Young Identity’s poetic responses to the FlexN workshops:


We poor ourselves
of Palace Theatres
mob the ticket booth
smuggling liquor in the interlude
snatching free wine flashing stolen artist passes
and flood the bank in army jackets
we can’t be dancers trusting in the mirror
it’s a soul taker
black limbs catch hat tricks and bone breakers take me
home in taxi cabs in daylight when the road’s safer
picking bogies from the bodega
I flinch at my reflection the soul taker
and I only flinch when the glass is truthful
old soul but my mask is youthful I find that useful
to fall between being too young for the old school
and too old for the young
I was gifted and talented
now I tally bones on a gun
I started losing friends when I stopped holding my tongue
Now I’m in an valley of drunks
kicked out the abbey of monks
staring at the mirror like an acid tripper
and the women fall for me in alleys like jack the ripper
little do they know
only a narcissist could live in a glass house
I only cry in the background
you only kiss me in the dark
you know I can’t walk home
O.T Crips the Rolling Sixties in the park
so we would stay up late on Saturdays fishing for a heart
I was sleeping with the fishes
you were swimming with the sharks
I’m still wondering why you only kiss me in the dark

– Isaiah Hull


Day 1

I think it’s about the way that bounce becomes flow.
The fundamentals of FlexN, and the foundations
They felt freedom in the beauty of their unity
Their feet never settled for too long
Where is the sole of your foot?
Where is the soul?

– Ella Otomewo


His touch is a stain
And his name’s an empty
He’s soon forgotten

-Owen O’connor



His soul was a dancer
But his body wouldn’t answer
To the call.
He felt mourning at his knees/
The grief in his stomach gave him indigestion
The frailty of flesh was in question.
He begged his body for redemption.
It needed saving from itself,
Needed to purge with movement.
He offered dance his soul,
It gave him cynicism in return.
It asked him if he thought all bodies were created equal.
He replied that he’d never met a man without motion in his bones,
And swore that once he’d seen a dancer give vitality to undertones.
He felt his body was betraying him
His mind was faster than his feet.
But hungry dancers write in rhythm to survive
broken systems
and their stories bounce to bruc beats.

-Ella Otomewo


I set the Young Identity’s poets a free write writing task, with the prompt line‘ In the Mist….’
A free write is a stream of consciousness. Free writes often doesn’t have a prompt line, however I have found having spring board is a great stimulus to get the writer thinking and started.


In the mist free writes
In the mist I found myself dancing out
of the body I was given as a child,
I was burdened with dead meat
instead of pulsing flesh
I am dulcimer
meraki clothed
I am a tongue in primordial soup
left last to eat
the halls we dance in have been renovated
they reverse engineer what once was second nature
demonstrated in theatre spaces full of striped dancers
the mind clambers over
itself to
find answers as to why cancer spreads
like dancers legs
in butterflies for
handsome men
with heads danced
in dreadlock form
on Western Street
we best not speak in
my neighbourhood is dying
my name is full of lying

I drown in the cornerstore
I built on the island on her lipstick,

I have my thumb poking out the sea
womb, I’m hitch-hiking
her hips widen and birth

my lips burn when I speak
her hips turn to the beat
I’m sick
person’s disease
we kiss thirty degrees
I tricked her into being
a ballet dancer
in a ruby box
ostracized like problem child
Oscar Wilde couldn’t school me on the art
of convincing women into dolly mixtures

-Isaiah Hull


In the mist I found two-steppers
Teaching two-step
Where I mistepped –
I’m not supposed to be here
I’m not supposed to be here
Someone knows I’m not supposed to be
here, Imitating shadows in the mirror,
Reflections aren’t good enough,
I’m not supposed to be here
I’ve never held my neck like that,
I don’t like to sweat,
I was born with two left feet
And I walk like a loaded dice
Always leaning right I’m not
Supposed to be here in the mist
Their bodies live comfortable with solidarity
We weave and I don’t like to sweat,

I was told when the mist came the others wept
I couldn’t wring a single tear though

I downed the whole river,
The clouds didn’t want to be alone any more,

they felt unity in the half-light
Between pink and blue I’m not supposed to

Be here, my body has never been prayed to
My mother pretended we didn’t have them, no
scales or mirrors
I didn’t know I had a weight
So I don’t know how to follow
Not sure how to follow suit
I never had a birthday suit
We didn’t believe in nakedness
But I was naked here
I’m not supposed to be
Here, two steppers teaching two step
To three steppers while the mistress slept
I’m not supposed to be
Here though I’m two steps from the earth’s
The ground moved and I tasted dust
It sat well amongst my antique teeth



Short Instagram videos from the workshops:

So it begins.. #Workshop1 #FlexN #Poetry #Dance @mifestival @contactmcr 🖋❤️⚡️

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#Worksop2 🔸🔹 #FlexN @mifestival @contactmcr #Dance #Poetry

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Photo by Jessica Valoise

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