Tag Archives: poetry

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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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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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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Filed under sexuality, 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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