A little anti gentrification poem in solidarity with Rare and Racy and their neighbours. Please, if you live in Sheffield, buy something from Rare and Racy. It’s an amazing place and they need the love right now.
Keep Sheffield rare and racy
Keep it quirky and unique
Paint all the walls with street art
Let the bricks and mortar speak
Keep Sheffield loved and local
Keep its history alive
Shop at independent businesses
And make sure they all thrive.
Keep Sheffield’s nooks and crannies
Where the weirdo artists play
Keep Sheffield City Council
From signing them away
Keep fighting hard for Sheffield
Don’t let it be denied
Keep Sheffield for the people
Not bloody gentrified
Keep Sheffield rare and racy
Cause if we can’t do that,
Get used to faceless chain stores
And a thousand empty flats
It isn’t what you think.
It’s not the “ah! plus one!”
You tack triumphant on a string of of zeros
To prove a point:
That we can never look at it up close it
Is always in the distance
So much of mathematics
Seems like that
“We know this number’s real in theory
Because its absence always leaves a shape
Of what it might be. One day we’ll have proof.
But not today.
Is very far away
But we can see
A distant shadow
Stretching out ahead.
It’s not like that.
Infinity is what’s between the numbers.
That familiar space
Where most of us don’t often think to look
Was never space at all
Infinity is what makes one, and one
Connect, becoming two.
The Angels came down here to slum it in Sodom
Check out if the city lived down to its name
(They’d heard terrible things in the prayers of the faithful.)
Hospitality, divine right of strangers in town
Was shown by a local with manners and grace.
A settler: Jewish, and Lot was his name.
The Angels drank wine and they ate of the best
That Lot had to offer. Because, from his door
No traveller was turned. There, but for the grace
Of God goes the one with a hearth and a roof.
But just as the Angels were put at their ease
Came a knocking and pounding that rattled the door.
And the voices outside shouted “who are these men?”
Have they papers, or permits? And what do they want?
Will they take up our jobs? Are they dirty? Diseased?
“We’ve a right to be told who comes in at our gates
To demand that they make themselves open to us
We’ve a right, with these strangers, to do what we want.”
Yes this was the sin of the city of Sodom
This was the transgression you’re blaming on us.
Not the love of two men, but the hatred of many.
So never forget who the sodomites were.
(Dedicated to Hull City Council)
Beggars can choose to be hungry and cold
In a way that will not inconvenience me
Beggars can choose to do just as they’re told
And to suffer in silence, where no-one can see.
Beggars can choose to consider how they
Might impact on the profits of businesslike folk.
Beggars can choose to go humbly away
Out of sight, out of mind. (Ask for help? What a joke.)
Councils can choose to think on, and ensure
They are not kicking someone who’s already down.
Councils can choose not to bully the poor
With their UKIP-themed colour schemes all over town.
Councils can choose to be fair and humane
And to help those in need over those doing well.
(But will councils choose to apportion the blame
To austerity measures and greed? Will they hell!)
Luigi is taller than Mario
And Mario can’t jump as high.
Sonic can’t swim underwater
But Tails can, and he can fly.
And it makes me wonder, sometimes
Though I’ve not very often said it:
Why do the ones who are just second best
Seem to get all of the credit?
It’s not SuperLuigi Brothers,
You never play Tails The Fox,
It’s always Sonic or Mario
With their face on the front of the box.
It seems to be more about who they are
Than what they can actually do,
And I wonder if anyone’s told them
“Your sidekick is better than you!”
But Luigi seems perfectly happy,
And Tails is a chilled little dude,
They never step into the limelight:
They’d probably think it was rude.
While Sonic and Mario always
Seem to need their names to be mentioned…
Perhaps when you know that you’re not quite as good
You need just a bit more attention.
So if you would rather be Mario
(Or Sonic) that’s up to you.
And that suits me, I would much rather be
Playing as Player Two.
Because (and I’m not being rude here
I just want to let this sink in)
Do you NEED your name to be on your game
Or would you prefer to win?
I felt bad when my friend Kate’s son Cai asked for a poem about computer games and we didn’t know any. So I wrote this based on a conversation we had.
Sometimes I have to be at an important
Work thing and my hair decides to be
And it’s like hey look everyone I’m ELVIS
And I’m trying to calm it down
And stop it singing and sneering
In my important work thing.
And then later
I’m like hey hair remember that
thing you did earlier?
And my hair is like
No whatever I hate you.
And I’m like
No really hair we are going out and
That whole Elvis thing would be perfect.
This is our chance to shine
And my hair is like. Oh
Oh NOW you want me to be cool
But you couldn’t accept me for who I am before.
If you’re embarrassed to be seen with me
When you’re with your fancy work friends
Don’t expect me to suck up to you now.
If anyone needs me I’ll be up here. On your head.
Doing an interpretive dance about rejection and despair.
Fuck you, Sarah.
As an experiment suggested by CN Lester, I’m trying to write poems based on visceral responses I’ve had to pieces of music.
Fun fact, if you put the pink panther theme music on a toddler’s lullaby mixtape it may well shit them up. Autobiographical.
Of songs and lullabies
To help her sleep.
Crept, creaking overhead…
She felt the discord
Breathing down her neck,
Hot, wet and full of teeth,
About to pounce.
The wrongness of the shadow
That it cast:
The shape that slid across the bedroom wall
The purring rumble,
And the creeping gait –
She froze, transfixed.
All night it stalked her:
Licking its bald lips.
Waiting for her
To dare to breathe again.