Arji Manuelpillai

Arji Manuelpillai

nominated for a BAME prize

it’s always in capitals
like someone is shouting it
like the bus beeping
to let the disabled ramp down

I’m at an award ceremony
there’s BAME waitresses
toilet attendants, caterers
and us, like the lead parts

in ‘Coming to America’
sari, shalwar, hijab, turban 
so many BAME outfits
I feel almost unBAME

in my M&S shirt and trousers
I am stuffed, for photos
with canapés, meat on stick
marvelling at the ceiling

tomorrow when I meet my family
I shall tell them I was loved
revered by many
I will say I drank responsibly

ARJI MANUELPILLAI is a poet, person and Jerwood Arvon Mentee. His new pamphlet Mutton Rolls is available from Outspoken Press and he would be so happy if you went and bought it.