Demos Kratos – a poem on ‘Democracy in my lifetime’ by Sarah (Rain) Kolawole

Democracy in my lifetime
Is Freedom of fear.
The possibility that lives are not crushed by privilege.
That in another lifetime I will never hold my daughter chest to chest
Whilst infected racism slows her heart and fails to intervene.

Prejudicial hands would not commit long arm murder and investigations
would not conclude inconclusive conclusions.

I would not be expected to wean from the true brutality which frames
our scenes,
Woven into fake notions of equality, slowly stunting our growth and killing
our roots.
My roots,
My little seed.
Democracy is seeing my little heartbeat in the next lifetime.

In democracy…
We have multiple plates to juggle.
My plate is full… full of their off cuts:
Tails, bellies and foot,
Gristle silently clamps my jaw.
My tongue pushes and prods to free the gaps in my teeth.
Liberate my tongue in:
Correct grammar, calm, quiet, nonaggressive, slow speech, slapped on
smile, docile eyed beg,
So not to knock their fragility…

I juggle their assumptions,
Assertions, biases
and whilst you stand clapping for the NHS,
I sit in distress in intensive care,
Begging for equal care.
Holding my breath,
Swallowing, my saliva to prevent an explosion of vomit and their offcuts
from my plant-based stomach.
I’m hungry and yet their plate leaves me void of nutrition,
writhing in constipated dreams,
Heavy with the piling on of diseased hearts and blocked arteries.

My artillery prepares for action!
Rounding white cells to barricade my peace.
That is my glimmer of Democracy  – a moment of peace where code switching turns off
and my unapologetic melanin reigns free,
Rains down.

Pouring into the cracks of a British version of Democracy,
Our blood – concrete, cementing society and holding up the ‘Great’.

We are Demos Kratos,
the people’s power apart of me,
Not the people’s power apart from me.

Demos Kratos can arise undetected,
as we gather, fusing our spectrum of revolutionary flames
to dampen the bourgeoisie decree.

Third degree burns mark our Race,
And lengths of our grace that see no limit.

Our colours remain sharpened by dreams,
Into a prism of glory.

In our lifetime,
balance will be restored,
Colonial gains, traded.
Crushed like velvet under the glass ceiling where we smash movements
For ideological wins
And reflect our light…
Plights of our people,
Are not merely democratic aspirations,
But fights for unashamed freedom.


Sarah Kolawole

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