Category Archives: Spoken Word

Out of hand…

My latest poem ‘Out of hand…’

It always started like this for him,
beer in hand, everything in hand,
a few mates just having a laugh,
a vodka chaser, another quick half.

On this night though he was seeing doubles,
a line of then lined up on the bar,
another tequila placed in his hand,
as this runaway night grew out of hand.

Like other nights that had gone before,
everyone out drinking knew the score,
everyone having a laugh and another line,
the same group of mates out for a good time.

On this night, time had slipped away fast,
as each drank what they said was their last,
before lighting a ciggie that burned bright red,
producing a light that leads from bar to bed,

The night tried to end with the kebab in hand,
everything in hand although a little unplanned,
a stumble sideways as he enjoys his last smoke,
before seeing he’s been joined by another bloke.

‘Give us a drag mate’. ‘Nah, you’re alight mate’.

And with that he sees the end game of the night…

…the inevitable fight.

As this big fuck squares up all he thinks is fuck it,
before his hand digs down deep into his pocket,
in those next moments it didn’t feel like taking a life,
any more than what he was holding felt like a knife.

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Hollie McNish takes on Flo Rida’s ‘Blow My Whistel’

A massive hat tip to the spoken word artist Hollie McNish for this.

Her poem (below) is a fantastic verbal deconstruction of the warped sexual imagery that is too often found in hip hop. She focuses as a case in point on Flo Rida’s ‘Blow My Whistle’.

Please do give it a listen. But to enjoy her latest poem in its full play both videos at the same time but mute the sound on Flo Ridas’ ‘Blow My Whistle’.

Enjoy:

Innovative and clever. Hynd’s Blog likes it!

 

*I first saw this over at the amazing Poejazzi spoken word site.

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Filed under Gender, Spoken Word

Sexist searches. A look at the most common search terms on Google

UN Women has created a powerful new advertising campaign that uses data collected from Google on the most popular search terms related to ‘women’. The results are indicative of the entrenched sexist attitudes that still persist in our online communities.

This is just one snap-shot of our global on-line community but is sadly supportive of the documented sexism on other online projects such as #EveryDaySexism.

UN-Women-Search-Engine-Campaign-1

UN-Women-Search-Engine-Campaign-2

UN-Women-Search-Engine-Campaign-4

UN-Women-Search-Engine-Campaign-3

Please share these images with friends and family. As my good friend Angelique Mulholland wrote in the F-Word, both men and women need to be addressing this! Start with something simple like posting these images on facebook or twitter.

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Filed under Human rights, Spoken Word

George the Poet – ‘Go Home’

George the Poet is a spoken word artist. In this video he takes on the government’s latest pilot policy encouraging illegal immigrants to ‘Go Home’.

You can follow George the Poet on Twitter.

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Filed under Politics, Social comment, Spoken Word

The incarcerated nomad

A global nomad,
a no-man belonging nowhere,
desperately trying to escape,
another concrete landscape,
to  avoid another urban jail,
to speak through a medium,
other than posted airmail,
from one job,
to  another,
a quick meet and greet later,
a latte with a filofax,
income tax,
money back,
staring,
dreaming,
scheming,
to try and get the sack,
a sack back on his back,
so he can turn his back,
on this concrete jail,
push his boat out to sail,
He wants to rest his head on a new shore,
rest assured that he can actually rest,
where the air gives credit to the phrase,
take a breather,
this global nomad wants to go,
to another land, another place,
to escape the 9-5 rat race,
to sit back and take it at his own pace,
the impossibility of this though,
just goes to show his predicament,
and so, he is too often found,
in the bars, incarcerated, exasperated,
knowing nothing will see him set sail,
and let him escape his latest urban jail.

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Murray – my entire generation needs you to win.

Born in the 80s, an entire generation has grown up in sporting misery. Each one of these Oasis listening losers (myself included) is now looking to Murray with the same mindless optimism with which they looked at any other Brit that showed the slightest ounce of talent.

My generation – the born in the 80s but wore anoraks in the 90s – can summarise our childhoods with the combined images of Gareth Southgate holding his head in hands after his meekly side-footed catastrophe in 96 and Tim Henman’s year-in-year-out almost success. We are a whole generation for whom sporting life is defined by huge potential and then inevitable failure.

Tim Henman for example, once a household name in the 90’s with an entire hill at Wimbledon named after him is, in the cold harsh light of retrospect, a laughing stock in the commentary box and, in a twist of British self-deprecating humour, a synonym with male inadequacy in the sack (think crashing out at the semi).

But this up-bringing, with all the psychological trauma it entails, has raised an army of Brits marked by mindless optimism.  Against all odds, against anything history dares to teach us – we still aimlessly believe in any Brit (born or bred) that shows the slightest ounce of talent.

Take Steve McClaren and his merry band of over-paid under-performing fuck ups as a case in point.

Back in 2007 we honestly believed that under Steve McClaren we could not only qualify for Euro 2008 but actually do well. I remember being sat in a pub as the reality of not qualifying sunk in. The genuine sense of surprise from those around me was almost laughable. Everyone honestly thought we should, could and would do well. What parallel universe were we living in?

It is with nerve racking anticipation then that we now edge towards the final stages of another major sporting event with a Brit in good shape and looking, very possibly, on course to win. Murray plays the (gulps) semi-final of the men’s singles tonight at Wimbledon.

In a single moment one man has an opportunity to rectify so many wrongs. All those times we have limped off, held our head in our hands, slumped back in our armchairs…they will be confined to books of history rather than the contemporary watershed for our nations sporting success.

Worse of all, I think Murray realises the weight of this mad national psyche that rests on his shoulder. Last year, when Murray memorably broke down in tears while addressing the Centre Court crowd after losing the championship match, he said through his tears, “I’m getting closer.”

It’s bloody heartbreaking.

This army of failure hardened children of Thatcher are this afternoon going to flock to TV screens with an inevitable self-indulgent sense of expectation.

Despite being able to step back and see all this, something in my mind labeled ‘born in the 1980’s and slightly disturbed’ will click in and I too will be there screaming at a TV screen believing, feeling and anticipating every point.

It’s going to be a long weekend, but hey it’s been a long 27 years.

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An ode to a Scotsman from an English son on Father’s Day

Dad…well, where do I start?

The obvious place is your warm heart,
which rests in those chilly northern lands,
captured by memories of living in Dundee,
and yet with just enough space for little ol me,

Dad,

Forever a kid, I’ll be looking up to you,
my feet never big enough to fill your shoes,
and like a kid, you still lift me up high,
onto your shoulders, all 6 ft 2, it’s because of you,

That I still dream to the skies.

You see Dad,

All my human righting, the gay rights thing,
that’s is because of what you taught me,
your example shone and taught me to be,
the most tolerant man, and that’s why I’m your,

forever fan…But Dad,

I know this fan club is not an exclusive one,
and that in your heart, next to Dundee and,
of course, little ol me, you save a small slot,
for everyone you meet, the whole bloody lot.

But in this heart it matters not a jot,

That this son of yours is an English son,
who shuns the Scottish fun of wearing a skirt,
who backs the rugby rose before the thistle,
who with a plate of haggis seems so noncommittal,

but this Scottish culture of yours…he didn’t miss it all.

On top of every Monroe he appreciates what he sees,
as well as that Scottish attitude to an education that’s free,
but you see, there is nothing that this English son enjoys more,
than sitting with his dad, late at night, as his dad goes to pour,

just one more wee sneaky drachm.

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More spoken word from Hollie McNish

A few months ago I featured the wonderfully talented spoken word artist Hollie McNish on this blog.

Since then, both Hollie and her poem, ‘Mathematics‘ have blown up. The video has had over a million views already.

Hollie though has a wealth of material out there that deserves to be explored. She is as articulate as she is passionate.

So, here is Hollie on The Sun’s page 3 girls. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against boobs, but they don’t belong on page 3 of a newspaper. Hollie articulates the perverseness of it all rather well:

I would love to reverse things for a day
A short break for those who say its all ok
I’d have an MTV where every male celebrity was dancing on a pole in pants
While all the female, fully clothed, stood back, just singing
As they can, cos that’s their talent
For just one day
The women’s lifestyle section of the magazine rack stands would
See a sea of choice of topics
Not just cooking, home or looking grand
But politics and sport and art, design and science, top shelf porn perhaps
And watch as men look all forlorn and wonder why their lifestyle section is full of naked pouting men on cover
Licking gadgets in their underwear
For just one day I swear I’d scream
To see young male celebrities standing on tv next 2 50 year old female copresenters
Watching as this token eye candy giggles politely at everything she says
I said for just one day I would pay to see a newspaper take a double spread about what the president eats for tea
ten pages to talk about David Camerons choice of socks and hand cream
While focusing on Kate Middletons degree and how she feel about personal freedom
Next to images of Price Williams top ten jackets worn this Summer
For just one day I’d read the sports pages and undercover news reporting without watching as men gawp at 18 year old tits while I’m trying to make the point that women can be more than this
And page three licks should be in specialist magazines not newspapers anyone can grab and read and
For just one day I wonder what would happen
If there were airbrushed half dressed posed male teens on the front of every women’s magazine and airbrushed half dressed posed male teens on the front of every mans magazine
And airbrushed half dressed posed male teens on the front of every shop window
And airbrushed half dressed posed male teens on the front of every tv screen
And loads of fully dressed women in photos everywhere
Cameras staring at their faces in shoulder shots, their wrinkles photoshopped deeper like every male magazine man feature
For just one day
Music award ceremonies would award
Rihanna for her singing
And think about not giving awards to Chris brown
And women with amazing voices would be awarded for their amazing voices and they would show their amazing voices on stage by singing
And Men with amazing voices would be awarded for their amazing voices and they would show their amazing voices on stage by singing whilst also shaking their crotch and pretending to shag the floor, snogging other men with amazing voices while dancing around poles in gold stringed jock straps and swimming trunks
And lunging forward
And bending over with cameras pointed at their arses
For just one day I’d go to parties where the women, like the men, dressed for the weather and walked the high street to the club in coats and jumpers as the rain and snow fell down
For just one day
And for just one day
I might those men around me say:
For fuck sake,
I don’t like gay porn so why do I have to watch naked fucking men all day
I might hear those men say
Is it really ok to show two men in g strings pretending to fuck one another in a dance routine on X factor at 7 oclock in front of my sons
And I might hear those men say
Is it not enough that he is an amazing singer or rapper or songwriter and musician, why does have to wear a flashing crocodile toothed jock strap everytime he performs on stage
And I might hear those men say
Maybe, I might hear those men say,
Ok, I get it,
You’re not just on your period.
Perhaps you have a point.
Maybe you’re not just jealous of her tits
Maybe there’s more to this than you being annoyed by the way women are portrayed in the media.
And for just one day
I might wake up and not worry about my daughter growing up to be a women in this place where newspapers prey on teenage tits and tell me this is all ok
For just one day.
I’d like to see what those men who mock me say
If everything was the other way around.

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The whispered words of Musa Okwonga

Part of what I do at Hynd’s blog is to try and draw to people’s attention the people, poetry and issues that are important to me.

I am fully aware how limited this platform, Hynd’s Blog, is. But still, I keep adding to this platform because if you do not dare to whisper out loud the things that are important to you, they will never be heard.

Someone who whispers with more wisdom and wit than I could ever imagine mustering is the poet and journalist, Musa Okwonga. Musa has unwittingly been on-going source of inspiration to me over the last few years.

He has a turn of phrase unmatched and yet, inexplicably, he is yet to become a household name.

Let me give you a few examples of why I think he deserves to be huge:

I spend a lot of my time trying to articulate the blight of racism in football. I struggle though, constantly, to put into words the human stories that football projects without losing the impact and influence the game holds.

In response to Roberto Carlos’ decision to walk off a pitch after a banana was thrown at him; Musa articulated these imagined thoughts of Roberto in the first person:

I am a man first, and a footballer second.  I am a grown man, not an animal, and I am not a creature on display for your entertainment.  You have come to a stadium, to watch human beings play football.  This is my place of work, and if you will treat it like a zoo, I will show that this pitch is not a cage, and I will leave it.”

And thus he treads that fine line that I so often miss.

A second example: Whenever I dare to whisper out loud about something personal to me such as my family or my partner I instantly clam up with dread. Exposing yourself on the internet’s oh so very social platforms, is something that I think people under-estimate. Just as standing on a stage to perform takes admirable courage, so I also think, writing about personal issues online does.

Musa, in an ever self-effacing way, manages to both perform and write about the most personal of issues with a confidence and coherence I cannot help but to admire. Here I would urge you to watch his performance of his poem, ‘Passport’.

But, it is when he integrates this personal with the overtly political does he really come into his own.

At this point, I would urge you to watch his performance of his poem, ‘Love versus Homophobia’. It is an articulate outpouring of anger at the ambivalence, arrogance and anger that some people hold for his understanding of love.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the Vatican will be playing this on loop. Nor do I think the US or UK government’s will be listening to his latest poem, ‘Monotony’.  But I leave you with this because, he has dared to whisper these words out loud not knowing who will hear them. All I can do is echo them and ask you to do the same.

This is our monotony:
They bring the most hateful of rainfalls,
And don’t make apologies:
They send storms from the jaws of a drone
To slay those who’d take the USA off its throne –
So each day, we’re preparing for rain;
For these drops not of water
But rage;
Wait –
All you’ll hear is the hum as they’re closing
A teenaged male isn’t safe in the open –
So we’ve taught them to run,
Our daughters and sons –
Taught them something most terrible:
That here in Yemen, it is never wise
To gaze up and daydream into our own skies:
This is –
The only way, we are told;
That’s not so bad as it goes:
No:
Shattered bone,
Shattered hope,
Shattered homes,
We all raise our eyes at the drones –
And so:
In many decades, our youth will explain
Why, when about town, they still walk with necks craned

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An Englishness that appeals to me

Traditionally I was one who would rather sit on the fence,
take it or leave it I wasn’t concerned to jump to the defence,
of this rather dense idiotic abstract notion of Englishness,
but like a true Brit, against the odds, I defend this underdog.

Like it’s a demi-god I worship that afternoon cup of tea,
the crashing sea that laps up onto our shores for an eternity,
our punctuality, our sense of hospitality and our individuality,
this is what makes pride pulse through me, not the EDL’s idiocy.

You see, when those EDL thugs takes to the streets, to shout,
that those Muslims don’t know what Englishness is about.
What do we see, but those Muslims responding with, cups of tea.
What a fucking beautiful sight to see, an Englishness that appeals to me.

At the same time I listen to the EDL shouts, of ‘get those black cunts out’
and because they are defiantly not racist they clarify it aint the blacks,
they just seem to attract the flak, it’s those immigrants we want to go back,
it’s all those god-damn Pakistanis, corner shop owners, the free-loaders.

Well here’s the low down, and tell me if you need me to slow down,
my understanding of Englishness can be simplified to one question,
this question, asked when your chips are down and you’re nearly out is,
how’d you respond to adversity? With some anger and arrogance or…

a nice cup of tea.

Now that’s an Englishness that appeals to me.

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Filed under Far-right politics, Social comment, Spoken Word

Losing count

Speaking to no-one in particular, he says she’s spoken for,
but wanting something more her young heart breaks in two,
inside himself, to no-one else, he tells her that she’s the one,
but it’s been too long since he has spoken these three words.

Back home, she opens her mouth, and his anger and fists begin to rise,
she closes her eyes, and tries to hide, to put all of this out of her mind,
she pictures in her mind’s eye the softer touches of other calmer nights,
as she reaches out, with pleading in her eyes,  he reacts back, and

That was that. .

The morning after, her cheeks are bruised and smudged with mascara,
she goes to work and thinks of nothing but him and her cracking heart,
she knows her mind is crumbling and it’s not just her bodies that suffering,
there and then, she says, enough is enough, I won’t take this no more.

He stops in his tracks, he’s been walking the streets running from himself,
his mind is dwelling on the job he doesn’t have, and his fists are swollen,
He stops and stares, but does not dare, to dwell on his aching heart,
that is overflowing with the shame. Who is this man that he has become?

With his body numb, and this thought dwelling on his mind, tears starts roll,
down go his defences and down goes the possibility of carrying on as if nothing,
is going down. His hands tremble and his legs give way. Sitting there slumped,
he knows he can’t get much lower, and so he too decides to lift himself up.

Staring at her own front door she resolves that she’s worth something more,
turning on her heel she takes hold of herself and her trembling hands,
she strides with small steps away from her house and her home, all alone,
she walks and turns the corner of her street and her life and resolves that,

never again will he cause her mascara to streak….

Turning his keys, he realises his hands are shaking and his stomach is turning,
with flowers in hand, bought with an empty wallet he wipes away his tears,
stepping over the doormat, he resolved this would be the fresh start they need,
he drops his car keys onto an empty hallway table where her car keys should be.

The silence engulfs him. Finally, whispering to no-one, he says those three words,

she’s the one, and there and then, his heart starts to break in two.

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Respect

These are some thoughts on respect…

You talk too much about this word, respect.
You and your rude boys who run the street,
worried about getting respect in the eyes of your crew,
all the time using, abusing and excusing this notion,

respect.

You see, you neglect to respect those who walk,
on the other side of the street that you run,
you neglect to respect those who stay,
in their houses once the sun has set cos,

of your violent understanding of this term,

respect.

You see, my respect for you is gone,
when you see the street before,
the person who walks the street,
when you respect nothing but respect

You see, my respect for you is gone,
when your drive for respect sees you,
running from  another idiot with a knife
who has no understanding of this term,

respect.

So let me tell you about how I see this word,

respect.

Although it is bounded around on the street,
it starts next to the beat of a man’s heart,
you see it when you look into your own eye,
You see, it’s not about your boys or your crew,

just you.

You see respect in others who walk the street safe,
in the knowledge that their biggest concern is,
they’re latest attempt at some romancing, not,
constantly glancing, at what’s over their shoulder

Most of all though, my respect for you
rests on one simple question,
Can you hold a conversation with my ma,
with out her worrying who the fuck you are?

Cos in the end, it’s as simple as that.

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