When people use fund-raising and donations,
As ways to pacify their rising guilt.
When trafficking destroys a generation,
And shelters are unfunded and unbuilt.
When children under ten are mutilated
For sinful natures they do not possess.
When bodies are both lusted for and hated,
And violence is blamed on how she’s dressed.
When healthcare is denied to those who need it,
And twisted morals fuel indignities.
When foul abuse remains an open secret
And all of us display complicity.
When shame is used to drown dissenting voices,
And threats of death are served to those who speak.
When we are all denounced for all our choices,
Deriding and defamed for being weak.
When half of us are crying out for freedom,
And rape is just another act of war.
How can we say that we’re all truly equal?
The damage runs too deep to be ignored.
When contradictions frame our social system,
And men and women are condemned to fight.
The only way to win is to resist it;
There’s exponential strength if we unite.
When anyone can speak, without reprisal,
And no one suffers hatred or misuse.
And when we understand that we aren’t rivals,
And when the cuffs we built ourselves hang loose.
When we come to value every person,
As worthy of respect and dignity
Then, and only then, can we be certain
We will have achieved equality.
Take my hand
And we’ll rise above all this.
Because you need a fresh perspective
And somewhere near here, there’s a hole in the fence
With both our names on it.
If you need me to, I will lace my fingers together
To build your first step up.
So come on! Feel the footholds worn into the walls and
Grip the crumbling brickwork with both hands.
Kiss every grotesque as you climb but don’t look down –
Instead, heave your body skyward, and watch the stars come out.
Soon we’ll be standing on the shoulders of King’s,
The wind at our Backs as the city tumbles away from us.
An anarchy of rooftops
Waiting to be conquered.
Spires stooped against shopping centres and office blocks.
Each building burst from the ground like a mushroom,
Luminous with ambition, forcing its way into being.
You see, this town grew up from the dirt –
Its foundations unstable.
And everyone said that it wouldn’t last.
But look at us now.
We are an unholy Trinity.
But we’re not in it for the glory.
We just needed a new perspective.
And we’re not looking for anything special,
Shaming St Catherine with second chances
As our lungs fill with chimney smoke.
We’re just luminous with ambition, forcing our way into being.
And while we may not have the keys to this city
We know how to scale the walls.
So let’s climb every college, leap across the parapets
And claim this fungus town for anyone who has ever
Because this city is ours tonight
And we can do anything.
Leanne Moden is a poet from Norfolk, now living in Nottingham. She has performed all around the UK, including events at the Royal Albert Hall, Manchester University and Trinity College Cambridge, and festivals like Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, and Bestival on the Isle of Wight. In recent years, Leanne has been shortlisted in the Camden Roundhouse Slam, the Hammer & Tongue Slam, and the Poetry Rivals Slam. She was Fenland Poet Laureate in 2013, and founded the Fen Speak open mic nights with fellow poet (and partner in crime) Elaine Ewart.
Leanne currently hosts the Crosswords open mic in Nottingham and she’s part of the DIY Poets, and the ‘28 Sonnets Later’ collective. Her latest pamphlet, ‘Liaisons’, was published by Stewed Rhubarb Press in January 2015.