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Sitting comfortably is dangerous; a collection of poems

Uncomfortable is the first written collection from Roundhouse Resident Artists, Spit the Atom. After creating work themed around ‘The Future’ for the BBC Words First Project, the Spit the Atom poets are tackling uncomfortable subjects both personal and political. Saying what’s uncomfortable is unpopular, but silence has consequences. Silence means friendships are never as real as we think they are, it means communities never truly address the issues they need to and it means masses of people can hold thoughts unchallenged that will affect the world. In all aspects of life, what is uncomfortable needs to be spoken about. In this collection of poems and essays the STA poets refuse to stay comfortable. Instead these young voices explore the what it is to be in a world where the personal is political, and silence is as powerful as speech.

A collection of talented young writers, Spit the Atom are a London-based poetry collective formed through Words First, a Roundhouse and BBC Radio 1Xtra initiative. After coming together as strangers for a week of intense workshopping, the poets left as friends after intimately sharing their words. A week of tears, laughter, and inspiration from writing together birthed Spit the Atom and since then the collective have gone from strength to strength.

In the months following the workshop they curated Steal the Mic, their first poetry night at Rich Mix as part of the Rich Mix Youth Takeover Festival, and performed for Kojey Radical at Only Love at the Royal Festival Hall. Since then they’ve gone on to perform at UnFold @ Roundhouse for Lyrix Organix, Lovebox, the Roundhouse’s Last Word Festival, and have become Roundhouse Resident Artists. Now they run their own monthly poetry open mic night currently at Clapham Library and are establishing a strong platform that showcase what they’re about: a night of fun, laughs, writing and hard-hitting poetry.

Spit the Atom are poets committed to producing creative experiences that engage the heart, mind, soul, and cheek muscles, sometimes all at the same time.

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All these voices


Your head
hangs an inch above
my shoulder 

the space between us is heavy with the idea of your head nestled in the crook of my neck


Bodies host civil brawls, hidden at the back of pubs, bickering
As livers argue with hearts
And ceramic ashtrays overflow onto dampened wooden tables
And drunken songs on swings become mournful ballads to the babies in the sky


I hold onto little comforts like boys with marbles in the school playground,
Like mothers with fresh-lunged babies in houses permeated by cigarette smoke,
Since the skies turned to washboards with holes where the stars once were
Ambulances daily carry me in pieces, stopping always at gas stations
Where the paramedics top up on petrol only after they get their lottery tickets,


like trying to do a rubix cube in a mosh pit
thoughts pinballing from one corner of the mind to another,
each time with more momentum, marbles unleashed all over the floor slipping and sliding and colliding
each time my internal hot-air balloon deflates some more
tangled up in what if’s instead of why not’s.


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Scarlet Hellard
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