'Card tricks' by Christy Ku

This article was first published in January 2020.

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 'Card tricks' by Christy Ku

Meet Christy

Christy Ku is a poet from London. She describes her poetry as honest, direct and reassuring. Christy says that when she's on stage she can't hide her emotions: she’s raw, vulnerable and real. Performing is like breaking off parts of herself in front of an audience, she says.

Feeling connected to her audience is important to Christy. She describes the stage as a home and a space to share with the crowd.

We’re both completely in the present and we find out truths together.

Writing poetry, for Christy, is all about speaking your own truth, in your own voice. It provides purpose, power and a sense of self. Poetry, she says, is:

The answer to when you wonder if anyone else thinks or has ever felt the same things as you. It’s the answering call when you knock on a door, hoping to be let in and not be alone.

About 'Card tricks'

In her poem Card Tricks, Christy reassures us that it's normal not to know what the future holds.

It's ok not to know your future, to not have a clue whatsoever, to not have a plan.

People might try to tell you what to do, she says, or put pressure on you to get a “good job” or “make money” but you don’t have to follow their plan.

You can take control of your own destiny, she urges.

Your life and future are yours always.

'Card tricks' by Christy Ku

I am sat down in the chair.
My feet don’t reach the floor.
The deck of cards is being shuffled.

It sounds like leaves falling,
like they’re whispering about me,
like footsteps coming closer.

Everyone who has forgotten what it’s like to be young
draws and deals me a card.

Ace of spades.
I have to be perfect in every way.
Close enough is not good enough.
I’m trying to take deep breaths
but my ribs keep hitting
the ace’s blade.
There is no space to fail.

Jack of diamonds.
I have to get a good job even though
I don’t know what that is.
Someone will tell me
everything I have to do
and everything I have to be.
No matter how I flip the card
it’s always right side up.

Three of clubs.
They say “youth is wasted on the young”
and they make us grow up.
It feels like a surrender,
like I’m losing a war
I didn’t ask to fight.

Eight of diamonds.
Make money
and give it to them.
I am not my own,
I am owned and I owe.
Money won’t buy their love but
it’ll stall disappointment
and all this fear.

Four of clubs.
In this house of cards
I have to walk a path I don’t know is right.
If I stop moving they’ll come after me.
If they figure out I don’t know
where I’m going
everything will fall apart.

Red Joker.
I’ve let everyone down
I will never be good enough
this deck is too heavy
all these cards have left paper cuts
my hands hurt too much
I’ve missed the bar that keeps rising
I’m falling


Give me the cards.
You don’t get to deal me my future.

Give me the cards –
and give me my money back.

Give me the cards,
I’ll show you a magic trick.
Blow –
and they’re blank.
They can say whatever I want them to say.
I can write: everything will be ok
and I’ll make it true.
Or I can just walk away.

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.

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

Warnings, omens
to say what lies ahead may unpick your smugness
shake down the walls

Stick around by Birdspeed

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

Expect the unexpected by SAF-S2E

If you need support

You should always tell someone about the things you’re worried about. You can tell a friend, parent, guardian, teacher, or another trusted adult. If you're struggling with your mental health, going to your GP can be a good place to start to find help. Your GP can let you know what support is available to you, suggest different types of treatment and offer regular check-ups to see how you’re doing.

If you’re in need of in-the-moment support you can contact Childline, where you can speak to a counsellor. Their lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There are more links to helpful organisations on BBC Action Line.

'Expect the unexpected' by SAF-S2E
'The best we can hope for the future is love' by Esther Koch
This is me by Harnaam Kaur