The Gay Poets of London

Six gay poets living in London share their beats, rhymes and visions 

‘Haus Ov La’Bixta’ – Anthony Gilét, 24

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Haus OV La’Bixta, not
Haus of Gaga, The Fame Monster,
we eat sushi, not lobster.
We’re not mobsters, not gangsters, just dragsters,
happenin’
in Haggerston, Dalston, Shoreditch,
Dupés Den, it’s Barbie bitch.
Bloc Party, our family –
– incorporating the fans we have
Canisters of laughing gas.
From Room Service to Gravity, pon podium
flashin’ cavity, in glad rags,
with hand bags, in man drag,
what a load of fags!
We’re high-fashion on high street,
in high heels with high weave,
in high waisted, with hi tops,
werqing Jeremy Scott, smoking pot.
We smoke and shot.
Shotting drinks, shotting things,
polish off the chicken wings,
on the 76, it certainly
sucks. We’re bouji boys –
– we don’t take the bus. We vogue,
stomp, strut, stalk, walk
Reading Cocktails and Cocktalk.
Read it now, turn it loud, let it out.
Courtesy pie… and, pout.
Some braun, bare brains.
Bitchin’, bowling, All Star Lanes.
Just booze, no cruise, no saunas
no poppers, getting haircuts at Mr.Toppers.
Fake tan, boyzilian wax, groomed
to the max. We’re proud. Got Kat Graham
on loud. Tag me! We’ll tag you. Swag you.
That’s what slags do. We got hags too.
And now, we’ll recruit you too.

‘Just a Hole’ – Alexander Clifshaw, 27 (photo credit: Manu Valcarce)

When first you see his face
The one you spot from far away
And that prayer you make with god
In asking ‘fuck, I hope he’s gay!’
As you’re searching for a sign
That he’s a man that’s on the hunt
But then he catches that weird moment
Where you’re stood there like a c*nt
Waiting for his eyes
As he approaches a mutual friend
But the moment that he speaks to you
Your mind begins to bend
Cos with flustered red cheeks
And a funny limp walk
You start to spout some shit
That makes you sound like you’re a dork
As your brain becomes your foe

Which seems to thirst for your demise
By making you think he cares
About all the shit that you despise
And as you’re reading his body language
On how you’ve lost this fight for now
Again your brain’s your enemy
By making you act as though you’re foul
As you beg to see his cock
Or then inquire as to his role
Before shouting out your dick size
And how you’re basically ‘just a hole’

That he can do with what he wants
You will service him quite well
You can be the saint from the heavens
Or even like Hitler, fresh from hell
But then not knowing where to stop
As you watch him trying to leave
you dig for those last questions
That you’ve been keeping up your sleeve

“Would you do it for some money?”
Or could I even just have a quick peak?
Maybe i could just maybe watch?
On the terms that i wouldn’t speak!
Cos you’re paralysed by his beauty
And the way he carries all his faults
And that if he fucks you in the dark
You’re sure he’ll achieve the same results
But now he’s looking quite aghast
And then quite desperate to get away
As he leaves you with the words
“You make me wish I wasn’t gay!”

‘Writer’s Block’ – Nyasha Paragon Langley, 31 (photo credit: Manu Valcarce)

It seems I have lost the ability to write objective poetry.

Words that wholeheartedly capture the room’s view of society.

But my teeth sieve words emotionally and economically removing any edge they once had verbally.

If a contract is an enforceable agreement, where five elements are present:

The Offer, The Acceptance, The Consideration, The Intention and The Capacity.

Then I am lacking capacity and too much thought has gone into my intention,

leaving the consideration too constrained for your acceptance so my offer falls some what short.

Some will say this a case of tort and some will say a clear breach of contract,

however this is just food for thoughts.

My need for you to stand, applaud and take your hats off, means my voice falls flat,

like some commercially viable pop track,

easily digestible on a radio 1 breakfast show but says nothing about society I had written it for.

Words that exist but never live, they lack the social interaction in their quest to create a chemical reaction.

I want words that are as sharp and as strong a samurai sword.

Strong enough to half your body with no force and precise enough to slice your nail right off.

The first stage requires adding emotional content, too much and the words are too soft.

To little and it will leave your words too brittle and out of context.

Remarkably this is a high precision process.

Everything that you say matters when making the perfect sword.

Even the pause that hammers down a cause, help set the precise mixture of verbal ingredients you’re aiming for.

Possibly a percent of 44 emotional chords to smooth words so coarse your life seems cursed.

Repeated heating and layering mixes words and emotion so the sound is uniform.

This process can take weeks to get to the final stage where the cutting edge of the sword is hardened.

The process is called quenching.

You see quenching is the most nerve wracking part for a wordsmith as he puts his soul in to the spiel.

But my purposeless words, that are because they have to be.

Do you not understand I just wanted you to listen to me.

But I have nothing to say so I slowly implode like a black hole star and time stops as my words are stretched out far.

But I continue to perform as they say brightest sky lights are born in the most turbulent nights.

So I listen to words in the nebulas of an activist and broken hearts.

Why you ask, well, where else can you find enough rich gas and dust to react?

But in the world of quantum mechanics the mere act of observing changes the dynamics of what your ears see.

You can’t say what something is, only what it is likely to mean

And anything that is possible, no matter how unlikely, happens all the time!


‘I Told You’ – Ernesto Sarezale 

You say I enter you
like a magician
who scratches the bottom
of an old top hat
in search of a rabbit,
or like a vet arousing a cow
to ease artificial insemination,
or like a beggar
scanning the depths
of a public bin.

I say:
rest your ankles on my shoulders,
press your hands against the floor,
keep your buttocks up,
it will hurt less.

You say:
I can’t breathe,
blood is rushing to my head,
your nails are piercing my left ankle.

If you don’t shut up…

And If You Don’t Shut Up gets
inscribed in your blood stream
with letters made of
faeces, sweat and Crisco.
You see the things you make me write…

Don’t you realise, I say,
that the scratches on your ankles
are the imprint  of your pulse,
a cardiogram, the completion of a track
from your heart to your intestines,
from your rectum to my fist,
from my elbow to my torso,
from my heart to my left hand,
and from my nails to your skin?

Don’t you realise it hurts, you say.

I push. You shout.

You say I exit you
like a teenager
who’s forcefully pulling
the lever on a pinball machine
to beat his companions
or like warrior
withdrawing a sabre
from a rusty sheath
or like torrents
of acidic sharp

diarrhoea.

‘The Importance of Being Fabulous’ – Gerry Potter 

Locked somewhere deep, really deep.

Deeper than earth-thought

Glistens bright, really bright,

brighter than heart-burst,

Breath before pause, air before swish.

Swishin’ in a bar. Wishin’ on a star

Lilian Gishin’ ‘n’ gushin’ triumphantly.

A room look trawling you in and you’re there.

Important, fabulous and maybe this time, this time

this ones for keeps.

‘Sorryyoufeeluncomfortable’ – Jacob Joyce, 24 (Photo credit: Anders Gramer)

I realize that within the history of black power collectives

Referencing African theologies respectively

Romanticizing potent iconographies

Quoting proverbs and ancient philosophies

It’s kind of a militant trope.

But it’s helped me to equip myself with a rope

To fasten myself to the mast of a vessel

Anchored to an island where denizens wrestle

With depthless perceptions of inferiority

And endless abuses of institutional authority

Where micro aggressions are commonplace

Though people don’t like to talk about race

Unless occasionally reflecting on faint memories

Of prejudices faced by assimilated minorities

The more brazen racism of our parent’s generations

You wont read thing like no blacks no Irish no dogs

Those bold hostilities as retro as vintage clothes or gollywogs.

But racial oppression is pretty complex

Now its become veiled within the subtext

It’s the shadow not the act

So it’s harder to react

It’s the sinew between the muscle and the bone

Not the colour of the skin but the subtle under tone

Unless it falls out clumsily

Some one asks you if you sell drugs, call’s you bruv

Shakes your white friends hand and try give you a spud

Tell you they are “not afraid of Brixton” conceitedly

Ask you where you’re from despite being told repeatedly

You notice your history being erased from the books in school

Feel a stranger touching your hair because it looks cool

Some one tells you that you are acting white

When you’re studious or bright

They see you sit down beside them and clutch their belongings tight

And don’t even get me started on the bastard police

Racist gang of fascist thugs

To say the least…

But people say we live in a post racial society

Proven by London’s multicultural variety

And for sure London has more interracial lovers

But orientalism still colours our pictures of other.

See the canvas looks balanced but the fame is bent

Imagine a Middle Eastern oil painting of all the money spent

Perpetuating stereo types of Muslim women who desperately need saving

From Muslim men across the world who are constantly raving

About taking over the world or robbing little girls

Of agency and education

Anther perfect justification

For continuing the legacy of colonization

Of nations less blessed than thee

Coz they must in their turn, to tyrants fall

While thou shall flourish great and free

The dread and envy of them all

It’s much easier to repress colonial guilt

When the access of powers reversed on its tilt

So Nordic countries become the ones tyrannized

By villainous immigrants who want our culture bastardised

Corrupting our values and stealing our jobs

That’s the handle of fear, a bronze cast doorknob

On Downing Street or the House of Lords

Because a war on fears one we can all applaud

Seems like politics has been aesthetisised

So many detestably digestible television politicians

With simple sound bites to anaesthetize

Anamathetise the masses with apathetic appetites

So we end up chewing the effect without addressing the cause

I hear people condemning the instability of Caribbean nations

Then laughing at the idea of any reparations’

Condemning the homophobia in commonwealth countries

Forgetting that fear was imported when they were British territories

Uproaring when a bigot says nigger on the BBC

But what about the absolute lack of black people on British TV

Unless rioting as criminals unnecessarily exacerbated

Or non-violent revolutionaries who happened to get assassinated

Or misogynistic money obsessed rappers

Whose life style can be packaged up and sold to rich white masses.

Black people don’t own any of the industries that profit from our strife

And I want that to change within my the span of my life

People might say I have chips on my shoulder

But there’s fire in my belly and we’re learning to solder

Learning to weld, to forge, remold and cast

Carve out new futures and draw from our past

So I will look back to African theology

I will invest power in potent iconographies

I use ancient stories and philosophies to fill my Ori

I will sing about atrocities and I will not say sorry.

 

‘Gay’s the Word’ – Patrick Cash, 27 (photo credit: Laurie Poole)

Fuck, putain, merde, minchia, va fan culo, cock, cunt
Swear words have such immense potency
In any tongue, packed with power like a punch
They’re the words of pain, of fury screaming
They’re bad, they’re naughty, they’re the words of sex
Horny and grinding and fucking good
Oh they’re rude and they’re puerile but they’re
Apexes of emotion and the salt of tears
How many broken hearts have been tattooed
With ‘fucking cunt’ on their cracks and shards?
And when I say these words
When I let my tongue run over cunt
Or lick the k in fuck
I am consciously stepping out of rules,
Said what can’t be said before watershed,
How did we lend these words their split and spit?
Because they’re just words, just ripples of ships

Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay
Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay

If you repeat a word too many times
You begin to defy how it’s defined
Erase the world of the word,
Bathe it of meaning
No longer sign or signified
Until it becomes just sound
Noise of nature like whistling winds
Wolves howling at the moon
The tethered growl of the human throat

But if I say gay, now, just once
It echoes with resonance in my mind
Rich, deep, dark, vibrating like a harp’s string
A word that strangely tied and still binds me
And I never wanted to be a gay writer
The gay poet with my gay poems
Yet my writing and the words I use
Are in a way a form of fighting
To elevate gay, negate any shame
And I fear the fight won’t end in my life

For in Russia they give gay such power
That the word can’t be spoken on the streets
Gay a word like a lightning strike on minds
Fizzing, sparking, a Catherine wheel at night
Black witch’s spell cast by blacker witches
Who can’t be heard nor spoken by children

Yet here gay is on children’s lips each day
A word fallen swift, quick like sharp-shaped darts
Word to cloak the disliked and dispossessed
Noun for the rubbish, for useless and sad
Gay is for the lame, it trips off the tongue
‘That’s so gay, you’re so gay, you’re such a gay’
Weird oxymorons: ‘my parents are so gay’
And it becomes a word with hooks like thorns
Because to state ‘I’m gay’ in youth culture
Is not: ‘he who I love is a man like me’
It’s to say, ‘I am rubbish, I am lame.’
What strange, very brave words just to say gay

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