Slow moving thoughts

December 30, 2008

Time for a bit of a blog I think. It’s possibly avoidant of me: I could be reading any number of MA type books, or packing as I’m off to London tomorrow, but on the other hand, I haven’t used this blog to just blog (as in talk, chatter, spout) for ages.

I’m not very well. It’s just a cold but enough to make me feel like Proust laid up for eternity. I’ve been getting out a bit, but it’s been feeling a bad idea, almost without exception.

This afternoon I spent some time with my dad; I’ve been staying at my parents for Christmas. He drove me into town and back to pre-order the ticket I’d need to train it to London. On the way I told him about my idea for a series of snail sonnets.

The snail is my new pet subject. I recently found out that they were brought over to the UK with the Romans, and so are not native and technically Italian. Immediately, I thought how sad this was – like we’ve got this whole diaspora of refugees gliding amongst us, who very probably would rather be elsewhere; afterall, English weather, then there are the predators, language problems, cultural differences. It must have come as quite a nasty shock when they woke up in Blighty.

So I thought I’d write some poems for the poor little buggers. I was just going to write them any old how, but then it occurred to me that if a snail were to be compared to a poem – it would have to be to a sonnet – because like them, sonnets were imported from Italy. So, this is my essay to make you like the below poem more. …obviously, if a poem needs such a lengthy introduction, it might not be such a good sign…but hey, there it is.

A bit later on this evening, after we’d got home and my dad had watched his documentary about Voodoo, I said ‘dad, do y’know that snail poem I was telling you about?’ and he said yes and I said ‘d’you mind if I read it do you?’ and he said go head.

I read it and afterwards my father seemed to think for a moment before saying:

‘I’ve got no problems with that’.

Both I and my father are very strange people.

If anyone should be so inclined, please let me know your thoughts too.

Obviously, feel free to elaborate slightly more, should any more occur…

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Not sure if I blogged it but I had something published over on Goblin Fruit – which is a pretty wicked and beautiful to look at quarterly journal of fantastical poetry.

The piece was Chicken Ship and they also asked for a recording of it, which I was happy to supply. Anyway, the issue got reviewed by Mike Allen, the editor of Mythic Delirium, another pretty exciting looking SF, fantasy and horror poetry journal, which I’ve heard of and been meaning to check out for a while. My piece was specially mentioned, so I’m now feeling glowy:)

Here’s the link to Mike’s blog, The Plasteel Spider Factory, where you can, if you like, read the review.

Lovely man:)

I’m currently (would you believe) at my parents’ in Leicester. I’ve come home for my mother’s 60th Birthday, but I’m going back to Stratford tomorrow morning.

Earlier today, this afternoon, we all fed our co-lab pieces back – which in my case went better than I’d been expecting. The sex and gender group – which had started up at the open space session last week – had got very big indeed. At 14 or so people strong, all working in pretty different ways, I guess I’d been a bit worried about how we’d manage to produce something cohesive together. I’d also worried about the Cinderella Foot Fetish coming off ok.

Me and Niven (the other poet) had been working on the sections for it, whenever we could find the time – but it’d been a squeeze. The last scene was done in the tube on the way in yesterday and we hadn’t even read it through (let alone practiced performing it) until this morning. The structure of the showing we’d planned was to weave the Cinderella sections through the sex/gender themed pieces others in the group had created – but we hadn’t had time to plan how the different bits of the stage would be moved around to accommodate that. In the end we had to work that out live in front of the audience!

So, it was a worry – could have fucked up – but happily went ok. Obviously the whole thing was just a rough working of what we might do, if we decided to go further with it – but it seemed to get it across. We stuck a scene in with Saad (the amazing comedian from Pakistan) as our sex therapist, which I think really worked;) here’s an extract:

Saad
“So, Mr Charming – I’d like to try something: when I say a word I’d like you to respond with the first word to come into your head, Ok? Ok, here we go….‘Food’

Niven (as Charming)
“‘Shoes'”

Saad
“‘Home'”

Niven
“‘Shoes'”

Saad
“‘Vagina’.”

Niven
“‘Boots’.”

The man is just so good, you should have seen him – he can’t do anything without making 100 people fall in love with him! The Theatre Royal have recorded the whole thing, so I might be able to post up a bit of the live recording here.

What was good was how well all the disparate stuff seemed to fuse together. Dan (the Scottish fiddler) and Ayanna (London Cellist) played this wicked spin the bottle music game thing at the beginning, with some of the rest of us spinning the bottle for them to play to. After that everyone stayed on stage – the dancers took a partner and Dan and Ayanna played courtly ballroom for them to dance to – me and Niven came on and it started up the first Cinderella scene – with us doing our monologues in the midst of it all – it was so much fun! We ended in a similar way – but it’s really hard to explain without just showing you.

At the moment, I think it might be nice to stay with the idea and develop it further – but we’ll have to see what the best way of doing that would be. It was certainly really nice to work with the dancers and musicians – and even just looking at the Cinderella stuff me and Niven wrote, having them all in it was really, really effective.

Right, should really go to bed I guess. Weird not being at UEL to sleep. Bet the guys are up late partying again…it’s almost like I’m staying up to join in! Very sad Lydia;)

Child Escaping

June 28, 2008

Mostly I’m fine. But then
someone says your name,
asks me how I am, without you,
in the flat – and I break as easy
as hard chalk
dropped on flagstones,
weakened glass, pressed.

Last night, I met a guy – tight curls
like massed particles of sleek darkness-
who talked about a French theory
for being in the world where
places that are new
may unfold like open grass,
where one may walk easy,
straight backed, free from fear
and with one’s inner child –
wide eyed and ever curious,
never anxious, hopeful in the world.

But what if
the child you used to be
was never like that?

What if
you closed them in a room,
because you had no choice?

29 on the 29th

May 29, 2008

It’s my Birthday today. It’s been in my head every since I remembered it was going to happen. First, I was going to go to Aberystwich with my boyfriend. We were going to have left last weekend, on the bank holiday, and come back this weekend, catching my birthday in between. But I had to lead a poetry workshop on the Saturday we’d been intending to leave. Then we went to see the Dalai Lama in Nottingham – we’d had tickets booked but I’d forgotten. So, we decided to go the week after next instead, and I got thinking on a new plan for today.

This is my plan. I am 29 on the 29th. Today I will not work.

This is unusual for me. As I sit typing this I’m itching to get a press release I started yesterday off on an email. But I won’t. I shouldn’t even talk about it. Here’s what’s happened so far:

Woke up at 9am. Damo made me breakfast. Lovely Damo. Opened a card from my Uncle Michael. It had 50 pounds in it. Lovely Uncle Michael. It was also a very, very thoughtful card. Rang the hairdresser, booked a haircut for 1.15pm. Went for a run. I haven’t been for a run for ages, but if I had to come up with ‘my perfect day’ that’s how it would start. Should therefore do more often, but yay – I did it – and the canal was beautiful this morning.

After my haircut I’m going to go to the City Gallery and buy myself a necklace. I’ve had my eye on the stuff there every since we opened Future Bright, the NHS’s first open art show, in April. After that, I might, I’m not sure, be talking poetry with the lovely Ivory. Then I’m meeting people for food and stuff.

A few things have come up recently – around my work, where it’s going, some good, some I’m more unsure about. I’ll do another blog post about them later today. I’m 29 on the 29th – feels like I should spend some time reflecting.

Passwords

May 24, 2008

I’ve been starting to work on some new themed material – which I seem to feel oddly protective of. I don’t no why it should bother me now after years of public posting and reliance on creative commons what have yous, but it seems to. I’m just a bit odd. But you already knew that;) Get in touch for the password if you’d like to read it.

Silverfish

May 15, 2008

You berated me for killing silver fish. Called me
an unwholesome vegetarian, or in so many words,
not like I ate them afterwards.
Perhaps that made it worse.

But you never saw them
crawling in the night whilst
you slept. They would eat anything.
Daz washing power. The runner beans of

bathroom carpet filaments.
However clean things were
they’d find them. Fall on shards
of hair or dust. Mine. Yours.

And some are fatter than others.

Sometimes, I read poetry and I think
why don’t I read poetry more often?
I should read it everyday, wake up
five or six, Google random words like
wing, cusp, love, swordfish,
artichoke. This approach

wouldn’t be the most direct
but I might find-

the interlocking panels of a silver bream –
mistaken catch, failed sight, marine
biologist. There may be fields,
unfurled flags of
lit loam, fresh soil – tulip bulbs
like hand grenades.

Love would be
something on the cusp of something else,
a line of light, door held.
Something escaping slowly.

Would it burn circles in the screen?
Reach out, graze skin?
Would I still be able to go to work?

The other day I found some
pressed inside the pages of a
pulped book – coiled whip,
small snake.

It trapped my breath and buried it
beneath a cherry tree, in a garden
on the outskirts of a different city
I had to walk for miles to recover it.

But when I got there it was different.

It was caught
in the dark glass
of a thick jar.
It was night time
but even with the moon,
you could see the fire.

Bank Holiday Monday

May 5, 2008

I like Bank Holiday Mondays in bookshops
drinking coffee and reading library books.

I’ve never understood the way they sell sunglasses,
or The Daily Mail – but I like that they keep

a small grand piano with varnished lid.

I like watching men in suits buy guides to Italy
from attendants with butterfly painted faces.

I like the pensioners on three for two
and the kids colliding in biographies.

I like the cycle home,
summer heat hitting shoulders.

I like Bank Holiday Mondays.
more than Tuesdays.

Day Off

April 24, 2008

It was bound to happen really. Mega activity … complete crash.

Today was my first day off in about a fortnight – unless you count Sundays, but even on those I tend to be doing work stuff. I went to bed at about 4am last night, woke up with Damo at 9am. Then went back to sleep until 12.

The day has consisted of mostly sleeping. I did go out for lunch; to the magnificent Go Juicy, where I also bumped into my friend John. After that I bought some sunglasses – and wore them all the way home – and back to bed.

There were some other interludes, in between the sleeping. While out, I tried on several pairs of jeans and 2 t-shirts at TK Max. But I did so in the way a colour blind person might select paint – with little interest. I was like someone in the midst of a drug filled haze. I wandered around, looked at stuff, though not a great deal, then wandered back to the nice safe place, with the no people and soft pillows.

Back at home, I answered a few emails, and in my defense didn’t get back into bed with the intention of sleeping. I did, in fact, finish the P.S Publishing book Damo got sent to review.

The Last Book’ by Zoran Zivkovic – was very, very good. A lot like Haruki Murakmi. Per edition, PS books are much more expensive than your average hard back – but they’re a real pleasure to read. No dust jackets – printed covers, beautiful textures and writers and titles I don’t think you’ll find elsewhere. They’re also less likely to get creased up when you fall asleep next to one…

Right now, its a bit after 10pm. Me and D went to dinner, across the road to Ravoli. I do sound decadent don’t I? I wouldn’t have minded cooking actually – but I just wanted to see the world after all that sleeping. Going into Ravioli at 9.30, results in being the last customer and so not too popular with the owners. And then we nearly forgot to pay for the raita. But Ravioli makes such good stuff.

I’m back to work tomorrow. Jean Binta Breeze is doing a workshop at the art exhibition I’ve been curating: Future Bright. Really looking forward to it – and as I’ll do the workshop as well as make sure it happens ok, it won’t really feel like work.

This is becoming a very long post, maybe I’m trying to make it long to put people off reading down this far. I think what I really wanted to say you see was actually that I think my complete slump today has been something about exhaustion – but also, something about being at a loss. I think I’d very quickly get extremely depressed is it wasn’t for my work. There’s something comforting and actually easy about it rhythm and content. Take it away and I start thinking about the messier stuff. Where’s it all going? What am I doing creatively? Where’s it all going.

Oh dear. Well, tomorrow evening, I’m going to do some poetry at Sugarshack. I might blog about it.