Created by Me…

Line Up

You’d struggle to pick him out of a line up.
He looks familiar, like the others,
blending into a blur.
Doesn’t stop you judging:

Disgusted by low hanging jeans exposing tracksuit bottoms – an extra layer of flesh for long nights he knows the grind won’t stop;

Frustrated at constant hats that crown his head and wishing his feet would walk in something other than trainers – comfort and concealment in his domain;

Unnerved by glint of gold in his mouth, shining against darkness he’s clothed in head to toe – a glimmer of light in hell he’s living in;

Terrified by a hood covering his face and plaited hair – allowing him to hide from a world that hates him;

not as if he has put on a costume to spark terror
set people alight in their own homes.

He may have dangerous traits
but don’t we all have the devil in us at times?
He’s rarely a danger to the world at large
unlikely a danger to you,
unless you treat him like nothing
lower than gum stuck to your shoe
waiting to be flicked into rubbish,
because no one wants to be considered meaningless
simply cos they mean less
to you.

Shaniqua Benjamin

Transformation

She found art when she was a little girl
Wearing pinafores and bobbles in her hair,
Crying to excel at drawing
Falling in love with writing at first short story
Forever to be enchanted and enriched,
Soul soothed by music’s medicine
Breath taken away my extraordinary exhibitions
Laughing and crying at theatre’s tales.

As the little girl grew, art became more than love
Passion was ignited, all she ever wanted to pursue.
Empowered by creativity, she found her voice,
Seeing how she could be heard through visuals and words,
Understanding the power it could wield
Breaking down barriers while building communities.

Art brought her to an extended family
A place where she belonged,
Carving out space where she could be herself and find confidence anew.
Her mind open as she was taken on an emotional rollercoaster
She came to fully discover her truth,
Parts that had been suppressed, moulded by others or just a little bit confused.
Their warmth and acceptance can only be described as beautiful
As her transformation was,
From fabric thrown on a studio floor sewn into an haute couture gown,
She truly was one of a kind.

Photo by Robert Golden.

© Shaniqua Benjamin

Snake Bite

To call him a snake would not be fair
because he’s nowhere near being cunning or particularly bright
but he is poisonous,
poisoning with venom that works slowly through the blood stream
draining the body of vibrancy and energy, until life falls away
sharing in his sickness –
what a sick man-child he was with an essence of the devil.

How he even got close enough to bite was a mystery,
symptoms were there from the start but probably unwisely ignored
until he’d sunk his fangs in deep
viciously clamped on, way past a time scale safe or sensible
but he knew how to hang on and abuse
flickering out his tongue when required.

He wasn’t even saucy,
not like sauce covering pizzas at the hut slithered into for work,
he left a dry feeling on the lips and sour taste at the back of the throat,
a disgusting specimen that should have been avoided at all costs,
never let anywhere close.

Shaniqua Benjamin