Saturday, 19 September 2009

Kitying


Kitying
Originally uploaded by John Siddique

Kitying

Becomes Crystal
– changing state at the age of twelve.

Makes a new name with her left hand,
cutting the facets of each letter with intention.

Polishing smooth each cut to gleam in the light.
Puts her foot forward
– changing state, when standing still.

She has made herself, made herself, made herself
become Crystal
- Kitying from Hong Kong.

Helps her mother with the left hand of duty and love.
Gets lost watching Eastenders, letting go of all the making.

Stands in two worlds with two names.
Pausing for breath when the money runs out.

Changing state:
Looking at the sky as the starlings flock and swoop.
To be only flight, the transparency of movement.

Changing state:
Compressing feathers to carbon, carbon to Crystal.

Clear as the light first thing in the morning.
Still and always in flight, she is making herself.

© John Siddique 2009
Part of Lancaster University’s ‘Moving Manchester’ Commission
See www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/projects/writersgallery/commission.html

Friday, 18 September 2009

Jali


Jali
Originally uploaded by John Siddique



Jali

Returning from the sun to return to his son.
Bouncing harp notes from the plate glass
of Superdrug.

Cutting the air with proud chin,
with cigarette smoke, with music passed
from his father’s hands into his fingers.
Returning from Gambia to return to his son.

The kora is life. Life in Piccadilly Gardens
made clean and crystal, lifted spirit,
as we approach and leave.
Intersections of buses and trams;
Altrincham one way, Bury the other.
Cross-cutting the notes of time and pitch
to hold his life together.

Humanity is different here, he says.
People don’t know about each other.
Music penetrates us with imported humanity.
I don’t play for money, I play for our souls.

There are bargains to be had in Superdrug,
two deodorants for the price of one.
Away down Market Street there are other musics,
the loop of a Romanian waltz played on accordion,
a French tango by the escalators near the shoe shops.

If you come here before the music starts,
you have to imagine the life of the city.
Jali with his kora, his amp and car battery
for power, riding in on the silver tram
as the shoppers gather. Chiming in the cold sun,
in the landscaped square where we pass by,
leaving our trails as music on the air.

© John Siddique 2009
Part of Lancaster University’s ‘Moving Manchester’ Commission
See www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/projects/writersgallery/commission.html

Monday, 7 September 2009

Read A Poem And Pass It On

Everything’s picking up speed again after the summer break here in UK, and I need to ask for your help to hit the ground running. A set of poems were commissioned from me by Lancaster University looking at the lives of immigrants in Manchester. These pieces are now online, and on 12th Sept at Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester – I will be giving the pieces their live premiere; I will be reading along with the lovely Jackie Kay. I do hope you can make it along. Where I need your help is that over the next week I want as many people as possible to see the poems, as the press takes little notice of much literary work it’s down to us to help ourselves. All I’d like you to do is to take a look at the pieces (the link is below) and then to show them to someone else – Read A Poem and Pass it on. This could be done by email, by letter, by printing your favourite one out and putting on a notice board, reading it aloud to your kids, reading to your partner in bed, or a friend down the phone; be inventive! – but please share these poems – that’s what they are for. If you use twitter or facebook then use those mediums to bring some notice to the poems. Thank you in advance for doing this.


All the best
John



Kitying

Becomes Crystal
– changing state at the age of twelve.

Makes a new name with her left hand,
cutting the facets of each letter with intention.

Polishing smooth each cut to gleam in the light.
Puts her foot forward
– changing state, when standing still.

She has made herself, made herself, made herself
become Crystal
- Kitying from Hong Kong.

Helps her mother with the left hand of duty and love.
Gets lost watching Eastenders, letting go of all the making.

Stands in two worlds with two names.
Pausing for breath when the money runs out.

Changing state:
Looking at the sky as the starlings flock and swoop.
To be only flight, the transparency of movement.

Changing state:
Compressing feathers to carbon, carbon to Crystal.

Clear as the light first thing in the morning.
Still and always in flight, she is making herself.

© John Siddique 2009

Click Here to go to the full set of poems and photographic portraits, which accompany them.