Friday, 8 February 2008

Daily Challenge: Slang

Inspired by Jim's post on swearing, I thought I would look at how many people from various corners of the globe pass by this blog. Today's challenge is to write a poem entirely in the slang of a country of your choice (preferably the country you most identify yourself with). I've chosen to write my poem using London slang, since I've been away from Australia for a little too long to remember anything but cliches right now!

gangster

he ain't got time to be
gabbing rubbish to
no well hard, right
geezer like her old man
but he ain't gonna let
himself be shanked
by no bird no he ain't
no he ain't
no he ain't

PS> That challenge was harder than I expected!

8 comments:

Jim Murdoch said...

Bloody Foreigners


Ah went intae this Paki's
n asked the auld dear servin
fur ginga n dya know whit
she tried t palm off oan me?

Ginger fur cookin. She wis
frae England. Ah said are yoo
mental? Gie us a canna
Irn Bru ya stupid twat.

I nearly got ma arse felt
by her man but ah wis oot
o thur like a bat oota
hell wioot payin n aw.

Am ah a jammy bugger ur whit?


Friday, 08 February 2008




Translation

I went into this corner shop which happened to be owned by a gentleman of Pakistani extraction and asked the elderly lady serving behind the counter for a can of a carbonated soft drink. Unaware that the local euphemism for this is 'ginger' the lady mistakenly offered me a packet of the spice which I declined and asked after the state of her mental health. Realising the woman was from south of the border I was more specific in my request and used a brand name, Irn Bru so there would be no further confusion. Unfortunately I let slip a disparaging remark and one of her male relatives came to her assistance and tried to physically assault me but I managed to make my escape however, in the flurry, I omitted to pay for my can.

Martha Alderson said...

All poets need readers. I'm your reader. Not all of us have this gift.

Great challenge.........

Dave King said...

Quite a challenge! I was intending to write that I'd give it some thought and maybe have a go, but your effort and Jim's are going to prove quite a deterrent, I think.

The Unskilled Poet said...

Jim - excellent job! I found it really hard to do, being between countries and unable to recall a lot of slang from either, but your poem really shows it can be done (and appearing to be effortless!).

Martha - Thanks for speaking up! I am happy to have you as a reader :) I must stop trying to force all people to join in!

Dave - I agree, this one is much harder than the others, but there are dozens of challenges on this site you can try, or you can Saturday's challenge which I will put up shortly :)

Jim Murdoch said...

That was anything but. My wife actually tore my first effort to pieces and we spent a good hour talking over how unrealistic my language was. It didn't read right at all. My main problem was that it's been a while since I worked with people whose language was that rough and it takes a while to get the voice right.

I wrote a story once in an Ayrshire accent and I spent weeks tweaking the damn thing to get it right.

The story in the poem is substantially true by the way. It was told to me by an Indian lady who had come up from London to visit relatives and took a turn serving behind the counter in their shop. The actual punchline was that the man called her an "English bastard" and the point is that it was her accent not her ethnicity that he was insulting. It emphasises the animosity that still exists between Scotland and England after all these years.

Tamara said...

We met in the veld,
The dry grass crunching under our faded tekkies.
'Howzit, bru?'
'Nee wat. I'm good, china. You?'
'I'm sommer the bliksem - you owe me a fifty from last time.'
'Chill, man. I've got your cash. Where's the zol?'
He produced the dagga from his chest pocket.
'Remember, if you get into kak for bunking or if they find this stuff, I don't know you.'
'Ja, ok. Just give me my pakkie,' I said.
We sat under the parched trees and lit up.
As the smoke filled our lungs we giggled like fools.
'Your tjerrie would give you a vet klap if she saw you like this,' I laughed. 'You look like a real blerrie gomgat.'
'Ag, jou ma,' he replied, eyes rolling back in his skull.

Years later, when I think of the fire that raced through that golden landscape,
I remember how we pointed and smiled, eyes wide and red,
Thinking the whole thing was a big jol, that we were so bakgat.
Two dof kids playing the fool...
One old man, sitting behind bars,
Knowing now that if he'd just said no,
His chommie would still be around.

Words:
veld - (pron. felt) open field
tekkies - (pron. tackies) sneakers
howzit - South African slang greeeting
bru - male friend
nee wat - (pron. nee-ah vut) no real translation. It's a space-filler, really.
china - pal
sommer - no real translation. sort of means 'just'
bliksem - Afrikaans swear word. In this case, it would mean pissed off
zol - marijuana
dagga - (pronounced with a guttaral Dutch g)marijuana
kak - (pron. kuk) shit
bunking - cutting class
ja - (pron. yaa) yes
pakkie - (pron. pukkie) small packet
Tjerrie - (pron. cherry) slang for girlfriend
vet klap - (pron. fet klup) fat smack
blerrie - bloody
gomgat - (pronounced with guttural Dutch 'g') derogatory name, similar to bum
jou ma - (pron. yo mah) your mother
jol - party
bakgat - (pron. buk gut, with a guttural 'g') cool
Dof - stupid
chommie - friend

The Unskilled Poet said...

Very, very cool poem, Tamara! It reads like a rhythmic short story, and captures the mood brilliantly. Thanks!

Poetikat said...

Dear Unskilled Poet,

I'm not sure how I lost track of you, but I did some time back. I'd be pleased if you'd stop by Poetikat's some time soon. I'll be following you from here on in.

Kat

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