Hopscotch 

Based on Nadine Aisha Jassat's spoken word poem 'Hopscotch', this film poem was made by award-winning filmmaker Roxana Vilk and executive produced by Amina - Muslim Women's Resource Centre, with support from Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre. Read the original poem below, or watch online.

Hopscotch was screened at the Women of the Lens Film Festival 2017, at the Edinburgh Filmhouse as part of the 16 Days of Action to end Gender-Based Violence 2017, and featured at the Stanza International Poetry Festival 2018. It was shortlisted for the Outspoken London Poetry Prize (Poetry in Film) 2018.

Hopscotch 

       ‘Alright tight pants?’

He says to me.

I am 16.

       ‘I like the way you wear that

                                                          piece.’

I am 23.

       ‘Nice puss ** **.’

I am not a cat.

       ‘Yowsa!’

               ‘Hey beautiful - ’

                               ‘Isn’t she

                                        Gorgeous

                                                      Stunning

                                                                   Bollywood Babe

                                                                                    I want you.’

Sat on the bus with a strangers’ hot breath -

        ‘I want you.’

I still feel his heat in my ear when I hear,

      ‘Sexy’

           ‘Pretty’

            ‘Beautiful’

                        ‘Fit’

                            ‘Stuck Up Bitch’

                                    ‘I’d give her one.’

                                                      ‘What’s wrong?’

                                                              ‘Can’t you take this?’   

                                                                  ‘It’s just a compliment?’

            ‘Where’s your boyfriend?’

‘What’s your name?’

                                          ‘Darling, I’d – ’

No
           ‘Has anyone ever told you, you look like Nicole Scherzinger?’

                                     ‘Has anyone ever told you you’re beautiful?’

Has anyone ever told you

they don’t stop

telling me.


They’re paving my streets with cobbles –

    ‘Are you Spanish?’

                ‘Are you Greek?’

                           ‘Do you speak Iranian?’

                                          ‘Oh,

                                                    You’re just another sunbed addict.’

No.

I’m tripping as I walk on

     ‘But your hair,

                     but your eyes,

                                 but your skin,

                                           but you don’t look Scottish,

                                                                                        and where,

                                                                                                    where,

                                                                                                         where are your family from,

                                                                              originally.’

How I wish -

‘How I wish I had your tan!’

                        ‘Is your Dad in the Taliban?’

                                                ‘You should go back home now,’

                                                                  ‘go back home,’

                                                                              ‘go back to – ’

Where?

                                     ‘Your mum.’

                                                        
                                                        ‘Your mum’s a paki lover.’

I am 14.

                          ‘Slut.’

She was 43.

                          ‘Slag.’

This isn’t just me.

 

These words, they’re like Tuesdays,

there’s one every week.                                                            
 

I’ve held them between pressed palms

and Yale locks.
 

Consulted them like a guidebook

to my own hometown.

Clenched them tight in fists that now mark the imprint of

nameless men trying to name me.

I stare hard at hands and fists and feet

don’t walk don’t look don’t think don’t be -

that key in my hand turning a lock in my throat - don’t

feel another man’s teeth as I walk these streets

of you and me, yet

I exist, somewhere between

                                 ‘are you Asian?’

                                                            and

                                                                     ‘Nice tits!’

And let’s just name the problem here:

these streets I’ve walked I’ve walked in fear,

and never once have these words begun

in a woman’s mouth.

 

Still,

I’m leaving them here.

Copyright Nadine Aisha Jassat (Nadine Aisha)

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Photography by jmbarlow.com