A List of Conservative Variables

Exodus: movement of Jah People – Bob Marley


1. There are always rivers involved in any crossing
2. Rivers are more inviting to natives than travellers
3. Water is more dangerous to travellers than natives
4. Natives hate the see-saw strangers bring
5. Strange that there are always ‘Rivers of Blood’
5. Blood is easily contaminated by foreign bodies
6. Foreign bodies disturb fishes natural habitat
7. Everyone seeks a safe habitat to breathe easily
8. To seek is to disrupt nature’s balance
10. The disrupted mark front doors with blue chalk
10. Chalk is fleeting a ghostly dust it protects nothing
11. So ghosts roam our streets lost in paving cracks
12. Cracks do not exist here there is simply no space
13. Sharing our existence is a tad too neighbourly
14. And there are no friendly neighbours these days
15. We will pass anti-friendly laws to prohibit charity
16. Charity is thousands of chickens squabbling for food
17. Chickens drown undertaking long crossings
18. There are always rivers involved in any crossing


Malika Booker is a British writer of Guyanese and Grenadian parentage. Her poems have appeared widely, notably in Out of Bounds: British Black and Asian Poets (Bloodaxe, 2012), Ten New Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010), Bittersweet: Contemporary Black Women’s Poetry (The Women’s Press, 1998) and the Penguin Anthology of New Black Writing . Breadfruit was published by flipped eye in 2007, and recommended by the Poetry Book Society, and her collection Pepper Seed was published by Peepal Tree Press in 2013 and subsequently shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre prize for best first full collection published in the UK & Ireland. Malika was the inaugural Poet in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the first British Poet to be a Cave Canem Fellow. She is currently a Douglas Caster Cultural  fellow at The University of Leeds.

3 thoughts on “DAY ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-SEVEN – Malika Booker

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