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  You could have a big dipper   

Mixtape for an Amusiac by Rosaleen Lynch

Track 1. Musical Mobile

Click, the mechanical, click, arms of the mobile, click, hang over my crib, click, and I watch it move, click, stars turn in the light, click, and the sparkles dance, click, from star to star.

Track 2. Nursery Rhyme

I repeat Ma’s words, and clap with the rhythm and the rhyme, but she’s not satisfied.

Track 3. Action Song

I touch my head, say ‘head’ like my kindergarten teacher does, my shoulders, the same as the other kids. Knees and toes. Head, shoulders, knees and toes. He says shhh and tells me to sing, not shout.

Track 4. Pass the Parcel

The parcel goes round the circle, stops, and Allegra tears a layer off. My turn, I do the same, I can tell I'm wrong. My mother says I’m over-excited because it’s my birthday and has me sit out the game.

Track 5. Musical Statues

At my cousin’s house, Auntie says to dance and freeze when the music stops. I'm out first. I try to work out how they can all stop at once. Maybe someone gives them a signal. I check the room to see.

Track 6. Dance Class

To warm up we’re told to have fun and freestyle to the sound of the stereo. I follow the other girls, but my dance teacher tells my mother I have two left feet.

Track 7. Church Hymn

I follow my hymn book, the priest’s lips and the choir-leader’s arms. The family in front keep turning round and my mother tells me to shhh. So I mouth the words, not knowing what’s wrong.

Track 8. Youth Club Disco

Lights dance on the ceiling and walls as I watch. My friends drag me onto the dance floor, where I copy what they do until they decide to leave the dance-floor and I follow. A boy asks me to dance and we hold each other and sway together. It isn't unpleasant. He isn’t unkind.

Track 9. Phone Ring-tone

My mother tells me to answer my phone. Says I’m ignoring it again. The call asks if I've been in an accident and I wonder if I have but say no. I check out other ring-tones. Half don't work, so I choose one that does.

Track 10. Karaoke Power-ballad

I follow the dot on the screen, to say every word as it lands, and they clap, just not as loudly as for my other friends.

Track 11. Mixtape

A guy messages me a ‘mixtape’ and asks me my favourite. I say the one with the awesome rhythm, rhyme, word-play and imagery, when I played it at half speed. I make one for him. He says I’ve the worst taste in music, and who makes a mixtape of poetry anyway? But he says he still thinks I’m cute. I block his number.

Track 12. Top 40

Mum listens to the Top 40 on the radio. I ask her favourite and when she tells me, I ask how she can tell them apart. She says I'm rude. I don’t know why. She says it’s a matter of taste and that I have none, seeing as I’m tone deaf. I tell her she’s being rude, but I don’t know why.

Track 13. Words

In the college entrance, banners and stalls line the walls and you give me a leaflet saying come to a night of Music and Words! I tell you I’m not into music. You pull out an ear-bud and say, shhhh, I’m not to tell anyone but you only listen to audio-books, poetry and podcasts. The event is to coax music lovers to spoken-word. You know, you say, to find the music in words. I do know, I tell you, I do.


Rosaleen Lynch, an Irish community worker and writer in the East End of London with words in lots of lovely places and can be found on Twitter @quotes_52 and

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