Poets logo

The Wrong Colour for Art

by Annie Kapur 12 days ago in social commentary

An Experimental Poem

The Wrong Colour for Art
Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

Light brown, splattered with burnt yellow and my backpack hits my spine.

Scowling into the mirror I find that young woman who is always

The wrong colour. Though light-skinned, pasted with

Whitening creams. I am covered in grey patches,

Anaemic with the cramps in the pit of my stomach from too

Much food the night before.

In pain from head to toe, I am told that for my skin colour

I am strange. The light brown should say that I am subservient

And bow my head to the colonial master. I am silent.

With a streak of seeing red violence I had taken a chair

And beat my enemy senseless, I was twelve and my hands drained

Of colour. Do you like them now?

Staring at a shard of glass on the floor, reflected my yellow

Undertones back at me, shaking them freely in the springtime rain.

They said I was incorrect for their stereotypes. They expected that

If I were artistic I would be white. I am light-skinned, not brown enough

For my mother - and my peers think I’m the wrong colour.

I am trapped.

I was twenty-two and recited a poem by Wordsworth from the top

Of my head of jet-black hair, lined with red. My friend across the room,

Getting it down on a large poster-board, a older woman looked at me

With her jaw-dropped. Her white skin against the pearls made them disappear

And I thought that she was here, like others to tell me I didn’t belong here and

Yet, she simply stared

And stated she ‘never had seen’ a woman so brown do something like me.

Smiling, I breathed out and my face not showing the offence, I turned out of

The room, without a trace and without a reply, she stood with mouth open for

Each second my feet hit the bland, white floors of antique room with its

19th Century clothes. I was disgusted but not surprised.

And at twenty-five, I stare forth into the mirror wondering why my skin

Meant so much to people who did not own it. The brown lines in my face now showing

Years of wearing lightening creams, foundation that was too light for me,

But under all those masks, I was brown to the bone. Indian to the soul.

And though I too had my problems with my mind that rattles against me,

My skin is the inheritance I have earned.

I no longer need the approval of the white-skinned women

I no longer need to appraisal of the white-souled women.

I no longer require anything from them.

For I have grown into myself, and never again should I be

Silent when they seek to offend by seeing me without belief

That I may have a mind like theirs.

For art, it has no bounds,

Not a zone or time as it sheds the evils of the past

Where it once stood against me.

Western girl - brown skin - accentuated with gold.

social commentary
Annie Kapur
Annie Kapur
Read next: La Luna
Annie Kapur

Film and Writing (M.A)


Focus in Film: Adaptation from Literature, Horror Filmmaking Styles and Auteur Cinema

Twitter: @AnnieApprox

IG: @AnnieApproximately

See all posts by Annie Kapur

Find us on socal media

Miscellaneous links