Belinda Zhawi

Belinda Zhawi is a Zimbabwean-born writer and educator currently based in London. Belinda was the 2016/17 Institute of Contemporary Arts Associate Poet, and she’s the co-founder and host of poetry, social and zine press, BORN::FREE. Belinda is the author of Small Inheritances (ignition press, 2018).

Photo: Theo-Ndlovu


Ignition Press Showcase »

Hear three startling new voices from one of the UK’s newest poetry publishers

Fri 8 March | 13:00 - 14:00 | £4.50/£3.50 | The Town Hall, Queens Gardens, Council Chamber


rye lane (foul ecstasy)

black girls don’t do drugs
said the bouncer
at Bussey,
without searching
me. Well, let
me tell it, some
of us sit smug
in our youth.
Full of white
silver powders
in cold smoking
areas, waiting
for the come up
to hit us;
chase the cold
that’s set in
our bones.

We gurn
on hand rolled cigs;
pray for the peak.
Our mouths dressed,
tongues, the taste
of the foul
curdled in our
gums. We sink in
this. Buzzed smiles
under drooped eyes
sharpened towards
blue lights
which flood the wet
dance floor.

Our skins
stay open, each
touch from the bass
sending us
in upward spirals
of bright starlight.

We beg
the night not
to end, plead
with it to spend
its morning cloaked
in darkness.
We want to stay
alive in
this wide blackness
our pupils
become; in this ache
of clenched jaws.


Belinda Zhawi

From Small Inheritances (ignitionpress, 2018)