New poetry from our subversive Poet-in-Res
The below came in response to Yinka Shonibare’s piece, as I realised any kind of interpretation of art usually says more about the person interpreting than the actual piece of art! Hence the title…
Ekphrasis as self-portrait
Here they hover
grasping for some of me
lord and lady
wear white gloves
to soften the touch,
foreground the contrast
leave no prints, protect
them from what they are scared to want.
His searching fingers
steal a melancholy tune
out of ivory notes
Five forebears of empire
stare out of guilt gilded frames
the gold of glorified trespass.
Though they sing
the chamber is ablaze
and the suffocating weight
of contaminated air.
Note my mouth is shut
theirs hang agape,
jaw muscles relaxed
by the freedom of denial.
Trawling through Theresa’s tweets was uninspiring, so instead, I got stuck into the Conservative Party’s Manifesto (a vague but interesting document) and translated some key lines in honour of the retrospective poem. A retrospective poem is one which offers a mirror image of itself. Taking some creative license I conjured up mirror images of lines from the Conservative Manifesto, like when as a kid you’d write something backwards in a notebook and reveal the hidden message by holding it up to a mirror! 😛
Tens of Thousands
“Forward together our plan for a stronger Britain and a prosperous future”
Backwards alone my scam for a weaker people and a dystopian future
“Without a strong economy, we cannot guarantee our security, our personal prosperity, our public services, or contented and sustainable communities.”
Without lower tax for corporations, I cannot ensure mine and my chums wealth, our personal prosperity, privatised public services or crushed and disenfranchised communities.
“We need to respond to the reality of an ageing society, giving people security in old age and caring— ”
We will govern in the interests of ordinary, working famili—
Scrap free school meals
“we will make Britain the safest place in the world to be online.”
we will keep tabs of every single thing you do online.
“we also need to take steps to protect the reliability and objectivity of information that is essential to our democracy and a free and independent press.”
Keep giving me slots on Good Morning so I can talk about my expensive shoes.
“It is our objective to reduce immigration to sustainable levels, by which we mean annual net migration in the tens of thousands”
It is my objective to reduce immigration to sustainable levels, by which I mean undermine the NHS and its workforce.
Though I opted out of subverting Theresa May’s tweets, my friend and fellow Barbican Young Poet, Malakai Sargeant set up this great writing challenge asking people to write in response to photos of Theresa. See below for some hilarious and/or hard hitting responses: