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(Be) Longing

(Be)Longing was written by members of the Manchester Museum Our Shared Cultural Heritage (OSCH) Young Collective.


bedroom/waking up


outside a sea of posters, placards and banners made throughout the night

by my fearless young neighbours.

awake all night, angered by relentless reign of brutality, the murder of George Floyd.

one more fatality.

inside my heart quakes at the injustice, black or brown,

you are somehow prone

to murder, death and disease.

no accident that Covid 19 and coloniality connect

inside my mind and my body tremors like

the benin bronzes dying to leave our museum.

but the ‘papers, they won’t tell about the violence of links and legacies.

that remains inside our bones, and outside our homes.




dining room/watching news


(inside) the room is my bare soul

i scream a hole

in my heart

different parts of me disintegrating like wet tissue paper it was


when i was a kid when reality did not hit me in the face when the weight of the world did not sit like a tonne of bricks on my back when racist media attacks and discriminatory ‘facts’ did not run laps in my mind.


inside my room it is silent

eid decorations lying lonely, presents lost

in the post, breakfast is plain toast.


the tv spits words into your sunday roast,

consume and regurgitate

tell your mates it was fair

tell them it wasn’t that late

tell them it was the brown kids’ fate.


‘Muslim celebrations cancelled one night in advance’

take one glance at the headline

ink dances before your eyes

‘but not a chance

that christmas won’t happen’ — right?


no energy left to fight.


outside Christmas goes ahead,

despite the rise in cases.

a smaller celebration they said,

but a celebration nonetheless.

‘Three households can meet on five days’ they say,

how quickly they have forgotten other holidays.


so people gather at the train station, social distancing impossible,

no sense of isolation.

crammed onto busy trains

christmas is different, they exclaim.





waiting room/just waiting


for some, the lockdowns were the perfectly timed, perfectly fit jigsaw piece

for others, the lockdowns were the worst timed, imperfectly fit jigsaw piece


the end of an era-high school for me

not sitting my GCSEs, results awarded unfairly

postcode dependant, yet another form of discrimination within education


social isolation- nothing sounded more perfect to me

revelling in loneliness & content with silence


beginning of pandemic,

married parents

of 25 years (some not counting)

contact with toxic family members


middle of pandemic,

divorced parents

of a year (and counting)

cut off contact with toxic family members





Home Office/working, not deporting


inside the room i am safe,

from virus, violence and existing everyday.

inside the room i am free,

to close the door on outside vulnerabilities


outside the room i feel unprotected

the lack of masks laugh at the infected

corrupt contracts clap cunningly

for those who risk their lives for me, my friends and family


outside the room I have to return

to a life we never really ‘unlearned’

because living with covid means ignoring it

like racism


and all things left unheard


the outside world distorts me

and turns me inside out

channels fish with clickbait and return bad refugees to rwandan rivers

whilst corporate companies pray for ukraine

and ‘fast for a day’

but i know better than to accept

an equality which is merely feigned


now inside the room I cannot breathe

and working from home no longer serves me

constant capitalism, gratification is only a distraction

from nature and quiet reflection

instead, the outside world has consumed me

and only created low grade anxiety

but I acknowledge for my own sanity

that maybe the inside room is not really the inside

it is not a representation of what is inside me.




deliberation room in the courtroom/ vandalising


I don’t sit inside the borders of your weak imagination

I lie outside of your frame of reference

you lied to yourself when you said you weren’t afraid

inside your hateful gaze, I am monster


the process of monstering a demonstration

(one demonstrably safer than your demonic monolith)

is a process of elimination


eliminate, eradicate, deport, depress

tell the press that in these unprecedented times

the pressure we apply is not self-preservation

but pathetic pessimism


when our noise fell inside the bounds of law, the law shrunk

the inner circle tightening like lawful strangulation

ten years for a statue

none for a human torn from their home

those who write laws so often place themselves outside of judgement

so often hide behind false reverence and distraction


but those of us who sit inside of love can see

their borders are mere fabrication

those of us who dream outside of this corrupt sarcophagus of gold and solitude

can feel the solidarity sitting inside our hearts

and can transform the outside world

into a place which recognises us

as a vital

and natural part




newsroom/ representing


words, phrases, speeches and announcements, enveloping our tv screens.

engulfing the daily news.

the virus, the virus, the virus.


equality, diversity and inclusion, or inequality, uniformity and exclusion.


let’s’ stand together against the virus and lets get back to normal,

normal; conforming to a standard, usual, typical or expected.


whose normal and whose news.

A marmot review, but is this new?

ethnic minorities disproportionately treated and impacted by the virus.

it’s old news.

take a look at the criminal justice system, stop and search, exclusion rates,

COVID -19 isn’t a first.


our nurses on the front line, but where is the equilibrium line.

let’s stand together in line for the vaccine.

but someone’s missing from this line.

our brothers, our sisters, our fathers, our mothers.


equality, diversity, inclusion and inequality, uniformity, and exclusion.





battlefield/ not winning


Order of the British Empire

soil your name

rub shoulders with regret

set your faith alight

not knowing if you’ve ever known contentment

the blessed land has forgotten its bastard sons


the ground shakes


Trees begin to wilt

Mountains turn to dust

The child of




hospital birthing room/hoping


desperate in our cries and exhausted at the continued disparities we face,

we fight for change but stay in the same unwavering place

the whole world came to a standstill, forcing quiet upon us

and yet ceasing to be silent was the blaring presence of racism,

at most our struggles became a trend and muted by fake activism


we are forced to watch our voices burn to the floor

and with it our optimism slowly withers away,

but our unity is the one shining glimmer of hope and here,

in this ruthless fight, we must stay


although true change has been long awaited,

it is our resilience that will bring along the dying embers of hatred