2022 Mixtape: Writers of Colour Audio Anthology

Cream, black text on a light purple background. Image of a Black woman with textured hair wearing headphones facing the camera. Text: 2022 Mixtape: Writers of Colour Audio Anthology. Curated by Hannah Lavery and Marjorie Lotfi. Sound design by Sarya Wu.

We are thrilled to present ‘Mixtape 2022: Writers of Colour Audio Anthology’, to celebrate the work produced within the Writers of Colour Writing Group during 2022, led by Hannah Lavery and Marjorie Lotfi.

For the anthology, attendees were invited to submit up to two poems or short prose pieces which were started in group sessions. Contributors then had group mentoring sessions with Hannah before submitting an audio recording of their final poem. Lastly, each poem was given a soundscape, created by sound designer and musical poet, Sarya Wu.

You can listen to the album on Soundcloud or scroll down to listen and access each audio and text. You can also download a PDF of all poems hereThe text of each poem is provided for access purposes only. Authors retain full copyright.


2022 Mixtape: Writers of Colour Audio Anthology 

Listen to the anthology on SoundCloud

Download the PDF with text and audio links


  • Hannah Lavery
  • Andrea Cabrera Luna
  • Andrés N. Ordorica
  • Anna Cheung
  • Anne Coker
  • Brenda Vengessa
  • Clementine E. Burnley
  • Etzali Hernández
  • Jeda Pearl
  • Jess Brough
  • Kashfi Ahmed
  • Lesa Ng
  • Lubna Kerr
  • Myla Cordivae
  • Myra Ariyaratnam
  • Nadia Maloney
  • Niall Moorjani
  • Nichelle Santagata
  • Shasta Hanif Ali
  • Sophie Lau
  • Tamzin McDonald
  • Wacera Kamonji
  • Zoe Lorimer
  • Marjorie Lotfi

Selected by:

Hannah Lavery | Twitter | Website

Marjorie Lofti | @marjorielotfi on both Twitter and Instagram | Website

Sound Design by Sarya Wu | Instagram | Soundcloud | Website

Audio anthology album playlist

2022 Mixtape: Audio Anthology

Hannah Lavery

That Dawn Chorus

my time is not dawn chorus to night owl time   it’s the slow
flowing burn time    i live leaf drop time   i am slow enough
for moss to grip   but i am not to be pitied   for my ageing
i am following each thought   when was the last time you
thought it through had time to watch a thought of yours grow follow it until it hit a wall    or that other thought and that other one from that Othered one followed    it until it was changed    turned out and in    when was the last time you let a thought complete itself    undo itself renew itself make a fool of itself    run away with itself they are seeds on the wind    they are fireflies    but they are being collected in bell jars now    they gather here, brewing to petrol bombs now your watch tells you you have spent too long here    that you must move on from here your watch tells you this    but once you played all day in the woods    you climbed a tree to hear its stories    danced to the rooks cawing in the clearing later you were told that you had been lost for an hour     funny the way you believed them they who told you the time they who gave it to you with a wristband     it was only an hour    they said    yet you knew it had been all day   you knew it because it was dark    but then it was dark    and you could no longer find the home of yourself    ach my friend  when was the last time you followed a story back     all the way to the very heart of yourself.

Andrea Cabrera Luna

12 Years of Austerity

She didn’t drown

Or overdosed

Or disappeared


It happened

In her bed

While she slept


Where there was breath

There suddenly wasn’t


The debt



And more

The debt of


Tantos sueños sin cumplir

The debt of

Sorrows uncried

La Felicidad que le faltó




Era martes

She had been

Walking all day

En el voicemail

Sonaba cansada

Got herself a

New phone

But no contract yet


No te voy a poder llamar

Hasta el miércoles

Estoy cambiando de teléfono


It was a HOT DAY

In London

West Hampstead

It was three days later

That they found her.

Window open

Unused phone

Fan still on


Fue una nena hermosa

She was a lovely



Compartieron fotos

In one of them

She had red

Cowboy boots

Just like her mum’s


Parecía fuerte

No one diagnosed

Her fragile


A veces decía que tenía miedo

Su papá le dijo
Que por qué no ponía
Una cruz

She used black gaffer tape
And cut a long strip
And a short one
Con las manos
And stuck the huge cross
Next to her bed

Tenía dos nombres de pila
Como dos flores
Y pegó cada una de las
Letras de su nombre
Sobre la cabecera
No las pude despegar

She had
And things
She had things

12 years too late
Esperó 12 años
Por fin tuvo su flat
A new flat
A new bed
A new washing
A new fridge
And a glass jar full of coins
She had dreams
Tenía muchos muchos sueños.

Miedo de las voces

Miedo de los que querían hacerle daño

Andrés N. Ordorica

 Fourth of July

If I could travel at the speed of light/ I would burn a thousand sparklers/ I would write each letter/ send it to the past so my past self (read younger self) could see/ could read each letter illuminating in the dark/ a thousand times over: I / L / O / these messages from light years ahead: V / E / …I never wrote them for me/ you see/ I wrote them for: Y / O / U / this message spelled in golden streaks will show you/ yes/ you/ how far we’ll go/ just how far light will travel.

Anna Cheung

Bravery (Yin & Yang)

If a Chinese philosophy app existed
which worked like the Collins dictionary,
but instead of defining words, described words
using the Yin & Yang Principles; the word
bravery, given its traditional definition,

      Yin (noun) the quality of someone willing to do difficult
                                                         or dangerous things,

would embody Yang
(the male, active principle)
& like the Sun, would catapult outwards;
passionate, direct, hot & bold.

But we are reminded that bravery
can also be Yin (the female, receptive principle)
when it absorbs like the Moon;
listening, inward, cool & soft

Anne Coker


Modify your ways, tiresome stranger.
Have you not heard of when in Rome?
Keep your voice low and unheard.
Broaden your distance from my good self.
I need reassurance that I continue to
inhabit the contemptuous composed bubble
my exploitative forebears constructed.

Brenda Vengessa

Bantu Opera II


I heard their giggles in the distance

I heard them singing,

“Amina kadeya”.

I heard their laughter merge with the sound of the ZUPCO bus.


I heard the tapping of the “fish fish” rope on dry earth.

Dust rising into the air,

And the older girls, skirts tucked in,

determined to outdo one another.


The Mothers returning from the markets.

I heard their palms clap in

United laughter,

Hehede huuri!

A joke shared; the pain of a slow day at the stall eased.


I heard the quick patter of feet.

Children disappearing into their homes.

Footballs and skipping ropes abandoned.

Showers taken quickly before Amai’s wrath.

Latecomers arriving to buy fresh veggies from Gogo’s garden
Before dusk’s curfew
I heard the small children squeal with delight and run for their Fathers,
Newspapers in hand.

I heard young lovers sending signals to meet at the tuckshop.
But sadza duty keeps the expectant boy firmly hidden in the hedges.
She will appear, skin glistening, a soft waft of Dawn lotion
and a thick serving of Vaseline on her lips.

I heard my home,
Its sighs, smiles and groans.
I heard it like it was yesterday,
Like time stood still and I was a little girl on these streets, again.
I heard it in my tomorrow.
For this path I travel, leads me back to where my heart has always been.

Clementine E. Burnley


gentle the night leaves

rustle, tender breath

gentle, the breath is held.


gentle she ghosts the highlands

gentle, the night leaves

the wilderness,


as nettles grow up over hill scars,

from a stand of dock, she watches curious as

boys lay a perimeter of piss around a canvas tent


later triangle-shaped ears turn

to the sounds

of their small, safe deaths


their tenderness

gentles the night

Etzali Hernández

air weaver

writing in the wind is like the petals of a dandelion:
soft, light and ever-present.

or like breathing out your fears
and grounding yourself in the now.

or like when you see your reflection in someone’s eyes,
your hands sweaty and your heart skipping a beat.

or like homeland calling you to reach for the sweet secrets
in your lineage and kiss your ancestors hello.

Jeda Pearl

When you come bring your brown

After Ada Limón

set your teeth
grin at the white shore and it’s hunger

froth will pounce on your words
(but only the right words)

built from your grains of dark sand
each one its own story

‘when you come bring your brown’
slips into the rifts between words

‘serve us razor-cut slivers of dark
meat, let us salt it’

they’ll slush and gulp your warm sands
between spume fingers

with the unquenchable thirst
of the white sea

thiefing your sounds your moves, your –

performing cathedrals of salt spray

they don’t trust you anyway, so when you come
bring your brown

choose who you take to your forest, desert, glade, island
we will make our own selection

of long-buried secrets of
shell, bone, gem, glass, mirror

no exotica here

Jess Brough


Please don’t wish for wings too soon.
I would forgo a bird’s eye view
to be with you on land forever.

And when the future calls your name,
I would rather hold on to
this nothing new of current splendour.

Put shutters over any foresight
that might turn me from the present,

Please don’t wish for wings too soon.
Can’t we have always, a little longer?

Kashfi Ahmed

Migrant Migraine

A restless migrant
Tossing and turning
Running in circles that lead
to nowhere

A dark tunnel with no light
in sight
A warrior whose anxiety puts her out
of commission
A survivor of a soul-sucking
immigration system
A ticking timer counting down and
mocking her
Running out of time

A creative perspective might provide
some respite
A natural born leader who is taking back
her throne
Running to claim her crown
A flat, her haven that keeps
her warm while
A path is being forged

Lesa Ng

Old year reflections

After ‘Burning the Old Year’ by Naomi Shihab Nye

Forget the sickness.
Remove the shame from the weight gain,
and guilt for another piece of cake.
Have no regrets on what should have been done.

Only the things I did do, will remain.

Remember your health.
Give regard to the gains,
the friendship and laughter over the dinners,
coffee breaks, and another piece of cake.

Think ahead on what could be done.
Celebrate the headlines of your life,
create more!

Only the things I did do, will remain.

Lubna Kerr

Love and broken hearted 

Love and broken hearted, I dream.
Dream the day when I can love again.
Love and broken hearted is the day I see you in my dreams.
Dreams are when we can be together again.
Love and broken hearted is the pain, the loss of you never to be repeated.
Repeated is the loss, never to dream again.

Across the boundary
Across the bridge
Across the divide
Across the room
Across the escalator
Across the sky
Our eyes do collide, the moment, the spark, the connection.
You and me
Me and you
Just alone, together, a moment.
A moment in time across the boundary of love.
Never to be repeated again.

Myla Cordivae

Start Again

Erect a minaret of perfect poetry
Start again
Drawing borders arched deep grooves
Start again
I don’t know where to end up
The right way to exist in this world
How to navigate the channels washing away
The tide and re-drawn
Start again
We cannot be re-drawn lighter of these shoulder loads
Invisible threads wind back a scissor
Poised knife sharp waiting to cut
To start again
Reweave reexist repeat
Start again
I refresh the buffer wheel waiting to reload
Re-charge, reset
Re-peat and start again
A poem starts and ends again
I will weave my voice through the poised knives and build my tower of restarts
I will suffer through these roads, find you along the way
Love deeply
Until we start again
In another poem
I will build again.

Myra Ariyaratnam


My thumping heart
Exchanges colours
red to gold to blue
to red
The clash of a cymbal
and bass
reverberates through the skin
pulled taught
over my chest,
Ears bleeding liquid gold
or lightening
Cracks across the great
plain of my body,
As the cymbals gently beat and
shimmer, Hollywood schmaltz and
tremble, blood beating blue
through my darkened veins,
Ripple through,
Flood my irises,
Head careens back,
Eyes somersault,
Flat to

Nadia Maloney

Gone Again

I watched the nightstand sleepily as it changed shape. Sharp edges softening as the dark stained oak faded to a pale brown. The sounds of silence crept to life with a soft lull of music and the rich tones of Nina Simone. “No I ain’t fooleinn / I want some sugar in my bowl”…

I turned and saw you there. Sitting comfortably, the way you did at night. Like you never left. Your head turned downwards. Lips slightly pressed with the book resting gently on your lap. Fingers pressing tightly on the corner of the page. Anticipating …

Your scent no longer lingered but filled me whole. Leaving no room for the grief.

Speechless, I watched you read. Savouring the moment. Before the sky opened up and wrenched your soul from mine. Separate. Alone. I watched your chest rise and fall. Its rhythm simultaneously familiar and strange. I listened to the sound of your breath, escaping your body once again. This time returning, and returning.

You told me it was me who had to change. Me who had to let go. I remember, still. The softness of your voice belied a strength and wisdom. A strength and wisdom you shared with me. A life into a life, you said, as you breathed life into my heavy carcass of broken dreams. And eventually, I accepted. As your love washed over me I came to life in your arms. I saw the world for the first time and all the colours of our nitrogen skies dancing before me. Teasing. You were too beautiful for this world. Too much of a good thing…

I dared not move, lest you disappear from me, again. I lay there frozen, in the vision of you. Frozen in time. A mere breath might turn the world around, steal this moment. I won’t let it.

But you didn’t leave. Your presence solidified and you looked around the room. I sensed a familiar ache in you. It was there in the longing in your eyes before you returned your gaze downwards. Creating an envy in me towards that book, encased in your hands. How I long to feel the caress of those hands again. The warmth of your gaze. Your breath. Your skin. But I reside here in this coldness now. This ever reaching, never ending, coldness.

The sounds of the room faded to black and you were gone. Everything was gone again.

Niall Moorjani


I scramble over the edge,
Surprised to have made it this far,
Arms shake, legs quiver,
with effort,
With the fear of falling,
I tell myself,
Just because you have never been here before,
Doesn’t mean you can’t be here now,
A few more movements,
Slowly, slowly,
Nearly there,
Are my feet secure?
What if I fall?
Having come so far?
Will it hurt all the more?
Just go for it.
You have to go for it.
I reach out,
My hand slips over the final hold,
I don’t fall.
A wave of delight sweeps over me.
And rearranges my nerves like the sea rearranges pebbles,
I could squeal with childlike glee.
My first climb of this difficulty.

On the way down,
I surprise myself,
All I can think about,
Is the first time I wore a dress…


Nichelle Santagata

Muddied Lungs

Six feet beneath thick mud,
Among cold damp woods which have been
Overgrown and long forgotten.

Harsh rains beat down on me
Every. Single. Day.
It is the ultimate monsoon and ultimate doister
Meeting to weigh me down.

Sinking deeper and deeper.
Lungs crushed- filled of
Mud for too many years to count on my hands.
Almost all strength disappeared from
Constantly digging and
Still nowhere near the surface.

No space to scream out my agonies-
I’ve had enough of barely breathing and
Being left to rot!
Nothing but smidgens of air
Seeping through a thin-holed, straw-like twig
Between my teeth…
Why don’t you hear me?


I finally feel the twig yanked upwards.
Struggling for bits of air.
Yanks become stronger and frequent.
No choice but to follow the yanking twig.
Forging extra strength deep from within my bones to
Crawl and scrape upwards through thick mud with my
Overgrown fingernails.
Cutting through endless decrepit tree roots-
I keep moving.

Finally reaching the surface and feel
Rain droplets upon my face and hands.
Here I am, half in and half out the ground,
Glimpsing with blurred eyes at a shadow-
A shadow of myself staring me dead in the eyes.
My shadow speaks through a stare to say: ‘There is life up here’.

Staring down at my waist, still deep in mud.
I grit my mud-filled teeth and use my overgrown fingernails
To keep digging my body
Out, out, out!
Pulling the rest of myself out; struggling to find my feet.
Wobbling; whimpering like a newborn, fresh out the womb.
Barely able to see, I step forward. With each foot forward,
Yowls burst with sludges of
Mud gargling out my mouth.

I stumble, muddied, out of the
Cold-dark-damp woods, to a soft flowing
River leading out to Sea in the distance.
Warm Waters enveloping me as the rain dissipates.
The Water shall take time to run clear after
Heaving away thick layers of mud from my organs.

My lungs never to be the same again-
Only to breathe in the directions of new Waters.
I hear myself.


Shasta Hanif Ali 

Un-English (adj.)

“Lacking in qualities regarded as typically English”

Foreign words roll around her tongue
muscle memory twitching between languages
twisting and looping around syllables
her words flow towards a river
falling, into the open arms of the sea
Can’t you speak English?! they say

Words from an ancient verse
slip through her fingers
nourishing the newly disturbed soil
of a freshly dug grave
You, with your ethnic accent! they say

Her thoughts take shape
in the english, so readily accepted
Her supplications line up
as fraught border checks
and random airport security

Are you fluent in English? they say

When the veil over her head
causes more problems
than the veil over their hearts
How long have you lived here? they say

Her Mother tongue awaits
at the end of a linguistic line

  – eventually, she’ll return
to rekindle forgotten words

and a ken ma blether is aw the better fir —
Speak English! they say

Sophie Lau

where my heart once was

sits a snow globe
at least
that’s what the scans show
the vena cava pumps only
opalescent glitter and anti-


every memory
pearled souvenirs in pristine chambers
i purchase nostalgia enveloped in cellophane

i wait

wild hands shake up a blinding blizzard
pull my wishbone ribs apart
wipe warm blood off frozen scenes

a white sedan parallel parks
three steps from my porch
the driver ploughs into a panic attack
chokes on her father’s spiked fear

frost crunches under my feet
i bring blue knuckles to her window
titanium ring clinking against tinted glass

she winds her window down
hoary light streams from within
her cracked open chest
i watch it turn to
glitter and antifreeze

Tamzin McDonald

Read by Jeda Pearl

With and without!

With Ethiopian apple and tamarind smiles,
With vengeful sun and melted tar pits,
with parents and then without and then with again,
with and without love the ultimate paradox,
with white privilege and without,
with white protection and Jamaican dollars,
with gated communities like jewels amongst the poor,
without realising we are all the same,
with travelling in a hot tin bird,
without clothes for the snow,
with private schools but without the grades,
with a fairy-tale, idyllic life,
without seeing the inside rot,
without acknowledgement of my very being,
with arrogance, white fragility and racism,

Wacera Kamonji

What Does Cleaning Mean to You? 

Out with the old and in with the new,
Only, if it’s necessary
Reigniting old memories long forgotten
Letting go of burdens that once weighed us down

Zoe Lorimer

Blackout at Satellite C84 

I reside inside the cavern, subsection 5.
An artificial system replicating a long dead fossil. The designer is long dead too, name forgotten. Along with the petrified organism.

There’s a 6 by 11 space for each worker. Pulsating lights let us know when it’s time to change tasks. The lights never go out.

The lights fade out. There is nothing.
Inhale. Nothing.
Breath caught in my airways.
I touch my body to check I’m here.

My desk, it’s there.
My tools. One, two, three.
I stand, the ground is still there.
Walking, I reach out to check everything is still there.
I scream

Marjorie Lotfi


We’re in the most formal of my aunt’s rooms,
the one that’s never used, glass tables, no
blankets across the velvet sofas. Each of us
cradles a cup of tea. I smell the dried lime,
saffron and rose of her body, and suddenly I’m
barefoot in her tiny and windowless Tehran kitchen,
‘helping’ her cook by plucking the heads off herbs.
Here, the silk in the carpet cools our feet, the baby
in my belly kicks, unused her mother sitting still.

This silence is about language, the lack of it.
I’m looking for another word for happy or joy –
one finer, subtler than my eight-year-old self
ever knew. She smiles. I set the tulip tea glass down,
held by the edge of its gold rim, to take her hands.
Despite the California heat, they’re as cold
as my own; we were made for these temperatures,
she and I. It is good, she says in her best English,
in the same voice that taught me Farsi, then shakes
her head and tries again: You are very good.


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