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BRAVE NEW WORDS FROM YOUNG WRITERS

AT NEWHAM 6TH FORM COLLEGE

WRITE
THE

WRONG
BRAVE NEW WORDS FROM YOUNG WRITERS AT
NEWHAM 6TH FORM COLLEGE

EDITED BY JOELLE TAYLOR AND KAT LEWIS

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Collection copyright English PEN, 2015
The moral right of the authors has been asserted.
The views expressed in this book are those of the individual
authors, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the
editors, publishers or English PEN.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright
reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in
any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording or otherwise), without the prior permission of both the
copyright owner and the publisher of the book.
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from
the British Library.
Printed and bound in Great Britain by Smith & Watts Print
Ipswich Road
Colchester
Essex CO4 0AD
www.smithwattsprint.co.uk
Design and illustrations by Brett Evans Biedscheid,
www.statetostate.co.uk
ISBN No. 978-0-9931705-4-6
www.englishpen.org

INTRODUCTIONS
2 Femi Martin 4 Louise Swan

5 Eddie Playfair

7 LEAN ON ME Amy Locke-Dench


7 WHO I AM Sumaya Omar
8 TOO FOCUSSED Sumaya Omar
9 YET ANOTHER DREAM Jamila Muttlabe
10 ALONE WITH THESE PLAIN BLANK WALLS Ayah Benberna
12 HAPPY? Ayah Benberna
14 WHATS IT WORTH? Amy Locke-Dench
15 WHY? INDIFFERENCE Francesca Amato
17 THE GHOSTS BEHIND YOU Francesca Amato
18 NOTHING IS WRONG IF IT MAKES YOU HAPPY Erica Fernandes
19 SOMETHING I HAVE LEARNED Princess Gere
19 QUESTIONS OF THE HEART Sumaya Omar
20 HEARTBREAK Princess Gere
21 HIM Princess Gere
24 ON HUNGER Erica Fernandes
25 I <3 YOU Francesca Amato
26 QUESTION POEM Erica Fernandes
27 LOST PROPERTY Jermaine Agyei-Burobey
28 TFL TOTALLY FUCKING LAME Jamila Muttlabe
29 SATIRICAL PSALM 22: A PSALM OF A TEACHER Chloe Miller
30 THE MONTH OF MARCH Amy Locke-Dench
32 WHY? Sajjad Hossain
34 HAPPY Sajjad Hossain
35 10 QUESTIONS Nur Hossain
36 PANDEMIC Jamila Muttlabe
39 WONDERING FROM THE START TO THE END Francesca Amato
40 HEARTBREAK Erica Fernandes
42 IMAGINED PEACE Princess Gere
43 LIVE, WRITE Chloe Miller
45 WHEN YOU REALISE Amy Locke-Dench

An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

SOMETIMES ITS HARD TO FIND


THE RIGHT WORDS. LANGUAGE IS
PERHAPS OUR MOST EFFECTIVE WAY
OF COMMUNICATING WITH THE WORLD,
BUT WHEN WE ARE SEARCHING FOR
WORDS IN THE CORNERS OF OUR MINDS
OR TRYING TO PUSH THEM OFF THE TIPS
OF OUR TONGUES, LANGUAGE CAN FEEL
LIKE A BARRIER.
THESE YOUNG WRITERS FOUGHT
THROUGH DOUBTS, FEARS, AND TIME
CONSTRAINTS TO PUT DOWN ON PAPER
HOW THEY SEE THE WORLD. FOR MANY
OF THEM, ENGLISH IS NOT THEIR
MOTHER TONGUE, BUT THEY BENT AND
SHAPED IT TO FIT THEIR INTENTION.
WRITE THE WRONG ASKS US
QUESTIONS, AND ASKS QUESTIONS
OF US. IT IS A COLLECTION OF WORK
FROM BRAVE VOICES THAT JUMPS
OVER HURDLES AND BREAKS THROUGH
BARRIERS. I COULDNT BE PROUDER
OF THESE TALENTED YOUNG WRITERS.
THE RIGHT WORDS WERE FOUND.
FEMI MARTIN
JUNE 2015

WRITE THE WRONG

An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

English PEN is the founding centre of an international writers association,


working to promote literature and freedom of speech. Our outreach programme,
Readers & Writers, works with communities where the power of literature can
help transform lives. We have been running creative writing and translation
workshops at NewVIc since 2012 and, thanks to the enthusiasm of both students
and staff, a strong partnership has been established.
NewVIc generously agreed to fund English PENs Brave New Words creative
writing workshops. We are deeply appreciative of this support, which has
allowed a new approach to be developed. In response to feedback from past
participants in English PEN workshops, Brave New Words has given students
the opportunity to experience the complete process of writing and publishing.
They have spent two months not only developing their writing but also taking
part in sessions on editing and design: they chose the title of this anthology
and selected the pieces. I hope what they have learned and shared during this
project encourages them to continue expressing themselves with confidence, as
they start the next chapter in their lives.
Thanks to Eddie Playfair, Kate Reed, Steven Kern and Chloe Miller from NewVIc
for their support of Brave New Words.
Thanks also to designer Brett Evans Biedscheid and English PEN Programmes
Co-ordinators Mazin Saleem and Rebekah Murrell.
Of course the biggest thank you goes to the NewVIc students who took part in
the project and to Femi Martin who led the workshops, supporting the students
in writing and publishing their work.

LOUISE SWAN
Head of Programmes, English PEN
June 2015

WRITE THE WRONG

Poetry is not a luxury, something we only turn to when more important things
have been seen to. Poetry is essential. We need to listen to it, read it, write it,
seek it out and welcome it daily into our lives. It helps us think about our world
and feel it more fully. It opens us up and connects us to others.
The young poets in this collection have embraced the poetic form and thrown
themselves into it at full speed and the resulting poems are fresh and explosive
and I love them all.
This is the third anthology arising from the collaboration between NewVIc and
English PEN. We are delighted with the results and proud of our brave new
voices: Amy, Sumaya, Jamila, Ayah, Francesca, Erica, Princess, Jermaine, Chloe,
Sajjad and Nur.
Thank you also to Femi, Rebekah, Mazin, Brett and Louise from English PEN,
to Kate and Steven from NewVIc and to everyone involved in working on this
wonderful collection.

EDDIE PLAYFAIR
Principal, Newham Sixth Form College (NewVIc)
June 2015

An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

WRITE THE WRONG

LEAN ON ME
AMY LOCKE-DENCH

Here I stand opposite Parliament,


A light for a head, a shadow for a friend.
That building is a marvel, a castle,
Surrounded by a world in downfall.
At night, I see what seems to never end.
I shed light on those less sturdy than I
Who stare up at me with a glimmer in their eye.
I am their beacon of empty hope,
Stare too long and they begin to cry.
Their home and their world has been taken,
And though I am inanimate, I can see
What those in that castle forget to believe.
Some are out here, whilst they are in there.
Surely there is a room or two to spare,
If not hundreds from what I can see.
How can humans bear this inequality?

WHO I AM
SUMAYA OMAR

Do I know who I am? Am I just rejecting it?


Do I value myself? Am I scared to show it?
Do I actually live? Or am I just a living shadow?
Am I just a confused teenager? Or do I underestimate myself?
Will I ever be able to love? Or am I just avoiding heartbreaks?
Am I scared of failing myself? Or am I worried how people will take it if I do?

An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

TOO FOCUSSED
SUMAYA OMAR

Too focussed on trying to be a somebody I lose myself in me


Thought I was doing me but in reality
I was just playing a role advertised to me
Through a propaganda scene
By people who claim to be

Dear to me

But allure me

To a poisonous tree
You see Im not tryna blame nobody
But its hard to dilute a heart which was

Spread by anger

Dipped by hate

Slashed by violence
And love
Love
Which sits on top but the heart doesnt salute
You see King Martin Luther said

Let freedom ring from the mountains!
But here we are today

Captivated by our flaws
These chains of insecurities hold us hostages
All tryna be like the model in the magazine who appears carefree
But little do we know if we read between the lines we see
She is just

Another body with no soul

Falling further into a black hole

Making us unknown
You see this artificial world is hypocritical
As we create lies and make them digital
Not tryna hypnotize you with these rhymes
Im just tryna make you see the signs
Before you lose yourself in the half-lit dimensional world between who you are and
what they want you to be
In other words: just learn to appreciate yourself

WRITE THE WRONG

YET ANOTHER DREAM


JAMILA MUTTLABE
I have a dream
A dream is a dream
Filled with infinite power,
Not something that should make people cower.
At the best of times I feel it,
Sometimes even as strong as a fit.
Everyone has a dream, ambitions, a goal
Something that can rectify the soul.
Martin Luther King had a dream
For the American nation to rise in equality
He achieved the dream he longed for
He got to change the law
So why cant I?
Bengali, Muslim and female
I guess I didnt get the email
That we are not supposed to hope to,
That we are not supposed to wish to,
That we are not supposed to dream to,
To go into the entertainment business.
We are expected to drink tradition;
Eat out of our husbands pockets.
But I will be the one to knock it.
I wont sit back and accept it
I will be different and make something of myself.
I will have my name written in a book on that shelf.
My parents are not going to live my life for me
So I will strive and be the best that I can be
They say that my dream is wrong and crappy
But I say, nothing is wrong if it makes you happy.

An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

ALONE WITH THESE


PLAIN BLANK WALLS
AYAH BENBERNA

Alone with these plain blank walls, I wish I could smell his sweet essence.
I could always recognise it from far away. I long to feel comfort in the touch
that made every single last hair on my back prickle like a cactus.
My beloved husband has left me to live alone.
I arrived at the funeral knowing that I would shortly have to wear a smile.
I was scared. I was scared that I wouldnt be able to do it. I couldnt.
I couldnt smile whilst the most important person in my life had left me
to breathe alone.
As I stepped out of the car, his mother was standing in front of me.
She looked me in the eyes; we both instantly knew what was going on in
each others mind.
We ran towards each other, holding one another as we sobbed till our
lightly applied make up had dissolved.
I feel good; she gave me strength for a few moments. Although her strength
did not affect me for long, it was there when I most needed it. For this
reason I will always be thankful to her. Everything she ever did to hurt me
has been buried with my husband.
I now know the true meaning of life is too short. People who are present
in all things and grateful for all things are content with all things. I am now
a changed woman and I will cherish every moment with everyone forever.

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An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

HAPPY?
AYAH BENBERNA

Nothing is wrong if it makes you happy


Wrong, what is the meaning of wrong?
What is wrong?
What makes a situation wrong?
Nothing is wrong if it makes you happy
Happy, what is happiness?
What is happy, is it long term or short term?
What makes a human happy?
Happy: when your expectations are fulfilled
Wrong: when someone elses expectations are not fulfilled
So, what happens when the two collide?

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An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

WHATS IT WORTH?
AMY LOCKE-DENCH


I was there, hammer to hand, and ready to shatter the glass, along
with my freedom and dignity. The jewellers had officially become a crime
scene, with my friends urging me to see the job through. But I just stared
at that majestic, carat-coated marvel. So unique and refined; how could it
not divert my thoughts to him? There they were, his eyes glistening back
at me in the diamond. I was transfixed. His beautiful blues, so full of life...
but they went too soon. His life was the glamorous flash of a camera:
fast, yet still somehow capturing every moment fully. I rattled the glass
casing; I was desperate to see him once more in the crystal balls I thought
I saw contained within. I was ushered away by a lesser friend. Not him, he
would never have seen me into such a situation. He was smart, together,
respectable. He wouldnt have let me carry out such a pitiful, pathetic crime.

Coming away from the shop, we ran to our car and I was the only one
empty handed. I wept embarrassingly.
Can I get out please?
I dont think so, mate!
Please!

The car halted and I sprung from the back seat. Then I ran. Just ran.
Because running is all I have ever been good at. Even at the worst of times,
say, when a best friend has yet to say his final words.
I didnt steal the diamond, as I know what its like to lose something precious.

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WHY? INDIFFERENCE.
FRANCESCA AMATO

People always turn their back on others who have problems or are suffering.
Why? Why did you leave me when I most needed you?
Everyone wants a happy life, an easy life, a without-complications life;
so when their brothers and sisters scream for help,
they become deaf.
Why? Why did you turn your back on me?
We are now used to not caring for the worlds problems,
thinking that someone will take care of the things that we are not worrying about.
Why? Why did you run?

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An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

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THE GHOSTS BEHIND YOU


FRANCESCA AMATO

What happened?
What is going on?
Is someone in there?
There Ben stood, in the middle of six people shouting and
questioning different things. They were wondering why
his van in front of his new restaurant was being slowly
devoured by flames. He wasnt. Indeed, he already knew the
answer. It had been set on fire by them.
Its going to explode! he screamed, full of fear.
Everyone hid behind a building. Time seemed to stand still.
No one was moving or speaking; the silence was slowly
filling the air.
Boom! A rain of fire and metal started to fall.
When it was quiet again, Ben sat on the pavement holding
his head in his hands.
He never wanted this.
He ran away from his own country, left his wife and
children, so that everyone around him could be safe.
He dreamed of the day he could stop looking over his
shoulder, move on. He just wanted to start a new life, but
his ghosts had not yet finished with him.
The mafia does not leave fugitives.
He was hunted. They would never leave him alone.
Slowly, it dawned on him that he would never find peace.
There was only one way to end it all.
Boom!

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An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

NOTHING IS WRONG
IF IT MAKES YOU HAPPY
ERICA FERNANDES

Nothing is wrong if it makes you happy. Making choices Happiness? Madness?


Humans fight a whole life to know what is wrong and right.
What is right

for you
Might be wrong

for me
So: what is wrong and right?
I ask this question every time I make choices
And every time the answers voice says:

But if it makes you happy how could it be wrong?
When people say you cannot do that: how do you know that its wrong?
Who
told
you?
Society? Stereotypes? Moralities? Opinions? Lifestyle?
Thats why we have consequences for our choices and actions: life is the best
teacher.

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SOMETHING I HAVE LEARNED


PRINCESS GERE

If my past has taught me anything, its that we should cherish every single moment
of our lives like it is our last. We should pay attention to everything; our emotions,
our thoughts, our surroundings and the people we are with. And we should
appreciate everything, what we have right now and right here. You never know
when it will all get ripped away from you.

QUESTIONS OF THE HEART


SUMAYA OMAR

Why am I here?
Who am I?
Would I ever have achieved what I wanted and could I ever have answered all my
questions?
Is failure in my blood?
What is in my blood?
What is my blood?
What pumps in my heart?
What is in my heart?
What is under my skin?
Am I really loved? Or am I too stubborn to see it?
Is there such thing as unconditional love?
Like could you just love someone for the sake of it?
Doesnt that get tiring?
Or should I just appreciate what I got? Am I lucky?
Do I know who I am or am I in denial?
Am I too dumb to know what I can achieve?
Can failure even be in my blood?
Should I be me?

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An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

HEARTBREAK
PRINCESS GERE
It eats you,
From inside out
Leaving nothing
But loneliness.
With no one to hold,
With no one to cuddle,
With someone to love
But not to be loved back.
Bit by bit,
The loneliness takes over
Leaving me with nothing
But the wish to die.
Knowing the chance to be loved
Is slim.
To never know what being loved by you feels like
Knowing that Im alone, without you forever,
While you stay with her forever.

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HIM

PRINCESS GERE
Him.
Why did he lie?
Why wont he tell me the truth?
Why wont he notice me?
Why do I still like him?
Why am I still falling for him?
Will this feeling ever go away?
Will he ever fall for me?
Could he ever learn to love me?
Why do I still have hope, when I know I shouldnt?
Why am I still waiting?
What am I waiting for?
What is he waiting for?
Is he worth waiting for?

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An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

ON HUNGER
ERICA FERNANDES

There are a lot of problems in the world.


Do you ever think: why are there so many problems? We could just live with
balance and everything would be alright? Everything is a problem nowadays.
It is really hard to talk about problems in the world because its very general
and certain people have different opinions on what is a problem.
Could be the biggest or tiniest thing in the world: does not matter, it is a problem.
Lets see... hunger.
I think hunger is a big problem; many children, adults, old people dont have money
to buy food. Or for example in poor countries, the conditions make it impossible for
them to grow food. Why? Why does it have to be like that? Why this imbalance?
Why this contrast between no food and food in the bin?
I dont know exactly who has the power to change this problem, but if we give a
bit of our food or just share with someone else that doesnt have, we can make
all the difference.
Without hunger, the world would be much easier.

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I <3 YOU

FRANCESCA AMATO
London, 23rd August 1998
Dear bed,
Im thinking about you right now.
I cant stop myself from doing it
Every moment of the day,

every hour,

every minute,

even every second!
You are so soft and cosy.
So warm and charming.
You must have done some sort of spell on me,
cause I believe that you are the most beautiful and attractive thing
I have ever laid my eyes upon.
My mum always talks about how old and noisy you are...
She talks about a new you.
But how can it be you?
I cant imagine how lying on something else would be!
A nightmare... A nightmare...
No more sweet dreams... Sigh...
No. No, you and me are meant to be.
Were gonna stay forever together!
At the cost of having to lock you up.
Forever. Forever.
I will always love you!
Wait for me, tonight.

FOREVER yours,
Francesca

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An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

QUESTION POEM
ERICA FERNANDES

What is the universe?

Who am I?

What is my background?

Should I ask my mum?

Should I find out by myself?

Why am I so different?

Why do I have unique thoughts?

Why sometimes do I feel that I am a gypsy? Or

Why sometimes do I feel that I am a witch?

Should I tell my mum?

Should I be quiet? Or

Should I find out by myself?

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LOST PROPERTY
JERMAINE AGYEI-BUROBEY

Disbelief often pairs well with shock; many times this lethal combination of
emotions leave grown men paralysed, broken and terrified. As I lay frozen in a fit
of terror before the hideous, snarling creature; my ability to rationalise quickly
dissipated. Only instinct remained, which completely hijacked my senses:
fight back! Fight back!
Of all the possible reasons in the world which I could contemplate, money was
the last of those I had expected to draw out this relentless demon. Alas, there
exists a saying about these scenarios, spoken by wise men: the love of money
is the root of all evil. The tongue is mightier than the sword? Poppycock, I say.
Which words of all the English language could possibly convince this devil
in humans clothing?
Demon! I exclaimed, hoping to flinch him. Instead this only increased his rage;
holding steadfast was my only option at this point. Devil! You devil! Give me
my brother back! A rush of anguish quickly overpowered me as I realised the
implication of such a judgement...
In the following moment, both the doppelgnger and I stood bewildered;
yet we did not harmonise in the slightest. Our bewilderment stemmed from
vastly different sources: his understanding (or lack thereof) was mostly physical
or literal. Mine however, rose from a spiritual standpoint. I refused to believe that
literal demon; that abomination; that manifestation of greed; was related to me
in any manner, let alone my blood brother.
Where was the brother who would fight for me? Who would treat my wounds,
or lift my downtrodden spirit? Where was the brother who would laugh with me?
Appreciate me? Love me?
In the aftermath of the creatures assault, my psyche lay bruised and battered.
As shameful as this is to admit, only an ocean of hopelessness became my
platform of support. Despair engulfed me as like a shipwreck consumed by the
depths. Yet, at the bottom of every ocean lies a sea floor; only few decisions
were left to be made. Sink or swim.
Will I bounce back or bounce backwards? Will I make this newfound quest my
responsibility? How can I search for that which cannot be seen? Only faith could
lead me to progress with such a mission; the evidence of things not seen would
guide me to revive our brotherhood.

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An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

TFL TOTALLY FUCKING LAME


JAMILA MUTTLABE

Why is TFL so infuriating?



Why do the buses look so ugly?
Do they think we have no sight?
And why does the bus driver think its okay to shut the door in my face? You dont
do dem tings!
Does he think its okay to make me late to college and look like a disgrace?
Why do sideman hood rats think its okay to bust out Drake on their crappy
phones?

Bruv, are they dumb?

Or can they not afford headphones?
For why do these random babies turn back and stare at me?
Am I that interesting or have you got nothing better to do?

I know Im buff but can you please chill?
Why is this sidedish sitting next to me talking so loud?
Fam, you do realise the person youre talking to aint on a cloud?

Like can you please calm down?

Or are you trying to look like a clown?

Maybe you can try to lower your voice?

Why is that such a hard choice?
Why is this person having a coughing fit without covering their mouth?
Did your parents not teach you any manners?
Or do I have to put it on a banner?
WHY IS TFL SO INFURIATING?!

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SATIRICAL PSALM 22:


A PSALM OF A TEACHER
CHLOE MILLER

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?


Why so far from my smart targets am I?
O my God, I ask for punctuality, and my students are tardy,
My God I ask for quiet, and they chatter and talk.
In You I entrusted, to bring me completed homework.
To You I cried out, when they shouted out
The answer, instead of putting up their hands.

But I am a teacher, not a miracle worker


Despised by students, scorned by Ofsted.
All those who see me, mock me,
They dont pay attention, nor do they do what theyre told.
They shoot out the lip, when I command that they put away their phones.
They shake their heads at me when I ask if they remembered
What we did last lesson.

But thou art he that cast me from my PGCE, thou didst make me hope when
I was a NQT. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, with the marking of essays
And my tongue cleaveth to my jaws, to explain the 10 minute rule once again.

Ye that fear exams, study and revise


and pray for deliverance from resits:
Your good grades will live forever, and all the kindreds of UCAS shall
worship before thy online application.

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An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

THE MONTH OF MARCH


AMY LOCKE-DENCH

The year seemed to halt in the month of March, the month of what I call
the black hole. It occurs in the run up to examinations. Many can avoid
being consumed by its force; I was not one of them. I was usually in
control, and could stave off any pressure or stress.
This time, however, I fell.
It started, and I became aware of the month looming over me, a silent
stalker. My time was being eaten up by pointless hours of revision, after
which my mind couldnt welcome any more knowledge. This only got
worse - and then March came. I was starting to draw closer to its peril.
I stood on the periphery of darkness for another month or so.
My first exam struck and it hit hard; inevitably I was submerged.
There is no way of return once you have been absorbed, you just fall for
what feels like infinity... Until August comes: you stop falling, but meet
the results that send you to the floor. You failed.
I failed. I cant possibly do this all over again, if I even get the choice.
Such tiny letters on a page stand between me and a chance to fulfil
every dream Ive ever head. Im falling again, plummeting even.
Ive tried to seek out others in my miserable state.
Ive wasted an opportunity, one that I probably never deserved
in the first place.

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WHY?

SAJJAD HOSSAIN
1.

Why the people do not mind their own businesses?

2.

Why the people are greedy?

3.

Why my mom does not let me to see My Name Is Earl?

4.

Why I cannot go back to the past?

5.

Why the people snore? And why they have a nose?

6.

Why some people do not do a shower?

7.

Why the people of Southeast Asia eat the dogs?

8.

Why I did not born rich?

9.

Why there are too many languages in this world?

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An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

HAPPY

SAJJAD HOSSAIN
Nothing is wrong if it makes you happy.
Something is wrong and you like it? May be others could say
it is not fair
it is not nice
Or they could complain about it.
But it does not matter:
the most important thing is that you are happy.

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10 QUESTIONS
NUR HOSSAIN
1.

Why people judge me?

2.

Why I dont have unlimited money?

3.

Why I cant fly on fly sky?

4.

At the moment, why I cant stay outside in 3 oclock morning?

5.

Why I cant see my future?

6.

Why British houses attach with each other?

7.

Why I awake every night for chatting with my friends?

8.

Why people have to bathroom?

9.

We are in this world why not on the moon?

10. Why I did not see Chinese people in the hospital?

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An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

PANDEMIC
JAMILA MUTTLABE

The hate, killings, the genocide


Its like a virus that starts in the mind then sets the whole body off
And like a virus
it spreads through the whole body infecting person after person
And like a virus
it takes over the mind, body and soul
And like a virus
you never realise you have it until its too late
Until youre infected with the virus known as hate
Love, patience and respect are what you need to understand your fellow brothers
And maybe, just maybe, you will be able to see the world through the eyes of others
Because what you see is not fixed or a tragic demise
It is what is wrong with the world and all its cries
So what is hate?
Hate is what makes us call each other motherfucker, bitch, slag, faggot
Hate makes men call females bitches
Which in turn makes females call other females bitches
Degrading, slut shaming, name calling
Smearing womanhood down to its core
Making them think its okay to call each other whore
Its the thing that spreads from one person to the other
Making us think its okay to degrade each other
Making men think that they are more masculine
Just because someone else is more feminine
They say gay is wrong and wrong is gay
But they have a few of their own words to say
They say they have not chosen to be this way
That it is their way of life
Yet hate sits there holding a knife
Threatening the words of anyone who dares go against him
Because hate always has an excuse and hate always thinks hes right

36

WRITE THE WRONG

So what is hate?
Its like a virus that starts in the mind then sets the whole body off
And like a virus
it spreads through the whole body infecting person after person
And like a virus
it takes over the mind, body and soul
And like a virus
you never realise you have it until its too late
Go back to your country, you dont belong here is what hate would say,
Shooting words like arrows, and we are the target
Words meant to beat us down until our skin is raw and scarlet
Determined to hit us where it really matters
But you know what?
This is our country too
And we will stay here
No matter what you say or do
Because we are one
We will stick together like glue
So what is hate?
Its the white person refusing to sit on that last seat on the bus because the
person sitting next to them is black
Or a teacher consistently ignoring a student simply because she wears a hijab
Or a black person saying white people are whats wrong with the world today
Or even a boy refusing to sit next to another boy in class because he is gay
Dont you see?
Denial a common symptom of those who suffer from it
Hate is all around us, taking its victims without them even knowing it
Claiming so many of gods finest creations
Its like a virus which spreads through the nation
Making us think bad of someone because theyre white, black, gay or Asian
So theres one last thing I want to say:
our condition will not change until we change ourselves and our way.

37

An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

38

WRITE THE WRONG

WONDERING
FROM THE START
TO THE END
FRANCESCA AMATO

Where are we from?


Why are we here?
Do we have a duty?
What is our place in the world?
Where are we going?
Do we have a destiny?
Are we born to be good or bad?
Do we have a soul?
Can we really change this world somehow?
Does what we do matter?
How big is the universe?
Are we alone?
How can we leave a trace of ourselves in the world?
Will I be remembered after my end?
Is there anything after this life?

39

An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

HEARTBREAK
ERICA FERNANDES

I thought we were siblings right?


How could he say that? There is always going to be heartbreak, no matter how
you try to stop it, but I swear, I tried, I really tried.
We are friends - let me correct myself: we are siblings.
Andrea and I, we are the best friends ever. Everybody commented that it is
impossible to have a real friendship between a girl and a boy.
Are you sure that you dont like him as a husband?
What? Never! I couldnt believe them. But now, I think they were correct.
I like Andrea as a brother but why is my heart so disobedient? Why?
So: when he told me that, I really cried like I have never cried. Painful tears like
I have never had before.
But my feelings for him were so confused, were so messed up, that I had to
find out what he felt for me.
At the moment, I thought: Rebecca, can you calm down? Leave those feelings
as they are. But I couldnt, I was not being loyal to myself.
It was 8pm when I called him.
Hey Andrea, are you okay?
Yes, what is wrong?
Oh nothing
Can you come over to my house? I need to talk to you.
Sure, but can you wait like 25 minutes, I am helping my brother
with his homework.
Oh, no problem.
Okay bye!

40

WRITE THE WRONG

It was the longest 25 minutes of my life; I really thought to give up, but my
heart wouldnt let me.
I was watching TV when I heard the bell ring.
Hi! Come, have a seat
Yes girl, whats up? Whats annoying you? Is it Michael again?
(Between those questions I felt important, important like oxygen for our life...
ah ah ah joking. Lets go to the important bit!)
I want to talk to you about us, I said.
Us? What is wrong?
You know we dont have secrets... and I want to know... what you feel about me
Well, we are siblings
Yes but words? I said, rushing the conversation.
Kindness, brotherhood But what the hell is that question?
And I told him without thinking
I feel more than kindness, more than brotherhood! I like you in a different way
What do you mean?
Damnit, its so difficult to understand I love you! I was almost crying, and the
I love you sounded out like an echo.
I thought we were siblings, right?
My head almost exploded, I was so embarrassed.
Let me go to sleep!

41

An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

IMAGINED PEACE
PRINCESS GERE

Imagine a world without war


Where men are brothers and not enemies. Countries are throwing one another gifts
and not atomic bombs. Where there is love and not war. Where there is peace.
Now come back to reality.
What do you see? Do you see the horrors of mankind? Do you see the man that just
got shot? The man who has just left a wife a widow. A man, who has just left his
children fatherless.
Now tell me, would you prefer to go back to your imagination or face reality?
Because peace is just a made-up place, an imagined paradise trapped in our head.
If we dont do something, if we dont bring this made up peace into the world,
it will forever be stuck there and nothing will change.
And soon there will be no one left no imagined peace wanting to come out.
Dont you know the saying? A graveyard is the richest place on Earth; its where
all hopes and dreams are buried. Its where this imagined peace will be buried
along with our bones.
But not if we let this peace out and spread it across the world. Not if we try
and stop these wars.
What are we even fighting for?

42

WRITE THE WRONG

LIVE, WRITE.
CHLOE MILLER

Just do it she said, I said it worked for me


It opened my eyes and made me see
Made me read, made me succeed
I have what I want but Im not yet what I want to be.
Slow down, feel good,
Let the warm love in,
Let in the sound of silence,
Dont block it out with songs
That fill your ear with someone elses words.
Thats their way, thats OK,
But you pay your own way,
You dont know what you say,
You dont say what you feel,
You dont say whats real,
Real me is just from make-believe,
You took it from the TV,
You watch the world through a glass screen,
Your own one-way hijab.
You scorn those with nothing to say
As false prophets of false change,
Change yourself before you change the world,
Because charity starts in the home,
Sympathy is home grown,
The grown tree starts as a shoot,
The flower relies on the roots.
Deep change has to be radical in both ways.

43

An English PEN book / READERS & WRITERS

WHEN YOU REALISE


AMY LOCKE-DENCH

Getting what you want and


Thinking about how to get it.
Are you even allowed to have it?
In the eyes of some, that is a no.
The paths you will take,
The places you will go,
To see that your happiness is fulfilled.
Wrong or right, youll never know.
As you are blinded, deafened and dumbfounded,
This want of yours can only grow.
All of your crying you silently sounded,
Your passions will not leave you alone.
But once you get it, if ever,
Will you truly be happy?
You refuse to hear never
And will continue wanting.

44

Write the Wrong


From Readers & Writers the literature outreach programme of English PEN
Edited by the students of NewVIc and Rebekah Murrell
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