BeaBop PRINCIPAL re-worked for SST7 Mouthy Poets (Draft)

22 Jun

They say the gods are not to blame

Yet it took an eternity, after we left

Before they came looking for them.

This is no 419 scam but

I am about to cut off my right hand

Because hope erupted two hundred and thirty-four times in Chibok

Causing ripples to tear up Fukushima



The thunderclouds are shouting

About you and me again.


We sit across the table oceans apart

Too broken for middle ground glue

You stand on your head

full of Nigeria and premonitions.

Me. I dig deep as my heart is in Fukushima.

I stare as nuclear falls out of your mouth and rises into the sky

Storms are forming in your mind

Your eyes trace laser lines; slicing mangoes,

peaches and yams like Ninja warriors from Akita.


I want to pound that yam until the mortar splits.

Fufu was always hard work for me

I used to peel grapes for you.

You never really liked my fruit.

They predicted that our Black Rain would last a generation

At dawn I pluck one Morning Glory, place it on a pedestal

And admire its delicate concrete petals

Reaching out like an aggressive cancer

You suggest I water it and pray that it lasts

Instead I count the last seconds of its demise at sunset

Praying for the next purple Morning Glory

To trumpet our faded future


Once, when our sands of time were strong

We embedded our love in nature

Rising with the sun

Dancing to the rhythm of fire

And caressing the wind

But work brought tiredness and fear onto our island

Hacking our beliefs with contempt

I hunted temples in Nagasaki

for images of Confucius.

Wisdom is for fools not lovers,

Religion for atheists

Believing the Japanese Manga Dream

And Chibok is a dream Nigeria believes

might redeem her 419 reputation

If every one of the 234 taken

were returned to their mothers tomorrow.

You said that if you left me I would fall apart.

I know that if I were to leave

I would peel grapes and turn them into the sweetest wine.


So I wear silk stockings on my feet

Tiptoe to you in my dreams

I sit in the Peace Park in Nagasaki

Praying that devastation will not hit


Would your supreme god, Chukwu

Speak to my Shinto Earth goddess

And ask her to open up her red earth

To reveal my lost children

Writhing in her muddy entrails

Would you give me back my girls

If I cut off my right hand?


2 Responses to “BeaBop PRINCIPAL re-worked for SST7 Mouthy Poets (Draft)”

  1. mouthypoets June 25, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    Hi Bea,

    This is a really interesting poem.

    The metaphors are really strong – especially the imagery of the fruit as a description of the emotional relationship.

    I did have to read it a few times to understand what it was about. I think that’s really interesting because it lets the audience interpret it in their own way but I wonder if we can concisely tell the story to get the message across in one performance.

    – I would work through the poem again and write out the individual points you’re making. Try having one point for each stanza as this might make it easier to digest, at the moment there is so much going on, I think that’s why I had to read it a few times.

    – Also try drawing out your dramatic arch like a timeline and positioning these points along it to clarify the ordering of the story.

    If this doesn’t make sense drop me and email and I will try to explain more concisely what I mean.

    Hayley x

  2. mouthypoets July 1, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

    Hi Bea,

    Overall… I think this poem is MASSIVE… And whatever happens to the edit, keep every version and do lots of writing around it because it feels important and you need to explore it and be honest with it and feel it connects and resonates with what you are exploring.

    That said, he is my feedback more steered towards getting it into that final draft 🙂

    -The overall intensity is really something, all the places, the figures and the rituals are so powerful and specific and intense and give a real sense of emotional chaos.
    -Some great lines/ images throughout; “you stand on your head, full of Nigeria and premonitions,”
    -Love the peaches and mangoes
    -“I want to pound that yam till the mortar splits” amazing… I think it really works when you go out into the big world of Japan and nigeria and come back to the kitchen table and the domestic… that contrast is what really makes this poem powerful for me.
    -“We embedded our love in nature” is a nice turning point when before hand there has been so much black magic and chemical warfare.
    -Love the image of you walking, silk socked into the park and praying… I actually love this image so much, could you finish the poem here?

    -What is a 419 scam?
    -Why does the eruption in Chibok make you want to cut off your right hand?
    -What’s a purple morning glory?
    -Did work bring fear into your island or your kitchen? I feel if you bring it back around the table this will make for a clearer narrative.

    1. Clarity:
    -They, we, I and you… are all mentioned right at the begining, yet it is not clear who any of those people are and where we are. I found this quiet confusing? Could you write down who all those things are?
    -There are also lots of places mentioned… This leaves the listener without a place to be in or a person to follow or a narrative thread.
    -CHALLENGE: can you annotate this poem, writing a sentence for what is actually happening in each stanza i.e. what each stanza represents to you.
    -After you have done this, I want you to read out loud each stanza as if you have not heard the poem before, and take in the piece image by image… and see if there is a way you can make clear what is happening in the metaphors of the poem, and make clearer the sentence they represent. Does this make sense?
    -(I also think going on a 10minute freewrite where you just write out everything this poem means to you might help you unpack it a bit in your head first before doing it on the page).

    2.Could it maybe start on this section…

    Outside, the thunderclouds are shouting
    about you and me again?
    Inside, we sit across the table
    …(up until)…

    …. I feel that this would resolve a lot of issues because it gives us two people and a place and we then know everything else is a metaphor for that relationship? To be honest, I am tempted to ask you to just cut the whole first current stanza because it feels like this is where the poem really starts?

    3. Watch out for clichés like “oceans apart” and “dig deeper”… I think if you tightened up the form into set stanza’s it might push you away from those kinds of phrases e.g.

    Outside, thunderclouds shout
    about you and me. Inside, we sit:
    apposing ice-caps of table.

    You stand on your head. Full
    of Nigeria and premonitions.
    My heart is in Fukushima. I dig.

    Do you think you could try editing it into 3 line stanza’s with a focus on asking yourself; what are the images here? Are they what I really mean and are they as clear as possible?

    I hope this helps!
    Debris x

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