In this past I just wear jeans and a plaid shirt. The day I go out
in an American jacket from my godmother, some thugs
stop me and take it away. The thinner robber has a bald spot.
He tells me to fuck off, arm through my sleeve,
disinterested surprise on his face. Bright bulbs get the first stones,
I can hear him think. Best to stay invisible. So.
In this past I wear religion like couture, lock step
with the country, eyes searching the middle distance for salvation,
a high concept fashion show where all models walk identical designs,
same cloth, same cut, buttoned on the same side, like
everyone is wearing my gang's colours. Soon, I forget that they are colours.
It's a good way to make others invisible.
In this past I wear convictions like a mouth guard.
I have learned to drive a car and my parents mad. I have read
in a book that good taste is the same as good morals, so I rip out
the first page and make a sneering mask. I wear it
around those whose choices clash with my palette.
It's a good way to make dilemmas invisible.
In this past I wear my ambition like a baby sling.
Newborns sleep in it. I make headlines: MAN BABY IS BABYMAN.
I refuse to sell my story. I brace for the media backlash.
Instead, first one, then two, then all of the town's children
climb in and sway from my left shoulder.
It's a good way to make yourself invisible.
In this past I wear self-doubt like a medal.
Etched brass, green ribbon. The inscription is not in Latin. It says:
beauty is determined by a jury of strangers, who should not be trusted.
I don't get much done: I stop people on the street to ask
where they got the things that make them them. I try on
almost anything; it's a good way to keep moving towards the invisible.
Bohdan Piasecki is a poet from Poland based in Birmingham. A committed performer, he has taken his poems from the upstairs room in an Eastbourne pub to the main stage of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, from underground Tokyo clubs to tramways in Paris, from a bookshop in Beijing to an airfield in Germany, from niche podcasts to BBC Radio. In the UK, he regularly features at the country's most exciting spoken word nights, festivals, and readings. He enjoys the creative chaos of big field festivals just as much as the composed concentration of literary events.
Bohdan founded the first poetry slam in Poland before moving to the UK to get a PhD in translation studies from the University of Warwick. He has worked as Director of Education on the Spoken Word in Education MA course at Goldsmiths University, and was the Midlands Producer for Apples and Snakes between 2010 and 2017. Since 2012, he has been a regular Visiting Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. He is Creative Producer for Beatfreeks and sits on the board of the Poetry Translation Centre.