Walking around East London with Kaiden Ford I am stopped more times than I can count. Every few minutes our conversation gets cut short as people interrupt. I notice blatant stares and the clicking sounds of phone cameras as they are pointed in our direction. It isn’t me they are taking pictures of or gawking at, it’s Kaiden. Maybe it’s his androgyny, or the numerous piercings on his tattooed, strikingly beautiful face? Or perhaps its razor-sharp peroxide hair, or the fact that they are wearing an asymmetric floor-length white denim skirt, platform boots and navel exposing tie-dyed crop top? Whatever the reason people love to look at him, but I notice that they don’t really see him. The words of his poem, Please Stay ring in my head.
“Please Stay sometimes I feel like a guest in my own body. as if I’m just an art installation. People admire the artwork for a second, but no one stays.” – Kaiden Ford
This is one of the many poems in Kaiden’s new book ‘I Am Suing My Parents For Emotional Abuse’, an anthology of raw, gritty, and exposing poems which gives you a look beyond the extrovert exterior of the person he performs. From a broken kid to a young adult navigating their existence, Kaiden Ford takes you on the journey of his healing and self-acceptance. Recounting his truth and the pain of growing up queer in a world that continuously chose to misunderstand him, this book illuminates the parts of your own life you haven’t yet healed. There is a poem for every soul. That everyone’s inner child can feel. While delving into his journey you go on your own alongside him.
As I read the poems, I began to understand the person that is Kaiden, but also found myself on the pages of the book. Although our journeys differ immensely it’s the feeling that the poems bring out in you that are so relatable. The poems highlight struggles with parents, bullying, abandonment, and escapism. Reminding us that we aren’t alone in these feelings.
“I can’t make you love me I can’t make you want me more then you wanted them I can’t make you want to call me I can’t make you want to see my success I can’t make you want to see my success I can’t make you remember to invite me to dinner I grew I became I concurred” – Kaiden Ford
While painful there are hopeful tones in the stories on these pages. The book proves a tumultuous life can be overcome.
‘I Am Suing My Parents For Emotional Abuse’ details where he wrote the poems and what time, giving you a feeling of being there on his journey with him. He began writing the poems in this book 5 years ago in the closet of his brother’s bedroom and has now finished writing it in his London flat, living an entirely different life. Kaiden plays with the shape of the words and how they are placed together adding a specialized touch. Alongside the words there are photographs of him are mixed with abstracted Rorschach inkblots that flood the pages, making this the ultimate book of art. It’s visually appealing as well as meaningful.