'Stick around' by Birdspeed

Meet 'The Future'

The Future is a series of short spoken-word films featuring inspirational poetry and performances from six up-and-coming young artists.

Each film presents a unique perspective on the future and confronts issues that really matter – from climate change to family ties, trusting in fate to the power of love. And they look pretty amazing too!

You can check out the whole series here.

Watch 'Stick around' by Birdspeed

Meet Birdspeed

Birdspeed was born in London and grew up in Barbados. She was drawn to poetry, she says, because of a sense of frustration. At school poetry was all "dead old white men", Birdspeed explains, there was nothing that reflected her background or heritage, nothing innovative or diverse.

I didn't hear a lot of voices like mine. Poetry enabled me to share my truth.

Integrating dance into her shows, Birdspeed describes her performance style as exciting, bold, authentic and loving. She wants her audiences to feel comfortable and welcome at her shows, but at the same time aims to challenge them with serious messages.

Poetry is important, Birdspeed says, because it has the power to magnify small moments – to make them big and full of meaning. It has the power to inspire change.

About ‘Stick around’

Birdspeed’s poem 'Stick around' opens with a series of warnings:

If you screw up your face it will stay like that
...
If you crick-crack your fingers they will stop working

“You realise as you grow, that some of these sayings are not so far-fetched,” says Birdspeed. She reminds us in her poem that sooner or later we will all grow old so it's important to enjoy life while we can.

‘Stick around’ urges us to live in the moment and hold on to every good memory. It reminds us that, one day, we’ll want to look back and remember the good times.

It is impossible to predict everything so we must cherish those beautiful moments that gave us joy.

'Stick around' by Birdspeed

If you screw up your face it will stay like that
Your hair will turn curly if you eat your crusts all year
If you crick-crack your fingers they will stop working
If you say her name three times in the mirror the old queen’s ghost will appear

Warnings, omens
to say what lies ahead may unpick your snugness
shake down the walls
dismantle family portraits,
like the one of you grinning with sweetcorn kernels all over your face;
or the school photo with an odd yellow button sewn on
by mum, who told you no one would notice but everyone did.
The earth may quake
that small trophy from the most epic egg and spoon race might topple...
If it does, prop it back up,
let those victories continue to be the alleviation of your afflictions.

Teddy bears whose soft furs were as comforting
as the screams of your cheerleaders
when your confidence crashed to the floor
in the same way you tripped over your shoelaces
and the hands of your mother
who taught you how to tie them.

If you screw up your face it will stay like that
Your hair will turn curly if you eat your crusts all year
If you crick-crack your fingers they will stop working
If you say her name three times in the mirror the old queen’s ghost will appear

In a few years, or days, or tomorrow:
the lines on your face may become more visible,
your hair may reach a new level of sass,
Your fingers may find refuge in crumpled positions,
a stranger might even steal your reflection.

She don’t recognise faces like she used to,
distinguish the deepness of creases in a person’s wisdom.
Doubt permits her to withdraw.
She lays back, eyes gleaming
retreating.
Every so often she opens her mouth
as if the elation of her youth has returned
lifting her shoulders
reclaiming a deserted playground

wishing for those memories to just
stick around.

Meet the poets

Our six poets were finalists in the Words First talent development scheme, which saw BBC 1Xtra, BBC Asian Network and BBC Contains Strong Language come together to discover the best spoken word artists in the UK.

We asked the poets to write an exclusive poem for The Future and worked closely with them to develop the creative approach to the films.

To explore The Future, go to Bitesize Support or follow the links below.

Yesterday was tomorrow then today
Today was tomorrow
And tomorrow’s never promised

Expect the unexpected by SAF-S2E

You don't get to deal me my future

Card tricks by Christy Ku

There is a letter buried under my pillow waiting to be written

A letter to my mother by Amina Atiq

The answers will come soon,
there’s a scroll yet to unfurl in you

The best we can hope for the future is love by Esther Koch

I used to date the future
which was
a lot
to be honest

Boiling a frog by Tom Denbigh

'Expect the unexpected' by SAF-S2E
'The best we can hope for the future is love' by Esther Koch
'Card tricks' by Christy Ku