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Hackney Writers

2 / 20 Connecting Medium: The Rio

'Sea of lights heading into J.F.K at night
scaled-up mega-mix
of everything I knew to be
'industrial' 'urban'
I started my period on the descent
full moon following me
reflecting in a winding river below guiding me
thru' sets off t.v. cop shows
and a Black bourgeoisie
the Black town of Harlem
up Lennox to 132nd

meeting ...
feeling reverberating vibrations
static electricity in the air
life-to-life resuscitation
in the prescence of ancestral spirits beckoning
voices and rhythms
BlackAmerican cousins
BlackEnglish sistah
connecting beyond cultural colonization

this morning
I remembered the glass fish
typical of so many West-Indian households
in shades of blue green and brown
when I was how old I don't recall
I took the fish
put pennies in its mouth
did this whole little ritual in 'African'
did this on my own in the front-room
maybe I was home
sick from school
maybe I was home-sick.'

by Dorothea Smartt

Dorothea was 'black arts worker' at Centerprise in the 1990s. 'Connecting Medium' first appeared in Words from the Women’s Café (1993) and was republished in her first collection by Peepal Tree Press (2001).

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Dorothea Smartt with her former colleague Bernadette Halpin outside the Rio, 2016 © Sophie Polyviou