Dear Chancellor of the Exchequer,
Where’s our cheque?
It’s long overdue
By 400 years or so,
Interest so high our noses
Onto streets we paved with gold,
Though the pound somehow
Eludes us,
And we only count

Like landowners,
The pounds look after themselves,
Wrapped up tight
In stately homes,
Manor houses
(Now rented extortionately
For workshops, weddings).
No one mentions
They were built on the
Hunched backs,
Bended knees,
Irrepressible spirits
Of our ancestors,
Who worked for free
For centuries
And could still
Create beauty
Find joy,
Make love.

In for a penny,
In for a pound
Rings true
Every time we hear a black man
Was beaten or killed,
Walking or driving,
To a low-paid job
He is too skilled for.
But ends must be met,
Mouths fed,
Backs clothed,
No bank of mum and dad
To fall back on.

Don’t you know your banks
Made their wealth
From plantations, ships, death;
Yet we still have to use them
To try to live?
Our inheritance was locked away
In land we could not own
Because our grandparents
Weren’t taught to read
Anything but the Bible;
Were too Black anyway
To get any part of the estate
Their daddy or mummy
Worked their whole lives on.

Our inheritance was locked away
In marble statues of men
Who thought they could own
Whole human beings;
Were made heroes
Cast in stone,
Put on pedestals,
To forever gaze over our heads,
Sneer at the horizon
Keep us at their feet.

Don’t you think it’s time,
Dear Chancellor,
To take another look
At the interest,
Balance the books,
Redistribute the resources
For services rendered -
Not yet paid for -
While we still pay
For our rights
Time and time again,
Far too dearly?

Written by

Traveler, poet, educator, yogi, activist, artist, writer, British-Jamaican Londoner living in Ghana

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