups. She has worked as a Breakthrough Teaching Fellow and Creative Action Teaching Artist, and she finds great joy in helping students explore their creative power. Her writing is informed by her lived experiences, readings, musings of better worlds, and the everyday. She hopes to continue writing and exploring poetry and spoken word as a form of expression as she pursues teaching licensure.