Young Identity’s poems from the FlexN sharing:
We feel like we have to be willow tree strong,
Measuring our wisdom by tree ring dating,
Forgetting that we would have to be cut through first
Forgetting that it hurts
We’re losing ourselves in keeping up appearances
And I don’t want to be painted as a Madonna.
You don’t need to smooth over my flaws
I’d rather be disfigured in grace.
All I wanna do is close my eyes and sway,
I’ve never been so aware of the blood pulsing in my veins
And this sound like waves in my brain.
I let go, let the water crash.
I am the moon
And this is my tide.
Flowing up and out of my spine;
My lungs are mirrors of each other and grow
matching wildflowers that long to stretch out of my
mouth to thank the universe for breath.
We connect to our ancestors. by worshiping the
space. between words.
And the thoughts between what has been spoken.
We communicate by moving to a language we don’t
I know I carry memory in my body,
But I think it’s forgotten how to dance.
Time’s tainted teeth have bitten down on my memories:
I’m forgetting myself
I have a tendency to dance my tongue with my teeth,
I wish I knew how to speak without words
We are learning how to find community in the
curvature of each other’s arms.
I am normally a quiet person;
Losing sleep because I think the night would be lonely without me,
Contemplating the song my colour might sing
Letting solitude sink in
But still knowing that my tongue is a flint stone
And against my steel lips
Sets houses on fire.
Stands onstage and pretends the audience isn’t there,
Tells them the wildest stories
While they stare
And we pose
And we tell them how to feel.
– Ella Otomewo
When our sanity falls off the sun
I wonder wear it sleeps at night.
Does it rove between the borderline of colours
in our past bruising iridescent tracks along our arms
and oil slick slits down our cheek?
How deep do we need to perceive through
Hell’s stained glass windows to see truce?
Does your heart beat in acronyms for me too?
Does your body sweat in baptism like mine too?
Our lips shame the truth
but our eyes denude our souls
as they lap dance around our necks.
We made our beds from serpent tongues
and now we are spellbound.
Vagabond bones seeking stability
on quixotic solidity
we’re thirsting for lucidity
in salt water dreams
these lashes conceive stories.
We search for answers in the seems of broken
hearts stitched back together with poetry,
but to write this pain on a page is blasphemy.
Hungry ghosts burdened with flesh
our roots tangled around our ankles
we carve time into our wrists,
write hyms in crimson skies with quill sharp fingertips.
Shoulder blades split tectonic shifts
we dance until our feet bleed.
We used to worship a language too pure for
before the dictionary was our bible
we spoke to God
on stellar floorboards
and now we beg for his redemption.
– Sky Wolf
Never really figured why the man had left,
But he was out the door quicker than Jazzy Jeff,
His face became a blunt pencil’s lack of lead,
And he’s the voice actor for all the ghosts that I haven’t met//
And I used to walk to school with a silhouette,
That flexed the winnings and the jewels that he didn’t get,
I picture him like an angel must picture death,
And hang him over mother’s liquored breath//
So now I’m stuck on this roundabout,
Since we played hide and seek and I forgot how
Since I hit the ball and he went to get it out of bounds,
Since the day I learnt how a fatherless hour sounds//
Never knew why or where daddy had ran,
But hoping isn’t bringing back a family man,
So I’ll never wish you well but I’ll never wish you
Love from the stowaway fetus you didn’t want//
– Owen O’Connor
FLEXN Residency poem:
Some Acceptable God
I’m a fake ode  nurtured in a broken home,
I made myself a mask from bracken and the filter tips of cigarettes,
Paris is burning,
Paris is burning,
In Paris my silhouette is burning a stain upon my grandfather’s name,
Cut out my tongue and tell me to sing,
Stolen hearts out the mouths of orphan starlings,
The sky seems so dismissive of a soul’s distress;
I’m looking for a mirror where my mask won’t look ugly,
Evening slips out of her party dress,
Night comes too quickly and awkwardly hugs the horizon,
Now I’m watching the ghosts glisten on the shore of pebble and shingle,
The place where we built our homes from dreams and sand,
On lonely nights that wore the outline of my mother,
I never cared whose hands were holding me, just so long as they weren’t my own.
A heavy-handed slave,
A melancholy waif:
Bound by the debt of being better than an absent-father,
Martyred by my loyalty to loneliness,
I set myself on fire because I feared the dark,
I’m still picking cotton in the fields of my mother’s heart,
The world teaches its children that a boy in a dress
Is the same thing as a boy in distress?
I’m wearing a straight-jacket woven from original sin and black death,
But my iron mask was made from the letters home of a man escaping Alcatraz through his
I was found loitering in the stairwell between misery and joy,
I left my childhood on a rusty swing-set back when I was a boy,
I’ve dreamed this life before but without the dissapointments,
I’m a woman dressed in white,
I must be happy
I must be happy
I must be happy,
If I say it enough maybe the noose will be gone by morning,
I can’t go back to the old house in my head;
My unborn son is still sat waiting upon the awning,
Asking the moon ‘when will father be home?’
All his fears are lunar;
His agony is ebbing in tandem with the tide,
Baptised existential fear:
Orphan infant adopted by King Lear,
I traded my sanity away for a heart murmur,
I’m still mistaking heartbeats for children’s footsteps; hoping
my love would take you further.
Little lords with polio
Sick princes coughing
snow and tar
Our dad’s the tzar with borrowed time
My brothers were the next in line
Sweating blue for nursery rhymes
I’ll be humpty they’ll be the king’s men
Cracked and slumped in
He tried to build a new king from a melted crown
It almost looked right
Blue blood, crew cut,
Born with two left feet,
Always leaning east
no birthday suit
‘We don’t believe in nakedness’,
naked emperors with temperatures
Begging ‘send your nearest men: we need a new
I’m dying like a hulled out phantom,
Call the ransom, make them strong and
The next king must be sane and rational’
They found them at Manchester Piccadilly,
Crammed in a banker’s satchel,
a dint of shrapnel scarred on their necks
These next kings have seen battle, keep war crimes in a lead tin,
and will never look at them again.
The kingsmen dared them to use their voice,
Said they were blue choice
They said ‘come for us
I give all monarchs a fair fight,
We’ll bow twice and wear white’ I never felt a thing
Left all my bruises to my next of kin
This sovereign skin,
Their first crown was the dusking sky,
Busking lullabies to my dying princes.
I’m looking for new Kings I can’t remember
Photo by Jessica Valoise