Poetry + Video: Joelle Taylor ‘Crystal Kisses’ (@JTaylorTrash)




Girls at the top

Of ivory tower blocks


Your hair.

Your bandana Pimp Charm­ing will not save you

He has already betrayed you;

He is not climb­ing but pulling

These are not your dreams he is ful­filling

As he stands before you half drunk, grin­ning

Intro­du­cing you to the gang

This half boy less than man

And it’s all part of the long writ­ten sub-tex­tu­al plan

That once seemed like a love let­ter

In invis­ible ink;

He has been patient

Two hands on her win­dow ledge

And in one an invit­a­tion to the group ini­ti­ation

He for­got to men­tion.

He makes her presents of steal­ing gifts

She is bowed in the pres­ence of crys­tal kisses

Pass the par­cel

Del­ic­ate and vicious

They sur­round her in the dis­used lift

No poetry. No pity

Their eyes, the blank win­dows of a somn­am­bu­lant city

As her name is spray tagged in urin­al graf­fiti

They circle her

One winks. Offers her a drink

And their shoulder blades are shark fins

These awk­ward and angry boys

All angles and apo­lo­gies

With blue siren voices

That she once shared a classroom with

Their tongues are now whips

That scar her unwrit­ten skin

Into a map

Each word each wound

A pass­port mark of ori­gin

That con­fines her to the estate

Know your place

She may not wear a burkha

But there is more than one form of purdha

She wears her hair across her face like crime scene tape

And I have learned not to look

At these boys with mouths of burn­ing books

And I quietly head back to my flat

Doors close like lips will. All is still. All is still.



Down the cat­walk gang­ways

She teaches her­self to walk

And the air she moves through

Is forever out­lined in chalk

She walks

Back bruised by the beat­ing of the com­mun­al met­al bins

They force her in

She walks

Back bruised by the looks of oth­er women

Clutch­ing six packs of chil­dren

Pre-school mewl­ing

As she care­fully, war­ily passes by


The girls on this block

Wear half drawn net cur­tains across their eyes

But she will learn like the rest to bury her breasts in the shal­low grave of her chest

A sunken spine will offer more pro­tec­tion in these ends that a Kevlar vest.


They tell you not to join a gang

But not that you will grow up in one

That these are your friends

These razor mouthed men

Not that those same boys who dealt Poke­mon in the play­ground

Are now shot­ting crack and blow and smack and snow

On indif­fer­ent street corners

In the less curi­ous parts of town

Frightened and furi­ous

Kiss­ing fists

Boy sol­dier street exist­en­tial­ists

Press­ing steal­ing gifts

Onto well-dressed strangers with wet upper lips:

A storm in the centre of each palm -

Don’t speak to her about self-harm

If this was Iran

She would be stoned to death for what they did to her

But this is Hack­ney

So she just gets stoned

Those same boys who once played kiss chase

Now play kiss chase

And the moon hides its face in the branches of a tree.


The girls that are locked in ivory tower blocks

Around these ends

Are kept well fed and con­fined to bed

Like bat­tery hens

Stored one on top of the oth­er

Like an Argos advent cal­en­dar

Pop the win­dows

Inside a girl grows into a woman into a wid­ow

And now

There are parts of her body

Places where even the police won’t go

Areas where the grass will not grow

In the dark heart of the tower block shad­ow

That turns the estate into a sun­di­al

There are parts of her that are waste­lands and war­zones

On which a child stands alone

Won­der­ing which could be the path that will lead her home

But sens­ing blood pulls up her hood and sets off into the woods

Sprayed with their col­lect­ive pher­omones


And when she smiles

Her teeth are a white pick­et fence

Neg­lected, paint peel­ing

That a bou­quet of flowers rest against

And noth­ing sings. Noth­ing ever sings.

Noth­ing ever tastes as good as that which is for­bid­den

Noth­ing is as pub­lic as that which must be hid­den

As impossible and irrev­er­ent as the pos­sib­il­ity of for­giv­ing

So where are the cheap flowers rest­ing on rail­ings

For these young fall­ing women

The t‑shirts TV appeals

The par­lia­ment­ary peti­tions

Just con­fine­ment to the tene­ment as though men are the vic­tims

And the female form once again becomes a kind of pris­on



Gang gods battle Gods

In a raw estate Oresteia

And she is Cas­sandra

Fore­see­ing the future

But fated nev­er to be believed

Espe­cially by her­self

Who only knows what she thinks by fol­low­ing Face­Book news feeds

So the media

Call her the all devour­ing moth­er

Bed­sit Medea

Print head­lines in grave­yard script

And nev­er tell the story of the girl on the 12th

Entombed in this fam­ily crypt.

But this girl

This coun­cil oracle

Is a muni­cip­al mir­acle

Each iris an image of the whole world

The uni­verse con­tained in a single pixel

She is the rain­bow rising out of the oil spill

Girls , know your power.

Girls at the top

Of ivory tower blocks

Cut your hair.

And when you have and when you do

Tell them

It is because you don’t need any­one

To save you.

The fol­low­ing two tabs change con­tent below.
Gata Malandra

Gata Malandra

Edit­or / Research­er at No Bounds
Gata is a music and arts lov­er, stud­ied anthro­po­logy, art man­age­ment and media pro­duc­tion ded­ic­at­ing most of her time to cre­at­ive pro­jects pro­duced by No Bounds.
Gata Malandra

Latest posts by Gata Malandra (see all)

About Gata Malandra

Gata Malandra
Gata is a music and arts lover, studied anthropology, art management and media production dedicating most of her time to creative projects produced by No Bounds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *