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

Not A Good Person

I’ve come to love myself, but continue to hate several aspects of me,
I am glaringly aware of the flaws gnawing away inside, destroying heart and mind,
I know I’m not a good person, though so many would say I am –
I’m an inner narcissist and I hate that;
I’m selfish at times and I hate that;
I don’t give enough time to certain individuals in my life and I hate that;
I still crave a level of approval and validation from others at times and I hate that;
I continuously compare myself to others and I hate that;
I want what others have and I hate that;
I sometimes envy what others have and I hate that;
I never feel like I’m good enough and I hate that;
I never feel like I’ll be enough and I hate that;
I still don’t believe in myself and I hate that;
I’m not grateful enough for life, when so many beauties would love to be alive. I really hate that.

Shaniqua Benjamin