When I came into the Tate it was first of all a mad contrast from my normal day to day. I got such a sense of calm here. This was one of the first photos I saw the woman’s face just stayed in my mind. I couldn’t remember the peripheral detail but I remember the face. I think what really resonated with me about this picture was the sense of recognition. I feel like I know her. I feel like she knows me too. I’m looking at the detail around it looking at the fact that she’s holding a cigarette, that she’s almost smoked down the fatigue on her face the fact that she’s sitting on the sidewalk and she doesn’t appear to be homeless. It just sends me on this chase in my head about, causation, accountability, inequality. I reacted to the piece, and a first line kind of occurred to me: how does it feel to be misperceived? I start off analytically, posing a question to the woman. But then something in her process strikes a chord with me. I then become her. I get angry, and all of a sudden the poem has taken a different turn I’m no longer the objective narrator I’m now very much in the mix. That sense of identification, I think, is what makes poetry, in my case, believable. I’m George the poet and this is my piece inspired by Paul Graham’s ‘Untitled #38, Woman on Sidewalk’ How does it feel to be misperceived? Does it justify the urge to disbelieve? Because when you disbelieve you don’t have to expect Which can help you accept what you have to accept. Through disbelief we avoid disappointments And disappointments hurt, so you enjoy this avoidance. All you have left is ‘I told you so’ By which time the relevance is as void as the point is. You’re resistant to being pissed on for good If you own the extent to which you are misunderstood. So how does it feel to be misperceived? It doesn’t feel like anything if you disbelieve. But that doesn’t sound very appealing, though Because at the end of the day where does the feeling go? Oh yeah, you don’t care! You trained yourself not to go there. So you feel like you can’t change your world So instead you trained yourself to change yourself. Hopefully you benefit from the changes. It’s actually quite clever, but it’s dangerous. Because insecurity is not necessarily immaturity It’s arguably the essence of your inner purity Think about it, everything your heart has invested Must be at least in part manifested In the stack of the crap you bear off the back of the fact you care. So that’s you there. In fact, who cares? Because clearly within we’re just conforming We’re not really living, we’re just performing. Two notions we invent, pride and hope But in reality, all of us consent by default. ‘Cos there’s strength in numbers And this immunity is fine It’s just why I can’t pretend that this community’s mine. I’m not at the forefront of this community’s mind Which is truthfully fine just don’t feed me this community line. I think I’ll just wait in this community line, and… Ho, communion wine unusually fine At community service But either way, I’m too indifferent to you to be nervous. Just consider this: My life could have been your life With a twist.