An encounter with borders

What questions were you asked?

Were they in a bad mood?

What forms did you have to fill in?

What did you forget?

How long did you queue?

What did they not ask?

What did they fail to know?

What did you fail to remind them of?

How much reading have you done on the subject?

Did you intervene when you saw the others waiting to be taken away?

Did you lie down on the tarmac?

Did you make a video?

Did you create a safe space?

Did you send an email?

Have you followed up?

Have you heard back?

Do you need another copy?

Shall I ask for another copy?

Is this your child?

Are you alone?

How was your border experience today?

Tell us about your border experience today.

I have yet to receive a reply.

I have yet to receive a reply.

I have yet to receive a reply.

I have received an inconclusive reply.

My reply did not take into account my legal status.

My reply did not clarify my legal status.

My reply came in a language I did not speak very well.

I was assigned a number.

I was assigned a number in order to enter a process of being assigned a different number so I can be an active member of the community.

I filled in a form to be assigned a number.

I was asked some questions and was denied a number.

I was told I am not in good standing.

I was asked if I am a person of good character.

My language was not on the drop down list.

My country was not on the drop down list.

My ethnicity was not on the drop down list.

My gender identity was not on the drop down list.

My sexuality was not on the drop down list.

My disability was not on the drop down list.

There was not enough space for me to write my full name.

There was not enough space for me to explain my circumstances.

I was advised not to disclose my identity.

I was advised to wait until it passes.

I was advised to find someone who will smile back.

I was told to wait in the other line.

I was told this was not the line for me.

I was spoken for.

I was told my identity.

I was told that the legislation is changing, and I will need to approach this differently.

I was strip searched.

I was denied boarding.

Because of me, someone else was denied boarding.

I took the place of someone because there was only one place to take.

The staff member told me, welcome home.

The staff member asked me what I am doing here.

The staff member concluded I required more documentation.

I had to translate a form in order to obtain a legal document that would certify my status in a different country.

I had to request an interpreter.

I had to stand outside of the fence with a hand written sheet and assign numbers at random, in the hope that some of them might be called in.

I was accidentally classified as an asylum seeker.

I was told refugees are an emergency classification.

I was told that this was classified as a non-emergency.

I was told I am not that kind of migrant.

I was told,’ you don’t sound like you’re from’

I was asked where I am from.

I was asked where I am really from.

I was told speaking several languages is a privilege.

I was told my language was not clear enough.

I was told to make sure that my child did not just speak my language.

I was told it is my responsibility.

I was taught it is my responsibility.

I was told I had to prove I was the person for the job.

I was told to participate in this research which will improve the services.

I was told to participate in this research will which gather reliable data.

I was told it takes time.

I was told to be patient.

I was told it will be fine.

My child was told that they have to choose one language.

My child was told that their name is not pronounced that way.

My friend could not come and perform this time around.

My friend had to get married.

My friend wanted to get married.

My friend felt they had no choice.

My colleague had to leave.

My colleague chose to leave.

Someone I know changed their mind about going.

Someone I know changed their mind about coming here.

Someone I know sends money home regularly.

Someone I know has received financial support.

Someone I know was not able to complete their degree.

Someone I know got very ill, and had to make a choice.

Someone I know wanted to share their culture.

Someone I know has had a brilliant time.

Someone I know is home sick.

I was told there are different boats for different people.

I was given a bad metaphor.

I was told this is for seasonal workers only.

I was told this is for high earners only.

I was told this is for those who can prove settled status immediately and with no legal process.

I was told I am exaggerating.

I was told about sovereignty.

I was told about multiculturalism.

I was told about postcolonialism.

I was told about another country’s inadmissible border practices.

I was told about border tourism.

The sentence normally begins with ‘in this country’.

The sentence normally begins with ‘how long have you’.

The sentence normally begins with ‘have you’.

The sentence normally begins with ‘under normal circumstances.’

The sentence ends with ‘limited capacity.’

The sentence ends with ‘key legislative changes’.

The sentence ends with ‘nothing else I can do.’

The sentence ends with ‘home’.

The sentence ends with ‘in your country’.

The sentence ends with ‘see you soon’.

The sentence ends with ‘don’t worry’.

We blended in.

We formed alliances.

We partnered up.

We held spaces.

Spaces were held for us.

We shared.

We recounted.

We got angry.

We forgot.

We smiled together.

We made work together.

We learnt together.

We opened up.

We formed alliances.

The Department of Feminist Conversations

The Department of Feminist Conversations is an intervention into contemporary criticality that seeks to broaden conversations about life and art through the perspective of contemporary feminisms. You can read our Letters to the Future at http://tinyletter.com/Feminist/archive.

Diana Damian Martin

Written by

Criticism | Curation | Performance | Political Theory | Philosophy | Poetics. Contr Editor @theatremagazine. Member@GenerativeCons Lecturer@RCSSD

The Department of Feminist Conversations

The Department of Feminist Conversations is an intervention into contemporary criticality that seeks to broaden conversations about life and art through the perspective of contemporary feminisms. You can read our Letters to the Future at http://tinyletter.com/Feminist/archive.