To capture the essence of C Words, African Writers Abroad have released a constant stream of poetry online and offline, on physical and virtual walls. A leaflet will also soon be made available in the Arnolfini for visitors to take away which features this poetry together with newly commissioned work, contributions from participants on the creative writing workshops, and from local Bristol writers and poets.

The first poem to be released in the season is below.


as we move onwards ever upwards,
forwards never backwards
we see words and we say words
but do we hear words, Connect words?

C words: Culture Carbon Climate. Change.
over-used words, abused words
deliberately Confused words
by one unspoken silent C word

mr newsreader, mr newswriter,
Cultural Commentator, master debater
be brave, no longer fear the Client
let this C word no longer be silent

this C that lurks behind the door
C that bring riches, yet devastates the poor
C that stops us talking to one another
fear of strangers, neighbours, fear of the other

C – Cause of anger, hate, terrorism, rage
turns the herd upon itself, inside its Cage.
jailing the victim, rewarding the suited thief
simple ‘solutions’ mask Complexities beneath

selling, pricing, buying lives
dinner of genocide, big C thrives
rapacious insatiable beast
C finds little profit in peace

C – pacifies and distracts from its own true blame
fireworks and Candyfloss while Continents flame.
umbilical Chains of greed, selfishness, jealousy
under a starry C, newborns drown in slavery

torture, death, ridicule, for those who oppose
fame, fortune, legacy, for puppets who pose.

C – supporter of Conservative, labour, liberal, republican, democratic governments
C behind all Criminal Cartel Crusading Corrupt Corporate… Stunts

Chattel, Colonialism, neo-Colonialism,
Corporatocracy, Consumerism, ‘Civilisation’
Columbus, Cabot, Cook,
Churchill, Church

Control, Coerce, Chaos, Crisis,
Crunch, Crush, Clash, Culture, Capture,
Crass, Class, Conflict, Convict,
Complicity, City, Corrode, Crude… Coca Cola

mother earth – we have identified your would be assassin
we know the enemy’s shame
this poem has been brought to you by:
the Countless number slain

and the letter C…

let us speak the devil’s name and free ourselves from prison:

by Simon Murray
African Writers Abroad