A Note On Writing, Passion and Rebirth

Living is a strange thing. It brings up all sorts of strange, wonderful, distressing, complicated, terrible, hilarious, beautiful things.

There is an extraordinary tool called language which can be used to translate these things into what people call stories, poetry, prose. The writer’s equivalent to the artist’s painting, the composition, the sketch.

Sometimes this makes life  more real, more vivid so it can be better enjoyed, savoured. Sometimes it makes life more abstract and distant so it can be better endured and coped with. There is writing that teaches and informs, there is writing which simply plays games, but writing which strikes me the deepest, and remains within me the longest, is that which offers a shared experience.

It is up to the skill of the wordsmith to put the right words in the right order to create within the reader a faithful evocation of what the author had in mind when they started writing. These words – in stories, poetry, prose – therefore come full circle. Drawn from the author’s experience they should create a vivid new reality within the reader.

Life is a story. And a story well written should give birth to new life.

White Space

Will you listen to her
Before she speaks?
Will you hear what she says
When she says
Nothing?

Will you see her with un-watching eyes
Know her un-dancing feet can dance
Hold a heart
In gentle hands
Until it shuts up its trembling and opens its eyes to you?

Will you hold still until she moves?
And in your un-knowing,
Corrupt nothing
See nothing
But a white sheet, that could take ships across oceans
(if it wanted to)

Will you listen to her
Before she speaks?

Inches

I don’t hang out with you no more
Your words were too much
For my little ears
They echo of
Bad eyes
In dark caves

I don’t want to speak with you no more
I’m done with working my way
Through broken pieces
You are spilt milk
And frozen smiles
And bad melodies
To me

I don’t want to hang out with you no more
I’ve grown
And squeezing back in by your side
Would only hurt me now
I don’t want to speak with you no more

Not Un-Kind

i want to bite your fingers off
and push you off a cliff

but thank you for looking after me

i want you to leave forever and never return
i want another home

but thank you for looking after me

i spat at you
and you know you deserved it

but thank you for looking after me

you’re blind and dumb and vacant
you tied my hands

but thank you for looking after me

you are a black out at my window
if i had legs i’d run away
and I will.

but thank you for looking after me

I’m Not a F*cking Dog

what can I say?
you
are more
dirt mouthed
and chicken shop common
than the cheap boys you glower at
in their
torn t-shirts
and spray on jeans
stinking up the lifts
in their piss cologne

more like
the muscle men
who carry their plastic, gutter-squat girls
in under one arm
you are
crueller, craftier, crook eyed and weaker

I can’t believe
I wasted my favourite perfume on you.

Take Care

you taught me how to spell the words
‘chauvinist’ and ‘bigotted’
and that ‘closed minded’ and ‘dead ended’ are not hyphenated

you are a pikey who has grown his hair out
your lines and shots are as cheap
as the cologne you would wear
if you switched back a year to hair gel
and FHM and 911 and blue WKD

your arguments are as thin
as the skin on your knuckles you use
to grip strange innocent girl’s hands
in violent drowning hate clenches
in convenient beds,
like muddy moss eating into a marble statuette

your truth as twisted up
as your head
with its virgin-whore reductions
and staunchly stubborn denials
and your smile always qualified.
as long as pretty faced
easy and sweet voiced
i dressed and fetched and carried
and spoke and soothed and sat quietly.
like a naked robot
in a movie (your favourite kind of girl)

you sit waiting for
curling green smoke
or somebody else to inspire
or blame
for your
immovable hands

you will have me forever
or as long as you have the time to spare
and draw me up close
but far enough to
evade the inconvenience of
a truth
too loud to drown
with valium and other
flat bottomed pharmaceutical miscellany

The Truth
you know
and hate
buried in those quivering eyes
the little boy blue
the nobody to blame
for anything
but You

(merry)-go-round/a good pair

‘its the lying i cant get over
the lies
what is there to gain from it?
you don’t need negativity in your life like that’
i said to you
as your girlfriend betrayed you
and i tried to embrace you

‘its the lying i cant get over
the lies
what is there to gain from it?
you don’t need negativity in your life like that’
i said to myself
as you like a solitary growling unfed dog
you sunk your teeth into my left side

‘it’s the lying i cant get over
the lies.’

shadow side

you told me
you had no covers
no fronts.
nothing to hide
but then i found
that cold creature all curled up inside…

you always said
it was yours and your own special pet
you took it each year
to visit a vet
you wouldn’t have cared
but i knew better
and glared
at the slant eyed
yellow clawed
creature in there

as i came closer
and tried not to hide
the flop eared creature i had curled up inside
and as it quivering reached out a soft paw to play
so rarely let out to the warmth of the day
it raised up its eyes in warmth and in joy
and batted your eyelid like a feathery toy
(never had it seen such a beautiful boy)

then with a flash
and a crack of a jaw
my flop eared creature was never no more
two moments after
it was hung from a rafter
bloodied, run through by
the creature
you had and curled up inside

had i seen
this beast
you so well un-atoned
that twisted and turned and petted and moaned
a little bit clearer
i would not have come nearer

but you always said
it was only a child
and for what it did to you?
a gutting was mild.

and licking the red from the tips of its claws
the creature realising what it was for
was only doing what it was told to do
by the indivisible part of you
it kissed your cheek
it gave a start
curled up its claws
and settled down in your heart

Your Inspiration

I take each day with dignity
I always do what’s right
And I know how proud you are of me
For following the light
And I will never waste my life
I will work and sing and paint
And I’ll take the ignorant’s disdain
With the patience of a saint
And it’s not because I am one
And I have an angels voice
The only reason why I do
Is cause I have no fucking choice.

Guzman’s Pea Poem

No pea
In a pod
Is entirely alone
They have to snuggle up
With their pod-mates at home
There are no arguments
About overhanging trees
There’s nothing about
Noise pollution
Council planning
Insects
or Bees

But sometimes when a pea is at rest
It is often times a test
To be so close to one another
Finding everything a bother
Like living too near to your mother.
There’s something stressful to a pea
About high population density
(It may be nothing to you and me
But it’s a big thing for a pea)

No pea
In a pod
Is entirely alone
But a pod makes a satisfactory home
But what makes that pea forget
And momentarily regret
Its tendency to scowl and moan
Its desire to be alone
When all complaints are finally quelled
When its neighbours are minted, mushed or shelled…

(composed in response to a request for a pea poem by Dr Low and performed at Dr Low’s Medicine Show at the Hideaway, North London.)

Weight

I am ever floating

But you are the rocks tied to my feet

 

With you

I am

A scruffed cat

 

De clawed.

 

You

Arrogant

Flimsy

Insufficient

 

A servant too slow

To load his master’s gun

 

Well postured and paid

And prescribing

Needles and vials and

 

I too weak to refuse

 

And I too weak.

 

With you

I am

a scruffed cat

 

All eyes.

 

And I am ever floating

 

And you forever the rocks tied to my feet

Current

all my words

twist into lies

and all of my curves

crack out in straight lines

 

all my colours

pale into taupe

and I try to remember

but I forget how to cope

 

because getting this down

is one cluttered cliche

when i try to remember

i forget how to say

 

just when you’ve decided

the right words to use

your sharp focus and angle

fades to hopeless obtuse

 

like reading through water

through a fast flowing stream

or like waking up early

to remember a dream

 

so just when you’ve decided

what words you will say

both the dream and the words

have faded away

First Days of a Short Winter

and as the trees cling
fast to their last leaves
quivering desperation
in their wooden eyed skin
as they will have no one
to hold to
soft dewy and close
in the frosted morning
or to watch as
each night turns
cold grey to colder black
no one to hide
his naked spindles
that snap and twist
like an ugly old back
these branches left
to hang in shame and to stare
at their own broken reflection
all winter long
never knowing the hard frozen lake returns its gaze
and listens to its branches like
a god sent song

The Sun Can go Out

there’s no point in anything
if im not pretty to you
ill throw out all my dresses
and all my high-heeled shoes
cos there’s no point in anything
if im not pretty to you

I’ll stop wearing mascara
I’ll stop dying my hair
I’ll never put on lip balm
Won’t slip on pretty underwear
Because there’s no point in anything
If you don’t care

And I know I knew that guy
In the past we had a thing
But now I’ve met you darling
All of that was just a fling

and there could be
that guy
mr pretty off TV
but they don’t mean a thing
unless you come to look at me

The sun can just go out
And the moon can disappear
The music can stop playing
All the day can turn to fear
Because none of it means anything
If you don’t want me here

So I’ll throw out all my dresses
And all my high-heeled shoes
I’ll only wear the blacks
And I’ll listen to the blues
I’ll just stay inside
Because there’s nothing else to do
Because everything is missing babe
When I am missing you

I’ll only count in ones
If we can’t count in two
because there’s no point in anything
(that’s anything)
if I’m not pretty to you

29/10/11

Crave II

I can stand taller than this
But do you know how I crave your kiss?
How I want you to hold me
Crease over and fold me
Do you know how I crave your kiss?

Because I’m an envelope
You lick, stick and seal
With every corner you turn over and feel
How I need you to rip me open and steal
What’s inside
Do you know how I crave your kiss?

Don’t leave me stood in silence
Don’t weave me into your dead fabrics
Another line on your page
An actress on stage
Do you know how I crave
Your kiss?

Well I can stand taller
But I need you shrunk smaller
To ride inside of me
Unbuckle, take off your reigns
Do you know how I crave
Your kiss?

And if you’d only break the surface
I would help you take a breath
Spend some moments I have saved up
And others you have left
Free your arms
Free your lips
Do you know I crave your kiss?

And I’d let you go
To let you know
What light I found in this

But do you

Know

How I crave

Your kiss?

(from moleskine early October 2011)

Crave‘ I here

I Want to Touch your Hair

I want to touch your hair
It’s just awesome all up there
Would you mind?
Or be so kind?
As to let me touch your hair?

I want to touch your hair
I think it’s only fair
As it’s so curly
Is it too early
To ask: can I touch your hair?

And I think it’s really sweet
When you don’t think it’s nice and neat
See I don’t mind
I think you’ll find
I just want to touch your hair

And I know it’s an odd thing to do
But near your hair I might find you
So here’s how it should be,
I think you should let me
Because I want to touch your hair

[Note: I know this is a bit of an odd one, and I’m not 100% on it. I scribbled a stanza (11/1o/11) amidst a gig at Madame Jojo’s, Soho, mishearing the lyrics of ‘I want to touch your hand’ by Fanzine (amazing) as ‘I want to touch your hair.’ My friend and I decided that touching hair was sweeter.]

I Like Your Trousers

I like your trousers

On my bedroom floor

And a mug of earl grey

Who could ask for more?

 

And I forgot

What we were fighting for

When you left your jumper

On my bedroom floor

 

And I was watching this movie

But now it’s such a bore

Because you’ve left your boxers

On my bedroom floor

 

And I’ll stop writing

If you lock the door

I like your trousers

On my bedroom floor

 

 

redraft from 4/9/11

Tragic

Written 12/11/2010. A love poem of sorts

So much rushing wind
And dirt on air
Rushing into eyes and hair
We march each day
The path they’ve seen
Too often forget
To stop and dream
If Romeo’s playing tragedy
Then Juliet’s on the scene

So when your hand shouts out forever
Tell it no and tell it never
Because if you leave your heart behind
You’ll drag it through the dark with mine

A Day In the Life of a Poet

(click links for info)

Poet’s Morning

Awake at noon
Make love to the stranger next to me.
Drink wine from a skull.

Sadly the brute breaks my heart
I throw him onto the street
(not before I make love to him again)

Consider flinging myself from the window
Unfortunately I live on the ground floor
And after cursing the Gods
I have a cigarette for breakfast
With leftover champagne

…Afternoon

I destroy all of my earlier works
In a bonfire
Lit with paraffin
and glazed-eyed delirium

I consider the dead meaninglessness of all things
The void humming black and ever louder
The nest egg of emptiness in my soul
That finds no solace within my hollow heart

Consider the window again
But recall earlier failure
Distracted by vintage copy of ‘The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle

…Evening

I ponder then the divine eloquence
Of a magnolia in flower
I worship at those silken blooms
With that orange flicker dreaming in the fading light
Playing like love stricken nymphs across
Their naked white blossoms

It had taken some time to put out the fire

…Night

There’s something running up my garden
It is The Brute
Begging for my love
I throw at him all of the family’s priceless heirlooms
Left for me in my Grandmother’s will
That shatter like my heart in his hands
During our next animal rutting session.
I cry petulantly and lie in a pool of tears
That flow like blood across my sheets
When I find he’s left before I wake to return to his lover
Gregory
Clutching clawing at my rendered head in my hands I dream
That Mrs Tiggy-Winkle is round, smoking cigars with me…

The Work and and the Whim

So this poem is for Kat. (Unless she doesn’t like it in which case I’ll write her another one!)

o that i could work on a whim
and wait
and sing
and play on what’s within
there’s a forest to see through blinding bright
an evening that shimmers before a stark morning light

oh might I move with the moments
and dance
and remember to forget
that fateful moment
that is not a moment yet

o that I could work on a whim
and give up to you what’s within
because it’s worth its weight in diamonds
but it doesn’t weigh a thing
Oh that I could give up dragging my feet on the earth
And only ever swim

Or if the Nothing that matters so much
dealt out death, passion, consequence, diseases and such
I would wake at 6 and leave at 5
And I’d never, no never, feel so alive
And I’d only wet my feet in the oceans of sleep
I’d be the last woman to leave and the last man to cry

I would never chase
with all my breath
the sultry something
beneath a sunset
I would never run
To chase a skyline
Nor ache to hear
(With bleeding ears)
The whisper in a bass line
I would never stop
And fall to my knees
At that something
Which is something
That no-one else sees
I’d let each flicker of fancy blow away in the breeze…

No – I will work on a whim
I will be paid each time my heart beats faster
I’ll let the toil take my breath away
And the World be my Master

I will fall away like hours
And minutes and moments, more
Will lay, glittering fragments
Across my soft mottled sheets, my wine stained floor

For what is a whim
Or a working day for?

Are We There Yet?

Am I there
yet?

Where I want
to be?

When it’s the
whole day’s work

To just be
me?

Am I good
enough yet?

Did I get to
the place

Did I get
the right answers

Did I win
the race?

All my empty moments meant

To be constructive and well spent

And all I did this week

Was drink, talk, write and maybe
sleep

I didn’t touch any Latin or Greek

But did you ever think we had it all wrong?

I’ve been where I want to be all along?

Dancing Shoes

Get over it chick

He don’t love you no more

You’re another face

On an anonymous floor

Anonymous legs on anonymous feet

Remember it well

The next time you meet

A boy who makes you feel

You’ve got wings on your shoes

Head straight for the bullseye

Before it’s old news

Pick up on the ways

He puts you in a trance

Throw yourself on the floor

When he makes your head dance

 

Take it like a man, chick

He don’t love you no more

Don’t go chasing dead dogs

Or knocking down walls

When there’s no-one around

And nothing but rubble

You’ll get yourself in-

-to all kinds of trouble

We’re on re-runs and repeats

And this stories so old

There’s no-one and nothing

It’s boring empty and cold

 

Get over it chick

He don’t love you no more

But there’s another place

With an invisible door

Remember it well

The next time you meet

That boy who gives you wings on your feet

Head straight for the bullseye

Before it’s old news

Dig out and throw on your old dancing shoes

Pick up on the ways

He puts you in a trance

Do what you have to

Just don’t miss your next chance

When You Open Your Eyes

I decided to write a poem to dedicate to Rickford and Emma and their baby Julian. Born 5 August 2011. I’ve not told him about it yet. I don’t think it’s up to scratch at all…I wanted to write something epic, but I got this:

I have a gift for you
When you open your eyes
I hope you like
Your surprise

It’s the sky

Look!
It goes on forever

I will tie it up in a
red bow
And put it in a shoe box

Don’t forget
It’s all for you.

And if I could be the weather
Rain would only fall in fairytales
Clouds would be only sighs
And the sun would never set
Until you closed your eyes

And one day I will teach you how to fly

I have a gift
It’s all here waiting
For you
When you open your eyes.

What’s the Point? Poetry is Useless

3am. A perfect time to write an analytical passage on poetry…

“Too much poetry to-day is flat on the page, a black and white thing of words created by intelligences that no longer think it necessary for a poem to be read and understood by anything but eyes.”

( Dylan Thomas)

If anyone knows me – and a few people do – they will know that the thing that flows through my blood are words. I write poetry as a matter of course. I am pulled to words in a strange physical sense. I will be the first to admit how odd (but not unique) I am.

I write this as I listen to a radio program called ‘Poetry Workshop’ on Radio 4. I would never listen to it if I hadn’t defined myself as a ‘poet’ and had thought it was something I ‘should’ be interested in. But it is so dull I have now switched it off. It discusses critical analysis and methodology, writing workshops and criticism. If we are led to believe for a moment that it is these straight lines of analysis and critical response that lend functionality to poetry – and I have no interest in those straight lines – do I deserve to call myself a writer? If, like myself, society in general has only a passing interest in what gives practical, intellectual functionality to this medium, what is the point in poetry?

Analysis and education are rarely, if ever, useless – it is no different within the context of poetry and literature. They help readers to better understand, decode, translate a piece. Symbolism e.g. mythological references, flower symbolism in Victorian writing, or translation of archaic language is required – language and popular symbols have changed over the centuries. Some education of an audience as to the historical setting of a piece might also be useful particularly if the poem is about political opinion or reflects an historical event. Background knowledge might also give an indication as to how the writing was received at the time it was published, and knowledge of the writer might inform what the writer was trying to say – but this is all history, this is not poetry.

Critical or intellectual analysis of poetry is like drawing wires around a cloud. We get the general measure, and a clearer geometric view of the object, a diagrammatic representation of the piece in relation to its physical surroundings. These are all informative, some may say, useful – things to know. However the poem’s aesthetics are ruined, and the shape of the original cannot be wholly or accurately portrayed or experienced through scholarly analysis.

Let me pose this opinion – poetry: poetry which deserves to remain within human consciousness – is a timeless, whole, and ever enduring expression of humanity. Writing should be appreciated without the need to go into in depth discussion about historical setting, references from the author, politics and so on. If these need to be delved into in any great way for the piece to be appreciated the poem is no better than a showy ‘in-joke’ only to be understood by those ‘in the know’ (a trap poetry all too often falls into). Good poetry must meet higher requirements – a good poem must inform the reader just enough to be appreciated without in depth analysis – even if it communicates simply a hazy opinion, or an emotion, or a story; an enchanting cadence or rhythm, a beautiful sound. Like a melody of a song, poetry must have something to catch the audience’s attention. I always return to Shakespeare to exemplify writing at its best – despite the tangle of archaic language the audience has to navigate, we still understand. Like Mozart or Bach – Shakespeare’s melodic phraseology endures and stands alone – even in everyday conversation. Shakespeare rides on immutable human truth, thereby transcending the boundaries of history, time, place and society.

The following is in praise of poetry as opposed to in criticism of other creative mediums – good poetry is enduring truth in as few words as possible; good poetry has the ability to express what is is difficult or impossible to express in any other way, good poetry can explain a matter in such depth and detail which is hard to reach using other mediums and impossible to reach with others; good poetry informs, feels, tells stories, creates images and draws pictures and emotions on the reader’s minds – good poetry bypasses mechanics and heads straight for the soul.

If I, hopefully a future poet and writer by trade, do not believe in any practical and ‘useful’ analysis of a piece of writing, then what do I believe the function of what is at the heart of what I, and many others, do, really is? In fact, in my daily life, I see absolutely no function: practical, physical or scientifically measurable for poetry at all. It is simply another way for a soul to sing.

Max’s Word – Bridge

word donated by Maxims Smolaks

Major migraine fuelled edit (21/7/11)  from originally migraine fuelled poem

life fades
like a watercolour in the rain

something moves in
like a lumber truck
backing into a parking space

Missed episodes
and modernity
Skim over
Same as ever
As your smile starts to ache at the sides

And lingers longing over light across the water

Give me a bridge to anywhere
I will take it.

Chris’ poem – Bubble

Word 26 donated by Christopher Smith

‘If I were a Bubble’ – at least it’s on time. It feels unfinished – I will come back to it.

If I were a bubble
Fleeting free
I’d drift
Above dull reality
I would fly across the sky
And all the kids would point and see

They’d say
‘Bubble
Look at you!’
At forgotten colours
They’d see in me
They’d say
‘Bubble
We want to fly
We want to do
What you can do’

And everyone would sit and wait
With bated anticipation
To hear of my travels on my return
Across land and sea and nation

And they’d wish that they could dream as I
Wish they could see the hidden places
You’ve never heard a bubble sigh
Or bring less than joy to faces

But lemon scented dreams
They’d stop
And down to dismal earth they’d drop
If I the bubble
Could float no more
And ever dared to pop.

A Reason to Stay away from Carling

(Or even a reason to drink more of it. You’re call.)

I found Jesus. He was in my Carling
He’s such a perfect little darling
He was in the blue dress
The one he always wears
And a look from those eyes took away my day’s cares

I found Jesus he was in my Carling
Such a sweet self-righteous darling
He told me I shouldn’t
When I knew I should
He said we weren’t allowed – I said now we could!

I found Jesus he was in my Carling
But it grates to spend time with such a sweet little darling
I was a bit annoyed
When he decided to amble
Across my G & T in his dirty sandals

And I soon tired
Of that warm lamb-like stare
He kept telling me stories
To write down and share
I couldn’t say
Look sorry Jesus…I don’t actually care

I found Jesus, he was in my Carling
He’s so bloody sweet and such a darling
But I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t
Felt a little bit better
When he hopped onto the next table
Into somebody’s Stella…