I used to hate performing but now it is the only thing I do that makes me feel alive. Without poetry and shit-talking I am a mere shell, a wasteland of a human being. Derby Poetry Festival was an intense inspirational beautiful event and performing 3 times during was more concentrated performance than I’ve ever done before in my idle life. And performing at Sophie Sparham’s book launch was such an amazing honour. Hitting up the capital and opening a night of absolutely excellent performers, to celebrate a brilliant poetry collection that you should buy right now.

Basically I’ve been doing this for like, a year or two? Thanks to City-Zen One Mic basically, I got a sweet intro to spoken word and standing on small stages saying things to real people. Everything come from there. Then we got some hosting skills going on as well and I found out that I quite like chatting bollocks and I’m not 100% terrified of everything really.

This could be viewed as an inspirational story of a shy frightened girl overcoming her fears and self-consciousness to stand on stage and express True Feelings in the cause of Art.

Or it could be a tragic tale of rampant narcissism and ludicrous hats. Hubris nemesis, etc.

Anyway I need to step my game up and become the rampaging poetic beast the world deserves.

 

I’m feeling down and seasonally affective disordered today. Self-reflective blog rambling is a coping mechanism. Some bullshit inspirational Facebook thing was asking me to focus on my strength and that was the only thing I could think of and even that was somewhat conflicted. Reality is incredibly contingent so knowing what is objectively strong or weak, positive or harmful within the self is a bit of a crapshoot, in my opinion. The worst traits can be used and transformed. The best traits can twist into the noose that ends you. Black and white thinking is meant to be a problem for borderline people, but I think extreme ambivalence is more of an issue right now.

 

Life is ok though, I finally fulfilled my teenage dream of seeing Marilyn Manson. Dripping sweat and moshpit bruises,  sleazy decadence love and adventures. Only ten years late but better late than never. This is an extreme case of arrested development or perhaps perpetual adolescence. If I’m going to find myself I have to look everywhere.

(I recognise that the self is illusory.)

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

2017

Has seen some blessed times, but now I’m sad and sulking for missing my first gig of the year because I’m ill and skint and just not up for doing things. 2016 exhausted me. Had a beautiful time last weekend seeing friends though, drawing on happy memories to drg through. That and plans of better times ahead.

So, here are my plans/goals/wishes for this year:

  • learn to drive
  • cycle regularly
  • more poetry
  • perform at some more places
  • get some performance videos done
  • perform at festivals
  • get my show on the road
  • write a new book of conceptual stuff
  • actualise some visual/video/multimedia creation
  • get some decent boots and walk
  • walk long ways
  • have adventures
  • get strong – lift weights, run, yoga, eat food that isn’t cheese
  • blog and diary and record everything
  • get some proficiency in tarot reading
  • meditation focus
  • graduate from DBT having learned all the skills and able to use them in life
  • carry on helping out at Derbyshire Refugee Soidarity
  • do more Belper stuff
  • get new glasses
  • go foraging
  • get my stupid painful tooth sorted out/stop moaning about the tooth
  • go to more amazing camps and festivals
  • visit many friends, especially the ones I haven’t visited in years
  • learn/revise Basic First Aid
  • learn a few tunes by heart on the tin whistle
  • learn to crochet
  • sell a load of stuff to declutter and fund all this
  • apply for a Masters (finance permitting)
  • don’t drink all the damn time
  • get some independent self sufficiency
  • get some community
  • Edited to add: Run the Tenby Half Marathon again! What am I even doing?! My family talk me into these ridiculous things.

I think  that’s enough to be going on with. I’ve made a start today by putting a couple of things on ebay, and I’ve been keeping organised with a Bullet Journal and to do lists. I know Bullet Journal sounds like an enraging gimmick, but I was doing the basic form for half of last year and found it really helpful,so I’m carrying on. Got no memory in general, so writing it down helps.

Keep your peepers open though folks, maybe some interesting things will happen this year…

2017

Being an Optimist for Once, in the midst of all this Shit. After all, there’s work to be done.

I braved it and made a video clip. First verse of my new poem, Faith in Humanity (People are Strange). This the first time I’ve ever done a spoken selfie video, so I apologise for my face.

 

We’re snowed under with desperate political commentary and the End of The World is being predicted again. Evil is afoot. But helping out with the thousands of donations given to just one grassroots charity, has really driven home the fact that there are a lot of people who do want to do a little bit of good. The world is changing, maybe in the cracks wrought by the earthquakes we can plant new seeds, seeds of a world where no one has to flee their home, no one is coerced, and no one has to see Donald Trump’s face ever again.

If you’d like to see me do more poetry, along with 13 super talented acts wh will put me in the absolute shade, come to City-Zen: One Mic! Rojava Solidarity Network fundraiser. Last One Mic! night was absolutely beautiful, so come on down to the Maypole in Derby tomorrow evening.

To sponsor me abseiling down a 110 foot building for Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity, go to this link.  You saw us in the video, please give us a hand.

To watch me (along with many other insane brave and committed people) abseil down the building, come to Jurys Inn, Derby, this Saturday at 1pm. It’s be a laugh. Or I might cry, who knows? It’s the suspense that makes it interesting, right?

 

Being an Optimist for Once, in the midst of all this Shit. After all, there’s work to be done.