Three Powerful Poems from Tari Takavarasha

Worcester’s second Black Lives Matter protest which was held on the 8th of August was another brilliantly powerful event which again highlighted the various issues surrounding systemic racism in the U.K and further afield. At the event Tariro Takavarasha, who grew up in Worcester, wrote and performed three poems which you can see below. You can see more of her work on her Instagram Page.

Excuse me officer

Excuse me officer… is there a problem

This is what I have been saying to the police my whole life, for at least 20yrs I’ve instinctively known and empirically been proved correct

That when law enforcement approach me committing crimes (We are all guilty)

To use my most English and poshest voice

Give the biggest eyes and sugary smile


Privilege is expecting this situation to then dissipate

Actually privilege is expecting this situation to never even happen

I’m fucking sick of white people, of men, of the well off pretending they don’t understand privilege and acting like it hurts their feelings

You’re idiots

I understand my privilege, I know all of the sneaky and surprising places where it starts and when it mysteriously vanishes from sight in an instant

I get how lucky I am… and blessed… and hardworking… and deserving

My privilege, like all privilege, means I’m righteously angry when you come for me and mine

Excuse me officer.. there IS a problem


This is my angry post

I’ve written all the beautiful words but I write because I wish to be understood

But you don’t understand

I’ve been spat at, touched and grabbed, yelled at from passing vehicles, told by people who claim to respect me that I will never be allowed to do my job, had strangers amazed that I’m ‘allowed’ to do my job with ‘that hair’, called ghetto, a thief, crazy, assumed lazy, held more black men than you will ever know whilst they cry and tell me about what it is to be them, called their doctors and mothers and children and still been excellent and ridiculous on my work calls

I’ve not been tricked by the media, I’m not whipped up into a frenzy

These are the things I’ve held inside and hidden from you so I don’t rock the boat and for most of you I’m still your angry black girl friend

I’m sorry you’re feeling uncomfortable

It’s not my fault, I talk to and listen to all your asses and make you feel comfortable

See these angry horrible people screaming… I would never let this happen to you so why would you be ok with it happening to me…

You may not mean it but that’s whose side you’re on

Call me and we can talk about history and words and architecture and that argument you had with your mum the other day

It’d be nice if at the same time just for once I got to feel comfortable too

The one that makes all the local taxi drivers cry

We discover we dream the same

But we aren’t to blame

immigrant dreams are tied in shame

And hopes and prayers

when we close our eyes our parents are always there

In my sleep I’m running through the streets holding you in my arms

And you wake to know your mother is still pressing her palms

To the sky

Waiting for you to come home

Tari Takavarasha is ostensibly a coder for an international bank which she believes is actually a radical act in and of itself. She has been being female, brown, queer and loud in corporate places for (significant) money for quite some time and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She is also a spoken word poet. She writes about friendship, excellence, pain, blackness and love amongst other things. 

She has been invited to perform at queer cabaret nights SpiceBag, GlitterHole and Black Jam as well as fundraising events Dubh and Scratch. She’s been a guest on the Boundless and Bare poetry podcast and LGBTlife radio show sharing her poetry. 

In 2020 her poems will presented as part of an installation in Dublin and Paris for the Dublin Fringe Festival and her debut full length show The Language I Cannot Speak is being presented by the Dublin International Film Festival.

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