My Urban Voice

Draws loose slang
Over my tongue
It tells the elite
That I:
Am not them
I can keep my words tight

                    Fight the breeze ease

                                                                   of Tottenham roads

                                       And deep colourful markets   –   I can make it just so:
Nobody knows who I am

where I am from.
I can tweak my laugh to fit
The states and minds of select boroughs
They call me an international lady
Exotic.  Dark hair. Smart voice.
They tell me I am better than expected.
Better than the girls who
tread trains with twangs in their tongues-

revealing in their one word

That they belong at their first postcode

Stay there. Stay.
But we all smile the same way

I’ll move through people
Using my words and my mind how I want.
Skimpy tongued in hallowed halls.
Selected words in selected boroughs.


I regularly encounter people who think that someone from a state school cannot achieve at the same level as a privately educated person. I believe in social mobility. I believe that although I can adopt the voice of a scholar, I am still a voice for the urban environment that I grew up in. You can hear the North London in my voice. You can hear my Turkish Cypriot heritage when I introduce myself with my foreign name. But I am in no rush to cover up my history in my voice. My urban voice is just as valid.


Author: ticecin

Tice Cin is a writer and journalist based in London. She is currently working on her first novel – a story about growing up in Tottenham that explores the cultural boundaries affecting expression, the hybridity of identity, and the choices one makes. Tice’s work seeks to navigate liminal spaces in known history and explore the implications of defamiliarising fixed narratives. She blends sensuality and graphic detailing into work that explores wider themes, breaching the limits of reality in writing that has magical and surrealist elements. Tice completed her MA in English: Issues in Modern Culture at UCL, specialising in representations of the female body in avant-garde literature. She has an Instagram page where she shares her work as it progresses: @ticecinwrites

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