stdClass Object
(
    [ID] => 1378
    [post_author] => 2
    [post_date] => 2014-12-04 14:20:11
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-12-04 14:20:11
    [post_content] => The N Word  

You came back as rubber lips, pepper grains, blik
you’re so black you’re blik and how the word stuck to
our tongues eclipsing – or so we thought – the fear
that any moment anyone might notice
and we’d be deemed the wrong side of a night sky.
Lately you are a pretty little lighty who can
get dark because – even now – dark means street
which means beast which means leave now for Benfleet.
These days I can’t watch a music video
online without you trolling in the comments
dressed to kill in your new age binary clothes.

The Cricket Test

Picture a cricket match, first week at upper
school, blacks versus whites, that slight hesitation
on choosing a side, and you’re close to knowing
why I’ve been trying to master this language.
Raised as I was, some words in this argot catch
in the throat, seemingly made for someone else
(the sticking point from which all else is fixed).
We lost to a one-handed catch. After the match
our changing room was a shrine to apartheid.
When I crossed the threshold, Danny asked me why
I’d stand here when I could be there, with my kind.

The italicised phrases in ‘The N Word’ are borrowed from the song ‘Get Dark’ by Mz Bratt 
    [post_title] => *from* calling a spade a spade
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => from-calling-a-spade-a-spade
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2017-03-17 13:21:47
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-17 13:21:47
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => http://poetrysociety.org.uk.gridhosted.co.uk/?post_type=poems&p=1378
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => poems
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [meta_data] => stdClass Object
        (
            [wpcf-published-in] => 
            [wpcf-date-published] => 2012
            [wpcf-summary-description] => This poem was awarded the 2012 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize.

In awarding the Prize in Poetry Review 103:2, judge Jane Draycott commented: "Kayo Chingonyi’s vision places an intimate, edgy sense of the individual experience – uncertain, intuitively resistant to easy-reach categorisations (“some words in this argot catch / in the throat, seemingly made for someone else”) – dynamically and responsively in the pathway of historical developments in colour politics (“These days I can’t watch a music video / online without you trolling in the comments / dressed to kill in your new age binary clothes”). His language is wonderfully searching, his imagery a series of small doors opening onto a whole house echoing with harmonic play and set with delicate rhythmic trip wires. Out of settings we can’t fail to recognise (“dark means street / which means beast which means leave now for Benfleet”), ‘calling a spade a spade’ speaks with a highly distinctive voice." [wpcf-rights-information] => [wpcf-poem-award] => Winner, Geoffrey Dearmer Prize 2012 [wpcf_pr_belongs] => ) [poet_data] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 1193 [forename] => Kayo [surname] => Chingonyi [title] => Kayo Chingonyi [slug] => kayo-chingonyi [content] => Kayo Chingonyi was born in Zambia in 1987, moving to the UK in 1993. He is a fellow of the Complete Works programme for diversity and quality in British Poetry and the author of two pamphlets, Some Bright Elegance (Salt, 2012) and The Colour of James Brown’s Scream (Akashic, 2016). Kayo has been invited to read from his work around the world and his poems have been translated into Spanish, German, and Swedish. He was awarded the 2012 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for his poem 'from calling a spade a spade' and served as Associate Poet at the Institute of Contemporary Arts from Autumn 2015 to Spring 2016. His first full-length collection, Kumukanda, is forthcoming from Chatto & Windus. In 2016 he was a guest co-editor for The Poetry Review (Autumn issue 106:3), and is one of the judges of the 2017 Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award. ) )
stdClass Object
(
    [ID] => 1193
    [forename] => Kayo
    [surname] => Chingonyi
    [title] => Kayo Chingonyi
    [slug] => kayo-chingonyi
    [content] => Kayo Chingonyi was born in Zambia in 1987, moving to the UK in 1993. He is a fellow of the Complete Works programme for diversity and quality in British Poetry and the author of two pamphlets, Some Bright Elegance (Salt, 2012) and The Colour of James Brown’s Scream (Akashic, 2016). Kayo has been invited to read from his work around the world and his poems have been translated into Spanish, German, and Swedish. He was awarded the 2012 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for his poem 'from calling a spade a spade' and served as Associate Poet at the Institute of Contemporary Arts from Autumn 2015 to Spring 2016. His first full-length collection, Kumukanda, is forthcoming from Chatto & Windus. In 2016 he was a guest co-editor for The Poetry Review (Autumn issue 106:3), and is one of the judges of the 2017 Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award.
)

from calling a spade a spade

Kayo Chingonyi

The N Word  

You came back as rubber lips, pepper grains, blik
you’re so black you’re blik and how the word stuck to
our tongues eclipsing – or so we thought – the fear
that any moment anyone might notice
and we’d be deemed the wrong side of a night sky.
Lately you are a pretty little lighty who can
get dark because – even now – dark means street
which means beast which means leave now for Benfleet.
These days I can’t watch a music video
online without you trolling in the comments
dressed to kill in your new age binary clothes.

The Cricket Test

Picture a cricket match, first week at upper
school, blacks versus whites, that slight hesitation
on choosing a side, and you’re close to knowing
why I’ve been trying to master this language.
Raised as I was, some words in this argot catch
in the throat, seemingly made for someone else
(the sticking point from which all else is fixed).
We lost to a one-handed catch. After the match
our changing room was a shrine to apartheid.
When I crossed the threshold, Danny asked me why
I’d stand here when I could be there, with my kind.

The italicised phrases in ‘The N Word’ are borrowed from the song ‘Get Dark’ by Mz Bratt