Shane Solanki To Judge Poetry Competition With John Bird

Shane Solanki is a writer and performer whose broad ranging repertoire covers music, theatre, literature, live art, comedy and cabaret. He’s a regular collaborator with political animals like Don Letts, Coldcut and independent record label Ninja Tune. His band, Last Mango in Paris, play a soundtrack of subversive, non-partisan, spoken word jazz.

You have until 11.30pm on Monday 3rd May to enter – you can enter online here

Here is one of Shane’s Poems:

I was raised on credit cards and civil disobedience

Singing songs of immigrants and also of expedience

Eating take away Chinese, buttered naan, rice and peas

Listening to Vapors telling tales of turning Japanese

And this is why I feel kind of international, see

I learn a little more on every visit I take overseas

Cultivating what we call the Gringo Lingo

See how many languages in which I’ve learnt to say hello:

Like ni hao. Sup braw. Konichiwa. Kemcho.

Sijambo. Guten tag. Namaste. Yakshï ba?

Merhaba! Privet!

I haven’t even started yet

The planet’s still unfolding like an origami serviette

First we sailed by boat, then we flew by jumbo jet

Now the universe unravels as we travel through the internet

Logarhythmic rate of information increase blinding

One click of the mouse for man,

one giant leap for humankind

for some it’s only just begun

Others say it’s almost done

the only thing we’re sure of is that we’re revolving round the sun

at 108,000 kilometres per hour, and though such speed is dangerous,

None of us have even put our seatbelts on.

With our eyes wide open and our wings unfurled

We’re travelling at the speed of thought, and conquering every frontier

It’s confusing; You may find yourself bringing up children in another part of the world,

And ask yourself, ‘how did i get here?’”

Yes, before our eyes this world is becoming distorted

shrinking, shrink-wrapped and exported…

who would have thought it?

These connections made around the globe

Somehow opening our eyes

Something growing inside us and its spreading planetwide

You can’t divide us – there’s nothing to divide

We’re atomised, and scattered wide

We don’t have a leader

Every seed across this Eden redefined is growing of its own accord

blades of grass rising like samurai swords in the aftermath of a terrible thunderstorm

In the deserts of Sudan

And the gardens of Japan

From Milan to Yucatán

Every woman, every man

Raising rhythm sticks and using them like batons in their hand

As they learn to conduct orchestras made out of pots and pans

As they learn that reaching out is more rewarding than control

And that connection makes more sense than building empires on your own

I recognize my optimism might be seen as quite naive

But I’ll be throwing flowers in the bitter streams of Tel Aviv

I’m one of millions, working to help people they will never know

non-profits, schools, hospitals, in charities and NGOs,

creating platforms for dialogue, the likes of which we’ve never seen.

Our scope and scale of vision is unparalleled in history.

This is the most extraordinary time we have ever known.

We’ve become aware of each other across the globe.

It’s time to reach out and redefine what you call home

This is your time. Take it and run. Run like your life depended on it.