Salena Godden

Salena Godden

Salena Godden has been described as ‘The doyenne of the spoken word scene’ (Ian McMillan, BBC Radio 3’s The Verb); ‘The Mae West madam of the salon’ (The Sunday Times) and as ‘everything the Daily Mail is terrified of’ (Kerrang! Magazine). She is also the lead singer and lyricist of SaltPeter, alongside composer Peter Coyte.

Titanic
Thursday, 01 September 2016 11:30

Titanic

Published in Poetry

Titanic

by Salena Godden

I used to love the film Titanic
The last 45 minutes or so
After the sex scene in the car
When the sea water starts to flow

The sinking ship
All slopping and swaying
The band how they
Bravely keep on playing

A man dressing up
As a girly waif
To hide in a boat
And get himself safe

The human catastrophe
The chaos, panic and drama
I used to love that film,
Titanic, all the melodrama

But now it just looks
Like the Channel 4 news
People grabbing for life jackets
No coats and no shoes

Now I'm just reminded
Of the plight of refugees
All those humans drowning
In the open seas

People hungry and cold
In overcrowded boats
Crying for help
With salt-burned throats

There's a Syrian Leo
And Kate the Kurd
I used to like Titanic
But now it looks absurd

And My love will go on
Is such a truly terrible song
I used to like Titanic
But no, never Celine Dion.

 

Tuesday, 15 December 2015 10:50

November Paris Blue

Published in Poetry

Written after the Paris attacks, November 2015

It is a blue November dawn
I imagine a day without conflict
It looks like a globe of light
With an absence of shadow
A world filled with wonder and colour and joy
I close my eyes to soar and fly above the cities we grieve

I don't trust any politicians anymore
I don't believe in our Prime Minister
Or any of our world leaders, presidents and kings
It stinks the way they continue to lie and conspire
To make money, to trade arms, enslave and murder people.

One bomb does not a country kill
But the missile aims to kill the faith in peace and love
One attack will not burn all the flags and castles
But intends to incinerate hope and burn bridges
And fuel the media propaganda trading in fear
Giving the war-mongers ammunition to wage war
Avenge the revenge, that was revenge for the revenge...
And an eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind.

We are nothing without each other
We are our reflections and our differences
We are ants on a hot blue marble in space
We have one planet and one chance to be good to each other
Or be smashed and scattered as ash and dust.

Today, France is dropping bombs on Syria
Who knows what retaliation tomorrow brings
Who knows which city gets bombed next?
We can presume the politician holding the receipts for the latest arms deal will know.

But we all know that more bombs means... more bombs
More revenge, more retaliation, more casualties, more death
More refugees, more displacement, more ignorance, more intolerance, more tension
More blood in the gutters and broken bodies tangled in concrete, rubble and glass
More refugees suffocating in abandoned lorries and washed up on beaches
More rape and violence to vulnerable women and children
More shock-stained faces staring down the news camera lens pleading
"Why? Why do you treat us like animals?"
More mouths; bloody mouths, screaming mouths, hungry mouths, angry mouths, lying mouths
Politicians mouths like piranha mouths with razor teeth to bite any truth in half.
Stop people killing people for killing people who are killing people to kill people...

Media, click bait, hot takes, turn us inside out
Guts spilled and wrung like chip paper laundry
We are being spun in a washing machine on a negative cycle
I want to stop the spin
Switch the machine off and press restart
We need soap to wash out these lying mouths
We soak our world in salt water to remove blood stains
But all our tears are never enough.

We slap and split the lip of the present
Bloody our shared history
And leave scars on the future
A black eye for a black eye.

We must be the change we want to see
I won't give up, I won't stop being idealistic
Idealistically we must break the chain:
Stop people killing people for killing people who are killing people...
Stop people killing people for killing people who are killing people...
Stop using death as the whole sentence
When talking was not listening
When listening wasn't hearing.

It is a blue November dawn
I imagine a day without conflict
It looks like a globe of light
With an absence of shadow
A world filled with wonder and colour and joy
I close my eyes to soar and fly above the cities we grieve

Feel the sorrow of the ghosts of all the lost
And the hearts of the souls beating
The universal rhythm of a new day
Fresh coffee, umbrellas and pigeons
And Paris, wine and poetry and
Beirut and music and Syria and spirit and
London and spice and tea and books
And as this blue November dawn breaks
I remember that is who we all are
That there is a breath inside us we share
Together we live through this moment in time
This brand new morning
With one long slow exhale.

A Strong and Stiffly Worded Letter Should Do the Trick
Wednesday, 09 December 2015 23:09

A Strong and Stiffly Worded Letter Should Do the Trick

Published in Poetry

Dear war makers and war takers,

twitchy button pushers and mushroom cloud worshippers,
bomb botherers and gun polishers,
chemical weapon wielders and coup-cooers,
battle cry criers and army gatherers,
bullet loaders and knife sharpeners,
death collators, chief whips and spins and
dear kings and dear lords and dear right honourables.
To all the dear Mr Presidents and dear Mr Prime Ministers –
Thank you for taking some time to read this letter.
I am writing to make a small request –
Go to the park, feed the ducks, read a book.
Take a break and put down your war-stirring spoons.
Quit being so trigger-happy.
Give your eye-for-an-eye campaign a rest.
Just take some time out –
do your laundry, water your plants, visit your mother,
pull a sickie, have a duvet day, watch a whole season of 
but just stop.
 ,

unplug your internet and take a breather.
Stop winding each other up. I don’t care who started this trouble.
You’re all as bad as each other. I want to send you to your rooms
to do your homework –
you all need to read the history books
and refresh your geography.
So here’s the thing:
If you could just stop making bombs. And you, if you could stop
pretending you haven’t sold any bombs. And then if you could stop
pretending you haven’t bought any bombs. And then you, if you could
stop threatening to bomb people that would be brilliant. Yeah. If you
could all stop threatening us with all your bombs that you haven’t built or
simplify things: if you could stop making bombs and you stop selling
bombs and if you could stop bombing people and if you could all stop
threatening us all with bombs all the fucking time that would be brilliant.
One more time, let me put it another way: if you could stop making
bombs and you stop selling bombs to the other side when you are
meant to be on the other side, and if you could stop accusing the
other one of having the bombs, whilst procuring the production
of more bombs, which you know the latter has because you have
the receipts because it was you who fucking ordered them in to 
be great.

 Now go and have a fucking cup of tea and do a crossword.

Do something lovely and ordinary with your time.

Bake a fucking cake or something.
Since you have all this surplus energy and money
for bombs and war planes,
go and build a school or a hospital or save the rainforests
or something useful.
Put all that war chest money into grants towards that cure for cancer.
Save a soldier, save some money, send him home.
There is not one person I know wants to see another
human being killed.
I certainly don’t want anyone shot or blown up, how ludicrous.
And you always end up bombing schools and hospitals and
killing children and women, because your aim is crap.
At least we are all to believe that it’s because your aim is crap.
Seriously, I think I can safely say
It was vibrating with all the chest beating.
Stop with the King Kong method.
What is it with all the killy-killy-bomb talk?
Are you all drunk or something?
Has your summer of *HW/XFN\ gone a bit sour?
Stay up all night to get killy…
Stay up all night to get bomby…
Obama, Cameron, Putin, Bashar, Letta,
whips and spins and government war stirrers,
every one of you in every war bunker,
yes, you and you, all of you,
all of you, go to your rooms.
I think you need to go take a nap.
Start a war? Seriously? You are going to start a war?
Start a war? START A WAR? Bomb people?
Yep. That’s your solution, is it?
You bag of hopeless dicks.


With Kindest Regards,
pretty much everyone.