Saturday, 16 September 2023 14:57

Academia

Written by
in Poetry
622
Academia

Academia

by Jenny Mitchell, with above image by Chad McCail

This is not a campus for the poor. The posh,
in drab designer clothes, labels on the outside –
wealth flapping in the sun. A coddled generation,
prepared to have it all, held up as leaders
of the world, when I hail from a council flat –
the first child in my family to ever sit exams.

The rich must sense I do not know my arse
from elbow – how to cook a bechamel.
Is it the same as a white sauce? Black girl
begins to hide her voice – How now brown cow?
Call me Eliza Doolittle. Who knows about
the rain in Spain? I’ve never been abroard.

Debt is accrued by lounging in a coffee shop –
scones filled with cream and jam, hot chocolate
poured up to the brim. I’m awed by silver spoons
between thin lips. The upper one is always stiff.
Money sharpens vowels – a cut-glass voice,
words I long to speak trapped down my throat.

First published by Poetry Wales.

Read 622 times Last modified on Tuesday, 26 September 2023 10:22
Jenny Mitchell

Jenny Mitchell is a winner of the Bread and Roses Poetry Award, the Poetry Book Awards 2021 and a joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize 2019. She also won the inaugural Ironbridge Prize, the Bedford Prize and the Gloucester Poetry Society Open Competition. The best-selling debut collection, Her Lost Language, is one of 44 Poetry Books for 2019 (Poetry Wales), and a second collection, Map of a Plantation, is an Irish Independent ‘Literary Find’ and on the syllabus at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her latest collection is called Resurrection of a Black Man.