Basketball poetry? Really?

Got a small new poem for you, written from a workshop with the prolifically superduper Jacob SamLa Rose at ARC Stockton last week. The workshop was part of Fuel Theatre’s outreach activities for their new touring spoken word show, The Spalding Suite, a physically spectacular piece built around a series of poems by Inua Ellams and other poets, and all about basketball. I wrote a review of the show, which I’m now keeping with all my other reviews from here on, at Tumblr.

there is a ball in your hand

grey as fingernail gunk

red as old blood

a severed head in a lizard’s crop

scrape the raised grain

use one hand to balance

to contain

the curvature

feel the horizon with your furthest whorls

it is the size of Jupiter

you are on alien land

coloured tape parcelling pitches

foreign scripts, hieroglyphics

there is a ball in your hand

it wants to fall

drop it and the planet throws it back

your dumb hand back-turned to the slap-back

elastic transit surprises when the core is so, so black

it is denser than physics

it want to eats the earth

it wants to bounce

keep a short leash and run after, child

it is a wolfhound, shoulder high

it is a steeplechaser, where is your bridle

when it leaps?

you knew it would unseat you

there is a ball in your hand

and you have neither the arms

nor the legs

nor the heart

for everything it wants

of you

Ekphrastic project – Conflict and Conscience

The second of my poems for art crit magazine Corridor 8 went live a couple of weeks ago, but I’d like to bring it back to your attention now. Why? Because it’s a response to the exhibition ‘Conflict and Conscience : British Artists and the Spanish Civil War‘, running at the Laing Gallery until 7th June, and May Day weekend seems an appropriate time to nod in the direction of socialist struggles past and present.

I’d really just like to encourage you to see the exhibition if you can. Not only are there some really strong works, including Picasso’s ‘Weeping Woman’, but it is full of inspirational women. Women artists who fought and died, women who served the rebel camps and fed the insurgents, women who were passionate political and military leaders, women who sewed vast celebratory tapestries in remembrance of their comrades, women who made the heart-wrenching posters that ensured aid went to the victims of the conflict, women who got off their arses and started charitable foundations to secure the safety of orphans when our pathetic government of men refused to take in refugees, women who learned how to run ambulance services in blitzed cities, women, women, women…

Atlas was a woman…