Dear Jukebox

Author: • August 21, 2016 • Poems

Juke box_Thomas's Pics via flickrThis blood clot summer will not spare the children.

This blood clot summer will make a meal out of the children.

Cross an ocean, the earth has its own way of swallowing.

Cross an ocean but never the gulf in your own living room.

Here, even our breath



Dhuule plucks the string, the cassette licking the air around it.

It is everything I imagine an unanswered prayer

to sound like. Yaa rab.


Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen’


A boy sticks his tongue out at the world,

lifts an upturned palm, brown like the zabeeb in mama’s rice.

The raisin in the sun in the pot in his eyes.

I’ll be the black devil under your bed, if you want.

I’ll be the statistic you want.

Na your money go do am for you! Oya!’ a 70s crackle flares under our skin.

Biggie said get money. We believed him instead.

Now our children are more confused than we are.

Doctor or engineer. Give them a choice, a body or building.

Put our faith in the material.

Isn’t it still standing?


Aren’t we?


‘Why did one straw break the camel’s back? Here’s the secret:

the million other straws underneath it – it’s all mathematics’


A falsetto locks us in the one-step, two-step called survival,

the youngest will flip it into Dipset dreams and a vodka-misted sigh.

I bear witness     to the gospel   of boogie-down, trap flip

and a heartache   disguised     in 140 beats per minute.


Wakaa! Improvise!

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About the Author

Momtaza MehriAuthor: Momtaza Mehri

Country of residence: United Kingdom

Nationality: British

Mother tongue: Somali, Arabic

Momtaza Mehri is a training biomedical scientist, poet and writer who remains unsure which world came first.  Her work engages with inheritance/ psychosomatics/ ugliness and digitalised diasporas. Her work features or is forthcoming in OOMK, Hard Food, Puerto Del Sol, Elsewhere and other delights.  She also co-edits the digital space Diaspora Drama.  Anthologised in Podium Poets as part of the London Laureates longlist, her debut collection will be published in 2016.  She has been shortlisted for the 2016 Brunel African Poetry Prize.


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