‘Go home, Polish’
11 May 2021
These are excerpts from photographer Michal Iwanowski photo-project Go Home Polish as published in our annual magazine Common Ground.
Walking by the Newport passport office, where I was issued mine two years ago. I’m smug and resentful in equal measures. I’m smug about the immunity to Brexit, but resentful about how expensive that vaccine was. But smugness takes over. There will be no more anxiety at the UK border for Michal, he will not be needing to explain his intentions on entry, he will not be needing to prove he doesn’t intend on crawling into the nooks of the black market, nor to suckle on the swollen tit of the benefit system. He will, instead, hear wel- come back home, mister Eee-wan-sky, consistently mispronounced and therefore reassuring him that he has, indeed, arrived home.
There’s an odd woman collecting rubbish at a car park, muttering to herself. She reminds me of mama, barking under her breath when she’s pissed off with my dad. Although this woman doesn’t make it look quite as cute. Still, I decide to engage. I tell her I pick up bikes that have fallen down if I happen to walk by. Looks like we’re both in a long time, but he is adamant I need a big break- fast tomorrow, if I’m to keep going. He’s on a mis- sion to do that for me. He’s nice to me. Even in saying my English is very good, he is coming from a kind place, and I choose to take it as a compliment, despite my knickers getting into the mother of all twists about it – as sensitive to patronising as a canary to toxic gases in a mine.
Calne. I stop for a fish and chips, served by local immigrants. The fish also turns out to be an immigrant.