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.
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.
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.
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,
a quick meet and greet later,
a latte with a filofax,
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.
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,
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,
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.
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:
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
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:
We all raise our eyes at the drones –
In many decades, our youth will explain
Why, when about town, they still walk with necks craned
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…
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.
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
Tagged as George the Poet, Go Home, Guardian, racist van