Bring Your Ideas Caleb Parkin
The City Poet's fourth commission, written to celebrate Bristol Ideas' new name.
bring your ideas
and let’s stitch them into the city, weave them through streets chattering with trees
and we’ll sip your ideas, a little fizzy, a little bitter, served with lemon or a pinch of salt
bring your ideas and serve them up
in a meal for 91 tongues, of cardamom, jerk seasoning, garam masala and cumin
serve them in the chalk horizons of equations, the antimatter of cosmic failure
bring your ideas and keep bringing them
even when they laugh, when you have to switch continents for a healing Yes
even if your ideas drop from towers into dark pools, fizzing with threat
bring your ideas and spray them
on the wall of the tallest tower in the city, in a map of the body’s earth
we’ll learn our edges in a quiet prayer for wellness, a hymnbook for health
your ideas might make us lightheaded or ease our pain
or can we drink them with marshmallows and whipped cream?
can we count them one hand, eat them from a fruit-bowl?
or will we watch them in shoals and burrows, in fights for survival?
let’s purple your ideas, infuse them with vitamin C
let them BUNGEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
maybe they’ll smash in bright blue smithereens in the Gorge of Disappointment
or become smash-hit tracks cut-up remixed and trip-hop glitched
bring your ideas and cast them
in bronze and pop them on a plinth and let’s animate them
or cast them differently, turn them to clay then let them dance
let your ideas stop the bus until injustice gets off
let them magic lantern Liberty from Fishponds to the Docks
let’s talk ideas across borders, over trenches
make them supersonic fledgelings
bring your ideas and let’s live in them
together – share a bright green common, but keep a backyard
because sure, that new idea might become a regret
or a neighbour you wish you hadn’t met
or maybe it’ll be that BFF you haven’t quite
nearly but – plucked up the courage to chat to – yet
Caleb Parkin, February 2021
This article appears in Bristol 650: Essays on the Future of Bristol, a book bringing together essays from over 30 contributors, addressing some of the challenges the city faces and sharing ideas about how we might meet them. From dealing with the past, the future of social care, culture and housing to building a city of aspiration, the book looks to promote learning about the future of Bristol and encourage new ideas to come forward.
Free copies of Bristol 650: Essays on the Future of Bristol will be available at selected Festival of the Future City events in October 2023, or you can find articles featured in the book at bristolideas.co.uk/bristol650book.