Alberta Whittle

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A spell for release

This is a wish but , also a growing manifestation of desire.

Every day I imagine us in the future.(Take a leap forward).


Centre yourself in the soil or sand,
on wooden floors,
linoleum or carpet
and straighten your spine.

Your body is no longer anchored by the expectations of those who look upon you.
What lies in their gaze is none of my business.

I reject it
My body is electric, ungovernable.

I am no longer chased by your suspicions.
No cameras stalk me, no sirens hunt me.
I cannot be chastised into offering proof of my humxn-ness.
I relinquish this burden and return it to you.

(Slip into the future).

Gently place your hand on your heart and feel it’s beat.
You are a treasure of glorious becoming.
What interspecies relationships will you nurture as you stretch, hum, exhume and release?

A snail.
A lizard.
A crow.

// Un-nameable vibrations connect us \\

Mushrooms spring between slippery leaves, bent roots becoming a canopy for ants.
A cacophony of thuds on a tin roof signal the ripeness of grasshopper green breadfruits.
Their thuds echo all the way to Glasgow.

I am all shades of green – verdant, clinging, fertile, damp and loving

– I am baptised
in jade.

A red moon waxes from above, deepening liquid tides.
I cannot sleep.

My eyes are deep with unfurling futures.

Stirring, I am airborne, earthly tensions cushion me gently.

Soft and loose, this waistline does not need oiling.
I see myself levitating above my own worries and luxuriating in the sensuous pleasure of peace of mind.

My ancestors look down on me,
they smile.

Listen to Alberta Whittle reading ‘A spell for release

Alberta Whittle: Dipping below a waxing moon, the dance claims us for release
27 January to 7 May 2023

Suggested Reading List

  • Andrews, Kehinde, The New Age of Empire: How Racism and Colonialism Still Rule the World, 2001
  • Braithwaite, Kamau, The Arrivants: A New World Trilogy (Rights of Passage; Islands; Masks), 1981
  • Brathwaite, Edward Kamau, History of the Voice: Development of Nation Language in Anglophone Caribbean Poetry, 1984
  • Danticat, Edwidge, Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, 2010
  • Finley, Cheryl, Committed to Memory – The Art of the Slave Ship Icon, 2018
  • Gentleman, Amelia, The Windrush Betrayal: Exposing the Hostile Environment, 2019
  • Goodfellow, Maya, Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Became Scapegoats, 2020
  • Hersey, Tricia, Rest is Resistance, 2022
  • Neary, Janet, Fugitive Testimony: On the Visual Logic of Slave Narratives, 2016
  • Olusoga, David, Black and British: A Forgotten History, 2016
  • Paul, Annie, Caribbean Culture: Soundings on Kamau Brathwaite, 2006
  • Schalk, Sami, Black Disability Politics, 2022
  • Sharpe, Christina, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, 2016
  • Thompson, Krista A., An Eye for the Tropics: Tourism, Photography, and Framing the Caribbean Picturesque, 2006
  • Thompson, Krista A., Shine: The Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Aesthetic Practice, 2015

For Younger Readers

  • Agard, John & Nichols, Grace, Under the Moon & Over the Sea : A Collection of Poetry from the Caribbean, 2011
  • Benjamin, Floella, Coming to England: An Inspiring True Story Celebrating the Windrush Generation, 2021
  • Johnson, Catherine, Freedom, 2018
  • Olusoga, David, Black and British: An Illustrated History, 2021
  • Zephaniah, Benjamin, Windrush Child, 2020