I spent a windy Wednesday morning outside Stretford library handing out ‘Poem on Beyoncé’s Birthday’ from Morgan Parker‘s second collection There are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé (Corsair, 2017). Another poem from this book, ‘So What’, was one of the first poems I gave out in Manchester almost a year ago.
I met one man who told me he liked poetry “in small doses” and another who asked me if I was promoting the poet (“yes I suppose but more like promoting the reading of poetry in general”) said it was “very civilised,” which I think he meant as a compliment!
I also met Jean, who said she likes poetry – especially Maya Angelou – but doesn’t read it that much these days. She told me she keeps a scrap book of poems she’s heard or found, that she is one day going to pass on to her son, who is a shadow puppeteer currently working on a shadow puppet performance with a local spoken word artist!
Today is not actually Beyonce’s birthday, but one of the reasons I chose this poem was because I knew I was going to have some musicians on my show on ALL FM. Two students from the Royal Northern College of Music – soprano Vanessa Guinadi and (maybe) the only lutenist in Manchester, Sara Salloum – came in and played some Elizabethan tunes for me live in the studio.
Listen to Sara’s lute skills and Vanessa surprising me with her Beyoncé fan-knowledge:
Poem on Beyoncé’s Birthday
Drinking cough syrup from a glass shaped
Like you body I wish was mine but as dark
As something in my mind telling me
I’m not woman enough for these days
Colored with reddish loathing
which feels, to me, more significant than sun
My existence keeps going
Ripple in other people’s mouths
Pools of privilege and worship
I want, I keep thinking
I am exclusively post-everything
Animals licking my chin, new leaves stretching
From a palm plant like a man’s greedy arms
Today your open eyes are two fresh buds
Anything could be waiting.