Poetry Archive :: Inside

Here’s the first of two specially-written pieces for #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek: as discussed last Monday, body image is a big deal for me and is something I’ve struggled with for decades. Now, however, it is not nearly as problematic as was once this case.

I suppose, as a result, you could consider this piece autobiographical.


Inside

Afraid of myself, skin tight
fights image others present,
content with themselves: not here
inside, conflict remains.
Body, not who I am.

Constant, persistent beat
‘life not good enough’
repeats, eat more, ignore
conflict, inside remains.
Mind, not what to think.

Understanding, emerge
chrysalis breaks, expanding
wings; inspired desire
love yourself, unbound.
Love, now what you are.

Without filters, building
inner confidence, no
co-incidence, expanding
horizons, new options.
Grasp what can now be.

Result: evolution brings
joyous optimism, ignore
criticism, other’s beauty
not my duty to uphold.
What I am: strong, bold.

Moving Right Along

The hardest part of this week’s Project goals is now completed. The beginning of #EndOfTheFear had a rough idea of locations, vague grasp of titles: there are now fragments of poems to insert onto spaces. I can create a working document where everything lives and can be referred to. There’s also the vaguest ideas of how we do the web side of things (and space in which to place it) which means next up it’s the photography element of proceedings to consider.

A couple of places already have pictures taken, selection of images to choose from. Next week, there’s a plan in place on my wall where we’ll be putting together geographically-close locations, getting to them early each day to take pictures. The plan is to have completed photos by lunchtime (travelling to places with a liquid breakfast after the School run) and then write poetry inspired by both places and pictures.

Writing the poems is happening in pieces every day. There’s already a tenable narrative thread front and centre, feelings to explore and expand upon, with proof that working in the locations gives a real sense of what matters and feels right at this point. I’ve taken a break today to write some poems for the Mental Health Foundation’s ‘Body Image’ week starting on the 12th, which was a lovely change of pace.

All that needs to happen now is an awful lot of legwork.

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I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few weeks staring inwards, at places that previously were difficult to even get close to. An awful lot of these are inextricably linked to long form works which, it is now apparent, served purpose not simply as narratives. Amongst these, amazingly, was a selection of work which I thought only existed as A4 documents. This weekend I was able to find saved versions of everything, which means the paper versions can finally be consigned to recycling.

I wonder, should the files also get deleted?

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It is great to think that sometimes, the answer to everything is just pretending that the bad stuff does not exist. There are undoubtedly moments when doing so is useful, but in other cases, ignoring the past is unhelpful. These bits of writing show up some major shortcomings in my processes, that’s for damn sure, but they are undoubtedly useful demonstrations of what is done best. For every negative there is also undoubtedly a positive.

Deleting them frees up hard disk space, sure. Re-writing them is a waste of time and effort, undoubtedly. However, and probably most importantly, acknowledging what they represent in a personal chronology is absolutely vital. So, I’ve gone back and re-read them all, returning brain to a time where everything changed forever: my fist pregnancy and the birth of my son. On reflection, I wasn’t ready for any of it, and this probably has a lot to do with what happened subsequently.

I’ll be discussing this undoubtedly in counselling going forward.

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Maybe one day, if the urge strikes me, these stories will be shared again: that’s the irony in all of this, of course. Once upon a time everything existed on the Internet. I even have the self-designed webpages where all these things were housed. However, that was a lifetime ago. Maybe, if you are really smart, you can find the places where some of these stories still remain.

We all have to start somewhere.

Goodbye

This weekend, I tore up an application form. I’d picked it up in February, from the Poetry Cafe, fully intending to create an entry for the May 1st deadline… except other stuff kept getting in the way. A brilliant run with fiction over the last few weeks has meant that poetry (other than scheduled) really hasn’t happened for most of April. On reflection, that’s no bad thing, because there’s about to be an awful lot of poetry in May.

It’s also becoming tough to financially afford to enter everything I come across that uses such events as pseudo-fundraisers. After a while, you have to start making serious choices over what matters most, and ultimately, sitting looking at the next six weeks, there just isn’t any more spare cash left. It was easier therefore to admit defeat and try again when not only more cash exists, but when more time is available.

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It can be quite easy to get caught up in your own ‘bubble’ of things that look really important, but ultimately do not help you allow to grow as a writer. For me, at this point in the development process, there is more worth in being out in the Real World, gaining experience and talking to people than will ever happen being at home, and not focusing on anything except my work. Introspection is no longer useful.

What is needed is a shift in perspective and outlook: I’ll be editing a fiction piece this month, writing some poetry for Mental Health Week, but all of my focus is now on the major project forcing me not only to spend time outside, but to interact with those people for whom this town is their job and their home. That’s the input that’s been missing for a while, and I’m already looking forward to the possibilities.

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You can follow my daily progress starting May 1st. I hope we can both let go of the past, and use May to change outlook on the World in general.

Poetry Archive :: Teal

Just as a reminder: daily poetry, with a weekly archive will be going away in May to make way for my Project of Awesome.

I’ll see you again in June.


Teal

Medium blue-green,
an emerging paradigm:
orange and teal look.

Basic web colour
Windows default wallpaper;
cancer awareness.

This neutral colour,
of a duck’s head: which came first
that egg, or the bird?

Crayon confuses,
where should you place: many hues
shading overlap.

Real deal, sealing feel
ideally; perfect aspect
this hue of rare dreams.

Poetry Archive :: Olive

Just as a reminder: daily poetry, with a weekly archive will be going away in May to make way for my Project of Awesome.

I’ll see you again in June.


Olive

A branch, offered: shady
grove, Mediterranean
sun providing unique,
tiny ovals of joy.

Core cuisine, oleaceae
cultural cornerstone,
biblical sacrifice;
sign, disaster at end.

Greek medicine, anoint
athletes and kings, crown
glory; sacrament, poetic
Odyssey carves cults.

Such humble fruit, devolved
ingredient, component
ancient history: cornerstone
pitted, removed; discarded.

Hues through green and red,
tastes across tongue, remind
warmer climes, happier times
tree of life, past combined.

F.E.A.R

Friday was my ‘soft-launch’ day for this project, which has been in planning, it must be said, since January. We’ve already discussed that daily poetry will vanish as a result, because let’s be honest, this requires a lot of thought, and not an inconsiderable amount of legwork. We’ll be doing the proper launch on Wednesday, where I’ll be at the local Library, starting a bit of essential historical background research.

All will be shared via Twitter, Instagram and blog, because that’s how these things work.

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You can also expect a reduction in the amount of floral pictures and of the sky. It’s time to find favourite architecture, of which there is an awful lot in the borough, plus landscapes and estuary views. I get to go down the pier for utterly legitimate business reasons and there will be some personal history revealed along the way. I’ve lived here since I was 22, after all. This town is very much in my blood.

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For my regular readers, many of these images will be familiar. These are places you’ll have seen before. What will be new is the poetry that accompanies them.

I’ll see you on Monday as months of planning finally comes to fruition.