Watch, Listen, Read Hopping Mad - Rue Collinge Content warning, this poem contains reference to sexual assault Lights on.You’ve never been to the Hoppings?Funfair and footie in a field,it’s all we can talk about for weeks.Takes over the school. And it’s free. No fee for fun. You can just walk aroundif you don’t have any cash.Lights off.Hated when it stoppedfor covid. Nothing to do.Lights outin the library. One near us is never open. And it’s not for us. We make too much noise.Lights outin the pool. It’s closed. ‘Spose theclosest is in Newcastle?Wouldn’t know. Don’t go.Lights on.Look at us.Do you even see us? Where’s our space, our place? Where are we supposed to go?We know where we come from,just not where we’re going.My place smells of the roses Grandad grew,of Nana’s perfume and homemade apple pie.Or it used to. Since she got sick,me and my sister look after her. Make sure she eats right, lives right.Like she did for us. At my place the sunflowers stretch their scraggy necks as high as my bedroom window.And the dogs don’t talk. They just listen. They’re good like that.My place…You say I should know my place.Lights off. It’s all over the school. Tiktok.Tick tock.I’d rape a dead corpse if it’s out of the public eyehe writes.So if I saw a dead female in a forestI’d fuck it. Same age as us. Supposed to be a role model.Later —Sorry. I’d have taken it down soonerIf you’d messaged us. It was just a joke!Lights on. Oh, that doesn’t sound like him. Lights off.I’m supposed to be a role model. Why are his words laughed off,but my voice is ignored?I’m supposed to be a role model.I’m supposed to be a lady.Any strong lads ready to help me with these chairs? I’m strong. Let me.Lights on.Lights off.There aren’t enough lights on my street. Don’t tell the boys off for being stupidand setting off fireworks down the road where everyone leaves their baby prams.Just walk. Don’t talk.If you do they know where you live.Everyone does.Lights on.Lights offin the park. Mam and Dad won’t let me go there any more. Been going since I was tiny.But Gordon is deadand it’s not the same. It’s not safe.Another green space gone.Lights off.Lights on —I want to be a nurse. My mam helps old people, you know?She’s gonna help us with the forms. Show us what to do.Lights on.Look at us. Do you even see us?Do you know how hard it is for us, growing up?We don’t feel like we have a future.Show us our place.Show us the space we can take up.Let us breathe.Lights on. Poem by Rue Collinge commissioned by Poet in the City and University of Warwick with generous support from the ESRC and Sidney E. Frank Foundation as part of Newcastle's Poetry Exchange Hub.