Anna Beecher works with words, performance and people. An award winning poet (Buzzwords, Royal Berkshire Poetry Competition) and playwright, Anna recently wrote  The Surplus, a new play full of poems commissioned by the Young Vic and performed by a cast of 62 teenagers at the Young Vic in March. Last year Anna created and performed Living Things at Battersea Arts Centre, a collection of stories, poems and songs about death and she’s currently working on her 4th solo spoken word show; Iron Jon, a lyrical, irreverent take on the tale by the Brothers Grimm which will be performed at Art in Action Festival this July.

Stroke City

For a bit you slipped into the single syllable explosion of calling him Dad.

It thumped into conversations-We should go and see my Dad

The airbag of the ‘a’ inflating -between tooth baring plosives.


We had just met when he hurtled back into your orbit

And you spent a season sampling new intimacies, feeling for a fit

With both of us.


You began to hold my hand and maybe it wasn’t fate

that had made you a man who loved his father’s favourite bands

but it was a magic trick to unpick the past with.


For a dry run at rekindling he took you skiing

And then we both went over to see him in a place he called Stroke City

You taking the wheel of his taxi so he could roll cigarettes,

Tobacco clinging to his thin legs and radio singing.


Battles that had barely died down had left the town illustrated

and suspended between names he explained,

your accent London to his Derry when it briefly punctuated his hurry

To fill the space left vacant by years of missing conversations.


And as David Hay beat The Beast From The East you were introduced

My son, a phrase as new as if you were new born.

Tugging off your well-worn name he slid you

into the similar syllables of the one you once went by

Which you shrugged from your shoulders and said didn’t feel right.


And at some point that night he began to regain

The distancing hiss of his first name

The fricative forced through closed lips.


Glasses piling up around you like yesterdays, the two of you drank like there was no tomorrow.

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