Young Identity’s poetic responses to MIF19 shows

Local spoken word collective Young Identity have written poetic responses to a selection of MIF19’s shows. Young Identity deliver dynamic poetry and spoken word workshops for young people.

Roma Havers, 24, is a Manchester-based queer poet and performer. While working with Young Identity she has been commissioned by HOME, Manchester Histories and Manchester International Festival. She has also performed on radio, television and festivals including Hay Festival and  BBC Contains Strong Language.

Un po’ fuori
Translated by S. E. Bear

Non esiste la lingua che possa
descrivere il taglio di capelli giusto.
Una rifila? No, no, così, colà, niente

stretto, sinistretto, di destralto,
salta, non salire così poco, strasalire.
Dubbitoso. Ricciame come fogliame

Ma riesci a capirmi, la mia
traduzione logorante… Ci provo, mah!
Come l’ultima persona,
vedi? Come l’immagine
No, no, cenno-atto, segno-foto

Una brocca non propria,
si chiama solo somiglianza,
Così, questo angolo si sbaglia,
la mia mozione è sola

La possibilità, le promesse
a metà – non a mezzo-cuore,
ci provo, davvero. Un distacco?

Al centro tutto ben fine
Chi sa se un giorno ricrescerebbe
non so neanch’io decifare
mio proprio corpo. Se no, un cappello?

Non misuro. Cosa voglio?
La stessa cosa, il solito,
che certo nel gergo di salone
vuol dire:

come prima.

A te, sconosciutino,
basta stimare
quanto spesso crescono
i pellini piccolini
Quanto lungho?
Che lunghezza?

A poem responding to MIF’s Studio Creole

Just a Little Off 

There is no language
to describe the right haircut,
trim? no, no, there, no 

closein, more leftish, rightial,
uppity, no upso, uplier.
dubious. Curliage like foliage,

un-be-bush, brush?
Can you translate what i’m
trying… the last person,

see? like the picture,
no no, gesture – picture,
a pitcher of someone else,

but call it only likeness,
like this, that’s a bad angle,
in my gesture it is only 

possibility, promise,
half – no not half-hearted,
I am trying. Parting? 

The middle is fine,
I know it grows back,
but I can’t even interpret

my own body. No, a hat?
I don’t suit. What do I want?
The same, the same as 

usual, which of course
in haircutting terms
translates to 

back the way it was.
To you, my stranger
it means only to 

estimate my growth
patterns. How long?

How long like this?
How long? Like this. 

A poem responding to MIF’s Studio Creole

For those you meet out dancing
For Leo and Ren 

We the furniture of the evening
mend a city! (wouldn’t it be funny
if that were true) there isn’t yet a
word for us for you the architects
the arms that built the buttress
sutured fire and filament in
every quiet indigenous there are
people like us the genderless
ungendered lust for home in
mouth of word the gutter where
the nest is made where baby bird
forages for digestible desserts

Not everybody makes as much
noise about love as you do

once I used the word regurgitation
when I meant reincarnation which
means life is more than just
two hours in a game
but the infinities within it
oh the infinities within it
are what hold up the roof.

A poem responding to MIF’s Maggie The Cat

Julia Morgan is a poet, playwright and performance artist based in London and Manchester. Her work concerns identity, in all of its facets of expression, and language. Her explorations of language have had many mediums, including absurdist plays, mime and performance art involving food.


I drink for solitude
I drink for silence.

I drink.
I part my lips willingly
and loose myself
As the slow de

scent into empty-

I can’t stop to think for the void now growing.
Gleaning nothing.
Saving nothing.
Knowing nothing.

The hole seems to burrow between my two ears and leave in
its pathway,
a heavy barrel.
That is only present in absence.

would never convince myself this impudence was it.
Barrel bottled, sultry and silt.

almost a tithe.

Cholera now gone, it should no longer
plague us

March onwards till golden bottles feed babies.
And my sweet sadness summons itself back again,
sip by sip.

A poem responding to MIF’s A Drunk Pandemic


Up to mark towers,
up to line streets.
up to leave branded what little self you have
left onto a nameless street.
An empty edifice.
A holy tower.
A crumbling handcart.
push push forwards.
drill inwards and
stare downwards.
Break bone.
Slake lime.
Stab back.
Back stab.
Summon, scrap and scare.
Make, remake and

Carve a hollow into that carapace
for a heart that beats bloodlessly.

Belt a belly around the entrails of
your past and
settle down.
Start down.
Stay down,
as you look backwards onto a billed past that worked
to a near present future farce.

A poem responding to MIF’s The Fountainhead

Joel is a 22-year-old poet from Manchester. They have been writing poetry from the age of 14. A year or two after beginning to explore this they joined the Manchester-based writing collective Young Identity, of which they continue to be a committed member/participant.

Their poetry leans toward explorations of queer identity, particularly in how language can act as both aid and obstacle in articulating queerness.


shifting like
wax melt-
my face collects in your lap
-at alter knelt-
deus ex machina for tender word
or a hand
held like breath. lipped like closed flower.

steam-curled figure from retina’s hotplate
the exchange-rate
between thoughtless~
and weightless
only meant as prophecy
for the singularity,
destiny’s limbic itch
synapse glitch of godly image
machine as
ode to a phantom’s limb.

A poem responding to MIF’s Atmospheric Memory

A palindrome often mistook for a Carousel.

‘I.’ -picking
cherry(-) helix
and into tied tongue(.) stem
the aftermath.  headless rose- a
symmetry for self-
prayer dreamt as flight.
I am ‘godless.’
borders forgetting maps
am I ‘binary’? -tracing fault lines?
name another by hubris-
is shame?
-imitating men of straw
keep birds and omens away
Fig-leaf of misnomer is ‘silence’


If you stand beneath a doorway long enough
self begins to tessellate-
picked a rose from the vase on the table, presented it to the mirror. Blushed. Accepted.


‘silence’ is
misnomer of fig-leaf; away(.)
omens and birds keep
straw (of) men imitating Adam.
shame is hubris by another
me ‘Genesis.’
fault line’s tracing binary.
I am maps forgetting borders-
I am flight as dreamt prayer;
Am I godless?
sacrifice self for symmetry;
rose; headless. a –.

the stem- tongue-tied helix of DNA,
-cherry-picking ‘I.’

A poem responding to MIF’s Maggie The Cat

End of article.