We are so thrilled to present this collective poem, composed by 24 young people who took part in our TIME LONDON IDENTITY programme earlier this year. The piece has been compiled and curated by facilitator Linden McMahon, following their sessions introducing the two groups to spoken word.
TIME LONDON IDENTITY was a series of free online workshops that connected LGBTQIA+ young people with innovative LGBTQIA+ professional artists. The programme, which we ran in March 2021, was open to 18–25-year-olds living in London and identifying as LGBTQIA+. Find out more about Time London Identity here→
It began like any other. New Years celebrations, safe dance floor queerness. Faux leather cowboy boots with flames on the bright red dance floor.
State of emergency, time stood still –
The unstoppable rhythm of sweaty hospitals
pulsed through us daily
as we dreamed for one more gleaming dance on that shining slippery floor.
Yet, we persisted. Imagine if we hadn’t.
What would we be without the social coffee shops of fizzling friendships
The musical rivers of our courage
The shining cycle paths of equality
If we hadn’t knocked down the foundations of our society
Built on biases and prejudice
The bustling pedestrian spaces of community wouldn’t thrive in this
The hardships of the pandemic
radicalised people and inspired them
to build loud hospitals of courage.
They came together and fought
for musical turbines of community,
heavenly boats of freedom, and
free pavement energy of fun.
There were inclusive discussions
like chaotic ponds of warmth, where
everyone could share their eclectic
libraries of belonging to make
change, for everyone to have a say
in the new housing of equality.
The good edible flowers of courage are addictive
shit, there’s always agony, pain, danger, uncertainty to confront bihh
so I can’t stop
I’ll stay addicted
I’m depending on a better future
that I envisioned and predict bihh
The energetic spade of liberation struck the frozen ground until we cracked the ice.
Voices spilled out, pouring out, unable to be ignored.
On the sweaty dance floor of connection we lifted up those voices,
until all had been heard, all had been seen.
We prescribed the medicine of joy from our patch-quilt hospital,
the weight of the machine slowly but surely falling into disrepair,
we needed it no longer.
The emerald parakeets chirped,
peaceful in the knowledge that they could finally call this city
In our numbers we gathered,
tore apart Roman roads and replaced them with rainbows.
Curiously, we continue to search for the frozen patches that need the strike of our spade,
checking for those who need help in finding the light.
No bee left flying into the glass,
but soaring out proudly,
returning to the hive from which they were born.
Home at last.
The high vis wearing safety volunteers of equality line the streets of London, paving the way for our new established freedom of life.
The thriving cosmopolitan youth centres of unity stand as a sign of how far we’ve come.
The once busy streets of London are now calm, with an airy flow about them.
There is a sense of peace all around.
The musical coffee shops of community
(to walk + sleep)
Eclectic stalls, pulsing pigeons,
Private libraries of safety.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I think I’ll be a bee. Cosmopolitan, elegant,
The very model of a modern citizen –
I’ll take a train, hop on a bike, see the sights
in the city that is mine
I’ll land on a newspaper, warm from the sun,
and let the ink sweat and stain my skin.
Drawn to the familiar synergetic sound of a club pumping with rainbows,
Two cosmopolitan London bees with scuffed up knees, made their way over rapidly,
They arrive, showing off their flaming faux leather cowboy boots, stalking down centre stage,
Our bees begin to boogie, paving their own revolutionary ways,
People stop and clock, frozen with initial shock,
Gawking at two little bees in their club, their community’s hub,
After a flicker of the lights, two short sobering blinks and a fleeting wink,
The people smile,
Their sweaty bodies shine as they offer the bees a glass of wine,
And now the safe but mostly sticky room radiates liberation as each body and bee dances in harmony.
We connected in paths and parks, dancing and eating, basking in the sun of the warm world we had rebuilt. We connected without judgement, with honestly and vulnerability on the emerald dance floors of liberation. The winding cycle paths wrapped themselves around the city, protecting, embracing. And, God, did we relish the sweet joy that we made. A nectar free to all, that we never felt sick from, having slurped all day. But instead – full, drowsy and always happy, amongst those who made us solid in this liquid world.