Portrait of a Listener

by | Mixed Media

Sonority Turner is a poet, performer and educator based in London. Her work has been labeled experimental, urban, playful and visual. She is currently producing the online anthology ‘Blackout’ with the Keats House Poets as well as regularly performing her work on the London spoken word scene. She was selected as the ‘Poet’ to represent Camden in Adidas’ Olympic Campaign, she is a Rise Slam Champion and was Poet in Residence at The London Transport Museum (LTM) after winning the LTM Slam.

“Portrait of a Listener” came after the Billy Collins poem, “A Portrait of a Reader with a Bowl or Cereal.” It explores a listener’s quest for words, music and meaning.

Portrait of a Listener 

It’s morning;
I ride the bus to school
with you. We stare through
the graffiti scratched grooves
in the window, the sun hums
hymns over everything but
we notice the shadows,
what is invisible to them

Most days you don’t listen;
teachers preaching system
we don’t find that interesting.
So we nod to their speech
but really its the beat we tap
with pencil and rubber
swinging on chairs as we
try to find balance

There is no need to talk;
rubbish in the playground
we’re schools ahead of them
girls not eating in front of boys
fronting like they don’t like girls
just irritates us. We could hide
in the toilets but we want them to see
us cuss them with our book and pen
how we be marking paper

Some days you don’t go school;
you call Kevin, he takes us to P’s
and we watch them
At first they make words make love
then they make words hate us
they cuss, destroy trust
punch chest, they get vex

Then I will lean forward;
skip along the vinyl
hop on the needle,
fly over the speaker
riding the bass
onto your shoulder

You will strain to hear as I whisper
put your headphones back on


Photo By: Jake Bellucci

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