Corpse

This poem was inspired by JB Barrington and named for the slang term from theatre – spoiling a piece of acting by laughing or forgetting lines.


buildings are empty
shop fronts boarded in hordes
shells to house the homeless
one would think
but The Man cares more
for what sells
the smell of stocks and shares
what’s the worth of a human heart
the crisis of prices and sacrifices
where council-owned cooked books
stink like the shit in the parks

Northampton’s high streets are in disarray
those tin-can buses always delayed
no space for prams in those brittle frames
a horse-drawn Stagecoach is all that remains

take some of those London pounds
and invest it in the shoe town
it’s not rocket science
spend it on transport and arts
stop filling the coffers of the bourgeois
and be gone with those potholes
give pounds not pennies
as that’s not hoarding
that’s affluence for the many.

Operation Android

I wrote this poem about my generation’s relationship with social media, simultaneously the most connected generation and most antisocial.


what does it take
to show people that being me
is not all that it seems
the tweets, texts and likes
you watch my socials
my rants on race, and the memes
I go against the grain
I say bye bye brain
to keep up this social charade
it’s a pain pretending to be okay
I’m not a person, I’m a thing
Yahoo, Google and Bing

you pay me in kind
I pay you in use
you pay me in anxiety
the stunned logos
of Instagram and Facebook
millions sky high
on reacts and likes
like my neck trapped in a noose

part of the most connected generation
that likes to Netflix and chill
the shrill of android millennials
so connected, but so antisocial
I’m so tired, my life can be shown
in charts, it’s patterned, global
in how I truly feel

Photo Credit: William Iven on Unsplash

if an affliction hasn’t been diagnosed
can I prove that it’s real
my analytics are hegemony
like religions, trial by media
altered millennial minds chemically

in this cyber flu
lives have terms and conditions
that media tycoons provide you
sacrificing real-life conversations
for syntax through a screen
comment threads, conversations
written in emojies and memes
vines posted for millions of hits
Snapchat selfies, Instagram selfies
the young ones call it lit

seeing the world on fire
has put my head into disarray
terrorism streamed to the masses
this is the social media age
I want light, happiness
and I’m not finding it in a screen
I want calm and order

but the truth is
artists need social media just to be seen
the system is a broken machine
where viral content speaks louder than talent

Photo Credit: Joshua Rawson Harris on Unsplash

I’m not a social media addict
but I can feel it numbing my mind
I don’t want to be a drone
but Facebook’s pulling down the blinds
I didn’t want to be lonely
but social media has us in a bind

this thing, I don’t want this
but this is the bane
of the 21st century artist.

For Coloured Girls

I wrote this poem for a Women’s History Month event inspired by a play and film called For Coloured Girls, from which it takes its name.

Additionally, it’s inspired from “Everything is Everything” by Lauryn Hill on her album called The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. 


should women of colour
talk of their prophecies
of what women should be
an extension of the he
living in their ideologies
like the Male Gaze
defined by patriarchy

see I think they should live in their own realms mentally
rule their own bodies and own selves independently
free from dependency
liberate their own minds non-linearly
like space, time and astrological lines
zodiac signs in meandering minds
as mine has a sting in the tail that flails like the waves

the women I know are non-linear like the seas
not intoxicated with psychological plastic
not obsolete like some academia, kinda like the Jurassic
built for them in a roar of hypermasculine noise

but then I see some on Instagram
that store insecurity like gigabytes of ram
Snapchat and selfie culture’s peaked
Mac, Chanel, and blushed cheeks
millions of followers, thousands of likes and comments
an internet haystack of memes and shitposting content

misogynoir on Twitter and Facebook
a prejudice against black women based on looks
from Question Time to Prime Minister’s Questions
both have used racism as a tactic of deflection
Afua Hirsch, Diane Abbott and Reni Eddo-Lodge
Amma Asante and Naomi Campbell in a backlog
of anti-feminism from their own people –
the movement that tells the single narrative of she
“the danger of the single story”
well-put and defined by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

black women like graffiti on council buildings
from Cleopatra to Queen Nefertiti
Angela Bassett, Boudicca and General Okoye
Coretta Scott King, Deborah Lacks and Andrea Levy
from Mary Seacole to the Maroons and Nanny

this is where women of colour meet poetry
they always had superpowers
see she turning pain into progress
Maya Angelou, Jill Scott and Angela Davis
Ava DuVernay, Patricia Scotland,
despite obstacles like fragile masculinity
white fragility and repressed black-male sexuality
also Twitter freaks and relentless racists
and sadists that live on timelines like a bad smell
got nothing better to do, let’s face it

Coco Khan, Gwendolyn Brooks
Rosa Parkes, Lauryn Hill,
Thandie Newton and Jameela Jamil
Hattie McDaniel, Viola Davis, Queen Latifah
Regina King, Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan
Sandra Oh, Toni Morrison, Constance Yu
in the howl of Weinstein, Spacey and #metoo

The Cobbles

I wrote this poem inspired from ‘Clocking In’ by poet Mitchell Taylor, in which he talks about the mundanity (yes, I made this word up) of retail.


Mom would drop me at The Cobbles
yes, The Cobbles, I went to a private school
a place of high fees and English smiles
and by English smiles I mean colonial rules

I’d be dropped off at The Cobbles each day
these parents scoffed at £10-notes with enthusiasm
as my parents worked their asses off so I had the best
these children had no nouse
of what it was like to be hungry to go without
what happens without their silver-platter path
rugby matches, horses, weekends in New York
lives of decadence and class
but displays of decadence didn’t stay in class

I was dropped off at The Cobbles each day
a full stop against a white background
just sheepishly reciting those Latinate sounds
I was dropped off at The Cobbles each day

even at ten I knew I was a joke
they were staring at me cus I was brown
they were all clones of each other
I’d now call them happy robots, drones
and those five years gave me depression
taught me how to be toxically selfish, alone

but that chapter of my life’s
been swallowed up in the Cold War I fought
but I’m happier now
I don’t go to private school anymore.

Passage (For Ben-Mark)

As part of my degree, I was required to write an “object” poem, so I decided to write about the cricket ball in my bedroom and its connotations.

I wrote about the ball, but it’s a metaphor for power, oppression and austerity – some of what my family experienced / saw when they came to this country

Cricket was a tool of the British colonisers but my great-grandfather also loved the game, and I like to think I inherited that from him.

I never met him, he died the year before I was born, 1994.


My great-grandfather Edison ‘Ben-Mark’ Noel came to Britain from Grenada in the early 1960s. Under the British Nationality Act (1948), he and his family were British citizens, including my nine year-old grandmother. Every Caribbean migrant that came between 1948 and 1973 were then known as the Windrush Generation, named for the ship of migrants that arrived at Tilbury after the war.

Why did Ben-Mark like cricket so
must be the ball
carmine like Caribbean colours

victorious since 1962
home from home
Gary Sobers and Clive Lloyd

anthems to the West Indian
between the pages of Small Island
bricks from cars like the slower ball

ooooh mustn’t throw stones
yorker, bouncer and googly
tampered leather and broken seams

so why bowl beamers, Amber
Jack’s wind-ripped skin
indelibly etched to foreign fingerprints

My great-grandfather, Edison Noel (known as Ben-Mark)
(Photo Credit: Dean Ventour)

Ben-Mark liked to
slam dominoes and kiss teeth
ya spake strange

he was at home with those
who didn’t talk like the Queen
hard hands and hot-rolled steel

black and white soldiers
in the vice of Thatcher
more strikes than smoke

stumped behind
given the King Midas touch
quack quack to the pavilion

why do I see cricket so
must be the ball
carmine like The Middle Passage.