Grow up to be gentle,
be a citizen,
be a listener,
be a shield, and be shielded in return,
be a song, and be sung to in return.
Be a helping hand, not a stomping boot – not a striking fear kind of guy,
not a “it was her own fault” kind of guy,
not a complicit kind of guy,
not a dangerous and sly kind of guy, who’ll expect everything and deserve nothing but to be taught a lesson.
on brilliant skin,
Brilliant mind beneath,
Fizzing with electric ambition –
And on the train it was chockablock,
And as the beat dropped –
Through the white wires,
The brilliant mind froze into liquid terror
At the touch of a fist too hard and too unexpected for retaliation or defence, or a dodge.
And so the brilliant mind became unbrilliant – slodge.
At night, towns feel different.
Things happen in a different way.
I have vivid memories of traipsing round towns feeling bizarre,
feeling detached because something strange or heartbreaking’s happened.
Weird chats happen in smoking areas and outside toilets.
Glass thrown about,
Feeling vulnerable in a sea of faces.
People’s eyes change.
Darkened rooms and arguments you wouldn’t like to come back from.
True fears unleashed as they squabble and blub out words
Lips release them into the night.
Knowing I’ve been through worse,
Helps me keep going.
I’ve dealt with cruelty and violence and fear,
I wouldn’t hesitate to fight back now,
Even though my arms are weak
I’d impale you if I had to, on something sharp.
I’d pop eyeballs to protect myself
And I’d scream so everyone knew.
I am so strong, I did a 3 hour exam sat just three seats behind you.
When I saw your block head, I wanted to drive my pen into your temple.
I used it to pass the test and that was a victory.
It’s a victory I’m here now.
I’m lucky I had people to help drag the weight around with me.
If the tables were turned, you wouldn’t have coped.
You have no excuse.
I’d love a divine hand to come down and slap you silly.
I want you to know you’ve done a bad thing,
I’d like you to really feel it and know it was from me.
My gift to you would be that knowledge,
Your gift to me was a stagger and a flinch.
Your soul is marked, not mine.
I’ll grow violets among your violence,
How dare you raise your hand to me.