Poem by Amber Wheatley


My people are like firewood
Fresh firewood
Filled with so much potential
From a single glance
You can imagine a great roaring flame
You can smell the cooking of meat for feasting
You can hear quick feet dancing around them
But my people are like firewood
And firewood cannot cook meat for feasting
If no one lights it
And firewood
Cannot light itself

My people
My people are lazy
Victims of success
Their stomachs are so full
That they worry about nonsense
Like paint
And playgrounds
And parks
They are so lazy that they
Don’t do anything
And then complain
When someone else does it for them

My people
Are like children
Being walked to school
With the Government holding their hand
In that loose but firm way
That says
I don’t want to lose you
But I cannot wait
Until you can do this on your own
But like the adults that refuse
To leave their parents haven
My people complain to the government
Whenever life happens
So much so
That the ones who really need help
Are being drowned out
By the moaning of a monster
Born out of affluence

My people
My people are
My people

My people
My people

And like a buttress
They support me
They are there to catch me when
My foundation shakes
My people made me
I am part of My People

My people
Gaze lovingly into clear waters
And look up
At blue skies
And say
Yea it’s nice
But I want more
I want my children to think beyond this
This is nice
But my people don’t just want nice

My people
My people are fighters
They do not just sit there and take it
Their mouth runs
Like water from a broken faucet
And perhaps
That brokenness
Is why my people
Are like firewood
Filled with so much potential
That you can
See a roaring flame
And smell the aromas of meat roasting
And hear the tapping of lithe feet
Dancing in celebration.

You can pick your friends
Family is given to you by circumstance
But your people
Your people are from God

Dr. Amber Wheatley is a fiercely West Indian woman from the beautiful island of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. Although her studies and career path have taken her to practicing medicine in the U.K., she uses her writing as a way to nurture her imagination and artfully express the events of her life. Amber’s interests outside of writing include the empowerment of ethnic minority communities and young women. She is particularly interested in using creative arts in public health education and community development.