Belonging

SPOKEN WORD

Sentiments of an everyman.

Words by & videos by Jon Stephenson


 

 

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Please find the transcripts below:

 

You Out?

You out to play today?

There’s a hole in the fence that leads onto concrete meadows.
The sun is kind and the grass needs footprints.
We’ve got a plan of scabbed knees, sunny delight and chasing shadows.
Ice pops, knock down ginger, kiss chase and tyres throwing up stone flints.

Your dad keeps getting annoyed that I’m knocking too much.
I wanna play doctors and nurses and husband and wife.
I’m worrying that my rabbit is going to get out of his hutch.
I want to learn about relationships for the rest of my life.

He wants a fight at the rec because he had his eyes on you.
3 against 1 seems like an unfair proposition.
Heart racing, I’m a bull, I’m a king and my ring is brand new.
Being caught in a headlock with a scalping from knuckles seems like a humiliating position.

You out to play today?

We have a shared interest in the failure of adults after bed.
When we make our teddies Fuck, are we?
Kids picked up from the sitter, you sit bitter, asking, are we truly wed?
When Barbie unzipped Action man, did you imagine me?

P.J with no Duncan makes an unhappy Pog collector of the angriest kind.
Tazo, Dorito, Burrito Mexicano was our flavour.
Quiet dinners and late night whispering trying to read each other’s mind.
Holding my hand was the kindest favour.

You out to play today?

Care bears and polly pocket.
Flying saucers and sour cherries.
A secret note in your secret locket.
Scratching our wrists while picking the berries.

Are you out to play today?

I want to go running and get a stitch.
I wanna get a flake ninety-nine.
Growing ups a bitch.
I never managed to make you mine.

 

Tribal

You’re either red or blue
Definitely Coke not Pepsi
Hawaiian pineapple or the don, meatfeast, keep the Pepperoni.

Neither semi nor detached and you can forget about a garden.
Where you are, going out past 1 keeps you checking for the mandem.

It’s either McDonald’s or the king,
The cottage or the Colonel.
A guardian wanker leftie or a scumbag daily fail.
It’s tribal.
And if you’re not a good boy you’re gonna have to read the bible. Signing this little light of mine in your best Gallagher whiiiiiiine.

Pinball pubs, glasses hitting wooden bars, change jingling in car dealers’ pockets whilst struggling to one hand free the bras. Ava fifty and top up the tip jars.

With that, keep yourself outta trouble, boy.

Action Man is gonna be my newest toy.
He’s gonna fuck Barbie.
My dicks bigger with a sharpie.

And it’s, North vs South.
Then it’s all, Watch ya mouth.
Then it’s all like, Chips with gravy makes a cockney feel wavey.
Up north you find a cheaper pint for under a fiver.
Spirits or wine, I’m gonna pick neither.
Beer. Lager. Lager. Beer. You choose anything else you’re gonna get called queer.
Lager it is. That’s the biz. You slaaaaaaaag.

It’s Fanta or Lilt. What’s your refreshment?
A gun or a knife? What’s your entertainment?
A punch or a knife?

You’re messing with someone’s life!
It’ll be as long as The ball and the chain?
Where a sandwich is the man’s domain.

With love comes flattery with 20 tinnies and an assault or battery.
Kicked in door, hole in the wall.
She’s at the bottom of the stairs was is it a push or a fall? It’s all foundation hiding the hiding.
Speak or stay silent?

Be a man or stay a boy?
An eternal struggle of the of the working class joy.

 

Zoots and kEbaBs

It’s easy to stand here and talk about memories that are fashionable.
I can talk all day long about the twizzlers and walkers.
The maccie d’s and spliffers.
The zoots and the kebab
What about?
Casual violence with a bit of crumpet
I’m not talking about the baked kind
More of the faked kind

We dressed up in our own royal robes and professed to be geezers and princesses
The Ra Ra skirts never professed to be dresses and yet here we were with a wkd and a benson
14 and talking as if we’ve got our pension
It’s a weird old world where we long to have wisdom and end up being immature to find it
Mistakes are part of the parcel they said and you’ve got to get through it
Through those days that put you in a daze, a maze for your mind to connect the dots.
I’m 14, I’m, living a life.


Life where you’re out with a mate having a Saturday large
14 years old and you’re on the prowl for something fresh and the air feels pregnant
14 years old, You’ve already had a spliff, two tinnies, a train ride where an interrogation from the guard felt repugnant – get the fuck out my face, I’m out with my pal. I’m screaming at the world and I’m out on the prowl.

The prowl for what, we haven’t decided.
14 years old,  travelling through a world that’s mostly divided.
Dreams are being written by aunts with opinions and all I wanna do is get fucked up with some trippy shenanigans.


So

I’m 14 years old and I’m standing on a street corner  with crime lingering on my fingers
That look that the pram pushing, scraped back hair, mouth fag hanging Mum gives me lingers.
A sacrifice doesn’t have a price
Bravery is the fool’s name in this game
I stand here and jest the good bants and on the inside I feel like I’m pissing my pants
I see a local dog walker with his German Shepherd
Corduroy / red / flushed cheeked with the look of a microwaved toad in the hole
Jog on mush
Keep going

Back to my mates to see his Nan
The dishes piled with the washing
Big light is always on, along with jezza ‘my show’ kyle, she’s his biggest fan.
She’s in her sixties, bald in the middle hair and a love for the fags
In her heyday, it’s said, men paid for the shags
She hands me an afternoon warm lager, a Benson and a match
Turns out this Nan is one of the good batch.

Finish that and leave with 2 quid
Down the kebabby for lamb that’s rubbery like squid
See Jeanice, fit as fuck

I’m 14 years old I’m in my kingdom
With pals and skets and grime and no closer to the wisdom
With a friday night fight combined with a healthy dose of fried chicken
Our pack mentality gives the brain a good kicking

It’s good to get home and kick off the TN’s
A restful soul’s sleep and back up to do it again

 

Smile More

Sometimes I think I need to smile more
I’ve got a resting bitch face
that’s effective
practically perfected, more potent than a can of mace
Some folk think I’m
A nutcase
Think I’m
A fruitcake
bananas in pyjamas, boogie time with vodka and lime
Hold the soda, keep the rocks
All that secrecy under the frocks
Some folk think I’m
Arsey at a party
Think I’m
arty and farty
Hold the laughter
My mind’s a disaster
I’m constantly holding on to the rafters
Of love
Of breathing through the door or a glass ceiling
It’s difficult when the bravado is receding
Our hearts are bleeding
There’s too much synergy
In our energy
And I don’t know what it means to me
Nothing turns out how it’s supposed to be
This shits constantly draining me it’s going to have an effect
The effect being a perfected, effective bitchface

 

Big Society

You’ve assassinated my character
Peeled away our layers

Made me 2D, too moody, main trait wearing a hoodie
Fuck your hug
I’m gonna play the thug
We’re strippped to the bare bones
Sorting each other out using burner phones
The rampant rabbit gives bare moans

You make up predicaments not meant for us mere plebs
15 minutes late and you’re fucked for tinned cans
Lungs are kicking it while we roll around on motor chairs knocking back other tin cans
Gotta be big mans and sort shit, not look a tit, searching around for an extra bit of anything, something, more, here

You’ve assassinated my character
peeled away our layers

Made me a martyr, running towards the grave faster and I’m looking for an exit
And NO – I’m not talking about Brexit
But you’d like that
Put a label on it but there’s levels to it and a box is ticked with a broad brush stroke
Celebrating with a forty bag and a gram of coke
4 am and we’re a parody of prejudice
Sky TV is our downfall
In the room you’ve got the joker and the fool and they’re both looking for the same thing, anything, something, more, here

You’ve assassinated my character
peeled away our layers
But there’s something to understand here

I’m a working class boy/
The real McCoy/
I’ll bring you joy/
A pleasure toy/
You’ll scream and I’ll beam/
Breadline towards the deadline and payday comes and you’re mental/
Drinking and taking til you think you’ve had a hatful, a bellyful, an overstuffed mouthful, your eyes are too big/
You take another swig and think fuck it I’ll worry tomorrow/
That brings sorrow/
That brings relief/
That brings a rush/
That brings memories/
That takes away memories/
It’s so bad it’s good or is it it’s so good it’s bad/
You’ll never catch me circumcising my thoughts/
I let my dreams flow through ports into another dimension
Where I won’t allow you to assassinate my character
Peel away any more layers
You gotta be smart
All the time I’m writing I’m smoking and I still can’t figure out what’ll kill me first/
Greed and ambition are delivered in documents from storks who flew through storms to make stocks sing of a winning algorithm of decay and destruction and we smile and say it’s ok, it’s just another day/
We’re getting panned by a geezer with a fake tan and laughter that’s canned
Don’t allow for it to assassinate your character
To peel away your layers
Make it make you strong
Make it let you be admired

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Jon is a playwright, actor and poet as well as Artistic Director of Bourne West Productions. As a community theatre practitioner, Jon has workshopped with all walks of life along with performing in several European cities. Last year, Jon premiered his first play, 'Ruby' to four star reviews. Currently, Jon is hosting a monthly spoken word and poetry night, 'New Word Order' at the Rosemary Branch Theatre, as well as being one half of the duo 'Coals and Coke (broke)' spoken word with an instrumental accompaniment.