Friday Poem: These things I know

Read 'These things I know', by Kae Tempest.

Read 'These things I know', from Kae Tempest's Hold Your Own.

*Contains strong language*

These things I know

Kae Tempest

Language lives when you speak it. Let it be heard.

The worst thing that can happen to words is that they go unsaid.

Let them sing in your ears and dance in your mouth and ache in your

guts. Let them make everything tighten and shine.

Poetry trembles alone, only picked up to be taken apart.

Instead of an elephant, roaring and shaking its ears,

it's one of those handbag dogs, yapping and scared of the rain.

The clever folk talk in endless circles and congratulate themselves on

being so untouched by passion.

But since when did the clever folk ever know anything?

Sometimes things are as simple as they seem.

It's as much about instinct as it is about intellect

And if you feel it, it's alive.

Let it be magic.

These are not engines we're making.

Wherever you come from is a holy place.

Do not love the idea of life more than you love life itself.

The world is a terrible place for sensitive people

but the closer we come to losing our minds, the harder we'll work

to keep them.

If you're not fighting for it, you don't want it.

Taking things for granted is a terrible disease. We should all be checking

ourselves regularly for signs of it.

Sensitive people are frequently beaten up by things insensitive people

can't see.

If you've been beaten up, good for you.

If you've never been beaten up, good for you.

If you get beaten up all the time, you should take up boxing.

It's ok to feel alone.

Usually you are.

That's what poetry's for.

It's good to care about things so much you feel exhausted.

Don't read women's magazines. They're bad for your stomach.

You've only yourself to blame when someone half as talented as you ends

up achieving twice as much.

If people judge you badly and misunderstand you,

it's good for you.

Fame is the worst thing that could happen to your reputation.

If you want to know your worth, ask your lovers.

Especially the ones who don't talk to you anymore.

You can't be a good person and treat your lovers badly,

no matter how much you give to charity.

Better to have been a dickhead and seen it,

than be a cunt all your life and not know it.

A thousand fans screaming your name is nothing compared to one

lover who whispers it and knows what it means.

Although of course both would be nice.

The world is getting stranger every day; you're not strange for


You don't have to be young to be good at what you do. You just have

to be good at it.

There's nothing wrong with dogs being dogs and baring their teeth

at each other.

The pain of having fucked things up so bad will never leave us.

If you say something funny on Twitter, it doesn't matter.

If you've been an arsehole today, acknowledge it.

Try not to be one tomorrow.

Never underestimate how nice it is

to make someone a cup of tea without them having to ask.

If you have a shit job and you don't love your girlfriend and your life

is killing you, take a fucking risk for once.

If some people don't hate your work, you're not doing it right.

Hold Your Own

by Kae Tempest

Hold Your Own, Kae Tempest's first full-length collection for Picador is an ambitious, multi-voiced work based around the mythical figure of Tiresias. This four-part work follows him through his transformations from child, man and woman to blind prophet; through this structure, Tempest holds up a mirror to contemporary life in a direct and provocative way rarely associated with poetry.

A vastly popular and accomplished performance poet, Tempest commands a huge and dedicated following on the performance and rap circuit. Brand New Ancients, also available from Picador, won the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry and has played to packed concert halls on both sides of the Atlantic.