An unfinished poem that I just like so much I’m performing it in its raw state.
Tag Archive: spoken word
An unfinished poem that I just like so much I’m performing it in its raw state.
Shot by the illustrious Bram E. Gieben
check me waxing lyrical
on the merits of pizza
like a motherfucking ninja turtle.
This is my most widely published, widely performed poem. It dates from my days living in a semi-furnished flat provided by social services, out on the fringes of what counts as the ‘West End’ of Glasgow (the posh part), a few months after i crash landed homeless in the city.
Poetry is alive. It’s vibrant. It’s language that’s made to dance.
Or at least that is how it should be.
On the page though it can feel less so. Like fossilised remains. echoes of something long since gone.
The Oral tradition is where it all began. It was all we had – before we developed written language everything was spoken. Everything was heard. Stories were told around fires. Words were shared only in person. This ancient lineage gives the words a power that simply cannot be attained when you slap shit onto pieces of dead tree. Just speaking them out loud gives them a life they can never have when they remain solely on the page. There is a sense of communion between performer and listener, an alchemy that transforms inkblots into fireflies.
And so i begin to release work as audio. To break down the barriers between myself, the words, and you.
Look at me being all earnest and shit. It’s almost as if that crunchy, sarcastic and deeply cynical shell I present to the world hides a gooey centre of sincerity and feelings and stuff.
sometimes I write poems about the people I love.
This is the first thing I ever wrote with performance in mind, captured here by Sam Small Poetry. I may have gone a little overboard with my rapid fire delivery.
It’s been a long time, I know. I’m not really sorry but you can pretend I am if it makes you feel better.
I wrote this for a Philanthrobeats event celebrating mental illness. Or moaning about how hard it makes things. It was definitely something like that. Anyway, I wasn’t going to be in the country at the time so they shot a performance of it at the first High Flight fundraiser. Anyway, turns out I was in the country so I was gonna do some live stuff too. Then there was a snafu with encoding the vid3eo, so the poem I’d written just for the event didn’t get air at the event. So, yeah. Gonna memorise this beastly motherfucker and shoot a performance of it some time soon.
Have a picture of my face.
Does the running of your lips help?
Does it stop the spreading of the panic? The drawing of bad blood.
It was good to cut yourself yesterday.
Felt right as rain
– But adolescence abandons us all. Leaves nothing but bruises and breadcrumbs.
Not that you can ever go back
– not without pulling some serious trauma
and those debts ain’t so easy to pay off but hey
if that’s what it takes. Just don’t go too deep.
Got that arrested development shtick – playing it like a fiddle.
It ain’t their fault
and you ain’t making any friends
Bleeding on the carpet.
Time to play make-believe
At being a grown up.
Razorblades are for children.
Real Men swallow their pain
With a handful of blues
And a mouthful of whisky.
Just beat your wife
Or significant other
Whatever. All your sins will be absolved.
So it is written.
Why would I want to save the whales when I don’t even want to save myself?
The sanctity of human life!
Like human life is so fucking precious.
Face it, people, we’re just another species amongst many
And when we’re not fucking and killing those other species
We’re fucking and killing each other.
Entire nations have been founded on these principles!
Civilisations are born from such foundations!
Oh! Isn’t mental illness
Such an apt metaphor for the vagaries, jouannce
And ennui of the late 20th/early 21st century?
Oh yeah, baby. Intellectualise the pain away.
Sometimes you have to pull the wool over your own eyes
Just to function.
When you are wallowing in your own filth
It seems ridiculous to get uptight about the little things.
As long as you dress up pretty for the normal folk,
Make it to work on time and at least pretend
To care everything will be okay.
If it gets too hairy,
A little too much,
And you veer into the attention of the medical community
Try not to get your hopes up.
Can only do so much.
You’ll need distractions – the more intricate the better.
I hear a career can be helpful
A focus and release
For all those bad thoughts – take some gentle exercise
A brisk walk around the stairwell if you’re lucky
Some fresh air can do you good
Maybe take up a sport
Or perhaps something that involves sitting
– a hobby
or unhealthy obsession.
Neurosis are all the rage with the cardigan set.
Nice sit down and a cuppa tea pet.
Makes everything better. World of difference.
Just tell me all about it and be sure not to leave out any of the
juicy details. I just want a taste and sympathy is such a good
lay. Makes you breakfast but
doesn’t help with the washing up.
Kick that cunt to the curb with a busted lip.
Some people do not like to be alone.
Need the repulsive throb of other
Human beings – so close they can touch you.
It is okay to need
Just don’t take more than others can be
Bothered to give you.
We are all complacent
In this torture garden :-
The giving and receiving of pain
Both emotional and physical
Is as natural as shaking hands
or sharing breath.
You certainly aren’t being disproportionate
In your charitable donations.
The good lord never gives us more than we can handle.
Stiff upper lip
You cry baby fuck.
If you honestly feel that beyond have you tried
Just not being such a miserable cunt?
There are starving AIDs babies in Africa
what have you got to be unhappy about?
Quit attention seeking and bumming me out with your eyes.
I have problems too but you don’t see me desperate and aching wondering if this feeling will ever go away
with its gnawing insistence that nothing will ever be okay
again despite what your rational brain might be insisting is the truth of the matter
better just to listen to the hateful whispers as they mutter over and over
about your worthlessness
and the pointlessness
of trying to achieve anything ever waiting
for the words to eventually tire
so you might put yourself back together.
Pick yourself up
Dust yourself off
And carry on with this marvellous motherfucking mess called living.
So, Bram E. Gieben is this rather talented writer and performance poet I know who does a whole bunch of cool shit all over Glasgow including running this awesome spoken word night that spans both here and the capitol.
Below is a very well produced video performance of a poem I’ve seen him do a whole bunch of times. It’s pretty fucking good. Seriously, not only is it a sound and provocative piece of writing but the effort and cinematography that has gone into this video raises it above the noise of every day self-promotion. Stick it in your nervous system and let it fester.
So, I do this spoken word thing every Monday called OOT YIR FACE. As the night has developed and become more popular I’ve been getting less mic time. This is both good and bad. Good that the night is getting popular, bad that I keep coming up with sets that are far longer than they need be. Below is everything I prepared for the Monday just gone for your viewing pleasure.
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After I had recorded Having Breath and posted it on facebook, a friend asked me to do a couple of her poems too. Here they be.
Had a job. Lost a job. It was a shitty job anyway. Still, I did need the money.
I was riding the train to nextville to withdraw all my money because i’ve lost my bankcard for the second time in a month and we need to eat. I’m reading J.G. Ballard and ocassionally staring out of the window, when suddenly i take the fancy to do something writing. I whip out my oldskool handmedown blackberry and bash something out. Then I think to myself “I’m gonna record this and stick it up on Fledgling Writing!”
Later, back home, with the vestiges of my bank account in my back pocket, i hide away in my bedroom and, using an old phone which is now the house mobile (which was also a handmedown) I record the reading, bluetooth it to my laptop, convert it to an mp3 and upload it to soundcloud.
Then i write a post which is somewhat but not entirely similar to this one.
But then I listen to the recording on soundcloud. It’s full of artifacts and sounds like crap. This will not stand, so i go looking for somewhere else to host the raw mp3. But then I discover that I cannot embed it here, because facebook are dinks. Then I get the idea to stick it on youtube, but you cannot just upload an mp3 to youtube so I fire up windows movie maker, throw up a photo I took and manipulated at some point in the nearfar, add the recording and export. Then I upload it to youtube.
So, then I write a post which is somewhat but not entirely similar to this one.
And my laptop overheats.
So, here I go again, one last time. It’s called ‘having breath’ and for now it is a Fledgling Writing Wing exclusive.
Except, now it isn’t.