It started out as something

Someone wrote on Facebook

A status update

Intended to be profound

For a moment.

A cleverness.

An idea

For a meme.


And tide-like they swept

The comments below,

The wave of unease

Over sharp pebbles of rage

Where black and white

Can only ever be people

Whose common red blood

Cannot be used to unify.


This is only the small world

The cruel world

The world of acute and random difference.


Sometimes I dream

In shades of black and white

Beyond history or pain.

My laptop bag, grimy with use,

Is black.

My coffee is black.

My dog is black. And the other is brown,

But the one we are talking about is black.

He has irritable bowel syndrome and despises

Mr Hartley across the road.

The blood blister under my fingernail

Where I caught it in your car door

After we screamed is black.

And purple.

And yellowish.

The screen on my battery flat phone

Is impenetrably black.


My socks are white.

In some countries this means something

By people who probably also know

The difference in colours of people.

A straw always comes in white paper

As thin as the skin on my late father’s arms.

Someone would have written that he was white

But, as he died, his arms were all the colours.