Writing Workout (90min bedtime/morning) – Honesty vs. Truth

Todays workout is a bit unorthodox, I had a really intense weekend starting with a good friends memorial at a church I find quiet traumatic to be in and and ending with a two day carnival extravaganza with a bigger crew of people I love than ever before. It was a very intense journey and as a result yesterday I felt quiet vacuous and unsure what to do with myself, before bed I found myself knowing I needed to write but reluctant to do so aka YOU DEFINITELY NEED TO WRITE DEBORAH.

So I sat at my hilariously cluttered desk (covered in the various things I have thrown at it whilst running in and out the house this weekend) and just:

1. Wrote freely, honestly and without a care for sense of fact but instead honestly for as long as I needed to. No timer, though I imagine it was 10ish minutes till it felt like I had got what I needed to get out from my system. Then, went to sleep. 

2. When I woke up I set aside an hour (though it became 90minutes) to work wha tI had written into a draft of something, I won’t post the drafts because there is a lot of very sensitive personal information there but this really actually became the theme of the editing process. I wanted the piece to be truthful but I was conscious there were facts in there I either wasn’t comfortable sharing or it felt unnecessarily exposing of others to post. Here are some editing techniques I used to try and find the truth in chronological order… 

  • Expand on all imagery, colours, tastes, smells, textures.
  • Edit into 4 line stanza’s and each line must contain a unit of meaning that can stand a lone, as must each stanza.
  • Cut savagely – what is only working on one dimension?
  • Cut savagely – what in here are you not comfortable sharing, if not, why and how can this transpire in an image, smell, taste, be woven into an existing metaphor?
  • Step back, be a reader that knows nothing of this story and imaging the images/ sensory experiences of the piece as you read it- what can you cut, what doesn’t make sense, what can be compressed? + F*** the formal lineation and try something that feels more instinctive from the questions above.

 

This is what I was left with…

 

We Have Lost This Year

For Rob Anker and everyone else lost, 2017

 

Listen kids, love is a big red balloon, sadness is a small blue balloon

And happiness is a bouncy yellow balloon, etc. Simple, pure,

 

swiftly deflating and annoyingly easy to burst. In the grounds of a church

that held its own spire to my neck. Hundreds of us holding these hesitant orbs,

Will they float when we let go? I’ve written so much about him on the tags at the bottom.

 

My mum tells a horrendous story about two lesbians finding god

and getting a divorce, so they can live the law of chastity, because

they felt the hands of god (around their throats) I said I had never felt the hands of god

and she said but we know why that is, LOOK IT’S A MASSIVE MUSHROOM,

 

A BRACKET OR BEEF MUSHROOM YOU CAN EAT THOSE

and dad said he will have to take mums word for it.

So, we all stand with these heavy balloons as the convoy of grieving motorbikes rev.

A smoke alarm goes off in the chapel. When we let go, we point up at the sky,

watch the balloons struggle, a few drop into stranger’s gardens. But most,

 

eventually, get smaller and smaller and smaller and I don’t

want to put my finger down from the sky. In some other universe, city or time zone,

it’s Carnival, and a girl puts her hands around my past without flinching.

A man gives out free alcoholic ice poles. At 3pm we have a minute’s silence

 

for Grenfell Tower. we stand with our fists in the air, eyes down; paint, mud, gas canisters, confetti. We are slightly out of time with another sound system so towards the end

horns and hips start up again on an adjacent road until our MC has to speak

 

about a boy on this street who passed away this year, and give memory to everyone

/thing we have lost, and she hugs me so fast it as if (maybe) I was about to fall

 

or take off or burst and she needed to catch me

 

with unfazed fingers between the red, yellow and blue tassels of my dress.

That silent staggered minute growing smaller and smaller and smaller.

 

 

 

 

Writing Workout (30min) – Disruption as Opportunity

My mantra this year is disruption as opportunity, as someone that spends a lot of time planning, for a long time, disruption to that plan caused me immense anxiety. But at some point, I think it was when I learned about liveness in performance – the idea that if a crow were to fly on the stage as I perform my poem, I should acknowledge and incorporate the crow as apposed to ignore and fight it (because the crow was not in my said plan). I can still plan, edit meticulously, spend years on a poem, but actually if I want that poem to be delivered in an exacting way I can publish it or make a Youtube video but a LIVE performance is kind of about disruption, is a about a finite moment within which anything can happen. This shift in perception, that I stopped waiting in fear for something to go wrong and starting excitingly anticipating an opportunity for change, serendipity, surprise, growth has made me a much happier human and better creative. 

So, todays writing workout is all about embracing disruption which is kind of ironic because out of all the workouts I have posted with definitely went the least smoothly!

As always, I will be keeping dyslexia in every draft as evidence of my human-ness and also because sometimes they typos are more interesting!)

 

  1. Initial free write 10-15MIN – you can do less if you want of course but I actually needed this time. Write non-stop, no editing, re-reading etc. but every line must end with the words; but, if, cause, or no. (I actually stole this from Too Far, by Dizzee Rascal which I am currently analysing for my grime-poetry show). I find this so hard, I have actually kept some notes I made to myself in the free write to keep me going…

Freewrite

 

Sometimes I dance on speakers but

That doesn’t mean I don’t have a degree so

I also like reading poetry on the central line but

I can still listen to bashment at the same time but

That doesn’t mean you can touch me there cause

My body still belongs to me.

 

(stop telling Deborah start showing)

 

I’ve never been in a fight but

I did once smash a mans head against a speaker cause

He tried to grab my punananananoo cause

I was moving my waist freely and

Headstand on the speakerbox so

must be fine to grab ‘er up so.

 

I’ve never given anyone head but

A 6ft4 guy asked in a rave once, said I would rather lick the floor cause

I hate being backed into a corner when I just want to dance so

He said he could head but me sharp, so

I said cool give the police a reason to come cause

I’m tired of man having this mentality and

I can jump in your DM’s when I got a girlfriend cause

If you call me out on my comments but

What’s rong with you girl I was just joking yeah, so

If I screen shot this and send it to your misses yeah?

I’ll be a drama queen cause

I’m a feminist and even I’ll call a girl a slag cause

If I’m tusty, blusky, horney and

I can’t grab a man without feeling guilty but

I’m new to this but

People like to speak to a blank slate so

Girls toilets, Mac Donalds, Queue of Oceana so

 

(SKIIIRRRRRRTT – felt like this wasn’t going somewhere… need to gain some traction).

 

 

She’s next to the DJ booth but

She’s just laughing, face so open it’s like I want to walk in but

My hips are like that drunk toddler run; excited, unaware of space and vibrating but

Her eyes slice through people but

The whole room is usually staring at me but

But but but but but but, gender neutral toilets

GEORGE WHAT ARE YOU DOING

But me and George are kissing in the smoking area BUT

GEORGE YOU’RE GAY, but

George just felt like he needed to but

I did too and you curl up in the porch of your own house but

Both doors are locked and you are hugging your knees like a giant soft toy turtle that helps you sleep but you can’t sleep cause you are crying until blood vessles pop and there is so much red over your skin, colour shifting like a tongue under a hard boiled sweet and

They are inside, and they open the door, and they bend down to pick you up but you are too heavy they they have to squeeze into the porch with you and you feel like one of those glass boxes with all the Pixar toys in, one on top of another, waiting for a giant metal crain to try and get you but at least you have eachother, the softness of your bodies.

 

 

EDITING –

…. Keep what has weight

… if it’s too hard I just cut it (still got it saved in the draft above)

10min

 

2. Editing Phase 1  – 10min. I really feel that free write made no sense for me, so I needed an initial 10min just to read it, cut anything that made NO sense and expand on the images/ideas that felt fruitful for me. 

 

Sometimes I headstand on speakers but

I also read Heaney on the central line so

I’ve never been in a real fight but

I did smash mans head against the DJ booth cause

He reached for my punananananooo (or

phanoola as my god daughter calls it yeah)

 

I’ve never given anyone head but

A 6ft4 guy asked in a rave once, said I’d rather lick the floor cause

I’m tired on man having this mentality and

He can jump in your DM’s when

he got a girlfriend cause

If you call him out on his comments but

What’s rong with you girl I was just joking so

Should I screen shot this and post it yeah?

Why you gota be a drama queen uh?

 

People like to speak to a blank slate so

Girls toilets, Mac D’s, Night queues so

 

She’s next to the DJ booth but

drunk toddler run but

But but but but but but,

GEORGE WHAT ARE YOU DOING But

me and George are kissing in the smoking area BUT

GEORGE YOU’RE GAY, but

I curl up in the porch but

both doors are locked I’m are hugging my knees like a giant soft toy turtle that helps me sleep but I can’t sleep cause I’m crying, popping bloody vessles and there is so much red over my skin, colour shifting like a tongue under a hard boiled sweet and

They are inside, and they open the door, and they bend down to pick you up but you are too heavy they they have to squeeze into the porch with you and you feel like one of those glass boxes with all the Pixar toys in, one on top of another, waiting for a giant metal crain to try and get you – the softness of your bodies.

 

3. Editing Phase 2: Be savage/ cut out as much as you can/ and don’t be scared to stick whole words and phases together that once were in complete different stanza’s. Play, disrupt, surprise yourself/ Choose a set stanza length (I have gone with 3 line stanza’s) just to give you a format to edit into.

 

I’ve never been in a real fight but

I did once place my hand

flat on the side of a strangers head, and smash it

 

bounced

off Perspex sheath

encasing the DJ

 

He’d reached for my punananananooo (or

phanoola as my god daughter calls it). I’ve never

given anyone head but

 

A 6ft4 guy asked in a rave once when I was 15, I said,

I’d rather lick the floor cause

I’m tired

 

girls toilets, Mac D’s, night queues

drunk toddler run but

But but but but but, BUT

 

GEORGE WHAT ARE YOU DOING? But

me and George were just kissing in the smoking area BUT

GEORGE YOU’RE GAY. But

 

I flat pack myself into the porch so

I can close both doors

hug my knees like giant soft toy turtles that helps me sleep but

 

I can’t sleep cause I’m popping bloody vessels

so much red, my colour shifting like a tongue under hard boiled sweet.

They are inside. And They open the door, and

 

They bend down to pick me up but I am too empty

So They have to squeeze into the porch with me and

I feel like we are in one of those glass boxes with all the Pixar toys

 

one on top of another,

the softness of your bodies

to light to claw, grab or lift.

 

 4. Actually Draft: Give it a title/ CUT EVEN MORE/ change the stanza formation to something that feels like it has logic, I have chosen something irregular but symmetrical(ish) to hold this stream of conciousness.

 

A Real Fight

 

I’ve never been in a real fight but

I did once place my hand

flat on the side of a stranger’s head, and smash it

bounced it

off the Perspex sheath

encasing the DJ.

He’d reached for my punananananooo (or

phanoola as my god daughter calls it). I’ve never

given anyone head but

a 6ft4 guy asked in a rave once when I was 15, I said,

I’d rather lick the floor cause

I’m tired

girls toilets, Mac D’s, night queues

drunk toddler run but he said maybe I wanted a head-but

(and I thought, go ahead, then the police have a ‘real reason’ to come) but

but but but but but but but but but but but but, BUT

GEORGE WHAT ARE YOU DOING? But

me and George were just kissing in the smoking area BUT

GEORGE YOU’RE GAY. But

I flat-pack myself into the porch so

I can close both doors

hug my knees like giant soft toy turtles that help me sleep but

I can’t sleep cause

so much red, my colour shifting like a tongue under a hard boiled sweet.

They open the door, and They

bend down to pick me up but

I am too full of fog, so they squeeze

into the porch with me and

I feel

like we are in a Perspex box

with 30 odd other soft toy turtles

the clouds of our bodies, sweets in a jar – too light

for a claw, or fist or child

to grab, grope or lift.

Writing Workout (40-60min) – Writing Towards a Deadline

I am working towards the deadline now of the first draft of my script for my show with the Royal Court next year. So when I sit down at my desk it is really easy to get overwhelmed by the scale of things (especially as a dyslexic, I have so much writing and even reading through it all is a challenge). Unlike the last couple challenges I have set, this writing workout is to push you to dedicate a good chunk of time to writing, 40min, 60min, maybe even 2 hours if you want to push it that far! I am currently deleting all social media apps off my phone 11am-3.30pm and dedicating this to writing (still use watts app and email in my lunch break but one step at a time).

So, here is an exercise to trick you back into the flow of writing, you will need: 

-A friend or a device that enables you to contact them

-Writing tools of some king (use whatever you feel comfortable with OR maybe use something you don’t feel comfortable, this can be interesting to mix things up and maybe bring about a new writing style)

-a timer on your phone or wherever

1. Get someone you trust in a room, on the phone, on watts app and just talk to them about the show. 

This sounds simple, but this has been such a huge factor to everything I have achieved, whenever I am putting a project together or working with someone I request a mentor/dramaturge/pritical friend/peer even if its just an hour on the phone or a day together. With this piece I was lucky enough to have some times with Hannah Silva who is an amazing poet but also a really close friend (and whom also set the initial writing exercise for me).

You can time the conversation, or just let it flow, you might have it the day before you want to write, or immediately before but the point is to find an event that feels emotionally relevant to the piece you are writing.

For me, this was a fight I was challenged to at at school.

2. First draft, 10min timer, free write (write without questioning, caring about spelling or sh**ness, don’t read any of it back to yourself whilst you are writing). It must; be in the third person, describe the activity running up to the event but not describe the event itself and try and give as much sensory detail as you can… GO!

Fight Scene

Purple blazers running like toddlers through a gang of pigeons,

Year sevens scatter, Tesco value salt and vinegar and blue Panda Pops everywhere

Year 9 is always first, the loudest amongs the crowd shouts

BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF,

Voices gather, burst out of detention, Axel jumps out the top window of the science block,

Taymah chucks her left shoe on top of the humanities building,

Vinnie, the 5ft 3 year 10 jumps on Jaspreets back as she starts sprinting.

Gary’s burger van is abandoned, chili sauce everywhere,

Hayley Folks slips, but braces herself on several other kids.

One random year 8 no one knew existed starts lobbing oranges.

 

All the worst schools wore black trainers, knickers, all black converse,

Air force ones, leggings, black jeans, diamonds in their tights,

Lynx or Joop on their necks, earings bigger than faces,

Sprints sharper than the rush hour Shenfield train

Tighter together than hands to hips in a slow whine.

Every year in the school is there now. Football hooligan zolume,

BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF.

 

Year 10 start the rumours about the chain up Debris’ sleeve,

The foldable scisors tucked to sleep in her right sock,

Apparently she got kicked off the Valentines grounds for setting Amit’s head on fire.

Debris is in the boys gymnasiam changing room getting ready with the mandem,

Billing a zoot as if plaiting a childs hair.

Heathen stands behind her,

pulls a bottle of Blue Alizay out of his bag

and backs a third of the bottle in one then passes

it to Debris, who’s chest is raised,

Tie short and fat, trousers tight around trunk-thighs, elastic breaking and poking out like white hairs.

All 24 of the boys around her have their once purple blazer inside out revealing

An elaborately embellished gold lining, most of them have blackened lips.

 

3. Edit Prep, read through and highlight what is standing out to you (don’t change anything yet, but start to think about some rules you might want to set yourself for editing…

Fight Scene

Purple blazers running like toddlers through a gang of pigeons,

Year sevens scatter, Tesco value salt and vinegar and blue Panda Pops everywhere

Year 9 is always first, the loudest amongs the crowd shouts

BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF,

Voices gather, burst out of detention, Axel jumps out the top window of the science block,

Taymah chucks her left shoe on top of the humanities building,

Vinnie, the 5ft 3 year 10 jumps on Jaspreets back as she starts sprinting.

Gary’s burger van is abandoned, chili sauce everywhere,

Hayley Folks slips, but braces herself on several other kids.

One random year 8 no one knew existed starts lobbing oranges.

 

All the worst schools wore black trainers, knickers, all black converse,

Air force ones, leggings, black jeans, diamonds in their tights,

Lynx or Joop on their necks, earings bigger than faces,

Sprints sharper than the rush hour Shenfield train

Tighter together than hands to hips in a slow whine.

Every year in the school is there now. Football hooligan zolume,

BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF.

 

Year 10 start the rumours about the chain up Debris’ sleeve,

The foldable scisors tucked to sleep in her right sock,

Apparently she got kicked off the Valentines grounds for setting Amit’s head on fire.

Debris is in the boys gymnasiam changing room getting ready with the mandem,

Billing a zoot as if plaiting a childs hair.

Heathen stands behind her,

pulls a bottle of Blue Alizay out of his bag

and backs a third of the bottle in one then passes

it to Debris, who’s chest is raised,

Tie short and fat, trousers tight around trunk-thighs, elastic breaking and poking out like white hairs.

All 24 of the boys around her have their once purple blazer inside out revealing

An elaborately embellished gold lining, most of them have blackened lips.

 

4. Edit, I chose to set myself the following rules which you are free to try out (sometimes its just the idea of having rules that is helpful in a first edit, irrelevant of what they are so if you are new it can be helpful to borrow someone else and see what impact it has). My rules: 

10-15min timer

-Whole piece should be one sentence because I want to see if I can create the breathlessness of running towards a fight and pick the heart rate up of the reader.

-Trial out long and short lines in 3 line stanza’s to play around with the frantic nature and the stop, start, chaos of the run up to a fight.

-Play around with sound, and repetition as much as possible (I have been really obsessed with how this exists in Grime and slang recently so want to try and use some of that thinking), to push that consideration I put a Grime instrumental mix on in the background.

 

Hungry toddlers through squads of purple pigeons,

10p Space Invaders, Fredo’s, blue Panda Pops,

everywhere

 

year 9 is always first, loudest

BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF, burst

out of detention –

 

Axel jumps out the top window of the science block, Taymah chucks her left shoe

on top of the humanities building, Vinnie,

the 5ft 3 year 10 jumps on Jaspreet’s back and she starts sprinting

 

Gary’s burger van

abandoned, chili sauce everywhere, Hayley Folks slips

braces herself on several other kids, one year 8 no one knew existed starts lobbing oranges

 

all black trainers, knickers, Air Force 1s, leggings, reinforced thighs from high rise,

broken lifts, elastic taring diamonds in tights,

Lynx or Joop on necks, earings bigger than faces,

 

Sprints sharper than the rush hour Shenfield train, pupils pack and pull in tighter

than hands to hips in slow whine, jook/jook/jab/jab/dagger dat/splash/splash/splash

Every year in the school is here now

 

BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF

BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF

 

I can barely see or hear out the frosted boys changing room window BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF

BEEF Apparently she got kicked off the Valentines grounds for setting Amit’s head on fire BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF

BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF

 

Heathen is billing a zoot as if plaiting his baby sisters hair, momentarily

one handed, he slides a bottle of Blue Alizay from his Just Do It backpack

backs a third and passes it to Debris

 

all 24 of the boys around her have their once purple blazer inside out

revealing gold lining, most of them have blackened lips

a lick, ready to stick rizla to roach

 

one day bus ticket was all you needed to show for a month round here

bus drivers to scared to ask

Debris slides foldable scissors into left sock

 

bicycle chain her weapon of choice – too much WWF, Streets of Rage and COD

2.30pm, 15min till she needs to be at the school gates

Heathen passes the zoot, condom over the smoke detector

 

the year 11s have started wearing stab proof vests

under the premise of fashion,

BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF

 

The crows start to head out, pilgrims to promise land,

lambs to the slaughter, wise men

to the brightest star

 

awaiting Debris’ heard of grey blazers,

of smoked meat, awaiting the closest they all know to love –

grief.

5. Refine – with as much time as you want, no Music, read Out loud, choose a title I chose to remove all line breaks and push this use of breathlessness (again if you want to try this or give yourself another rule it is up to you, a line break based rule might be fun if you don’t often to this).

 

Hunting for Gold

Hungry toddlers scatter

squads of purple pigeons, 10p Space Invaders, Fredo’s, blue Panda Pops,

a student teacher sobs,

year 9 is always first, loudest

BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF, burst

out of detention –

Axel jumps from the top window of the science block, Taymah lobs her left shoe

on the humanities building, Vinnie,

the 5ft 3 year 10 jumps on Jaspreet’s back and she starts sprinting,

Gary’s burger van

abandoned, chili sauce everywhere, Hayley Folks slips

braces herself on several other kids, one year 8 no one knew existed starts hurling oranges

towards all black trainers, Kickers, Air Force 1s, leggings, reinforced thighs from high rise

broken lifts, elastic taring diamonds in tights,

Lynx or Joop on necks, earings bigger than faces,

and sprints sharper than the rush hour Shenfield train, pupils pack and pull in tight

(hands to hips in slow whine jook/jook/jab/jab/dagger-dat/splash/splash/splash)

every year in the school is here now

BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF

BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF

I can barely see or hear out the frosted boys changing room window BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF

BEEF (apparently she got kicked out the Valentines Secondary grounds  for setting Amit’s head on fire) BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF

BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF

Heathen is billing a zoot as if plaiting his baby sister’s hair, momentarily

one handed, he slides a bottle of blue Alizé from his Just Do It backpack

backs a third and passes it to Debris

all 24 of the boys around her have their once purple blazer inside out

revealing gold lining, most of them have blackened lips

a lick, ready to stick Rizla to roach,

(Debris slides foldable scissors into left sock

bicycle chain into right breast pocked)

2.30pm, 15min till she needs to be at the school gates

Heathen passes the zoot

(condom over the smoke detector)

the year 11s have started wearing stab proof vests

under the premise of fashion BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF

the crows head out (pilgrims to promise land)

lambs to the slaughter,

wise men

to gold stars.

 

30min Writing Workout – YOU ARE A POET!

Charlie Dark has been my mentor now for a good 8 years and every time we talk he reminds me… DEBORAH, YOU ARE A POET, the dancing, the grime, fitness, it is all great but strip it all away and at your core, you are a poet, do not forget that. 

BUT IT IS SO EASY. Especially at the moment as I am still recruiting a team for my show and there is loads of additional non-writerly things to do, I have every excuse in the world just millimetres away. So this is my no excuses, even if you have to do it on a train or on the toilet – WRITE F***ING NOW CAUSE YOU ARE A WRITER exercise of the day.

 

DRAFT 1 

Choose a commute you are taking (for me today it was from Sloane Sq. to Liverpool Street), put your headphones in, ideally music you love but don’t usually write too (this is a thing for me atm, and today it was Afro Jack) and write nonstop (no care for typos or being embarrassed about the woman peering over your shoulder) till the end of that journey. If you get stuck, just chuck in an image or scent you can see around you. This is my first draft, I have left all the Dyslexia in there so you can see how rough it is! 

 

Sharp shoulder blends into yellow pole,

Sometimes I feel like a a yellow;

Line, double, highlighter, fluorescent piss,

 

A bottle of barocha, single buscuit

Bottom of plastic value wishing well.

Wishing myself well. I miss all my exes on Sunday mornings, yet I’m terrified of people, want to order pizza but I’m convinced the 17 year old at the counter

Will spell the Wray Neph and neglect.

White rum tastes of miscilaneous shame.

 

My cheek stuck to his chest.

And I half enjoy feeling our sweat congeal underneath me in the morning light.

But I pull the cover in between our skin.

Feel the moisture suck into the fabric.

The salty crusts of morning.

 

A stranger swings an unretracted umbrella from his wrist, heavy and fun as an appendage.

 

Rows of shoes and fidgets.

It’s hard to look someone in the eyes

When the crotch and armpits are so close.

Fall asleep and wake up to the imprint of a zip on your cheek.

 

Pull this white sofa we are attempting sleep on into two, like a giant marshmallow, sometimes there is more space if you rip something up – extend the surface area. Lift your shirt up so your stomachs can touch.

 

Forget to wash the Tupperware after lunch. My bag smells so strongly of the colour green I don’t think my note book will recover.

 

I tend not to shower for the 24 hours after. It’s never conscious. Maybe I just want to keep the space you have left for a while. Suss it out, you out, us out.

 

I worked love out without you.

Where do I fit u.

Where do I fit.

Do I wear.

Do I fit.

 

DRAFT 2:

Give it a sec. Don’t read it, just lock your phone and finish your commute, have your dinner, wait till lunch or whatever, just let it ferment in your pocket for a bit. Then when you get some actual space, copy and paste it into a word doc. and turn on a new track list that you love but don’t usually write to (for me, Home Sweet Home by Kano) and edit. I chose to edit to find the core, the story, I wanted to see all the images and for there to be a sense of 2 people but in a wider world, vehicle or commute if it will. I also just wanted to feel free with the lineation so just tried to play on instinct and not think toooo much at this point. 

 

 

His sharp shoulder blends into the yellow pole,

supposed to be rush hour stability but

sometimes, I feel like a line… double,

highlighter,

fluorescent piss,                         a bottle

 

Berocca,

 

single beige biscuit on bedside table

bottom of plastic value wishing well.

Wishing…myself…(hand to big for noisy packaging)      Well?

 

Well, I miss all my exes on Sunday mornings,

 

yet I’m terrified of people, would order pizza but

I’m convinced the 17-year-old at the counter will smell

the Wray Neph,

the miscellaneous shame. My cheek

 

is stuck

 

to his chest. And I half enjoy it

sweat congealing,

clinging the way I imagine velcro does up close

tiny translucent hands desperate to stay together,

but kids feet grow

so fast              I pull the cover

in between his chest and my cheek

feel moisture suck fabric.

 

The salty crusts of morning.

 

(A stranger swings a flaccid umbrella from his wrist, heavy and fun as if an appendage.) Rows of shoes and fidgets. It’s hard to look someone in the eyes when crotch and armpits are so close. Fall asleep and wake up to the imprint of a zip on your cheek.

 

This white sofa we are attempting sleep on –

could we tear it like a giant marshmallow?

Sometimes there is more space if you rip something up – extend the surface area.

 

He lifts his shirt up so your stomachs can touch.

I forget to wash the Tupperware after lunch. My bag smells

I don’t think my note book will recover.

 

I tend not to shower for the 24 hours after. It’s never conscious. Maybe

I just want to keep his space

for a while.

 

 

 

 

Till it feels like mine.

 

Draft 3

Turn off the music. Read it out loud, cut any image or line that you can not see/hear/touch/taste/experience. Watch the movie that is the poem in your head and give it a title. (I might have to make a misc. series)…

 

Miscellaneous Shame

 

His spine is a yellow handrail on the Circle Line

supposed rush hour stability, but

sometimes, I feel like the line –

 

double, highlighter, fluorescent piss, a

bottle… Berocca, maybe?

Single beige biscuit

on bedside table. Bottom

of plastic value wishing well.

Wishing…

 

myself…(hand to big for noisy packaging)

Well? Well, I miss all my exes on Sunday mornings,

 

yet I’m terrified of people,

would order pizza but

I’m convinced the 17-year-old at the counter will

smell the Wray Neph,

the miscellaneous shame. My cheek

 

is stuck

 

to his chest. And I half enjoy it

sweat congealing,

clinging the way I imagine Velcro does

if you look closely – tiny translucent hands –

– desperate to stay together –

 

but kids feet grow so fast.

I pull the cover in between his chest – and my cheek – the salty crusts of morning –

 

(A stranger swings a flaccid umbrella from his wrist,

heavy and fun as an appendage.) Rows of shoes and fidgets.

It’s hard to look someone in the eyes when crotch and armpits

are so close. Fall asleep and wake up to the imprint of a zip on your cheek.

 

This white sofa we are attempting sleep on –

could we tear it like a giant marshmallow?

Sometimes there is more space if you rip something up – extend the surface area –

 

He lifts his shirt up so your stomachs can touch.

I forget to wash the Tupperware after lunch. My bag smells

I don’t think my note book will survive… (or recover?)

 

I tend not to shower for the 24 hours after. It’s never conscious. (Maybe?)

I just want to keep his space

for a while.

 

 

 

 

Till it feels like mine(?)

 

 

p.s. Lovely Photography by – Aileen Wessely www.farbanomalie.de

 

 

Arvon Writing Aerobics 9. Why is mainstream poetry becoming more accepting of experimental poetry?

(Snippets of conversation with Mouthy Poets and writers Caroline Bird & Roger Robinson at Arvon Totleigh Barton, Tuesday 8th December 2015.)

Roger Poetry is dying a slow boring death, so we are going through a creative peak at the moment. It is really important to start things and make people come to you. Don’t be begging people for you, don’t be unsatisfied with one small square of the world, find the people that want your messages and send it to them. Don’t be a wondering generality, be a very strong specific. That is how you get through the noise and clutter. Don’t follow the herd completely, be yourself – you are enough.

Caroline Our revolution [in the UK] is just about due.

Arvon Writing Aerobics 8. How do you deal with professional rejection?

(Snippets of conversation with Mouthy Poets and writers Caroline Bird & Roger Robinson at Arvon Totleigh Barton, Tuesday 8th December 2015.)

Roger Being a writer is about rejection. If you are not about rejection you are probably not pitching enough or not aiming high enough. I had 36 rejections for my first poetry book and the only thing that kept me going was that my mentor had 38 and he said ‘don’t come to me till you get 38’. Until you get your first success it is really hard, writing is about perseverance and rejection. If you can’t persevere through rejection, don’t be a writer. You have to be consistently devoted to this thing.

Caroline Someone saying ‘I see you, keep doing it’ and who wants you to progress – keep going until you find that person. What is much more important than listening to rejection is listening to that person that understands what you are trying to do. Stopping is not an option.

Arvon Writing Aerobics 7. Is all Poetry Autobiography?

(Snippets of conversation with Mouthy Poets and writers Caroline Bird & Roger Robinson at Arvon Totleigh Barton, Tuesday 8th December 2015.)

Caroline The truth is not the facts. One of the reasons I started reading poetry is because I would try and write down everything that happened in my diary then read it back and think ‘that isn’t what happened’… the facts are the least important thing in a way, sometimes it is all about the texture. Often you need to find something hyper-real to talk about how it really truly felt. Anyone that asked if it’s really true is an idiot.

Your dreams are a life experience – all the cinema behind the curtains behind your eye lids are your experience.

Roger Some things are insignificant to some people but to you they are hyper significant. You have to make decisions about art; how you are starting, what goes next, what is the form and you have to know that you are doing it.

Arvon Writing Aerobics 6. How to negotiate between person goals, good poems and deadlines…

(Snippets of conversation with Mouthy Poets and writers Caroline Bird & Roger Robinson at Arvon Totleigh Barton, Tuesday 8th December 2015.)

Caroline I don’t feel like my poetry has to be working towards a deadline. Poems come from the middle of me.

Roger Poetry don’t make enough money to take on deadlines. Poetry is the thing I love. I could never write poetry to a deadline.

 

 

Arvon Writing Aerobics 5. When you’re writing humour, how do you know it is funny?

(Snippets of conversation with Mouthy Poets and writers Caroline Bird & Roger Robinson at Arvon Totleigh Barton, Tuesday 8th December 2015.)

Caroline – If a story isn’t funny, then it doesn’t feel real. If we feel something is really horrific then we will lean back and don’t invest, but if you can make the audience lean in then you can really punch them in the face. If you hold something horrific it is often too much for people so it is often about finding different ways to pull them in and then pack the hardest punch.

Arvon Writing Aerobics 4. How do you deal with the fear? The fear of an idea…

(Snippets of conversation with Mouthy Poets and writers Caroline Bird & Roger Robinson at Arvon Totleigh Barton, Tuesday 8th December 2015.)

Caroline You have to keep playing, the worse thing is when you say ‘THIS IS A SIGNIFICANT IDEA’, and it stops you going in the back door of the idea and exploring it. You have to keep playing and never be afraid of writing loads of rubbish because otherwise you are going to paralyse yourself that you need to say something right. You need to know that that nothingness is vital, rather than thinking there are so many answers here that I have to find. Let the idea go much further than you think it will.