Poem: This is Your Twenties

I wrote this piece a year ago today – when, for the second time in my life – a contract and a tenancy ended at the same time, and everything was stressful, uncertain and horrible. Since I only have a few months left of my twenties, and (thankfully) things are a lot more stable and happy now, it’s probably time to let this wallow loose on the world. Also, click here to see the poem performed, filmed by Process Productions

This is Your Twenties

This is your twenties:
Thank God for Facebook, emails and mobile phones
Because if we were landlines and filofaxes
Everything would be scribbled out three times –
‘Til we switched to pencil for everyone.
Each page crumpling under the weight of its history:
Each erased address a ghost of a houseshare.
Forwarding addresses and forgotten postcodes.

This is your twenties:
Postcodes make good additions to passwords.
A techie taught you that
Seven jobs ago.

This is your twenties:
The impermanence isn’t painful per se:
But it takes something from you; this lack of solid ground.

This is your twenties:
And you are one of the urban nomads
Lives organised by smartphones
And scuppered by batteries and broken screens.

This is your twenties:
And “Goodness, you’ve got a… diverse CV
Can you talk it through with me?”
Listen, hundredth recruiter, if it looks scrappy
It’s because there are just scraps of jobs going.

This is your twenties:
How did you lose so many nights?
How did you gain so many biros?
A detritus gathering that you need to get clean of
– And you will –
Just as soon as you find the time.

This is your twenties:
You’re in the prime of your life
But you’ve now had more jobs than sexual partners
And you think you might be doing this wrong.

This is your twenties:
Music and memories are digitised or discarded
Because who has room for hard copies?

This is your twenties:
And you’re sure that dead laptop
Had something important on it
But it’s moving time again:
So keep or throw?

This is your twenties:
Your years of experience are growing into something harder:
Not quite armour,
But people seem to think you’re equipped now.

This is your twenties:
Crises typed for broadcast in the small hours
Agonies answered with animal gifs
Because our loved ones are always reachable
But usually too far away
To give us a hug.

This is your twenties:
Every object aching with memories
And each one a burden as you box and unbox –
Moving from postcode to postcode
And pick where to plant your roots
This season.

This is your twenties:
And every next step could be The One
Where you find the job with the pension scheme you’ll actually use,
Or the person you’ll grow old with
But each maybe is scattered across your CV:
Each pension contribution cooking in pots too small to keep track of,
Each nearly-there relationship reminding you how close
– and yet how far –
You are
From ever finding


See this poem performed

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