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100 THOUSAND POETS FOR CHANGE LEEDS 2016 Compiled by Siobhan Mac Mahon and Antonio Martínez Arboleda


All the poems are copyright of their respective creators as indicated herein. This collection Š Transforming with Poetry 2016 Design by Antonio Martínez Arboleda. Front cover image: 'Rebellion' by Zerozip (Openclippart) Back cover image: 'Pensamiento' by Laura Escriche Published by Transforming with Poetry. Leeds 2016 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/transformingwithpoetry Page: https://poesiaindignada.com/


Dedicated to those who suffer the direct consequences of wars, violence and environmental and socioeconomic chaos. Also dedicated to those who care about sustainability, peace and social justice and say it loud and clear to everyone, everywhere, all the time.


Contents Editors' Preface .................................................................................................................6 A Poem from a Child Refugee…………….....................................................................8

100TPC Event Featured Poets Your Bastard Child Saju Iqbal Ahmed ……………………………………………..………9 I am a Woman of the Light Carol Cooper ……………………………………….…....11 She Carol Cooper ..…………………………………………………………………………..…….13 Omran Daqneesh Asma Elbadawi …………………………………………………………14 The Haunting of Zephaniah Khadijah Ibrahiim ……………………………………..15 Healing Woman Khadijah Ibrahiim ……………………………………..………….……..20 Chapter 9 Ndawambi Chad Kambala ………………………………………..……….….22 Untitled Ndawambi Chad Kambala ……………………………………………………….25 Forgotten Memory Siobhan Mac Mahon …………………………………………......27 Rivers of Blood Antonio Martínez Arboleda ……………………………………..…..29 Empathic Evolution Akeim Touissant Buck ……………………………………………31 We are the Universe Akeim Touissant Buck .…………………………………………32


100TPC Participating Poets Rainbow Maker Ahmer Bashin .................................................................................34 On Niceonefrankie’s Tenth Birthday, 15th March 2016 Rob Baylis ……....37 Sonnet for Us Glenda Brown …………………………………………………….….……….39 Captives Sandra Burnett ……………………………………………………….…….…………40 Misunderstanding Sarah Cobham ………………………………….…….……………….41 A Tattered Rainbow Jane Cooper ……………………………….……….………………..43 Late Praise Jonathan Eyre ……………………………………………….……….…………….44 Homecoming Ravinder Kaur Kullar ……………………………………….….…………..46 Evergreen Joe Nodus …………………………………………………………………………….47 Creativity Anne Rhodes ………………………………………………………….….….………48 Gem Mabh Savage ………………………….…………………………………….………………49 Leaving the Land Baby Helen Shay ...…………………………………………………….50 The Off Beat Terry Simpson ………………………………………………………………….51 First Climb Hannah Stone ………………………………………………………….………….53 The Rags on the Wire Sarah-Georgina Sturdy ……………………………………...55

Echoes of a Spiritual Nature ……………………………………..……………………….57


Editors' Preface There is trouble in our planet: wars, violation of human rights, ecocide, racism, xenophobia, genocide, gender inequality, poverty, censorship, animal cruelty, political and religious persecution.

We have all become incredibly alienated. We hardly know our neighbours down the street, let alone our creative allies who live and share our concerns in other countries. Collaboration and love are being been replaced by convenience and ruthless competition.

100 Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC) is a worldwide artistic movement whose aim is to raise awareness about our man-made social, political, environmental, moral and economic crises.

Artists have an especial sensitivity and language, as well as a commitment to beauty, spirituality and truth and that is why Artists can and should make a difference in bringing people together and reinforcing their solidarity, with a view on transforming society.

This book was incepted as a digital initiative supporting the 2016 100TPC event in Leeds (Echoes of a Spiritual Nature) that took place on 24 September 2016 concertedly with Thousands of other Artists in the whole planet.

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We have included poems by generous Leeds artists who wanted to contribute to our cause. Some of them performed as featured poets in the event. The rest participated in the open section.

We have also published the poem of Solmaz Norouzkhani, one of the thousands of children from Afghanistan who live in Iran as war refugees. Solmaz knew about us in Leeds through Iman Ali Popular Students Relief Society, an NGO in Iran that supports children affected by war and poverty, and Tahmineh and Masoumeh Rezaeian. Our thanks and best wishes to them.

We hope this is only the beginning of a long and sustained beautiful collective endeavour. Peace and solidarity with all of you.

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A poem by a Child Refugee in Iran

Solmaz Norouzkhani

Imagine a child sitting on the side of a crowded street, crying with a mud-stained face. Imagine her when shedding tears like rain drops leaving traces on her face. Imagine her when no one would even ask her “what has made you cry?” When a war breaks out, every one concerns just about their own home town and home country. Yet, no one would ever bother to ask this innocent child whether she likes the war or not. When the child’s mother is burning in flames before her eyes at their own home and no one ever lends her a helping hand, no one would ask her “how does she feel?” When a child comes back home from school and sees her siblings dying under debris, who would ever ask her how she feels. When this little child waiting for her father to bring her a cute doll; opens the door witnesses her dad with a bullet in his head and a doll in his blood stained hand; who would bother to ask her how she feels. Are these nice pictures or the ones in which this child opens the door and sees her family cheerful and happy, and her homeland free from smoke and bullets? Now you make this judgment!

Solmaz Norouzkhani is a 14 years old Afghan teenager. She is a refugee in Iran due to war in Afghanistan. Translated by Mohammadjavad Gholami

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Your Bastard Child

Saju Iqbal Ahmed I am your bastard child, you no longer can ignore Over the centuries, I have grown into my skin Bones as white and strong as your own My scars may have faded Pain is embroidered in membranes I'm starting to appear in your photographs That you try and hide The basement has become too small My spine is starting to bend into submission Slowly breaking any faith I have left You know, that I know I only bow to my lord My tongue resembles you more Than my mother The sharpness of your words feel like I cut away at her every time I speak Distancing myself to what I was meant to be Rip away my skin taste the African, the Indian I only relate to the red in your flag The blood is still on your hands, drying Where is the union ...... jack, the Lord saved the Queen but not my family ...... jack I apologise I'm not as patriot as your native sons I will not celebrate the death of mothers land I will not support hate ignorance bigotry, I have big trees to climb However I will continue to grow

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In the backgrounds, of your award shows, your classrooms, in any industry. Until you notice how valuable and beautiful your fucking bastard children really are Love us before you're eclipsed by our shadows Your Bastard child

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I am a Woman of the Light

Carol Cooper I hear the voices of my sisters, my mothers, my daughters, my grandmothers saying unto me I am a woman of the light A sacred woman, sacred and whole Who once in ancient temples was respected and adored Now seen as a woman of the night As someone society needs to appal I am a woman of the light A sacred woman, sacred and whole Like the Magdalena, a bringer of love Her motif a symbol of wholeness and fertility And what it takes the goddess to be For on this path you need reverence and grace An ability to hold steadfast at a pace She feels the calling of my heart, its desire, its love, its yearning for sweet surrender Longing to be heard as once before Just like the calling from the womb that echoes in all women The soft whispers of the divine that call your Shakti forth Yet, her voice is also feared ‌. For once awakened her roar will shake the very foundations of all existence For she has been excluded from the norm, accused of sorcery; her super natural tendencies, her sacred feminine arts punishable in the past by death

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Her reawakening will rock your world, Awaken your hidden passions; shake loose the illusions that all is well She shouts forth that we as women are now free to stand in all our wonder To step forth and hail ‘viva la vulva’; to be full of our feminine prowess Yet, in a land that does not value the sanctity of blood that flows through her vessel I ask you Goddess how? How do I flow forth? And then ….. I take a breath…. And hear the calling… I hear the voices of my sisters, my mothers, my daughters, my grandmothers saying unto me Yes, You are a woman of the light, a sacred woman, sacred and whole You are vulnerable, You are sensual, You are a consort of life abundant On a sacred mission to be honoured and be Triumphant To aid those who choose to reconnect to their life force energy So they too can be all they truly are. And I say Yes…, We are the women of the light - sacred women, sacred and whole The time again is once upon us for our essence to be adored Step into the temple my beloveds The fierceness of your love is ready to be poured.

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She

Carol Cooper Do you hear her calling? Softly, oh so sweetly, edging you home Away from fears and doubts of being Of knowing your true worth SHE, the divine river of truth that flows through life I…….Can………See SHE, who masquerade as another, Know her intoxicating whispers as she caresses your soul Feel her grace filled essence, her majestic tones She softens your edges, Sheds outdated skins – Exposed and open to the elements I………

feel……..

Bare……..

Feel Free from limitations Expand into her loving embrace Know you will never falter again I…….

can ……

breathe ……

Lungs now filled with divine presence Capable of walking through life unscathed With ever step, Love and illumination flow Feel Her light guide you home

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Omran Daqneesh

Asma Elbadawi

We watch him as he motionlessly cradles his wounds Turn our heads to find something aesthetically appeasing What has the world come to? We know right from wrong But we choose to stay blind, dumb and deaf to the pain that isn't ours They are human And yet we cower behind tyrants Silently withdraw from our slander to shed a few tears Every time a child is woven into an icon We wear his pain for a few days until life fades his memory away Love they neighbour We keep telling our neighbours And we forget to tell ourselves We build borders and man our shores instead of breaking down stereotypes These Muslims don't adhere to law and order You hear the media chanting But we Muslims are the victims of terrorism Yet we are the ones subjected to rigorous checks And profiled at every corner How has the world become so enchanted by a notion of peace That only applies to those of certain faith and colour

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The Haunting of Zephaniah

Khadijah Ibrahiim

Duppy is a ghostly spirit from the dead and knows who to frighten Who say? They say! when night falls, and darkness simmers on porous wet n dry ground and you have to pick sense out of nonsense with no benediction to be heard, or the holy ghost nor a minister to pronounce blessings in Christ name Do not leave your home Do not greet anyone on the road or trust no shadow after dark, make no mistake of the power of a rolling calf, whipping boy, white duppy and ole hige. Who say? They say! Duppy join hands with Obeah. Obeah is magic of a different kind of heart, red eyes, with eggs, dirty powders, teeth and shells, Brewing rotten brimstone, calling up the dead to dance on you. Who say? 100 TPC Leeds 2016 ÂŚ

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They say! No one knows for sure, who works obeah magic but the talk is... Who say? They say! The talk is... Obeah works is the reason why Martha's big brother god fearing Zephaniah turn mad like a haunted dog, and tore down his house after his wife Sarah, turn vex, left him for the white man with acres of land stretching back to England. Who say? They say! The day it all happened, the sky turned a blacken hibiscus red, air laced with a rancid smell with no sign of the holy ghost. Zephaniah all foul mouth, cuss crosses and pulled down some bad, bad words from places no one knows about but the devil himself. He cuss so long and hard, till the depth of his anger reached inside the Catholic church like a row of rat tails, The congregation catch big, big fear, said he was haunted, 16

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folk fingers flipped bible pages so quick reciting psalms, so fast you could just about make out the words, some signed the cross on their head begging Christ to save him, and them, some flung holy water saying he was possessed by demons! Other claimed not even father God could help him. Who say? They say! The day Zephaniah turn mad like duppy take over him, was the day after Sarah exchanged a smile with the obeah man at the crossroad where the Poku people meet. Who say? They say! Zephaniah went to lay in his bed, and stepped on an egg, that cracked into the soul of his feet like the devils blood running riot up inside his body. Who say? They say! Zephaniah heard a deep belly rumbling sound come up from the ground, saw an iron dust storm 100 TPC Leeds 2016 ÂŚ

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of Shango's wrath and a trumpet player summoning spirits from the dead. Who say? They say! That was the day, he pull down that house to the ground, to the rhythm of dirty full belly, He cuss Sarah's name heavy, till words became fire turning to scolding ash and dead soot, he flung his foot high, beat bad his body, as if it was the tambourine, he played in church. The same day Father Clark recited scriptures, 'as a man thinketh, so is he' and chased him off as if he were a bad breed of dog and the devil in one body, the priest declared him possessed with a festering fear in the mind and body. Who say? They say! Sarah's white man catch fright, till he turned blue like a shame ole man, haunted by the story of Zephaniah's behaviour, he ran and left Sarah barefoot in the middle of the night, screaming ghost ah come and blue murder. Who say? 18

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They say! duppy dust blew in his eyes till he turn blind, that same night, a rolling calf ran him down till him dead. Who say? They say! Duppy knows who to frighten!

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Healing Woman

Khadijah Ibrahiim The whisper of mother Rebecca Was a of healing nature Bush craft they say, some say obeah, some say spiritual works practiced through phases of the moon Some say she be Holy as water, light of the tabernacle embodiment of an ancestral ghost, a sacred promise, sanctified by bush Practitioners, not given so easily,

She light of darkness, Darkness of light she be black as dutty tuff soil She be a blues beating pulse of testimony She be long necked, long body, long hands, Skin soft and thick as rubber boots Womb bound of Stories of the sick, the possessed, the haunted ones living in fear, She be a collection of odd things In odd places, Coming and going in silence, Where the bush grows thick 20

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Palm trees stand tall guarding earth and air She be like birds, sitting long on songs, She, an early morning communion, with her There is no bread or wine, To sip, just hope of new breath She be a woman washing out the dead, the curse of duppy set to make a man blind, light of water. Light of earth A balmist, turning leafs, bushcraft equating the balance Of dead and living shape-shift into Remembrance, slowly into Utterance, goddess of Rivers, the sea, in the Sanctuary, of her yard, the benediction is pronounced. Resurrection from a procession of duppies

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Chapter 9

Ndawambi Chad Kambala I awoke with a start, aghast taut ropes stretched cords force torn aorta of my heart, Hmmmm… I oughta shed these dregs of despair dipped in the genesis of Pestilent prizes comprised of misers and liars. I just… I want… I need… To untie my vices, A beaten blacks’ barren burden blinker my iris No way I can survive this? Too high on the tightrope that destiny lining? Member state membranes pumping same veins and capillaries, Keep anaemic memories of chained chiefs in Tainted grief’s seduction serrated it rains contusions in Revolution’s revelry, Bound in oceans of tearful souls; Drowned in droughts of frozen mould, Growing old are the shallowed lakes of my compassion, Strange fruit straddle the gallows, as we advertise aggrandised Stagnant mantras that Metastasize to Cancerous affirmative actions, relapsing are Our sickened factions of activists the catalyst? Tell me something, from where you’re coming did you foresee? (Poor me, poor me, poor me!) Riddled amongst the vines of those schemes, coke themed, Gold gleam sheen as the earth bleed, seen, (cuff me, cuff me, cuff me!)

Exercising demons – don’t need em any longer Weight of clarity the pressure praying for diamonds, Exercising demons fam they’re only getting stronger Feed em grapes of wrath our sour taste is timeless. Yeah, Bet it’s real, until I get a deal, delving through the killing fields, Ruthless glimmering steel piece on the mantle,

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My ends burned at both candles, devoured by the lions screaming damn Daniel. Damn fucked up an understatement, I’m done with patience, trusted blatant moral vagrants who Thrusted in our faces these flagrant paper racists, Parroting the greatest to put a carrot on a stick and make us chase it I hate this. Face it, you need these words, I call this a freedom verse.

On my knees, need blessings at my bedside, cos If a cat has nine lives does a coward die ten times? Father provided, pops cooking meals, always reminded, No props for being real, still, Shun the pain until your body gets healed, (mind) Covenants covering cheques and deals, No mothering, we’re just numbers and investors only interested in mills, Want us to slumber and cower, relinquished rights right? While “Jack Bauer” Takes power from flames fuel fumes of rouge pills, pity about the mood kill Did I mention you people are just investments? No idea of the mess we just stepped in, aiding and abetting, My temper pacing, aching, blazing, stressing, as the herd turns I keep a middle finger to the first world, Fuck a wage limit, the rage make us fidget, twitching We mentally stuck in the third, not bitching, just saying I’ll die chucking third digits, To any politician who don’t keep his word, concerned with Clutching his purse, the guise of a homie, insight realise a crony Decepticon, (gibroni) Well versed in lexicon that demonstrates your lesser place, So of course we better imitate, “the globe’s fucked up but the pounds alright innit mate” As thousands die our condition gets worse, let legislation litigate, And if the pen liberates, I call this a freedom verse.

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Exercising demons – don’t need em any longer Weight of clarity the pressure praying for diamonds, Exercising demons fam they’re only getting stronger Feed em grapes of wrath the sour taste is timeless. On my knees, need blessings at my bedside, If a cat has nine lives does a coward die ten times?

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Untitled 02

Ndawambi Chad Kambala A peaceful soul, (uh-huh) and yet, lately I’m invaded, rage pasted in chaste patience, A fuck you to the master, hate sent from wasted nations, plastered in ages Man I live in a curse to flip these birds, submerged in verbs; I feel a different groove, oh lord. I can’t hear nothing but the blues, The man in me has a code of honour; the boy in me hasn’t called his mother, I wonder. Sometimes it’s not your choice, sometimes it ain’t my voice. Holy hello’s bellow from the void, And though, I couldn’t hear the calling, Laying broken by the Fallen, Was ascension what it seems, was this worth the petty schemes? Damn, you forgot what it means, Being a human being… A question in realms, a question I keep asking myself, How far are you willing to delve? Pimping the things that I see in my Hell, gripped. I’m trapped in this wealth, shit, I guess self-abuse sell, this, digest it Arrested in cardiac, my heart attract a muse, Invested in party tracks and arty brats, my triumph nah man it can’t be that. All my favourites do it… so you might as well pass me that, sniff, The future a desk or an army hat?

(The winds have been singing a vision so hazy) nah nah fam it can’t be that. (The cadence of sin got the Devil to play me). He told me 100 TPC Leeds 2016 ¦

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He told me He told me Just get a feel fam, have a seat man, I know a guy that’s got x in o’s, You ever smoked Dam grade? Oh a hash man, yeah soft as a pancake, go on have a feel, Please I insist, you chill, we got it this morning, need a light, oh don’t be boring, mmm nice, don’t have to tell me I’m already on it, oh no it’s free, I promise, These teas that leaf, it’s my treat. Don’t forget the dip, it’s my recipe. Hmm hmm, yes? Oh my name! he hee hee, the fun bit, well you see, I’m a stockholder, of sorts, Good Lord No not for a company, per se, my good man we’re more of a club, and today, I can’t hide my excitement, You, with your inimitable joi-de-vivre are invited to our premier package! You see a life spent hunting this cabbage, puts a serious strain on the soul, So while your spirit’s been lifting all this baggage, We checked it into our logs, what’s wrong? My dear boy you are just another cog, In a much bigger game, and for the fame you picked this day to perish, Sweet Mary in these moments I cherish, the realisation, a satisfaction I can’t embellish, This is the Eternal Pit, the Dark Crucible, welcome young brother to the throne of Lucifer.

The winds have been singing a vision so hazy, The cadence of sin got the Devil to play me. The man in me has a code of honour, The boy in me hasn’t called his mother, I guess I’m just a man with a different groove, Oh lord, I can’t hear nothing but the blues

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Forgotten Memory

Siobhan Mac Mahon Let us grieve for the broken body of our Earth, For the pillaged devastation of our despair, Crying out in her agony Her legs splayed open wide And all her treasure plundered. Let us cover our naked bodies In the ashes of our dead and weeping Kneel upon this blessed Earth Sending up a great lament Imploring her forgiveness. For this is our body, This is our blood, Only we have forgotten. We have forgotten The place where prayer Opens softly in the darkness Of our bodies humming With sweetness, the place Where every cell and fibre of our beings Is ringing out an Angelus, An Alleluia chorus, an Ave Maria. Let us remember The deep well of our belonging The Holy Mystery of our lives And let us dream 100 TPC Leeds 2016 ÂŚ

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A new world into being. Let us dream A new world into being.

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Rivers of Blood

Antonio Martínez Arboleda We are all provisional in this world, And in these islands. Even those who still live In their very delivery room Attached to the stirrups of the bed Onto which they were expelled From their mothers’ womb. Those who still haven’t mopped up their amniotic fluid. We are all provisional in this world, And in these islands. Even those who behave Like if it was their own merit To have been born In a certain spot, Like a (sweet) potato who takes credit For the choice of the plot where she was planted. We are all provisional in this world, And in these islands. Even those who planned very carefully Where precisely to move Using a spreadsheet to calculate The lowest income tax And the highest wage for their trade. Even those Who simply ended up Overstaying in a green and kind place Where they arrived by pure accident (Which is actually what happened to me). 100 TPC Leeds 2016 ¦

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Even those who saw themselves Forced to flee their place of birth, Sieged by the chaos brought about By hunger, war and capitalism, Those who hide from misery or death. Even those who simply dream with new faces, New horizons, new air. We are all provisional in these islands, And in this world. Because we are the Rivers of Blood Feeding the Oceans of Hope.

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Empathic Evolution

Akeim Toussaint Buck Everyone is afraid of everyone else. Married to our anxiety, Bad for our health. People scared to scream for help, Scared to dream Scared to feel Scared to speak. You will find strength, Even when you feel weak. Strength is honesty to self, In turn sharing honesty with the rest of self. The humbling stumble from your high point Crumbles your ego to expansion. Ego is not big, ego is..... It is not shed, rather expanded to be appreciated differently. Empathic evolution occurs when self recognise reflection. We, exist as the next step from I. Realise the one within all, That all is without separation. You always were and always will. It is in realising this that hurting others becomes a none existent idea. As in the act of hurting another we hurt ourselves.

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We are The Universe

Akeim Toussaint Buck Come Come, Gather with the strength of love. Humble Concrete Jungle Rustle ones' life with pain and strife no longer We are here now, Now Here forever more So of course the only intention is to love and be loved It cannot be ignored Laugh at prejudice Laugh at war Not to dismiss the seriousness of such a way But to see it and release it As a resisting force stopping love from being the way Stand Up to prejudice Stand up to war By creating spaces of transparency, empathy and compassion Spaces we can all laugh and enjoy Humanity is an adventurer, exploring all it was made from No need for separatism through identification Blood runs through I like the Earth's lakes, rivers and oceans. They have been birthing life for millennia Who are we? Just a spec of the ultimate observer, Universal Self manifest as a window of awareness, Covering nakedness with; shirt, pants, shoes, dress. Awareness has been 32

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Awareness being Creating Life since Universal Birth.

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Rainbow Maker

Ahmer Bashin Falling bombs, exploding walls, a faceless child, a weeping grandfather. Emptiness where there should be eyes. Oh rainbow maker in the sky, Over grey stone and crumbling man, Bring light to every inch of our land. In twinkle light and softened stone, these walls protest, these words are told. They bring me food from their kindness, Holy words to shame me down, You test me now, I love you still. You see, I know because he showed me so, He showed me so, because you showed him so, The baker’s boy, my heart, my soul. Their eyes are fierce and firm, back of their eyes are confused and scared. They covet a simple life, This simple life they take from us. They do as they’re told. They will lie. This love; they don’t understand. Their minds are surely gone. When they hung our chairman in the square and shot our fathers, Stole our sisters, I spoke to the baker’s boy for the first time. Oh rainbow maker in the sky, Your mercy is love, I see that now. You brought him to me, these golden hours I lived. 34

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While I cried, the baker’s boy paid for our fathers to be carried inside. He sang softly to soothe our blood, his tears worth a thousand years of love. Our fathers shared the same sermon, We shared the same mosque, we ate from the same plate. I prayed by his, he laid flowers on mine. When they bombed our grieving mothers, The baker’s boy lifted me up from the rubble. We ran to school to save our sisters and brothers. Few days passed. And they were gone. Each day was hard, each night was long. The baker’s boy made home in my broken home. We watched the streets for sniper fire. Some would live, some would sick air from our lungs, some would make us cry. We hid behind broken doors and abandoned homes. He would hug me then, his body heat made mine. I hear voices now, my heart quickens. I am on my feet. My eyes adjust in golden heat. They tell the people that I am wrong, Brothers and sisters, when love is real, chastisement is never cold. Can you see my smile is real? Free your minds, find your souls. Oh rainbow maker in the sky, My silence is yours, my tears are his. Give me reason to live. 100 TPC Leeds 2016 ¦

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I used to wish I was born a girl, He shielded me from falling stone. His green eyes and softly words, Prove he loves me for all he’s worth. Oh rainbow maker in the sky, Are these your children to toss me down? I stand up on this ledge with pride, Noble hearts are never old, Heavy hearts are mostly cold, Love can heal a thousand fold. Believe in courage, believe in hope, The baker’s boy showed me so.

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On Niceonefrankie’s Tenth Birthday, 15th March 2016

Rob Baylis Niceonefrankie sustained an injury in the fifth race of the day and was sadly put down due to the nature of the injuries he sustained and our thoughts are with his connections. (Sophia Dale, Communications Manager for Jockey Club Racecourses South West, on the Cheltenham Festival day 3, 17th March 2016) My trainer knows the stakes When she talks in riddles, Pats my cheeks, ruffles my hair, Makes me draw circles in dust. So does the man on my back When he hits me with that pain thing, Pushes my bones faster, closer to the fall. On a day when crowds will swarm and hats swagger, I will stumble into an acrobatic contraction. My bone will bend, shatter, splinter through flesh. I will escape the slaughterhouse To be shot in the head instead. Charlie will break his arm, rest in a hospital To be made ready to ride another to the bullet. And what of the Old Carthusian Racing Society, The Charterhouse nine who claim my life as theirs? My trainer, my other connections, the watchers too? They will still pop champagne corks Grip bottles by the neck in sashayed clenched fists, Glasses ready for the finish. They will mourn their lost investment, their bets, 100 TPC Leeds 2016 ÂŚ

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But they will not be seen In my cortege to the knacker's yard.

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Sonnet for Us

Glenda Brown When thoughtlessly I turn to meet your eyes, The ripest recognition floods me through, In blind and helpless love, my old world dies, Calling to question things I thought I knew. The new life sucks us in, we have no choice, No chance to mull “could this be my true love? How do we differ? Will it be their voice I’ll tune to all my life, or get sick of? Time deals out destiny’s relentless hands: Would we have looked away, if we but knew? You cry “No! we must live by fate’s commands, Hold tight our nightly vows of “I love you”. So now we battle on, and as I dim, You care for me, and though I sink, we swim.

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Captives

Sandra Burnett She fills the corner, allows her little one centre stage. Her beggar bold eyes hold mine for what seems an age and when she releases me from her gaze, she stares into middle-distance, as if calculating the sum of our difference. I consider her breasts more like a gran’s than mother’s, and when she stirs her body is lumbered with cramps. Does she ache for green canopies? We are both female but there is a glitch in my DNA, I communicate with language. Swift as the poacher’s dart she rears at the front of her cage. A black whip arm loops her baby. She returns to her corner.

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Sarah Cobham Why is it that when a woman says no, it is seen as the beginning of a negotiation? I say, “I love exploring and experiencing new cultures and people.” You think I say, “Before I sat in this seat next to you, there was nothing interesting in my life.” I say, “The songs of Georgia move me, haunt me.” You think I say, “I am a slave to my emotions and do not know my own mind.” I say, “I have been hurt by Georgia, but I am trying to forgive her.” You think I say, “I am waiting to be rescued by a strong man, who is not Georgian.” I say, “I am saddened by the way women are treated in Georgia.” You think I say, “Can I visit you in Turkey, so I can see how a real woman should behave?” I say, “I am tired; it has been a long day.” You think I say, “Of course you can wipe the smudged mascara from under my eye with your spit-moistened thumb.” I say,“Well, thank-you for your company and interesting conversation on this flight.” 100 TPC Leeds 2016 ¦

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You think I say, “Thank-you for giving me your business card. I will call you and we can have meaningless sex.” I say, “Goodbye and good luck.” You think I say, “Please can you take my hand-bag and my rucksack from me, and carry it through the entire terminal until we get to passport control, because I’ve been waiting for someone to relinquish my identity to.” I think, “You knob.” But instead, I smile. Tightly. I say, “Goodbye.” But still, you ask me to call you, your sweaty palm pressed into mine. I do not smile. I say nothing. Your eyebrow twitches at me. Perhaps you will excuse me then, if to make things simpler, I say, “Look, just FUCK OFF!” So there is no chance for your continued

Misunderstanding.

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A Tattered Rainbow

Jane Cooper You lived for a global village and universal truth You always raised an eyebrow, gently, and never the roof. Once upon the boulders of your shoulders I crash landed onto your knee – You always knew how to navigate, the very best paths for me. The care home smelt like a stale biscuit tin Used to roll patient’s lost marbles in. The old stock was reduced down to the jelly of humanity But Eau De R.A.F. remained true essence of my Daddy. Paying the carers in Barley Sugars for what little you needed Smilingly, they soft soaped away rogue raspberries, wherever they had seeded. A trifle inconvenient was the custard and creamed tie And the faulty aim of aftershave, you squirted in each eye. Your forever waving hanky parachutes through dreams of old For our love is a tattered rainbow, over the pots of gold. Does your loyal Ukulele, sigh against my chair And its dust clogged strings embarrassed now, slacken in despair? For illness doused your dignity when it filled Christmas slippers with wee, But the lava of our love now, surely pisses on such pity? Your glass half full is within my grasp to be quenched And beyond the horizon of death, see, my heart in yours is clenched.

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Late Praise

Jonathan Eyre Praise him for tying his laces For a tidy room A washed face A buttoned shirt All the little things. Praise him for a poo A clean plate For playing sports For being strong For being a small man For achieving these things, For not being a her. She cuddles the little ones Steers the tearful to laughter Learns to read the emotions Knows the signs and social sense Puts up with load mouthed boys in class Tells others how it is Gets heckled in return Resists the roads Rolled out for her Persists in the belief that she is worth As much as the boys Is only praised if…………. She can walk the line between Good looking, sexy and slag. When were you praised for feeling 44

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When were you praised for loving When were you prised for smiling When were you praised for being You?

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Homecoming

Ravinder Kaur Kullar Homecoming Home has our roots wherever I feel at peace happy being whole body: loose, breath: deep, mind: still that is where my home is within

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Evergreen

Joe Nodus Rhododendron, and Holly leaves; shroud leaf-mould, ever-green; bare trees, reach high above; moss capped rock. Rosehip, & pink berries, spot, ivy-clad escarpment; water flows, beside the path. Clouds come from ocean; river from clouds; cycle unbroken; ever new. River, relentless; as time; estuary; entry, to real life. Fish, to sea; we progress; to the limitless. Beyond changing nature; vapour, condensation; sadness, gladness, Summer; Winter. Mortal feelings come & go; deciduously. Love Supreme; evergreen. 100 TPC Leeds 2016 ÂŚ

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Creativity

Anne Rhodes Does one go for the start of the world Or for the things that mankind has done? Does one go for the good or the bad, The small or the big, of those creations? To an ant, a new tunnel is really big But often ignored or not thought about. Tim Peake's view of the world beats most sights. Again – most folk rarely look where he is. Mankind should treat with the greatest care The creativity which surrounds Every second of his life from birth to death. Himself, the flora and the fauna, too. Nothing is too small or too big to count Everything comes under that heading. Mankind can and should help things along Caring for animals and plants and Man. Creative care of inanimate things Buildings and pictures and clothing too. Works of art made in yesteryear we praise We endeavour to follow examples made. Creativity's good, so long as it's kind. Anything cruel or bad, we should say “No” Or other's efforts will have been in vain. Our care will ensure a future for all. 48

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Gem

Mabh Savage 'Just get me one seed’ He says, his smile of sun Matching the glowing sky Spring’s first kiss For the lovely earth. He tamps down compost; The only joy in rot As I struggle To pick one seed From dozens To stop the snow Of little white flakes Lettuce seeds, Small spears of simple Satisfaction. Gem, they call it; Like this moment Diamond cut and crystalline Sharp forever.

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Leaving the Land Baby

Helen Shay …no one has a right to say that no water babies exist till they have seen

no water babies existing, which is quite a different thing, mind, from not seeing water babies… Charles Kingsley, ‘The Water-Babies: A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby.’ In the end it will happen to us all, lapping at our feet, cleansing away our carbon footprints, chimney-sweep soot-prints with oceans of dramatic irony. It will swallow our smutty limbs and lick over our stained bodies until we surrender to its seduction, float downstream to some new pool of water that was once Greenland. And we will each be washed clean –whether a Tom, a Grimes or an Ellie– drowned into what we all once were in Earth’s first womb. A water baby, back in some primordial soup sea, done–as– we–would–be–done–by. Perhaps the strongest amongst us or simply those with luckiest genes will eventually re–evolve, reversing Darwinian Lamarckism, into embryonic fish state, breathing again through gills, surviving silently below the surface. And if in a fresh sea-bathed age to come some humanoid– mermanoid creature is at last to emerge, staggering ashore on webbed feet as if some flat–footed newborn Venus, able to breathe again when air is once more methane–free, then let us hope that under water he, she or it has osmosised the old Victorian moral fable and shall -Magdelene-like in penance always keep those feet clean. 50

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The Off Beat

Terry Simpson You taught me how to hit it, that beat that cuts the solid four and gives the tune a catch fiddlers can play to. You taught me how to play that upward, backward strum against the grain. Playing on the beat is safe the machine beat, safe rock n’ roll (2-3-4)

“here we are and here we are and here we go”. It’s the fascist march

“Fatherland, Fatherland, Show us a Sign.” Playing off the beat is the possibility of dance“step we gaily on we go, heel for heel and toe for toe arm in arm and row on row, all for Marie’s wedding”. It’s the off beat beat that makes the beat that makes you want to tap your feet, that makes the heat. Martin Luther King suggested all progress depends on the maladjusted. If you’re happy with the way of it you’ve got no reason to shout. It’s the maladjusted who’ve got the frustration and the motivation to make the change. It’s the maladjusted will sort this sad world out. So don’t be afraid to step out of line, and be a lone voice, be out of time, saying the true thing orthodoxy needs to put it right and make it rhyme.

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The beat needs the offbeat like the sour needs the sweet, or the cold the heat. We should welcome the strange, and the danger it brings and the way it rearranges things. We should welcome the wilderness and the way it sings in us, and the brilliant things it brings to us. We should welcome the off-beat. In a world that’s dancing to the beat of a corporate elite, we are the off-beat.

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First Climb

Hannah Stone At night the bees are sleepy and not suspicious. This will be spiritual food, so when the harvesters have gathered (eight or nine of them to circle the tree) we share the words of the prayer. O Mother Bee, let me harvest your honey, to give to my children we chant, but softly, so the bees slumber on. Bare feet crackle on twigs as more men arrive. The old hands go first, nodding towards footholds, pointing out crevices in the bark that will span the ninety feet ascent. Young men like me with pounding hearts rub soft palms together, and stretch up towards the dark sky. I try to forget the night-curdling blast of sound as my father fell, years ago, splintering branches then his spine.

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For his sake I climb tonight, my prize not honey but approbation. Up, up, up, no light, nothing breaks the silence but the laboured breathing of the climbers. The tree quivers as we reach our goal. So this is it. Now I must twist, and drop upside down, to reach the nest. Fear has no place here, it unmans this sacred calling. If you fall, the whole village will catch you, and nurse your brokenness till death reknits your shattered self. I loosen one hand, then the other. It is time to let go.

Source: Radio Four Food programme 29 September, 2015 about honey collecting

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The Rags On The Wire

Sarah-Georgina Sturdy Looming like the shadows of Hope alive, hope lost Clinging to the wire Frightened, weary, tired. The sun continues to rise Ignorant to the deathly cries Of the rags on the wire Fleeing the soulless fire Which rages back home Where the mother lies alone A gutted grave groans Through the rubbled stones ‘Run my child, and do not stop Let a kindly hand hold you where mine cannot.’ Breath fast, climbing higher Be not another rag on the wire!

All around you bang, bang, bang As blood splurts from the hands of man,

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Scrambling for your life, no time to cry, Grieve for your mother or ask the heavens why All that you know has been blown away And no-one scrubs clean the murky-red stains Except the painter painting on silent screams Who will splatter your pain, your hopes and dreams Across the streets, on every building high As your mother whispers a loving goodbye. The wire cuts and shreds your skin And opens the wounds you feel within Your soiled jumper is left behind A reminder of the ugliest of times When some survived, and some just died The rags on the wire hung out to dry.

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Echoes of a Spiritual Nature Echoes of a Spiritual Nature is a powerful, sensory fusion of art, spoken word, visual projections, and a sonic journey including resonant sound layers, atmospheric recordings, song and instrumentation celebrating and honouring our belonging to the Earth

‘Echoes of a Spiritual Nature ‘premiered at the Left Bank Leeds in April

2016 to a sell-out performance. Kyla Dante, artist, musician and songwriter was the inspiration behind Echoes of a Spiritual Nature, which was created and brought to life through her vision and direction.

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‘Breath-taking and thought provoking work’ ‘A voice like liquid filling every space inside of the church, inside of me, reminding me of a deeper and an older knowing’ ‘Beautiful, Inspiring, Healing, a magical moment in time’ ‘a stunning performance’ This communal celebration, remembering and honouring of our belonging to the Earth was performed again as part of 100TPC Leeds 2016 at Seven Arts, on 24 September 2016. Without the determination and talent of the artists involved in Echoes of Spiritual Nature, this compilation of poetry would not have been possible. Echo Collective members: Mick Berry (Bez)- sound artist, Kyla Dante, visual artist,

musician

and

songwriter/singer,

Siobhan

Mac

Mahon

performance poet, Sabrina Piggott – singer/songwriter/ musician, Caroline Scott - visual projection, Kate Thorne – costume and direction, Alison Wonderland - musician and special guest Akeim Toussaint – Dancer.

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Performers at the 100TPC Event 2016 at Seven Arts Centre Leeds UK

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Transforming with Poetry PoesĂ­a Indignada @Inkwell, Leeds (UK) 2016


100 Thousand Poets for Change: Leeds 2016