Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Face-to-Face Tanka

reading between the lives and writing between the lines, XXXIV

the face-to-face
between a Royal aide
and a Black guest:
I am born here, UK
but, where are you really from?


1: Lady Susan Hussey,  Queen Elizabeth's aide for more than 60 years,  was made Prince William’s godmother in 1982. After the monarch’s death, King Charles III kept her on as a “lady of the household.” According to Newsweek, she was one of the palace aides put in charge of helping Meghan Markle prepare for royal life, and there are unconfirmed reports that she was against Markle’s marriage to Prince Harry... Glamour, Nov. 30: "Prince William and Kate Middleton Release a Statement Following Racist Incident at Buckingham Palace"

2: Ngozi Fulani, founder of Britain’s leading domestic abuse charity, Sistah Space for Black women, was invited to the Violence Against Women and Girls reception on Tuesday, hosted by the Queen Consort Camilla. For more, see The Independent, Nov.30: "Ngozi Fulani: Black Charity boss of  Sistah Space accuses Buckingham Palace of institutional racism after ‘traumatic’ encounter with royal aide"

This tanka is a sequel to the following tanka set:

The Aftermath

Life is about storytelling — about the stories we tell ourselves, the stories we are told and the stories we buy into ... Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex

white on white
this snowy day
a voice lurking
in dim corners of her mind,
the baby's skin color?

we're very much
not a racist family ...
in winter chill
a black man mutters
at least a bit

3: The following is a relevant excerpt from Sistah Space (@Sistah_Space)'s Nov. 30 Tweet where Lady SH is Lady Susan Hussey and Me is Ngozi Fulani:

Lady SH: Where are you from?
Me: Sistah Space
SH: No where do you come from?
Me: We're based in Hackney.
SH: No, what part of Africa are YOU from?
Me: I don't know, they didn't leave any records.
SH: Well, you must know where you're from, I spent time in France. Where are you from?
Me: Here, UK
SH: No, but what Nationality are you?
Me: I am born here and am British.
SH: No, but where do you really come from, where do your people come from?
Me: 'My people', lady, what is this?
SH: Oh I can see I am going to have a challenge getting you to say where you're from. When did you first come here?
Me: Lady! I am a British national, my parents came here in the 50's when...
SH: Oh, I knew we'd get there in the end, you're Caribbean!
Me: No lady, I am of African heritage, Caribbean descent and British nationality.
SH: Oh so you're from....

For more, see The Telegraph, Nov. 30: "Queen Elizabeth's aide, Lady Susan Hussey, resigns amid racism row."

Addedreading between the lives and writing between the lines, XXXV
"alternative fact" of the racism row at Buckingham Palace

laughter and chit-chat
between a guest gowned in silk
and a Royal aide:
I was born in Bristol, too
[best known for its slave trade]


Just an Awkward Night 
[amid a racist row at home]

cheers and U-S-A!
from the basketball crowd ...
the Royal couple
glance up at the giant screens 
to check if they're on camera

the Royals
gamely fix their smiles
one Celtics fan 
launches a tweetstorm of "If we lose
we blame this on the British"

FYI: A "tweetstorm" is a series of related tweets posted by a Twitter user in quick succession.

And The Independent, Dec. 2: New York Times writes ‘unsurprising’ report on Boston’s reaction to William and Kate visit

“Don’t care.”

We cannot tolerate the royal family” because of allegations of racism, namely from Meghan Markle.

“This is America, and I think that’s an important part of who we are, that we don’t deify people.”

I said to my wife this morning, ‘I put my pants on the same way he does – why is he so special?

Addedreading between the lives and writing between the lines, XXXV

within the confine
of these white picket fences
the neighbors
nodding at each other
around this gated neighborhood

FYI: This tanka is a sequel to the following haiku sequence:

Land of the Free

electric gate
Your Kind of Community
in glowing white letters

picket fences
a white man shadows
the black teen

thud of footsteps
one bark answers

ID check
the black teen’s shadow
slips out of the gate