Poems to share

This Poem Is Not About Parakeets

On the bus back, two men make noise and all else
falls silent, or leans away. One woman gets off
altogether. I pull my headphones out. The air
thickens. The men are angry. Words leave their
mouths and hit the windows like flies. They’re
everywhere, everywhere you look. I’ve got seven
stops left. What we want is our country back.
My armpits tingle with sweat. I want to throw
something and then leave. Is that so much to ask?
I’m nowhere near home, so instead I think about the
parakeets that live on my road. They take up all the
housing. I want to tell the men how the parakeets
got here. All they do is take our jobs. How they
were brought here in the ’60s for a film, and then
escaped. They’re scroungers. I want to tell them
how despite the bad weather they never lost their
songs. Why are they so noisy? How none of April’s
showers ever washed their colours off. They don’t
even try to blend in. Or how these birds are so smart
they can talk human. They don’t even speak proper
English. The men keep moaning. It’s my freedom of
speech. I want to ask if they’ve seen these creatures
fly, these emerald green parakeets that live near my
home, I want to tell them about the brightest, most
beautiful birds I’ve ever known.

© Victoria Adukwei Bulley

Watch Victoria read her poem here.

Taken from: Rising Stars: New Young Voices in Poetry. Poems by Ruth Awolola, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Abigail Cook, Jay Hulme and Amina Jama. Illustrations by Riya Chowdhury, Elanor Chuah and Joe Manners. October 2017 Published by Otter-Barry Books in association with Pop-Up Projects and Arts Council England.

Victoria Adukwei Bulley

Victoria Adukwei Bulley is a British-born Ghanaian poet and writer. A former Barbican Young Poet, her work has been commissioned by the Royal Academy of Arts, in addition to being featured on BBC Radio 4. She was shortlisted for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize 2016, and is one of ten poets on the acclaimed UK mentorship programme, The Complete Works. Her debut pamphlet, Girl B, edited by Kwame Dawes, forms part of the 2017 New-Generation African Poets series. She is the director of MOTHER TONGUES, a intergenerational poetry, translation and film project supported by Arts Council England and Autograph ABP.