The Nomads Of Culture

Much alike to my task of writing response poems to those on Channel 4, I did the same thing with ‘Voices: Nationwide’, including Building a Building Society (about the founding of Nationwide) by Jo Bell. I wrote this poem not long after I had exited a confrontation with an internet troll on Twitter but it’s about more than just my hurt pride.

The Nomads of Culture is about not only the Millennial Generation but also how the next world conflict will not only be fought with guns, but also via the internet by people as skilled as Edward Snowden.

The Millennial story side of the poem is inspired from a book edited by Malorie Blackman. Unheard Voices is an anthology book of short stories, extracts and poetry on the theme of slavery, including works from Alex Haley, Benjamin Zephaniah, John Agard and Olaudah Equiano to name a few.

Other influences for this poem come from Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke, Disney-Pixar’s WALL-E and my own observations of contemporary culture.


A digital world, Planet Earth 2017 –
an archive of facts, stacked together, coveted
like sentimental candyfloss.
We’d rather vex text than move our
mouths – the battlefield is online, like slaves
confined to a screen and

t’have a home, you gotta be suited and booted
with change polluted pockets, if you’re lucky,
but nine t’five shifts at Kentucky will do.
Fortune favours the fortunate 
wading through Twitter’s trenches, allied
with a 140-character shield-wall, sailing down

rivers of tweets duelling with social spiders –
those eight-fingered button beaters, who have boxing
gloves for thumbs, pummelling their As to zeds
until the ring of the knockout bell.
Ding! Ding!

Choose Life: Part III

I wrote this poem a few months after watching the unnecessary but still excellent sequel to Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, T2 Trainspotting, and I ended up enjoying it more than the original film.

This poem is based on the ‘Choose Life’ monologue that Renton delivers in a restaurant to Veronika after she says “what’s choose life?”


Choose social media: YouTube, Skype,
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp.
Choose books, I mean actual books.
Not that crap, you know Nooks, E-Readers, Kindles.
They’re shams of literature, like Instagram
for pretend photographers.

And I’d hate for my enjoyment of a good novel
to be reliant on a finite battery life.
That’s the strife of being a traditionalist, progression
is always snapping at my heels like the Devil.
And then there’s Little Lord Fontelroy looking dishevelled,

Donald Trump. Choose him. Actually, bad idea.
Don’t even go there. He thrives on fear and the
sound of his own voice. His happy hands
dropping bombs on lands I can’t even pronounce, but
I can renounce his ways – his racism, his treatment of women
and his use of Agent Orange – no this isn’t Vietnam,
it’s his suntan lotion creating media

Honestly, I think the ‘Choose Life’ monologue in T2 is an improvement on the original 
(Trainspotting, Mirimax)

commotion like Mrs May and her will to throwaway
human rights to catch maybe-terrorists.
It’s all a joke you know? Like the daily Politics Show,
everyone’s acting, on this “strong and stable” stage
performing magic tricks like a mage in World of Warcraft.

Choose the future, or what’s left of it after this deficit,
and I’m not just talking about the economy.
Choose the NHS. Choose the Public Services.
Choose government. Choose a zero hour contract,
choose student loans, choose halls of residence
despite those very accurate horror story tomes.

Choose reality TV; choose the Kardashians and their antics.
And the undecipherable semantics of the Big Brother house,
or the: mind-numbing, IQ-depleting, logic-defeating Love Island
that has taken the populous by storm, reality TV is now the norm.
And this is what society wants us to be. Stupid, docile – infatuated,
shot by one of those cupids with their mini bows and arrows.

Twenty years on, the four misfits get up to more mischief on the streets of Edinburgh
(T2 Trainspotting, TriStar Pictures)

Choose slut shaming. Too skinny, too fat, too tall, too short.
Not pretty enough. Choose 13 Reasons Why, Choose Edge of
Seventeen. Choose depression, choose suicidal thoughts,
choose social anxiety. Choose made-up piety, as society goes
to pray then lays waste to streets. Day in, day out on repeat.
And then takes a seat as they tuck into a nice, tasty dinner.

And then choose the same for your children,
your mothers, fathers, sisters, younger brothers.
And then smother the pain with denial.
Take a breath; now you’re an addict, so be addicted.
Not conflicted. Just be addicted to something else.
Choose your loved ones.
Choose your future, just choose life.

Maggie: A Girl Of The Streets

I mentioned in my bio that popular culture plays an important role in my life. However, it’s found its way into my poetry too, as some of my poems are inspired from films and television shows. This poem is inspired from I, Daniel Blake, a film about the working class living under the welfare state and how bad things can happen to good people.

I named this poem Maggie: A Girl of the Streets after the Crane novella of the same name. I enjoyed reading that during my American Literature module last year and it holds similar themes to I, Daniel Blake.

In 2014, to commemorate a century since the beginning of World War I, Channel 4 hired British actors to read a number of British war poems. This included Christopher Eccleston who read Testimony (Seamus Heaney) which I posted on The People v. Michigan State. 

During the summer of 2017, I tasked myself to write a response poem to each of the war poems on Channel 4’s line up. Maggie: A Girl of the Streets  is in response to The Arms and the Boy by Wilfred Owen and it’s read by Gemma Arterton.


Wilfred Owen was an English poet and soldier during The First World War. Whilst in a hospital in Scotland in 1917, he met one of his literary heroes Siegfried Sassoon (I’ll talk about him later) who provided him with the help and the encouragement to write his war stories through poetry.

Owen was awarded The Military Cross in acknowledgement of his bravery but he was killed on November 4 1918 during the battle to cross Sambre-Oise canal at Ors.


Let Mr Rich dart down Maggie’s trench to see
what reality is, and pursue with hunger for loose
change. Eyes rancid with purpose like a dog salivating
at the mouth – thickly dripping like a leaking car battery.

Allow him to caress the blind, broke people under the line
who long to work to feed their families – or give the street
sleepers  some food to warm their bellies and a bed for the
night– not left to die and claw for the white light.

For Rich’s life seems to be laughing around the needy.
Conscienceless in his neck’s snake, glittering gold.
Whilst politicians make speeches on human rights,
livelihoods sold – pavements crack and the alleys hiss.


The People v. Michigan State

I wrote this poem after after watching Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroita film about the Detroit Riots and what occurred at the Algiers Hotel in July 1967.

The poem’s style is based on Testimony by Seamus Heaney, an Irish poet who gained influence during the second half of the twentieth century, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995.


The building was silent before the
police arrived.
A Tuesday evening, darkness,
and gutter blood dancing
inside the hotel.
From the next street,
you’d have heard the screaming
and heard it stop and had view of the
military with their guns and tanks
coming down the road.

Lines of them, firearms loosed from their holsters,
ready to pounce on their prey like the big cats
of the African plains.
A line of dominoes facing the wall, petrified
young people, kids, playing the police’s
mind games.
Three dead black men, seven more beaten,
and two white women.

Unarmed, innocent. 25th July 1967.
Not that they knew then how history
would record that day as the victims
took the stand: in a sweat,
skittish, nervous. Families bereft.
Killer cops, not guilty (typically).
They always protect their own, and
Krauss free to roam the streets again
with his eyebrows of Satan.

I’m Mad As Hell And I’m Not Going To Take This Anymore: or We Have Come to This Great Stage of Fools

I have two titles for this poem: the first is taken from a line in Sidney Lumet’s Network (1976) and the second is an excerpt from a longer quote from William Shakespeare’s King Lear.


Is any of this real? Look at this
fantasy. We have synthetic
emotions as pills that spur on
health-depleting ills.

The mind is assaulted through advertising.
Chemicals melt our brains through food.
Mind-numbing lectures as media that
tap into our thoughts through Facebook.

Reality is gone. Whilst munching on GMOs
we became plagued with warfare and foes.
We turned off the power and removed the batteries,
as we went to work in internet factories.

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” is the main line from Network (1976)
(Network, MGM)

We bought into the corrupt like FIFA and Amazon
and Apple with their methods (at least morally).
There’s something shady going down!
All built on the blinking numbers sprawling
through the serpentine woods of Wall Street Town.

I hate all the contrived facades and ludicrous lies,
like how the masses glorify Steve Jobs a good man
as he made billions off the backs of children
in far off lands I can’t even pronounce.

Our idols are simulations. Earth itself is a lie, a hoax!
A narration of rubbish disguised as insight, as Facebook
claims our thoughts and likes, while Twitter wizard
Trump tauntingly tweets Korea’s Kim on a daily.

We’re in this culture of junk, due to our
unwavering favour of the question, “how much?”
All over human welfare, and then we had the
Chilcot Inquiry’s affair with Tony Blair.

If justice was done properly, ex-prime minister Tony Blair would be in jail for war crimes
(The Chilcot Inquiry, bbc.co.uk)

We all know why we have opted for this life.
We like living in denial, putting others on trial,
under the sedation of newspeak, living in this
Orwellian reality. And Big Brother is watching!

This is a kingdom we’ve lived in for far too long.
It’s ridiculous, selfish, ghastly and wrong.
A comedy of errors and as I read this
in high street-bought clothes,
I’m as real as the 100% Beef meat at Maccies.