On the writing process. (2008)

Sit on the hard wooden chair, stare at the cluttered desk and the blank page. Pick up a pencil. Hold it, hovering, above the paper, considering the right word. The perfect word to begin the story. Realise that the pencil is not perfectly sharp. It is adequate, but not optimum. Root through stacks of paper and drawers full of junk for a sharpener. Find it hidden in a jar of odds and ends. Get up, go to the bin, sharpen the pencil to a deadly point.

Return slowly to the chair. Sit down. The paper is still blank. Create something brilliant. You are not good enough. Nothing you write will ever be perfect. Your words are clichés; nothing original or insightful could come from a mind as weak as yours.

Snap the pencil in half and throw the splintered parts across the room. They bounce off the walls leaving graphite grey impact marks. Stand slowly again and stumble to the bed. Lay down your ungainly body, curl up and stare at nothing and think of nothing. Blank and empty. You are nothing.

 

This is part one of a possibly endless endeavour to spam you all with my old writing efforts. I found my old hard drive, you see, and it’s endlessly fascinating in a narcissistic kind of way.

On the writing process. (2008)

Hell is neither fire nor brimstone

However much I invest in learning alchemy

or elemental magic,

It isn’t there

Sulphur has its own fire in the soul

Elements make this world

No devils

 

Hell ain’t other people neither

Though they be a bunch o fuckers

Liarsswidindlerskillers

Your who is not a where

you aint aware

of this

and you aint a fire

you int

you int no thing

tho you aint nothing

more the pity

 

hell

is here

Hell is the heart come barking

cluckin for dope years after the habit

howlin at the moon

 

hell is you

hell is being yourself

hell is where you are

 

hell is your useless bastard self

set alone

in the dark

For Pippa (A poem by the wonderful Kyle Norbury)

Fiery like a dragon firing shots and drinking doubles till Last Orders,

Then onto Hairy Dog sipping cider without a hint of a worry,

Laid back stage performer slaying old selves and pig-faced bigotry with cold chilled tones of melancholy,

Laughing in the face of the dark gloomy reality,

Wit with the might to conquer the high and mighty,

Hair fully blue like a full moon shining through clouds of misery,

Magical bowler hat black like the starry night sky when it’s time to party,

We’re all confused as to how someone so talented can still be stuck in Derby,

Friends, poets and public bar owners hope you stay here forever,

You carelessly sinful nun,

Intensely real and non-pretentious like a female Bukowski,

Poking fun at life’s pathetic fallacy with a burning blue flame of integrity,

A gothic black comedy butterfly fluttering high above through the rain,

Drink up the pain of past days and live for the present,

For you’re proper fucking ace at poetry!

 

Kyle Norbury wrote me this poem. It makes me sound pretty badass doesn’t it? I’m so incredibly flattered, my ego might well float off into the stratosphere. I’m lucky to know such talented people.

To read more from Kyle, check out his blog. It’s the least you could do.

For Pippa (A poem by the wonderful Kyle Norbury)

NaPoWriMo 6

 

Look at her
They judge.
On her phone, the antisocial bitch
She should be acting like a normal person and making small talk on public transport
Like we do
I may be mentally ill but I’m not the kind that finds solace in strangers
I have the privilege of selecting my audience
The privilege of insight and inborn fear and being able to know
That I’m supposed to leave the general public alone
We’re an insular people let’s keep it that way, that’s what their straight-ahead gazes say.
So instead i watch em
Trapped together, still alone
And write notes about em on my phone.

 

Check out the whole of my NaPoWriMo effort, starting here.

NaPoWriMo 6

5. It slithers in at 4am.

Spine serpentine snakes coils flicks rigid
crawls through skin this
sweated penance crawls
into the heart

Remember the difference between arteries and veins:
veins go ve(IN) towards the centre of you
trying in vain to send a message of warmth to the core

Skin is permeable paper membrane
pierced by the faint glimmer of stars
the sharp ends of the moon’s whetted sickle
hundreds of hypodermics
Pierced by need
Need
Need
coiling kundlini rising from its fetid nest at base of spine
Rising
Rising
Writhing
Writhing
mouth agape fangs snagged on raw nerves
constricting crushing stomach ribs lungs liver to
grey pulp
from which it has sucked the stagnant blood

Serpent tongue flicks forked into thoughts
adrenal glands spasm faced with
horror. hardwired. primal.
A predator is close,
you are hunted
Wide-eyed prey
twitch like a rabbit. Break-
Dart free of your body, if you can –

O serpent of starvation, you will never be fulfilled

 

This is part 2 (Day 5) of the NaPoWriMo Poetry Dump. Read the first part here. It continues here.

5. It slithers in at 4am.

NaPoWriMo

I’m doing it. Kind of. 30 poems in 30 days.

Here’s some.

 

Day 1: [content indecipherable]

 

Day 2: Hangover Haiku

Fuck my life and oh

my days. May God have mercy

on my foolish ways.

 

Day 3: A Shadorma

We lay out

in the thorn striped grass

morning sun

dazzled eyes

after a nightful of dark

drink the leaves’ cool green

 

Day 4: Mirror

Something stares out from my eyes

not me

some strange wet thing, a toad

glimpsed at the bottom of a pond

A child, dirty face pressed to a window

contorted and mournful

cries muted by glass.

 

Continued Here

 

NaPoWriMo

Word Wise and Poetry in Derby

Derby is buzzing. The city is flooded with rhythms and rhymes, lines and meters, voices and verses.

Derby has so much Spoken Word. Friday just gone was a big one, a banging beautiful night at the monthly Word Wise. I was honoured to read a poem that went down well when compared with the stunning words I was so privileged to be surrounded by. So many.

Toria Garbutt made me cry and I’m not ashamed. She’s amazing. And an absolutely lovely person.

Luke Wright was like some mad dynamo full of energy and perfect timing, hilarious and poignant and leaving our faces aching from smiling so hard.

Sophie Sparham is fire and thought and life, political and personal and always inspiring. Got to love a poet who makes you, not just want to be a better person, but feel like you are a better person, so becoming better is just a matter of opening those wings you forgot were trailing behind you. And I got to see Miggy Angel at last after hearing so much about him, wasn’t disappointed. Cullen was great and Trevor Wright’s psalm for Donald Trump was transcendent. Jonezy aka pr@xis slayed as usual and Johnny eulogized Leonard Cohen with such heart. There were poets new to me and poets whose names I don’t remember because names are not my forte, they’re my whatever the opposite of that is. There were quantum poems and theatrical poems and political poems. Happy sad and leaping-wildly-between-the-extremes poems. Cheeky poems and solemn poems, poems with punchlines and poems with lines that felt like punches.

I have so much gratitude to Jamie Thrasivoulou and Rhythmical Mike for running and hosting this night as well as performing. Such hard working dedicated guys who are doing so much to build the poetry scene.

Speaking of building the poetry scene, there should be a lot of credit to Jonezy and the City-Zen collective for the bi-monthly City Zen One Mic night. Anarchic and joyful, raising money for different causes and spreading the City-Zen message of freedom and community. The next one is this Friday, raising money for Derby International Women’s Day Celebrations. I’ll be performing! It’s always a good laugh, really welcoming joyful vibes.

And, as I stayed in tonight being grouchy and exhausted, I was missing yet another excellent night. Twisted Tongues has seen the debut of so many talented wordsters, and wins for the most historic location (I do love old buildings) and the most students. Now, some people get a bit snobby about students, but I love their young and hopeful enthusiasm. They bring new ideas, new faces, and I can feed on their fresh juicy energy like the shrivelled old vampire that I am. Twisted Tongues is also the longest running of the three nights, by quite a long shot, and boasts talented and professional performers like Dan Webber. (Who also runs it, and a whole lot of other awesome arts-related stuff in Derby.)

Indeed, there are so many amazing and dedicated and creative and energetic people on the scene, I’m exhausted just trying to write about them. So many unique characters putting their talents to use, taking the steps to put their words out there and facilitate the space for others to do so as well. I used to be kind of bitter about living here. Now I’m glad to be near Derby. Now my only gripe (and I always need to gripe about something) is that there’s so much going on here, it leaves me without the energy to explore other amazing nights in Nottingham and other places. The world is getting hectic! There’s a vibe, some intangible critical mass of energy developing. What will it lead to? A festival, a party, a riot, a legacy, or maybe all of these? I’m thrilled to be here, is all I’m going to say.

Oh, and come to our show.

 

Word Wise and Poetry in Derby

Intermission/Declaration of War

Did you ever feel like things were going amazingly, but it was all an illusion? No, it wasn’t an illusion, the good times are really real, the adrenaline-fuelled adventures and mad social can’t stop-talking, grabbing life by the balls intensity. But then you have to pay, and the comedowns are really real too, the soul-crushing immobilising depression, unexplained crying, meltdowns and hysteria (yes, I hate that word, but fulfil the stereotype pretty well sometimes). Not to mention, everyone eventually gets tired of full-on emotional intensity turned up to eleven. God knows, I get tired of it. I’m so tired right now that every movement is a battle of wills, just focusing on this blog is really difficult and I’m too hot right now and there are so many more important things happening.

So, that’s where I’ve been, where I am. Oh what a thrill, to be mentally ill. Except for everyone around me. That’s the Intermission, that’s where I’ve been.

Intermission Song 

Declaration of War

Maybe war is not the best metaphor. Maybe this should be a declaration of trying. A declaration of trying to fulfil my potential, to contribute. War on ones own shadow rarely ends in meaningful victory.

Today we drank a toast to my Grandad, the first person to ever help me write a book. He spent ages printing the front cover on glossy photo paper, putting it in a folder. It was for High School English class, and I got the highest grade possible. The school still had that book, years later. They’d get it out on open evenings as an example of the sterling work of their English students.

“If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. I’ve lost a lot of time and money that way, but I still believe it.” – Ron Hunt.

So now I’ve got two books, but there is so much more to do. I’m determined not to let this illness mess with performing spoken mic at City-Zen for Rojava on Friday night. Leaving the house is difficult, and maybe I’ll cry, but better to go outside and suffer than build my own bedroom-sized prison.

And I know it will be so, so much harder now I’m intermittently paralysed by free-form anxiety, but ABSEILING is happening. Saturday, Jury’s Inn Derby, 12:00-2:30pm. Come watch. I will wear a cape. For some reason the sponsorship website is down though, so I can’t link to beg.

Often I feel like a failure, for missing out on so many things because of BPD and whatever other mental issues I’ve got. I don’t want to be known as the flaky one, but in some ways that’s inevitable. I’m working on it though. I try. Seriously.

I hope that I can be even one fraction of the man that my Grandad was, a unique and wonderful man. He was a writer, of a different kind, but I can only aspire to his conscientiousness one day. His love of stationery lives on in me. (P.S. please send left-handed fountain pens.) He was a wonderful wit, a genuinely humane person who saw the good in everyone and did a lot for charity. He was a role model and inspiration to so many. Tonight I lit a candle and me and my mum drank to his memory (a quality Port, I assume he would approve), but I hope to show true love and honour by my actions in the world. For Ron Hunt, legend.

This was not a declaration of war. This was a declaration of love.

Intermission/Declaration of War