Raptor rap tour… the video!


Raptor rap tour

This poem involves different birds performing rap music. It begins with Eminem’s Rap God as performed by a bald eagle, then Kendrick Lamar’s DNA as performed by an osprey, Nikki Minage’s Anaconda as performed by a condor, and finally Mos Def’s Mathematics as performed by a chicken.

(Rap god)
It’s beginning to sound like a raptor rap tour
Start with eagles who can rise up like the rapture, rapped our
talons around the prey we capture, capped our
Heads with a gold crown cos we’re the masters

The bald in bald eagle means white patch

I got no equals, all love bald eagles
Yet I will keep full like I’m a seagull
Cause I steal small bird’s food haul
And I’ll ransack a bin like a Pit-bull-finch
Sorry girl, I’m so regal you believe my diet’s legal,
Dollar bills owe their glow to me, so
How you gonna call my lifestyle deceitful?
I’ll feed my eaglets eagrets


I got
I got
royal feet for oiled eats cause being an ospray
Talons tear through fish, and one can twist to hold the other way
egg collectors one time wiped us out in the UK
we recolonised the British isles by flying from Norway
And though predatory my territory is only my nest-eyrie
Breed effectively collectively and build my nest up yearly
I don’t …

No Andean condors don’t
No Andean condors don’t
Harm livestock until their lives stop

To find fresh flesh, follow vultures who can smell
Mutualistic coexistence cos they need our beaks as well
we can bite through hide
And even crush up bone
Each day we fly
Marathons around our home

Ohh, what I see?
Could it be
Someone left a fresh kill for me
So I tear that body open
But the corpse ate pills and potions
That make us fall like dominos when we start overdosing.

Oh my God. Look at her beak.
Look at her


bukka bukka bukka bukka
Haha: chicken.

Onedering jungle foul, too tame to break
Free from our A four-page lives, you take
Five day old chicks, they can add and subtract
When six-month old kids may struggle with that, you
Sever ties with mum who Mos’ Def-hen-eight-ly
Counted and chirped with her chicks before they hatched
Nineteen billion of us survived being crushed alive at birth
In gendercide of non-egg providing males whose lower worth
As bodily commodities means you won’t even make us into stocks.
All this and somehow we’re the bunch of cocks?
It’s chickenomics.

Eating insects


Recently I wrote a poem with insect- and anthropology-expert Charlotte Payne (@LibertyRuth on twitter), which explored human attitudes to insect consumption throughout the world. Her research feeds into a growing notion of insects as better for the environment than larger animals. It differs from the mainstream presentation in recognising that cultural value and delicate ecological balance may be lost if the insects are factory-farmed unwisely. Here’s a video of the poem, recorded by MuddyFeet at the Genesis Slam Final.

London open mics spreadsheet

Having been to quite a lot of London open mics recently and been asked which I recommend, I thought I would answer this question in the most poetic way possible: with a spreadsheet. All entries are what I vaguely recall at the time of writing. Feel free to rehost, and contact me for the power to edit it if you want to add events or change anything in it.



Who knew that infinity could evaporate?

That those bright-clouded darknesses

May one day spin everything into light?

That Beginning and perhaps End are words we

Must teach the universe,

While it in turn thrums out the mystery

Of inward-turned space

And the dreams inside its scars.



Notes:  Hawking radiation refers to the loss of mass of a black hole via a quantum effect, predicted to eventually empty black holes, which radiate more as they deplete themselves. Eventually these holes are predicted to predominate in the universe, then gradually lose mass to this radiation.
Hawking was also involved in the Hartle-Hawking hypothesis, a proposed explanation for the Big Bang, which denies the meaningfulness of the question ‘what came before the Big Bang.’ If the universe ends with a Big Crunch, a similar answer is possible, though we currently think there will be black holes and heat death, as above. Even so, it’s not clear what would constitute the ‘end’ of such a universe, as it gradually empties of all matter (with the remainder possibly decaying spontaneously).
He was responsible for a partial proof of the ‘no-hair  theorem’, which says that you lose most information about the contents of a black hole and can’t know about what goes on inside. As with all physical proofs, it relies on uncertain assumptions, so can be considered a proof  but isn’t definitely correct, and is still debated today – Hawking changed his opinions on the matter within his lifetime.

He was an inspiration to me and many physicists and a colossal figure in both the discovery and popularisation of science. We will miss him.

Escapism (The Greatest Magic of Harry Potter)


Imagine a world where magic is strong
and hunger is cured with the wave of a wand
where you can just fly
anywhere that you want.
Now imagine there are muggles who can’t.
They don’t have your contactless cards
or quite the right passports to pass border guards
but they’ve heard tales
of a land in the clouds
where the streets are paved
not bombed-open ground
and childrens’ lives are saved
when cash can’t be found
but without the right papers,
all they have to claim a place with is a story
and we rarely listen to oral traditions now
we spend our days playing zero sum games
where for one to gain, person two has to lose
so we choose to keep players few, forgetting
that humans are creative.
However little we take with us,
we carry whole worlds of new opportunity
and I’m tired of living
on a tiny mind’s island overfilled by one
so let’s escape.
Let’s all emigrate
to a kingdom of heaven
that lies inside
whose passport is love and whose boundaries are wide
as the number of people who fit in your head
so stretch out your thoughts with the stories you’ve read
and fly with me into this imagined nation
because the true reason for escapism
isn’t running away
but a way to see how things should be run.


This poem is based on the study ‘The greatest magic of Harry Potter: reducing prejudice’, about the impact of Harry Potter on out-group attitudes towards immigrants,  asylum seekers and gay people, full-text available here (researchgate).