: listening for sirens : flashbacks bounce passed : you spit net fluently : you don’t live with any bookshelves : you don’t school with any kids who look like you : but you understand why it feels like poor punctuation defines you : you’ve never seen idioms made in your image : out of what twisted music you were pushed : what rattles and ricochets : as necessary as what breathes one hard unaltered spark : there’s an atlas you deserve and their hardcover yawn is not made to fit you
: you get good at being singled out : enjambment is your armour : is freedom : what you do for yourself when you are made clumsy and invisible : what questions and cusses : what carols you catapult : is freedom : to a blank page : the steel you resist : whipped : bounced : the golden bed of your ether : namelessness listening : is there
: pressed to ear : you wait with headphones : behind bedroom walls : envying the last chapter of violent autobiographies : the brittle crash of tectonic plates : upheaval of keepsakes like school-day portraits in plastic gold frames : your oppressor and your craft : a relationship to constraints sustains you : you live an illiterate debt and read the arrows inflating your torso : both target and secret : propels you from the place grammar functions to dysfunction your inner voice : you keep a private collection of daydreams and lyrics : you carry whispers not yours to slick : you scratch apologies on yourself : you reveal an essay written in jazz trumpets and asthmatic lungs : you have to work twice as hard to exhale : you ask guiding lights for advice : you are afraid
: to admit what you call beauty : what you can’t say out loud : what you can’t hold down : what you must not put into plain paragraphs : more cuss words and a wrinkled grocery bag of tinsel : a strip of grammatic dynamite : there’s a certain amount of power you can replenish : you can’t control the contraption but you can imagine yourself belonging to a brilliant and more desirable spin : it all depends on what you listen for when you are most alone : the quality of voice you speak : to yourself : how carefully you read
: the fractures of a family you stanza together : the sporadic spell : a piercing call to memorize details navigating what was not meant to survive you : if you reach one lifetime elsewhere : if you expect better for other beings : you double : is fuel for self-grasping : your parents have not failed you : the prismatic has failed your family history : you are a product and a people : you must personify hidden glaciers of this knowledge to break its fever : to dismantle its grey legacy : your notebook unites names of ancestors and painters : experts and self-selected kin : there are new daydreams and lyrics to collect : you keep moving across the page : despite rejections and imperfections
: between you : and hard listening : is stolen territory : is grammar : is capital : is a world not made to fit you : the world you deserve is perplexed : is celebrating : and maybe sometimes : someplace you don’t have to keep bulletins of affirmations : someplace not programmed by empires : someplace you recognize an abolished hierarchy : a diluted fear : no recessive and abusive patterns to taste you : until then : this current : this constitution builds debt : this grammar needs numbers : this cosmetic resilience : cologne and all-inclusive vacations : this gravity of extraordinary suffering : this desire to misunderstand suffering : to cover the stench : neglected ethics of listening : sometimes it asks you to speak on behalf : preservation is not wanting to bother : is not wanting to be bothered : is not tempted to volley weapons in all directions the way flower petals grow : your intelligible slant and slang : here is you : is trinket of choosing : is not going back to serving hatred the way they scripted you
: archaic cadence tries to talk you into unbelievable obedience : a violent home is no different than a protected wilderness dominating airtime : the grammar is no safer than your body : bodies like your body : these stadiums of bodies : these courtrooms and towns : theatres : clubs and synagogues of bodies : bodies visible not venerable : bodies resilient : not healed : bodies stuck in twisted music : bodies competing for breath and regular respect : pitied bodies : bracketed bodies : starved bodies : bodies trafficked and attacked : granting bodies : what new grammar you hear them making : follow with a finger : return : punished bodies : bodies that are missing : bodies your daydream reaches for : just because you can’t believe what’s happening : doesn’t mean you indulge denial : can’t be entertained by this dizzy you’re observing : sometimes you don’t have nothing but a voice you squeeze through : emotion moves the material : when you put a pen in your hand : you don’t have to tell it what to do
: a whirl that fits your body : from the first needle on the track : from warm up to cool down : from biology to social impressions : you deserve a turn that doesn’t neglect you or shrink your light : you deserve total loves : you deserve plums and some brink of relief : you deserve all the directions your crown of flower petals grow : your intelligible slant and slang : here is you : new telephone wires that sputter : that speck : that spark : is all you need : is not going back
: is summoning forward : is not possible to return to what you never possessed : you’re somebody nobody in your family has ever been : you disrupt architecture : books arch into irises with no rooftops : you enter and graduate capacious meditations : student to all language giving language : is yawning and belonging enough : is this scribble how far you can stretch : you have chores : not only your chores : chores beyond and inherited : chores between your chores : bridged chores : endangered chores : how you rattle the light of the ear : in what name you give a future : how you keep moving across the page
Britta Badour, better known as Britta B., is a Toronto-based spoken word poet, performer, emcee, voice actor and teaching artist.
Her works have featured in print, in sound and onstage across North America in notable spheres such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, CBC Arts: Poetic License, The Walrus Talks, TEDx and The Stephen Lewis Foundation. She is an alumna of the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Spoken Word Residency and 2018 Toronto Arts Council Leaders Lab Fellow.
As an artist educator, Britta facilitates artist-training seminars, poetry workshops and social justice programs in partnership with organizations like JAYU, Poetry In Voice, Prologue Performing Arts, League of Canadian Poets and The Power Plant.
Britta is currently a Creative Writing MFA candidate at University of Guelph.