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Switchblade Kisses - An Alternative Love Poem

John has been writing poetry since his school days. He was awarded "Poet of the Year 2014" Hubby Awards and has had two poems become songs.

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Youth Gangs

Youth gangs have always created problems in school and correctional facilities. However, youth gangs are said to be an important social institution for low-income youths and young adults because they often provide cultural, social, and economic functions which are no longer served by the family, school or labour market.

Youth gangs (or street gangs) also tend to emerge during times of rapid social change and instability. Young people may be attracted to joining a gang for a number of reasons. They provide a degree of order and solidarity for their members and make them feel like part of a group or a community. This is especially attractive for those who feel marginalised or different within their family group or social structure.

Gang culture is now at the point where it has been integrated into larger youth culture, and this has led to the widespread adoption of many of the symbols of gang life. For this reason, more and more youth who earlier may have not condoned gang behaviour are more willing, even challenged to experiment with gang-like activity.

Youth gangs may be an ever-present feature of urban culture that changes over time in its form, social meaning and antisocial behaviour. (Source: Wikipedia)

Switchblade Kisses

Guns and switchblades

On every street,

Gang wars rage

But love cuts deep.


Take squatters' rights

In abandoned buildings.

Interracial love,

And drive-by killings.


Plan the hit

Before you fall.

Life in a street gang,

You must stand tall.


Let's play tag

With the police,

Or hide and seek,

It's war and peace.

switchblade-kisses-an-alternate-love-poem

Race means nothing

On the street.

Look out for yourself,

Avoid the heat.


Hispanic, Asian,

Black, or White,

Who gives a shit,

All people fight.


Theft and muggings

In the mall,

Sex in an alley

Against the wall.


You sell your body

To make a buck,

I deal in crack

And push my luck.


Form an alliance,

Make a pact.

I'll protect you,

You watch my back.

switchblade-kisses-an-alternate-love-poem

Kiss me now

For life is short.

Choose your poison

Sharps or snort.


Is this the love

We've never known?

Both of us

From broken homes.


Switchblade kisses

Will do this man.

Short term pleasure

While I can.

switchblade-kisses-an-alternate-love-poem

The Inspiration for this Poem

I was actually hired by a client to write one stanza of poetry to promote their clothing brand. They wanted a theme based on a combination of street gang culture and love. I thought the stanza I wrote had great potential to turn into an entire poem, so that is what I did and it became ‘Switchblade Kisses.’

© 2016 John Hansen

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 20, 2018:

Hi Kim, thanks for reading this poem and for the great comment. I'll keep writing don't worry, whether it is great or not is open to debate.

ocfireflies on November 20, 2018:

John,

“Short, sharp lines” is definitely the beat.

“Switchblade kisses” capture the street.

I appreciate your willingness to experiment.

Keep up the great work my friend!

Blessings Always,

Kim

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 03, 2017:

Thank you Kenneth. Always great to have your comments on my work.

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on September 02, 2017:

Jodah,

You just keep turning out poetry like this. I have been blessed by your works.

Peace.

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on September 02, 2017:

Hi, Jodah, (Good morning where you are),

I see the link that you emailed and thank you. I shall absorb your words and learn the value of them.

Peace.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 02, 2017:

Ok Kenneth, I emailed you the link: Cruel Words and Rose Thorns

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 02, 2017:

Thank you for such a generous comment for this poem Kenneth. I shall email you the link to the one you requested....sorry you couldn't find it.

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on September 02, 2017:

Hi, Jodah,

We met a moment ago, or I did, in my piece, "When Innocents Fall," and during the comment that you left for me, I noticed the piece about "Thorns and Roses," or something like that. I have been searching and searching this hub that you talked about and wanted to read it.

HELP?!!

Can you send it to me via text in my Yahoo email?

My email is: gnxy21o@yahoo.com

As for great poetry, THIS one truly qualifies for being great poetry with the honesty, true life details and poignant phrases. Wow!

Loved it.

I will be waiting for the hub that I asked you to send.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 29, 2016:

Thank you Lawrence. Much appreciated. I am about to check out your latest hub too.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 29, 2016:

John

Great work, the title alone drew me in, then the poem was great.

Lawrence

Faith-Hope-Love on October 22, 2016:

The piece is very well thought out and it has increased my understanding as I relate it to experience. Keep up this good Work. In this world we have a great need for it. You are the best My Friend. Thank you and God Bless.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 22, 2016:

Thank you for returning to read this again, John. This came about when I was asked t write a slogan for a clothing brand that had to incorporate "gang life and love." I dearly want all my writing to make a difference and help inform and make the world a better place. The problem is getting those who need the message to read it. Feel free to use it in your ministry.

Faith-Hope-Love on October 22, 2016:

It was well put together John. I have been back to it on mre than one occasion. It portrays the gang life as it is seen through the eyes of youth. But puts it in a perspective as to cause them to pause and take stock. I find it very helpful and informative. Great Piece. Keep doing this worthwhile work. You have my support and respect. God Bless.

Suzie from Carson City on October 21, 2016:

LOL.....Well, we all love it when someone loves our work!! That's at least 50% of our reason for this crazy passion, yes? Otherwise we could write all day and night locked in a room and stick all our work in a box!! LOL

This poem really brought me to the streets...so, obviously it's a great work.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 21, 2016:

Paula, I love it when you love my writing :) I tried to capture the gang atmosphere as best as best I could. I must admit that I was quite proud of how this poem came together. Thanks.

Suzie from Carson City on October 21, 2016:

Jodah.....WOW! Love this. This is powerful in a very awesome way! You give the perfect image of street life & love....struggles & hardship kisses & knives. One of your best!. Paula

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 21, 2016:

Thank you, Vellur. Much appreciated.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on October 21, 2016:

Powerful words portraying love in the dangers of the street world, great write.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 19, 2016:

Hello Mike. Yes, I have been blown away by most of the comments on this hub. I was pleased with it but it still surprised me.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on October 18, 2016:

Hi John - Waves of accolades pour in for this piece. Tough life on the streets. but you have done it justice.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 14, 2016:

Well, thank you Dianna, that is a wonderful comment. I admit this poem was something a little different.

Dianna Mendez on October 14, 2016:

What an emotional read on the topic of kisses. Your title was a draw for sure but the poem was electric all the way.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 13, 2016:

Hi Shauna. I enjoyed writing this poem, glad you enjoyed reading it. I appreciate that comment.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 13, 2016:

John, this is powerful and very well written. It flows across the page and through the mind.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 05, 2016:

Thanks for that wonderful comment, Nadine.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on October 05, 2016:

You are a very creative writer and have a way with words. Loved it.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 03, 2016:

Thank you for that very informed and encouraging critique, herownwings. I appreciate you reading and commenting.

Emily from Oregon on October 03, 2016:

What a wrenching piece. Wonderful stanzas, clipped with razor precision. Covering numerous aspects of street/gang life in mini internal vignettes was an impressive feat. I thoroughly enjoyed reading, though the content was realistically grim. Thank you for sharing. :)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 01, 2016:

Thanks for sharing that idea, Faith. Sounds interesting and possible.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on October 01, 2016:

You are so creative, John, that I know you could somehow make it into a series if you had the time...Switchblade Kisses: etc. I'm glad you like the idea of a series.

Maybe along the lines of focusing on the love between two characters and their internal struggles of not wanting to bring a child into their gang life but still having the desire to have a child ... Or just detailing daily life and one of their members killed...or fighting over territory. Well, you get the idea. Having each new poem zero in on a specific struggle or trial and ending still with love somehow LOL

Maybe it will come to fruition. If so, I know it will be amazing and I know all will enjoy reading.

Blessings

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 01, 2016:

Thanks, Shyron but they are your lines and they just add value to the comments.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on October 01, 2016:

Add the lines if you wish John, I give them to you.

Blessings my friend

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 01, 2016:

Jan, I think you certainly explained why young people join gangs. They need a sense of belonging and what they see as a form of love. Yes, it is a side of life we don't often delve into. Thank you for the kind comment. I am glad you found this poem, and the images, enjoyable.

Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on October 01, 2016:

Very original to say the least, Jodah. You gave the reader a look through a window we rarely peer into, either because we are afraid to or don't care to. Well done. Love exist everywhere, even in the darkest places. They say at the core of gangs is the need for love and a sense of belonging. Great poem, great images.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 01, 2016:

Those are some very good additional lines, Shyron. Thanks for the read and kind comment.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 01, 2016:

Thanks Suzette. I sure had trouble finding a suitable main image....finally stumbled on this when I was about to give up. Glad you liked the title too.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 01, 2016:

Very encouraging comment, Faith. It is a compliment having my writing compared to what Frank can produce..especially in this dark crime type genre. I'd like to make it into a series of sorts but I hadn't thought of that. Thanks for the idea. Glad you enjoyed this. Blessings back.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 01, 2016:

Thanks faith-hope-love. Much appreciated.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 01, 2016:

Shanmarie, I am glad I successfully conveyed a picture through the words of this poem and that you could clearly visualize it. I guess it is Romeo and Juliette in another guise.Thanks for reading.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on September 30, 2016:

John, amazing hub about

Inner city gangs

None care who it bangs

Switchblade kisses

Teeth extracted

Switchblade kisser

No longer attracted

******

Blessings my friend

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on September 30, 2016:

Switchblade kisses-what an oxymoron and what an image. This is well done, John. I felt swept up in the gang life of the inner city; you portrayed if so well.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on September 30, 2016:

Wow, John, this is fabulous writing. Love the creative title, which intrigues the reader to read on. Great choice of imagery, but your words set the scene in one's mind. Seems Frank is incognito at the moment and you have given him a run for his money here, as your poem stands right up there and then some.

Maybe you can make this into some kind of series somehow?

Enjoyed the read for this Friday night.

Blessings

John Ward from Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. on September 30, 2016:

Very Very Poignant and so very true. Good Work.

Shannon Henry from Texas on September 30, 2016:

Impressive. You captured the scene well. I can clearly see it as I read. It reminds me of a modern day telling of Romeo and Juliet.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 30, 2016:

Thanks, Jackie. I think being a writer IS much like being an actor, especially if you write fiction.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on September 30, 2016:

Wow, John, very well done! You became an actor and played the part splendidly!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 30, 2016:

Thank you, Dana. That is what I was aiming for. A long way from my kid's stories isn't it?

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 30, 2016:

Thanks for reading, Stages of ME. Your words are spot on, and I pray that too.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 30, 2016:

Thanks Clive. I did my best.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 30, 2016:

Hi Savvy. Yes, it was an interesting challenge that I enjoyed for a change of pace. Yep, a tough way to live for sure.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 30, 2016:

I have never been in a gang either, Lori..so it's all my imagination.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 30, 2016:

Thank you for saying that, Abhimanyu. Glad you enjoyed this.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 30, 2016:

Thanks, Manatita. Had to make it tough to represent the lifestyle appropriately. Thanks for the kind comment.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 30, 2016:

Hey, Larry. It is good to get an in depth comment from you. Yeah, one of my darker ones. We are a bit behind here down under as our equal treatment of our indigenous Australians and I think it was the 70s when they were allowed to vote. We have recently been struggling with some racism issues that have surfaced in sport and in regard to the Muslim situation etc but basically we are are accepting nowadays, so don't worry. One of my sons is married to a Filipino and another to an Indonesian and I have a nephew married to an Aboriginal lady...and no problems. The reference in this poem is due to most of my research involved 70s street gangs.. So that is the era it is really set in. Oh, and crocs aren't prejudice either...they'll eat anyone. In fact they prefer unwary foreigners. :)

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on September 30, 2016:

This is a powerful and strong poem.

Kathy Henderson from Pa on September 30, 2016:

Jodah,

Yes, these words cut deep, but very truthful depiction of the brokenness in our world. I pray for the hearts of man. I pray for children everywhere, especially those on the streets. I pray for the light that is still very real and it will cover the darkness. Hang in there World, the streets he writes of are cold and harsh, there will be comfort one day. Hang in there!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 30, 2016:

Cheers, Ruby. I like the pun about my rhyme :) glad you enjoyed my insight into gang life.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on September 30, 2016:

interesting. Captured what the streets are all about.

Yves on September 30, 2016:

You gave yourself quite a challenge and did the topic justice. It was easy to envision the lifestyle. But what a way to live---knowing each day may be your last. Nice job, Jodah.

Lori Colbo from United States on September 30, 2016:

Interesting topic I've never been in a gang but seems you've captured it well.

Abhimanyu gaur on September 30, 2016:

John, you can write a poem on any topic and you have proved this once again. I enjoyed reading this poem. The pictures also compliment the poem well.

manatita44 from london on September 30, 2016:

Very interesting one, Bro. One with a difference, as they say. Goes to show. I never really finished Murder on the Mountain, but I wanted to add Love and intrigue.

A bit tough in some places, but I guess that is how it is. Life! Great Poem!

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on September 30, 2016:

And sometimes you say I'm too dark;-)

I enjoyed the poem. It certainly made me think.

I don't ever want to be too intrusive concerning one's art, but I didn't really understand the correlation of interactial love to a violent lifestyle?

I do know Australia has had its fair share of problems with racial issues. Correct me if I'm wrong, wasn't it 1990 before you guys were completely desegregated?

Are you suggesting that interactial couples are pushed to the fringes of society where you're at? I know for years that's been the plight of homosexuals here in the states. Things are finally getting better.

As for my wife and I, we're interactial. We live in the heart of Hicksville here in Oklahoma and it's all well accepted. I'm a teacher and she's a nurse. No gang affiliation needed, lol.

Sorry I ramble. I always like to understand the climate of different places, and my family and I want to go to Australia and see the Crocs one of these days. I'd like to know we wouldn't be treated poorly.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on September 30, 2016:

John, your rhyming words cut like a knife. I guess the streets are poison all over the world. You were able to capture that in your real-life poetry and pictures. Bravo!!!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 30, 2016:

I had a feeling this was going to be special as I was writing it, but the comments so far have blown me away. Thank you Chitrangada, and glad you liked that image too.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 30, 2016:

This is so powerful!!

Your ability to weave words shines through your poem and what a wonderful first picture to complement it!

Brilliant indeed!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 30, 2016:

Hey, Flourish. I like that comment. Cheers.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 30, 2016:

Thank you for the great comment, Bill. I always add a notch to my gun when I impress you.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 30, 2016:

Raw and fabulous

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 30, 2016:

You had me with the title of the poem...after that it was just frosting on a delicious cake!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 30, 2016:

Gina, thank you for the great comment. Glad it worked. Much appreciated.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 30, 2016:

Thanks for reading my poem, Cheaptrick. I am so glad you love it.

Gina Welds from Tampa, Florida on September 30, 2016:

Such powerful imagery! You've captured gang life...and love...in all its street glory. Well done!

cheaptrick from the bridge of sighs on September 30, 2016:

Hats off!What an effort jodah!Loved it!

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