My Beastie Boy poem for Ruth / by Heather Taylor

Tonight I had the pleasure of performing at the Waltham Forest Literary Festival. I opened with my teenage boy poem (or as it referred to, my Beastie Boy poem). All about music, I did it in tribute to my recent weekend at ATP (or All Tomorrow’s Parties for those of you who haven’t heard of this awesome festival).

One of the women in the front row, Ruth, was nodding along, laughing. Ah, a kindred spirit! Turns out she was at ATP as well. And as she wanted a copy of the poem and it’s not in any books, here it is in all it’s glory. Hope you like it Ruth! See you in December[:)]

“In my soul, I have the musical tastes of a teenage boy.

I have the musical tastes of a teenage boy who wants to be a rocker, who wants to be a skater, who wants to be a punk, who wants to be Eminem.

Underneath this skin, I’m hoodied-up, bagged out, booted, suited, walking with a swagger, a swagger with a hip out, skateboard dangling from my arm, badged, buttoned, pinned, with greasy hair, hidden eyes, wearing a well practiced, too many nights in front of the mirror kind of sneer.

In my soul, I have the musical tastes of a teenage boy. I blame my mum. People usually blame parents, aunts, uncles, cousins for how they turned out, so I? I blame my mum.

After wearing out her ears with Annie the Musical on repeat, my mum decided to take drastic action. I, like every other girl, wanted to be the spunky red-headed urchin with the heart of gold who could dance, sing, and bag the man with the big bucks. My mum was well past that age, hid the tape from sight, citing I wore it out and the stores were sold out of it…forever.

I was left bereft, retreated to darkened basements to watch MTV on repeat and sink further into tom boy ways, hang with cousins hitting teenage boy age. We sat in pick up trucks and they puffed on stolen cigarettes, cranked music – Poisen, Styx, Ozzy and Def Leppard until I ate, slept and dreamed to Thunder, an anthem far removed from the InSync, Boys2Men, NKOTB boy band cutouts all the girly girls listened to.

So in my soul, I have the musical tastes of a teenage boy. And when metal turned skate punk, NOFX, Goldfinger, I lost myself in clothes two times too large. My PIMP emblazoned hoodie marked me for compliments as my friends and I passed notes entirely in Beastie Boy lyrics. We were going to fight for our right to party.

I stood barefoot in hack circles, perfecting my body as target for that tiny bean bag. Hack-y-sack. Hack-y-sack. Sat on street corners as the boys perfected double-axle parallels, backside kick flips, half-caps, eagle slides, ollies, hardflips, and maybe even a frontside rail catch before retreating to all-night Street Fighter tournaments that sometimes ended in broken fingers and black eyes.

Going to clubs, to dives, to gigs, I body slammed and moshed my way through uni, soared above bodies as I crowd surfed, hands pushing me higher, kicking out to keep up, hitting shoulders, wrists, arms, backs (and once, the back of my friend’s head) with my steel toed boots. But it didn’t matter. I was flying.

Underneath this skin, I’m hoodied-up, bagged out, booted, suited, walking with a swagger, a swagger with a hip out, skateboard dangling from my arm, badged, buttoned, pinned, with greasy hair, hidden eyes, wearing a well practiced, too many nights in front of the mirror kind of sneer.

In my soul, I have the musical tastes of a teenage boy.

I have the musical tastes of a teenage boy who wants to be a rocker, who wants to be a skater, who wants to be a punk, who wants to be Eminem.”