poetry, Thoughts

Renting identity, just for tonight…

Tonight was one of those nights. My book became too boring, and my conjuring of dreams turned to smoke. Drinking anything made me end up in the bathroom, pissing it all out again, and then ending up (back on the bowl) with more racing thoughts. So I decided to crawl towards the all familiar nodules of my keyboard, and begin to type out and idea that had been troubling me for a while. You see the thing was…a while ago at college, there was a competition to write a poem on the theme ‘identity’. I’m (by nature) reasonably prolific, and so just handed in one of my older poems that needed little oil and elbow grease to be presentable. This theme of identity still raced around my head and I thought that I had to do it enough justice, and make the topic pinned down and conquered (in my own head).

So I took the word identity. It was eight characters long, and had four syllables. You may ask why this is at all important, and the reason is that for a change I wanted to try building more of a puzzle than a poem. I took the word further and broke it up into i/dent/ity. Still not satisfied, I decided to turn the ‘ity’ into a word and then end up denting whatever the ity-word happened to be.

Sometimes I think writers need to feel more relaxed and loose with words. If you are restricted by too many rules, then your creativity is blocked, because you’re scared of making a mistake. This is part of the reason e.e. cummings is such a massive success, he is today. In his era everything was strict and formal, like having a whole crowd of parents around you telling you how to eat (except they were critics). He threw his hands in the air (metaphorically, of course) and decided to write without using any grammar. He was young and wild at heart and decided to run with the creativity rather than the fear of messing up.

That’s what we’re told in school, isn’t it? We first learn to write, and then to write in cursive and keep it neat and tidy. Even when we color in, we’re taught to stick to the borders and be good little boys and girls. Well by the time the freedom of varsity grabs you and your big ideas, everything that HAS rules seems rather infantile now, and you decide to squash it. So the piece you are about to see it partly about experimenting, but then also about being honest. This is another trap that artist’s fall into, IMO. They’re scared of showing what they really feel and want to say… because if they do, they’ll have society cursing them.


That’s another WHOLE topic all on its own, so it’ll just give you the poem instead 😉








i dent (p)ity

and the morosembrace

crawling over

our bones


i dent (gratu)ity

the feel that

comes once

you’ve given your

beggar his coin

and a bin to lie in


i dent (the sh)itty

cigarettes that crawl

out of her mouth like

burnt worms.

i told her

once to stop

this habit of

collecting smoke.


i dent (tranquil)ity

with my morning

fart, my wife leaps

out the bed like

burnt toast.


i dent (deform)ity

when i shave

the morning after

the stag. i carve

up the face

i use to have


i dent (moral)ity

because god is dead

last time i looked,

and remembered

to check my

religious opinion.


i dent (char)ity

with a furtive shout

i gave an old man

who should have quit

trying to help


i dent (formal)ity

because i’m an ass.

i can’t chat at

supper, or mutter

at weddings,

button my shirt, or

clean out

my psychopath.


i dent (proxim)ity

i draw borders

you won’t always


i listen to voices

tucked behind


our pseudonyms.


2 thoughts on “Renting identity, just for tonight…

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