Tag Archives: culture

PoArtry: Round 2

Create and Share with the World, a cliche I co-opted from a commentator on the Playstation 2 Game NBA Street 2. For all it’s misplaced addition to the world of street basketball, it is one that I’ve held dear ever since. One that drives me to seek out collaborative spaces and opportunities.

With PoArtry I would be randomly paired with an artist then given three months to create a piece of poetry based on one of their existing works and vice versa. A 10 day exhibition would take place which included a dedicated poetry reading. I’ve now entered two of these projects, the latter which finished on 10th February 2020 being tied into a literature festival.

The beauty and ugliness of art is laid bare by the fluidity of interpretation. I can honestly say that I did not know what to expect when I was paired with either artist. Both were stylistic wildcards that meshed with my contrarian tendencies. I was therefore excited when I started to rifle through their work.

Although both artists took the same approach in picking elements from my poems rather than focusing on the larger concepts, they yielded rather different results. Some may say this is to be expected because people are people. What happens when the artist’s explanation of their output runs in opposition to the poet’s convictions or vice versa? Do you acknowledge the piece for what it is or try to change the narrative?

When I consider how Derek who interpreted my poem described it, there is a delicious irony in the contrast between my message and real life vs the illustration in which I could easily be the villain of the piece.

I choose to let art be art. I choose to find common ground between the truths I subscribe to and those of others. As I learn, I find new streams of inspiration.

I challenged myself to submit to the art rather than make the art bend to my penmanship. I hoped that this time, the longest conversation wouldn’t just be at the initial stages of pairing or selection of work to use. I hoped that the artist wouldn’t just give me a polite hello on the launch night but (to this day) never acknowledge my contribution to the collaboration.

I wonder if things would have turned out differently had we had meatier conversations. It’s possible that everything or maybe nothing would have changed.

Ultimately I wrote two poems and inspired a piece of art that went on sale for £450. To buy all 3 pieces of art would have cost you close to £1200. The feedback from both Derek and others was incredibly positive. Although I wonder what a more traditional artist would create from my work, I am more than happy with what was done and hope to do many more.

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Haiku – #ALM

Watermelon smiles and trigger happy chickens.

Melting pot meltdowns.

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Filed under Random Poetics

Sounds of Blackness

sounds-of-blackness-cover

These are the sounds of blackness

If we stay measured by our grinding we’ll never sharpen up our axis

Scene stealers bring the heat but it seems we lack match practice

Not light on our feats, we’re dancers when we ought to be actors.

We stage plays until we’re lost in scrabble like crabs in a labyrinth

Quoting Lauryn Hill until our X -Factor becomes an ex-factor

Command and conquer has me on red alert with our allies fakin’ basement jax

Hipsters’ hula hoop with hegemony until free style is legalized and we remain blood donors

We say the onus is on us to own us so that we are for us by us

Yet mantras dissolve like sugar cane in coffee cups because nobody wears F.U.B.U

Its heir conditioning

We love a smiley culture, accepting urban as our synonym

Lost in the dark the loan sharks claim all the benefits

We do the mathematics while the denominator plays percentages

The N is friend and nemesis yet the beaten tracks remain pendulums

I’m so stirred by the barge pole to our differences I boil with my pencil tips

I question time while I mastermind stealing money from penitentiaries

There’s no full disclosure why we play Uncle Tom to get Meredith

Bludgeoned by the tomato in the melting pot, our fruits become vegetables.

Insanity is palpable when we become cordial, edible, diluting our primordial forces

3 percent leviathan there’s simply no denying the 97 percent are buying us.

Hoodies and patois mean gangster until the right people license it

I turn off the radio because folk only listen to what the pirates’ ship

Twerking their blurred lines old as the night sky

Don’t be naive as the promise of fidelity during a summer of 69

They may think they’re robbing thick; it’s more like shopping from Be Wise.

Do popular culture aborigines need a rabbit proof fence?

Questions posing for the picture I hate this i-coonography

Boys dancing in their Jordan’s we see no trainers like Michael

Worship at the church of struggle using perception as the bible

We’re making up the numbers

It ain’t fair ground with these Malibu minded

Coconut shy stunters

See though frames display anything, it’s self-love before any man

Soul raw like Tracy Emin giving birth to a tribe of Eminems

I fight for coffee’s place at the table and inhale the war of the roses for water has no enemies

Where choice is a figure of speech undressed by extra capital

We’ve all got across to bear, don’t call me Paddington

Survival tactics like silver back ants in Saharan Africa

Best work in the sun, rest in the shade, upgrade your engine room

I mean there’s no use plucking Garveyisms like the last feathers of a Christmas turkey hoping the message strikes when even the teachers aren’t learning

London’s bridge is burning; I’ve got Fanon, Farrakhan, and Martin Luther to listen to

Living’s a tough job we’ve got to make it out of the inner view

With these, the sounds of blackness.

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Gladstone 2013: I am Stoke

I was asked to write and perform a poem that celebrated the essence of my adopted home of Stoke-on Trent. This was  for an event called “Night at the Kiln” held at Gladstone Pottery Museum.   Having only 3 poems in possibly hundreds that have any geographical connection I rose to the challenge. The poem and performance are below

For just 12 square miles many arrive from thousands
Like carnival crowds bouncing, pounding the ground
Spending time here like it’s something they’re proud of
Cos our shadow over Alton, towers like Big Ben does the Thames
Yet Ben has no friends unlike Burslem who in 1910 gave birth to 5 daughters that matured as 5 sisters
5 towns like olympic rings on Staffordshire’s hill fingers
Angels of the Midlands determinedly insistent on preparing delights more than our nation could like
So we slow danced with ballerinas in brick tutus, waltzing with time
And for generations smoke like dark knights of the dining table patrolled the sky
See we are the iron butterfly and I recognise that
Many hands made the heart beat so that we could learn new steps
By 1952 we could finally draw breath, the stage was set, they had to fade from black,
No intervals it was straight into the clean air act,
She had to to clean her act up,
No smoking just patches of factories to see the mighty potters scoring
If time is really money this woman’s work is worth a fortune

Her shoulders have been broadened so that Emma could build bridges of polka dot porcelain over Trent’s troubled waters
From Steelite to Wedgwood we should now applaud us
I wish we could expand the borders so others reap the rewards of this city and her best work
We’re mobilising generations like a tectonic mobile network

Our net worth is working for us so I swim in this reflection
That I’m just potty about the potteries, I’ve been since the inception
If Stoke Minster blessed the marriage we’re the child of its conception
Babes of moulded clay on display beyond Hanley and Trentham

To pot banks we are indebted, we’ll never pension off our heritage,
Guarding it safely every day and year is our only will and testament,
Being thankful for how blessed we’ve been, What next? I hear you wrestle with,
For every revelation there has to be a genesis, gotta prevent an exodus

Pestering specialists for excellence, decadence without rhetoric
Go out and tell your relatives, 3 words that I hope will stick
I am Stoke
Our temperament of gentleness brought us to this pre-eminence
Now our inheritance procures sentiment and reverence
Stoke on trent is best at being more than a
Oatcake munching
Long ball playing, Eh up duck saying
Mighty mouse between two giants
Our blood, sweat and water ways are the reason why you eat from fine China
One night in a kiln, we are all now enlightened.
Now that you know why I know
That I am Stoke

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Who got tha Props

My umi says Shine your light on the world……
They made us hate our self and love their wealth
Shine your light for the world to see…….
Dear Madam Noire I want to be a world star
Hip Hop Hip Hop
We made us hate ourselves
Now we’re in rude health
It hits hard, hits hard
Divide by stealth
Now we gotta freeze hell
Big drop, Pit Stop,

I said
Do you know who hates black people?
Black people
In spite of a rich history we broadcast our misery
Our position be flippancy
If nobody knows the program why should folk love our frequency?
Instead of calling each other hoes and pimps why don’t folk play the game secretly
It’s Maybach Music
Never the corporation
So many crabs on the sure are we a cancer nation?
A plantation, with foundation
O#, so sick of sick with it I think I need some sanitation
Seems hate is our salvation
Why do we baptise in lies if we’re only saving face
I lift my hands in Oprah Praise
To Truth

Afro trendsetters only ever strived to be better
Yet we pray for equality like Eskimos for hot weather
Chicken don’t love eggs fried,
So hot under the collar it’s like your friend with your ex I
Speak life to race questions if we’re going to be winning
So many us and them mindsets we’re scratching records not spinning
Gunning, running and grinning, romancing and sprinting
Lancing the sinning when its really challenging perception
One true definition of blackness? Now that’d be immaculate inception

So mixed up we’re a mixed race with time to hate on the mixed face
Cooking souls like jerk chicken unless their hot on a mix tape,
Barack Obama, black father, white mama, married black so why bother
If he’d married Monica Lewinsky would he still be so honoured?
Why are we still so bothered it’s time I shot the songbird
Your weave comes from east Asia so you ain’t a boss you’re a product
A mollusc talking bollocks who strains for a look
Ain’t nothing worse than a half baked crook

So beat up by blackness I’m a maybe seal
If I love Garvey’s and Heidi Klums does that make me less real
Exercising demons for Jesus to take the wheel
Lets to talk about sex baby
Or I wont know how to feel because lately
All I hear is, it’s ok to like white people
As longs it’s the right people
Yet the way of these Chinese whispers I wonder if it’s ok to like people?
See lately…..I wonder could you be the one’s to save me
And after all ….
I promise to take the knives out my back when I learn to eat with your forked
Tongue
Can’t we all get along?
Respect one another?
I’m so enlightened I’m like Beyonce
Next album cover

I should of spat into a rubber cos you’d have heard me right?
Prefer to read me wrong
Someone could take me out tonight
Yet see for every open mike a brother’s lost his life
To a brother who got too hyped
Now his baby mother be turning dike
Wonder are the kids alright
Is the flash of a gun to be their only light
My fish for answers yields only tripe and I, I, I
Just can’t stomach it
I hate this function room
A bulb can grow or shine it ain’t just gotta be screwed
Just feed it the right food
Create the right environment
Administer a bit of discipline
Those rough edges will need less ironing

Being us it’s an in-fighting thing
Yet one we share with society is that
It’s scary that parent’s don’t even want to be parents
Rather children make an appearance in county court has new talent
We fed fire, get blackened, our George just lost to the dragon
I crack my egg in your basket stir in the mind of a mad man
Call on the piper of Hamlyn to fight the piper of gangland
Imagine taking some action, eschewing predator fashion
Beating kids at home so teachers don’t have to
It’s time to embrace humanity
Not everything need be coloured black true?
Seems all learn to smile so sweetly while privately hating you.
So being true to myself sometimes feels like pay per view
Tell me who got tha props.

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Filed under Race