'Push the Week' (for W)

If I had cash, I could get some cassava gari

Down Great Western Road, shop in Solly’s

And make some sukuma wiki; stretch the week.

But this card don’t buy me African food

Or let me shop in Marie Curie

(although they have nice things in there.)

Only in the Salvation Army Store.

(Where the clothes are a bit of a bore.)

You think just because you’re an asylum seeker

You don’t care what you wear?

And from eating the wrong food, my stomach’s sore.

If I didn’t just have this card to use

I would buy some maize meal flour, avocado, yam.

If my mother were here she would say:

That woman is not my daughter.

Even I don’t know who I am.

If I had cash I could buy some corn pones,

dried fish, beef...  curried mung beans...

Kachumbari, my God, how I wish!

Expand the chest. My spirits would lift, eh?

Not so worthless, not so angry.

Ugali would make me less depressed!

Not so homesick. Nyama choma.

But the Home Office never consider

How it feels to be dispersed to Glasgow.

No cash for cane row, no money for Makimo.

No dosh for monthlies. No pounds for sweet potato.

The week repeats.  We are scattered families.

Now it’s HIV. No TV. Just CCTV - watching me.

Non-stop scrutiny.  Anyone shouts Asylum Seeker

Bash them with your saucepan. Man stealer!

(I have yet to see one to write home about!) Cassava!

In your imagination, you have new friends to dinner.

You picture a cooker. A table. You light a candle.

You shine some cutlery. You see your face in it.

And you say Stick in till you stick oot, and you say,

Help yourself. Go ahead. Have some chapati, mbazi, gari.

Heres what we eat in my country. You see.

Jackie Kay 2013