I haven’t blogged for a while, I have been suffering quite badly from depression among other things, and it’s been hard to get myself to do things. To keep myself going I watch a lot of comedy, and I got thinking about writing a poem about it, about the people that make me laugh, who go back as far as the early days of cinema. I started out by borrowing the title of an Elvis Costello/ Roy Orbison song and eventually wrote the rest in one evening. I’ve also put together a gallery of some of the people I was thinking of, not used this feature before so as usual I’ve gone overboard. Most of the captions from my own recollection from books and DVD extras etc. I hope you like it. To absent friends!
A new poem (or several) I just came up with, a rough cut, well that’s usually where I finish them anyway. I’ve been training for a transition into a social care role, that’s what the last part is about. It is a long late night composition so it may be a bit all over.
One time I bled,
It was wet and red.
It came from the top of my foot
When I kicked off a tiny piece of glass.
They checked in an X-ray whether it had gone inside,
It hadn’t, but you can still see the scar.
Another time I bled,
From the back of my head
It smothered my blonde hair
A deep shade of red
Now my hair’s long been a mane of light brown
But when I part it, I can still feel the scar.
Many times I bled,
From cuts on my wrists
It flowed impressively when I made a fist
It stung, but inside I hurt more.
Now I have scars, but I cover them with a watch and wristbands
And experience has given me worthwhile uses for my hands.
Time has healed me and relieved me of the sufferer’s throne
I know that the pain
Is not mine to face alone
I have been helped to my feet by a guiding hand
And now I’m helping others who need
My assistance to stand
And the pain inside has been replaced with a feeling so warm
I feel like I’ve found my destiny’s form.
Here’s a poem I wrote on the bus yesterday, trying something different, ended up going in quite a different direction to that I intended…
There’s time to kill,
Seats to fill,
Scope the view,
See the people watching you…
Feel self conscious
Check your conscience
Hide your secrets
Bury your Regrets
Sitting and staring
Standing and swearing
What’s their problem?
Will you help solve them?
Is that a knife?
Do you fear for life?
Is that thing serrated?
Think of the damage it could do!
Well, it’s up to you…
Do you call the Police
Or do you pray for Peace?
Leave them with no witnesses,
Let them resolve their witlessness,
Do you watch them hurting?
Or do you close the curtain?
Do you make a stand?
Will you lend a hand?
It’s always a choice
To raise your Voice
And if you do
Have no fear of the people…
I decided to get back to my blog. Again. I am, at least consistent in my inconsistency. So I need to break the silence. I have still been working on poetry, and I will share some more soon, but I first I thought I’d try and talk to you.
It doesn’t come easy to me, it seems like an effect of my dyspraxia that my thoughts are often disorganised and I fall over my words trying to articulate them. That has been a barrier to me in all walks of life, including creatively. I never set out to do poetry. My memory is bad. Even though I love reading I have difficulty absorbing from the page. I couldn’t quote much of my own work, never mind classical poetry. But I’ve ended up writing poetry for a number of years now, and I was thinking about my influences. I always loved the anarchic humour of Rik Mayall, particular Bottom which had a lot of absurd wordplay. In my teens I found more countercultural entertainers in The Dead Kennedys, a US punk band that had an eclectic catalogue of albums, a frontman going by the name Jello Biafra who reminded me much of Rik, and a similarly memorable turn of phrase in their lyrics. I just put their albums on my phone, and realised that they are still my favourite band, I’ve never listened to another for as many hours, and I do listen to a lot of music. Bringing me towards poetry, there was John Cooper Clarke, a slightly mad Liverpudlian performance poet who brought humour in place of niceties, and Jake Thackray, a singer poet who could paint a seaside postcard picture in a few verses.
These were somewhat passive influences, I listened and watched them for entertainment, with no plans to turn them toward anything.
So then, I got into poetry as one of many confidence building exercises- I was a nervous wreck after I graduated University- and I just found a group to try some creative writing. This was The Baggage Handlers, who were actually more geared towards poetry, formed by Rommi Smith, who I later learned that everybody in local poetry seems to know. Another member was Steve Lunn, who also counted John Cooper Clarke as an influence. Steve is so prolific, working up several short poems in a short time, all rhyming. I was inspired by that, the idea that you don’t need to spend hours crafting an epic poem. Using the writing exercises in the group I became able to put together poems in my own style within twenty minutes each, and at some point actually found myself able to rhyme- I had never been able to before, but soon reached the point where it felt harder not to rhyme.
So this is me as a poet. I still can’t perform vocally very well, I practice, but there’ll always be a gap between the voice I write in and my speaking ability. But I have confidence in my writing, more confidence in this than in anything I do. Words will be my legacy. Not new ones, but used in my own way.
Here’s a poem I wrote for a Christmas party. Typed it up a bit late but I’ll publish it here as a new years resolution- to revive my blog!
Remember remember the 5th of November,
But you never forget what happens in December,
It’s rammed down your throat,
And yelled in your ear,
As they try to sell you Christmas Cheer,
Caterwauling the familiar songs,
Those festive types do come on strong,
You’ll tire of all the martialled pleasance,
As you comb the shops for elusive presents,
You’ll keep it up just for the kids,
Back in when you thought you’d gotten rid,
Of the crowds, the panic, the rush of noise,
When the day comes, you’re frogmarched to the try at seven,
Then dozing off in front of the film by eleven,
But the mission’s accomplished, the kids are happy,
If you’ve changed the channel before the Queen gets yappy,
Next, round them up for a Christmas meal,
The green bits ever lack appeal…
And then- at last- it’s over for another year,
You can shut up about it, I don’t want to hear,
Another word about Christmas,
OR HIS DAMN REINDEER!
I guess it’s pretty obvious that I haven’t gotten around to blogging for a while. I haven’t been much of anything for a while really. I always hoped I would be able to write a book, but despite having the imagination, things lose the spark when they’re written down. And I’m expected to go on living while I try to do this, not that I manage much living either, I’m just someone who happens to be at some places, in the background, in the direction no-one’s looking in… I guess I’m saying I can get things done on the fly, like writing this blog post here but the more I think about them, the bigger they become, and I can’t remember enough to get them written down. I’m trying to get myself to write here more, so I need to just write, without a big subject. I have lots of days where I can’t see the way forward, and I think so much that I am exhausted from it by the time I am actually in the position to talk to someone. So this is me trying to talk, without writing something down first, or planning a subject, other than that I need to start talking. Which I have done in a stream of consciousness, but at least I managed not to be sorry for myself the whole way. I feel sorry for you if you’ve read this far. I’ll try to write something interesting next time. But remember interesting is a very subjective word.