The found poem is comprised of words taken from British and American politicians and legislation, Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, and transcripts from the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. It explores the fixation on women’s reproductive capabilities and how maternity is racialised and policed through the border, regardless of citizenship status.
It is indebted to M. NourbeSe Philip’s Zong, altering a violent archive to reorientate and parody its knowledge production. Blending the words of extremists like Nick Griffin, former leader of the BMP, with “rational” politicians like Gordon Brown, explores how continually racism carves uncrossable borders around the privileges of citizenship for POC.
The poem itself wrestles with the racist words of its own body; sometimes it screams in large letters in an attempt to reach beyond the violent archive, beyond language itself to explicate what every POC knows: the border is never really left behind. It vexes legibility.
Although I am a POC, the anti-Black racism at the centre of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry is not my lived experience. The illegibility, then, cannot be a reclamation of the archive or the racist laws and discourse still operating, but a hope for solidarity in disorientating them.
The QR codes continue to confound, taking the reader to resources outside of the body of the poem to imagine a knowledge production beyond a given text, or law. Sometimes the process of having the right smartphone and scanning the code correctly, of ostensibly undertaking the necessary bureaucratic process yields nothing because the rules have changed.