Brighton & Hove poetry

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Poems written in response to the Brighton Naked Bike Ride.

Hannah Cicely Lloyd

Inspired by the 2016 ride (via Facebook):

I've overslept and the weather is shit
Naked bike ride? Don't fancy it one bit
Too cold and there's drizzle, I must be mad
But if I chicken out now. I'll only feel sad
So, shaking a little, I drop into town
Free falling, no stopping, down down down
Onto the Level, too many spectators
Phones ready to snap, like alligators
So into the pen I walk, I don't care?
Into men. naked! everywhere
I head to the back and lay down my bike
But take off my clothes? No, I‘m on strike
If I had a big camera I'd not need to undress
As soon as I'm naked I'm shot by the press
So I sit on a blanket with a sweet looking girl
Legs pulled up tight, I cannot unfurl
She comes from Croatia, not doing the ride
But wants to be naked, she tells me with pride
And asks me to draw on her body, anywhere
You know I love drawing. you‘ve answered a prayer
Talk to an organ playing lawyer called Michael
Then an Indian dude, and we're ready to cycle
Butterflies in my stomach, wings on my back
Our armour, our flesh. I ride out with the pack
We cruise through the town, we're out to impress
Read our banners and check out our dress
The music is pumping and so are our thighs
Endorphins, adrenalin, natural highs
Then on Hove seafront it's just bloody freezing
If we stay here much longer, I'm gonna start sneezing
We set off again, so good to get going
Peddling hard, cheeks are soon glowing
The crowds are all happy, they cheer and we wave
Feel like I'm on drugs, it beats any rave
We bike to the future, burning not oil but fat
Eve was just framed, they were born like that.
At the Old Steine we stop and hang out
Have a quick wee and then dance about
Next we're in Kemp Town, we're on the home run
Down to the beach and the ride is all done
I put on my clothes and collect up the banners
Everyone's grateful, all thank yous and manners
A wonderful day, fossil fuel free fun
Happy Tenth Anniversary, second to none!
Chuffed and not chaffed, sure I'll be back
We had a ball and it was a crack!

Naomi Foyle

Silly Streetniks

The Silly Streets Co-ordinator tips his top hat
to the Emperor of Empathy, who’s out on East St
in a purple Smurf suit, hugging everyone who needs him.
It’s a beautiful morning, the lamp posts tingly with dew
and soon the streets will be spinning
with spontaneous ridiculosity and random jolly trolleys.

Anarchic Action Annie, a slim battery of rebellion,
is planting pencils in the pavement, red twigs
she snapped up at the last branch of Woolies.
She’ll sprinkle them all day, with her green duck watering can,
until a memorial avenue of wood and lead
sprouts unpaid bills above her head.

At noon, the Naked Cyclists meet the Naked Speed Daters
at the Pier. No-one’s going tandem yet, but
getting a handle on un-spoken emotion, they rally,
two by two along the seafront, comparing comfy saddles,
writing poems in sun cream down each other’s arms,
and switching partners at the trill of a bell.

As for the non-acronym-inous, non-acrimonious
Vegetarian Smokers Support Group — not to be confused
with the South East Visigoth Elocution Network —
at two pm they’re setting up stocks outside City Hall
and nominating nine non-hypocritical members of the public
to pelt them with organic tomatoes.

All afternoon the Flash Fiction Flaneur
will be strolling North Laine, taking notes,
before stopping for tea in the Pavilion Gardens, where
at four o’clock, by the foxgloves and hollyhocks,
he’ll perform his latest postcard epics,
his black Mac billowing around him like a sail.

Of course there will be tight-rope treading violinists,
cream-pie wielding Buddhists, and Vicious Usherettes
in yellow Unhappy Face T-Shirts
selling ‘Life’s Not Funny’ buttons,
while Operation Chai Wallah will kettle the police
in its ‘Have another cuppa, copper?’ drag-net of St James’ Street.

And as the sky turns red and pink and orange
with the realisation it’s been made a bleeding fool of all day,
the Mad Maxi-Pad Scientists with their White Kotex Coats
and solar powered Sili-ometre, will officially report
on the ludicly ludicrous oscillyations sallying forth
from this crackpot little city into the Universe…

and if today’s extravaganza of eccentricity has set a new World record,
every single Silly Streetnik can go home and sleep
the sleep of the deeply dippy, dream the dreams of the amply absurd.

Mike Bliss

Awakening

It emerged shyly from its cocoon
Blinking in the bright sunlight
Looking around at the crowds
As comprehension slowly dawned.
Another world naked bike ride, it said
And went back to sleep.

— 5 Jun 2007

Does My Bum Look Big On This?

The second World Naked Cycle ride was on 9 June 2007.

It's that time of year again
Grease up the gears again
Pump up those tyres
And de-squeak the brakes.

Three hundred people pumping
Fair-weather cyclists jumping
Getting ready for a start on the Level
On this global event on a quiet June day.

We're sorry if you're put off your shopping
And forget the meat and two veg from your list
Some people will cheer us, others will jeer us
But to save the planet, we're prepared to have fun.

We won't wear our raincoats, our joggers, our lycra
We'll just wear a huge smile and welcome the sun.

— 18 May 2007

The Naked Cyclist

He cycled wobbling down the road
Protest writ loud in body language proud
Bare goose-fleshed skin topped by massive grin
Voices from the crowd - comments rude and loud.

Some small-minded people think nudity wrong
That we should hide away our bodies in shame
Different views are somehow to blame
For the moral turpitude of society today.

Instead, he just shouted, "Hooray!
"Underneath our bodies are just the same
Well, a couple of differences - that's part of the game".
And they shout from their bikes the naked cycle song:

"We're naked, we're proud
We're bare, and we're loud
We're cycling to make our point
Don't want your noses out of joint
But we're naked and free
Try it - you'll see!"

This sense of naked camaraderie
Imbues the riders with moral certainty
They know they're right - will win the fight
But our protagonist will miss the gist.

Our naked hero won't do this again
One moment he was sitting nude and proud
Then as he waved to the eager crowd
He caught his tackle in the chain.

– 28 May 2006

Peter Glyn Jones

Protest song to the tune of the 'Teddy Bear's Picnic'