• Amina Beg

International Supermarket

Right now, I’m drinking Kashmiri chai

It’s looks like the Muhatta palace we saw that time

I dip my sesame biscuits

Rich with ghee


Don’t let your hair down

Or you’ll get their fleas


I remember racing down the hallway

Baskets weak

Trolleys are brittle

Iron feet


Tongues outspoken

Pashto and Urdu become woven


Here in the supermarket everybody is welcome!

We have a library of spices

A collection with wide range

Butchers with knives

Sweating blood for some time


Mass produce

I love the 15-packet eggs for just £2.99

I see families and grandparents standing in line

I see generations before and after enthused, concern

But I don’t really see their faces no more


Masks hang

Up and side-ways

Just up make your mind

Keep it on

Or you’ll get fined


They keep blaming us on the TV

Saying we breed too quickly

Because it’s Jummah at the mosque

Every Friday, we’re just like moths

Attracted to the Light

Community lost

I refuse to cough


At least I’m not like them

Those uneducated, brown men

Walking down the streets

Careless, blasting their beats


Go home!

Stay indoors

Or you’ll get reported for the breaking law


Don’t start a fight

Don’t tell me why Christmas is alright

Or how all the goras were sunbathing at the beach

Instead, they should be protesting tryna get

Boris impeached

Or is it just freedom of speech?


Everyone’s welcome here

We don’t tolerate racism

If you do, you’ll disappear


You’ll be forgiven because you’re our only hope right now

Telling us to wash our hands

Saying insha'Allah so we’ll survive

If not, just take five


Everyone’s clueless at the moment

Praying for some normality they think they want

So life can go back to normal, where we can walk down the streets

Meeting our friends at the beach

Having picnics in peace


Not addressing the real problems we need to unteach

Or correcting the curriculum, telling them why we’re really here


We need to tell this nation

Instead, there’ll be a drought

With Brexit, corona, why don’t you kick us out?


You can’t

You need us

Or everyone would fall apart

Begging us on their knees

Oh please!

Let me see


London would fall empty

Millions of lives would have been lost

We’re here because you left us with no cost


Apparently, Britain should be one of the best countries in the world

My mum tells me to be grateful because I’d rather not be at home

Where life is endless hard work

Unpaid

Unskilled labour

Housework


I was born rich, feeling poor

Feeling displaced

Having this delusion of grandeur

Imagining a utopia

Colourful world

Law is simple


Now you’ve been proven wrong

Look at what you’ve done to Hong Kong

You left an island alone to drown

Sinking deeper without your crown

It has been taken over

Voices mute

Technological advancement true

No opposition aloud


One day we’d be witnessing those camps

That imprison people leaving them blank

Forcing them to lose themselves

Stripping their religion

Beards cut off

Where halal becomes haram

Scarves gone

Fertility lost

Now Islam is just left to rot


By Amina Beg