Following on the heels of my post on Paul Summers, Jo Bell kindly (again) suggested Steve Ely and in turn he offered today’s featured poem, Shitneck (on the Wimpey’s Estate in South Kirkby).
I really like this poem because it reminds me of the way in which young people take on nicknames. My own experience was that you either had an ‘o’ (Dicko, Docko, Stevo) or a ‘y’ (Whaley, Gordy, Murphy – okay that last one was actually a name doubling up as a nickname) put at the end of your name or some derivation of it. I was Scotty because my Father was from Glasgow.
This also relates to how word association is used in vernacular speech. And although Shitneck is about this, as with any good poem it is much more, for Steve shows the harsh hierarchy inherent in such friendships and how your nickname can position you within it.
I also want to have more videos on the site as I think it important to hear poems read out loud by the author. So below I have included Steve reading his poem Arthur Scargill.
Steve is from the Osgoldcross wapentake in the West Riding of Yorkshire. His latest book of poems, Oswald’s Book of Hours, is published by Smokestack and was nominated for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2013 and the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry in 2014. http://www.steveely.co.uk/index.php @JohonSchepe
wimpeys forever paul wakefield was wack wake wack wake wack you can see how that works tony curtis yes tony curtis was curts thats straightforward enough craig stoppard keith whitehouse graham george stoppy whitey georgie yawn me steve ely i was ness pronounced nezz long story ely elli elliot ness cant be bothered to enunciate ess therefore ezz ness gary hardy was lippy the most loveable laughable lion by far lippy the lion and hardy har har john gothard was scoffer goth scoth goff scoff scoffer barry brough beever on account of the bs steve lowry laz or mad dog depending and martin brooks shitneck because his brother had a mole on his neck his fucking brother he said wack nezz call me brooklyn we said brooklyn where the fuck you get that from shitneck