Inside my Head

Constant, rhythmic hum: this, good enough
door was locked, keys in bag
don’t panic; daily resonance
better existence with design
reminders Posted, multicoloured door
minutiae underpins each forward step
slow renaissance from perceived inept.

How lucky they all are, unbound
explanation not required, I’m sound
inside my head’s vast golden place
without bazillion checks, hard balances
foot to foot, Warrior’s stance contrives
expectant moment, incoming empire’s fall
from everything to absolutely none at all.

You have no clue how lucky you all are.

Surprise, Surprise

Yesterday, at about 10.45pm, I recorded my first poem. Well, that’s not strictly true: a lovely BBC Sound engineer in Manchester did it for me. 

At NO POINT in my planning was there provision to get anything other than a mention in passing for this project. It wasn’t about recognition, after all, just to give back to my home town, which I’ve now done with some style. To talk to one of the Project founders, and a poet in residence, was a brilliantly unexpected bonus. It took that Guardian mention and knocked it out of sight. I’m gonna be thanking these people in dispatches for quite some time to come.

EVERYTHING that’s changed my course this year has come from a willingness to be vulnerable, to place mind and body in situations that were previously frightening. The knock on effects from this are only beginning to register, but in last night’s recording I can hear my own fear, nervousness in voice that comes from being exposed to an audience. In time, I’ll get my head around it. It will get better with practice.

All these things will improve with practice.

Here’s the poem I read on the show.


Two Tree Island ::
Bleak, Hoarse

Golden hour,
I came here to begin
next chapter’s transformation

remade through other’s imagery,
inspired
earth to sky,
brown
to gold
adheres, presenting unexpectedly

grubby printed brilliance, webbed feet
pointing path, open silt bar
my usual; steaming,
anticipated
epiphany of
self abstained, regained.

I asked for a sign;
you gave
graffiti covered
rubberised playgrounds
broken boats
peeling
saint’s
names

Pier’s glorious insertion, failures forgotten
thousand harsh rejections sail away
masts of possibility remain,
renewed
mirrored sunrise
into grateful eyes.

Bleak, hoarse failure recedes
to seeds,
green runway, as above, first plane

softens

mumbling to trains.


I really hope this isn’t the last time I read a poem on national radio. This is a pretty high benchmark to exceed.

I do so love a challenge.

Look Away

However hard you try, stuff sometimes is out of your hands. That’s tough to rationalise as a woman who, most of the time, finds it hard to function without a measure of notional control. It asks increasing amounts of you not simply as a person, but as an artist. I call myself a poet when it suits me, but there are other strings to this bow: writer, novelist, short story writer, photographer and, quite possibly, performer.

That last one’s still being played with: poetry needs to be read, aloud. It should be the notional means by which both passion and expression are properly expressed. I’ve only done it once with an audience, but it happens every time a new set of poems are produced. To make sure they ‘sound’ right and my voice is correct, everything needs to be spoken, with passion

This is when I allow myself to fail as a poet.

I can allow a succession of TED speakers tell me how failure matters on the way to success. People have famous people on podcasts talking about failing. It’s a means by which you are allowed to open yourself to being critical of development. It is looking at work and knowing that yes, you can do more. However, what you define as a failure in a  larger sense is utterly and totally subjective.

It’s taken over two years to actually find my real voice, one that matters most to me. More and more, expectation arises is to write a certain way, or to a specific brief, and to end up with something that isn’t true to me, rather something that’s saleable. I’m trying to do this to make other people notice me, and that’s exactly not the way to do the job. I have failed myself on multiple levels, and now it has to stop.

I should be writing for myself, first and foremost. A very good Social media mutual is about to embark on a journey that reminded me of this fact today: why you write is as important as the subject matter, and the reasons why you choose to focus on particular subjects and interests. When I write about things that are important to me, that are passionate points of contention, the work is better.

How did I forget this? Well, that’s easy. My life in poetry has become the mental equivalent of a Supercut: to fit everything in, you just remember the best bits of everything, whilst the rest of the output is relegated. I want to produce this brilliant, aurally arresting selection of works, all carefully intercut, but totally fail to grasp that by doing so real goodness is diluted.

It is time to go back to my roots.

reality

The last four poems written are probably my best work to date. This is how I need to work moving forward: passion, honestly and personal accountability. Anything else, quite honestly, is a waste of my time and effort right now.

Let’s try and do this right.

Words

Sitting here, catching up on the last week or so, finishing the poetry project seems a lifetime ago.

My health club was presented with an A3 poster of the Blaze poem on Tuesday, and A4 copies went to everyone who featured in the poem at their relevant classes (as there are two a week.) There were unexpected tears, and genuine pleasure that I could thank so many people for inspiring me to greatness. Then, on Thursday, I bumped into the woman who was responsible for a significant change in direction of my narrative.

I’ll spend some time next week taking all the pictures produced for the project and shoving them in a Portfolio, allowing everything photographic to be accessible from the website. It’s been lovely to get unprompted, independent feedback too, especially as I ended up being featured on the PoP Facebook site as a ‘Poem of the Day.’

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The plan has been to have a rest, and having done so, to start July fresh and with some new ideas… so I suppose I’d better get started on that sooner rather than later. I’ll be honest, however: there’s not going to be weekly poetry again until probably September. I need a rest, but more significantly, it’s become apparent from this project that my style has begun to evolve.

This is probably the moment to go practice on my own for a while, enter some works in specific contests, then see what happens as a result.

The Final Countdown

It’s done… well, the technical bit is. All the poems are pinned on the site, I just need to do my part of the deal and fill in the back end details. As of typing this, all but five of those poems are now up and linked with pictures. By Wednesday, as planned, we will be done.

Revelations have risen from this journey that have been singularly unexpected. The reactions I’ve received, support that has been offered beyond considerable. It started as a means by which I could give back to the town, but so much has been given back without even asking. I’ll be printing out a version of the Jazz poem for the lovely people at the Centre who were so kind to me, and one for the member of staff at the Beecroft Gallery who changes my outlook so early on.

These people’s generosity has been the unexpected and brilliant bonus to this five week’s worth of work. Once I’m done, there will be time taken to consider what I’ve learnt, ensuring it all gets use down the line. This is truly the project that’s really altered not only my outlook on poetry, but on how I have become a better person thanks to the ability to shave away small slivers of my soul before binding them to moments captured photographically.

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Everything has come together perfectly, and I could not be happier.

Find Time

It is high time for an update on the Project Du Jour, I feel.

The first poetry has already been pinned on the Places of Poetry site.

Watching poems appear on their site has been possibly the most satisfied I have ever felt about anything ever made. Public access projects are a rarity in the modern world: you’re not making any money, after all, so what’s the point in taking part? For me, it is exactly that which made this project so appealing. Nobody else gets to judge my work, it is simply accepted on merit regardless, will exist virtually as testament to my town.

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That allows a freedom of expression that is often lacking in other places: no need to write ‘a certain way’ or to conform to a particular (or popular) poetic style. My voice is allowed unhindered freedom of expression, and that in it self is a joyous, liberating experience. It means being able to express feelings that previously had no way of effectively releasing themselves from my brain.

If I’m totally honest with myself, that’s the best part of all about this entire project.

dav

I am still on target for a Wednesday finish: all poems will be ‘pinned’ by Monday night, and then it’s just up to me to do the back-end work as a follow up. After that, you can absolutely bet there will be a celebratory glass of summat raised at a project that’s fundamentally altered my relationship with poetry for good.

Almost and Always

Okay, I admit it, I’ve only just grasped the importance of organising yourself properly.

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It’s taken a long, long time: all the planners and tick lists and bullet pointing IN THE WORLD will not allow you to fulfil things unless you fully and totally, 100% commit to the task. Previously, I’ll be honest: I’d get bored, or there’d be a crisis of confidence where the pre-planning didn’t allow me to continue momentum to the end of a project. NOT ANY MORE. This week, I’m so utterly and totally here for the end game.

Now we just need to do the work. I have photographs that aren’t good enough for the purposes they are required for and require a reshoot. The poetry still needs work: there are rough edges to be smoothed and over-painted. The mechanics of the website require thought and then some quite serious manipulation of my photography to fit the optimal dimensions of my project.

All this will be done by week’s end, OH YES.

sogood

Keep an eye on properbard.com, which has become my defacto hosting site, and I’ll let you know when we’re done. The plan is to make the end of June, as I planned would happen, just because sometimes you need to believe not only can you come in on time and under budget, but also with a product you are insanely proud of. Trust me, I am VERY proud of all of this.

This is my new best thing.