Kwame Dawes and the operatic African americans

“Are you going somewhere or coming back ”  said  the person next tome on the plane. The problem was that I  was not “going somewhere” nor “coming back”. I was  going back. I  couldn’t answer so I moved seats on the plane and fell asleep. “He’s  gone” I heard the woman say to here gran daughter Matilda.

Fly from Vancouver  to Heathrow. The journey time was nine hours. The plane was three hours late   and there’s a seven hour time difference. It’s 5pm   and I’m watching hundreds of suitcases slouch past on a carousel. It’s 5pm Monday. Heathrow.  Get to Piccadilly to a champagne reception to   launch National Care leavers Week for London’s  Centrepoint.  Get to hackney and  Sleep. Sleep. I am sleeping like a Duracell   bunny on speed. I dream about packing a suitcase that never gets full. I am
trying to squeeze a kitchen sink. Must get sink into bag. 

Wake 5.30am. Leave   Hackney apartment at 7am arrive at the   south bank for Poetry International.   There’s a panic on at  The Lower Marsh   installation. It’s raining and the exhibits are outside.. Lomography is a new word.   I like it. It’s all about the camera. It’s all about the camera being given to   the hands of the community and the pictures being reproduced placed side by    side. It’s a great mosaic. And that’s us, right, a great mosaic. Art, and here it is by the walls of the     festival hall. For more info on lomography go to

 As I turn into the   south bank and up the steps  the wall is    adorned with hundreds, probably thousands of pictures. It’s being launched   today. Press the wall and  you hear the poems   of the people of Lower Marsh. When you touch the wall you are touching not them    but their visions. I accidentally put my hand through the wall after being a   bit over zealous about it speaking to me.     I am escorted from the premises.  The photographer from the Guardian snaps away.   It will be a middle page spread in The Guardian tomorrow. It rains. Someone    moans. But hey rain gives life.

This takes me from 9am  to 12 noon. Race back home. Hackney.   Sleep. I have the most weird and most memorable dream. It is a hot day and I am   on the other side of London. I am   at some event in a park. For some reason there are daytime  fireworks. Everyone starts to leave and I  realise I should be at the south bank to see the launch of Poetry International   with Kwame Dawes.   Must get out of dream. I have jet lag in   my dream.   I am asking whether it is a dream. I am
wondering in my dream if the south bank is actually a parallel dream world.. I
am wondering whether the world I am in (the dream)  is the real one. Must get to South Bank. I am   in a house. It is apparently my house. I haven’t seen the house before.  Must open window. Can’t open window. Noise   from Outside coming in. Must open window. Wake. I’m awake. Punch myself to see   if I am real. I am real. Put on fresh clothes. 3.30pm.   Get to South Bank.

 Firsts there’s the official launch of The Lower Marshes   Project at the new stage in the QEH foyer. In a nutshell Lower Marsh is a  vibrant community that leaves a hop skip and a punch away from The South Bank.   Here they were, the elders, the children, the mothers the fathers the   shopkeepers and the market stall holders.    And what a wonderful thing. They are reading on stage poems written   through workshops with Charlie Dark, Malika Booker, Breeze and the like.  Finish 6.30pm.   Outside the QEH my poem is projected on the wall. Not sure I should’ve chosen  Applecart Art as the first one. But hey. It’s all rock and roll. A hundred or   so people view and smile and I am proud.  I catch myself in peripheral vision. I think I was seeing myself coming back. Not sure.


2 thoughts on “Kwame Dawes and the operatic African americans

  1. It is hotter. No doubt. I am loving it at the moment though it wasn't easy for the first five months. I missed manchester, like a cat locked out of its comfort zone. There was alot of pacing.

Leave a Reply

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