Posted: February 19, 2010 in Poetry

CONTEXT: October, 2007

So this poem was inspired by the controversy over Halifax. It isn’t really ABOUT that controversy, but it was inspired by it.

One of the ‘things’ in spoken word is that you have to be prepared for people to not really listen to you that closely. Not to say nobody pays attention in the audience, because plenty (most) of them do. It is just that if you expect EVERYONE to understand the context of every word you say, you will be disappointed.

Thinking about THAT, led to THIS…


I’ve got something to say
Do you want to listen?

A voice is not enough
A stage is not enough
Words, urge and fire is not enough
There is a bond between poet and crowd
A series of silver threads
That wrap around like spider-webs
Of gossamer and silk
And honey and milk
They tie us tight
When you accept it
But there are the teflon few
Who shrug off the wisps
Looking to find purchase.
They look at the words
But do not hear them
They FEEL the sounds
But do not absorb them

Our world has changed to sound bites
Of new frights and lost rights
We don’t have time for more than
Headlines and by-lines

Did you listen to the throne speech
Or just read the captions
On the front of the paper?
We are used to people speaking a lot
And saying little
Is it a surprise when we tune most of it out?

Turn on CNN or TNN or MSN or BFN
And we hear ‘crisis’, ‘terror’, ‘hatred’, ‘war’
Each word really meaning ‘fear’
Can we look beyind the insipid talking head
Taking stock of the dead
And ask ourselves why?
We could, but who has the time?

Instead we tune out the noise
And focus on Boys with Toys
Or whatever the latest marketing gimmick is
Forgetting that the world is not so slick

The answers are not in the sky, but in the mud
Not in the brain, but in the blood
And the guts and the gore
Thrown at you until you can’t take any more

So here is the score

Life is a war
Between what is right and what is real
Between what you know and what you feel

It is time to deemphasize the What
And listen to the Why
Before the soldiers march
And the missiles fly
Simply because we didn’t listen
Simply because we didn’t hear

Do we listen to all the words
Or just the ones we want to hear?
Are the words just alphabits
Or do they have meaning?

This poem isn’t about war
Or the news
Or truth or lies
Or whats or whys

It is about me
And it’s about you
Do we understand each other?

So I’m grabbing my soapbox
Do you want to listen?

The next two poems were inspired by my trip to the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, in Halifax, October, 2007!

  1. Tammy says:


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