Just Say NO (2)

June 11, 2007

No to department stores
No to department stores
that have escalators to take you up
but stairs to take you down
No to coffee shops that lock their toilets
to prevent their use by
non-customers
No to coffee shops
that don’t do fairtrade:
No to Starbucks
No to Nero
No to Mcdonalds, Burger King
and all other
similar places
No to eating meat
No to recovering the last dregs of flesh
from inside of carcasses
No to Evangelical Christians
No to right wing politicians
No to pro-life anti abortionists
No to reality T.V
No to reality T.V stars
No to reality TV stars, magazines
No to no means yes
when no means no.
No to junk mai, bad sex
and Arthur Conan Doyle
No to Yes
’cause No is no
No, no, no, no, no, no, no,
No to No way out
there’s always a way
you’ve just got to make it.
No to sugar in tea
No to football and cricket
and all other sports that aren’t
running, gymnastics or tennis.
No to mornings
No to beer
No to poems that are
completely impenetrable
No to Tesco
No to Asda
No to holidaying in Altinkum
No to everyone,
everywhere,
all the time,
just for the moment
No to the ending of all good
everythings
No to perms
No to thongs
No to the knowing
of just how to end this

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So, if you’ve read the previous post, you may be wondering where it came from. This is where ….

Last night I went to what was best poetry night I’ve been to in ages. A brand new night, run by the lovely Sureshot and Mr Finn, it was like going back to the roots of boheamian poetry. It was many of the new wave poets on the scene at the moment, gathering together to read poetry to each other – and to anyone else who was around to listen. It was set to happen every Monday.

Called the 5th Quarter (a great name don’t you think?) this wasn’t like your average open mic night. No names were taken and the floor was completely open, leaving people to just get up and speak when they were ready. The atmosphere was so gentle and supportive, that it was easy to feel relaxed and encouraged.

The very talented poets who’d turned out, set about with a poem at a turn. There were no rules but that’s how it panned out. However, after a few of us had done our thing, Mr Finn got up and gently coaxed those who had performed, to freestyle on the mic. The challenge was to use words thrown up by the audiance. Though sometimes a nerve racking experience, again the atmosphere was so supportive it was made easy.

So, lets backtrack a moment….this post isn’t sounding very much like its title is it? Lets include a bit more detail…

I did my tit’s poem. Then I freestyled. The word ‘fucked’ and then ‘fuck’ might have popped out. It’s hard to censor yourself mid flow…especially when you’re having such a fab night of boho loveliness, as to make censoring seem like a ludicrous concept. However….

After my tits poem and after my ‘fuck’ freestyling (though there were MANY other words in this piece!) I went back to the bar to get myself and another poet a drink. The words Stella and Gin had barely escaped my lips when the bar manger started laying into me.

‘We don’t want that sort of thing!…you were TOLD not to!…people don’t want to hear it!…I’ve had complaints!…people have left!…people are EATING!’

Standing in the middle of Leicester’s Cultural Quarter, fresh from the warm acceptance and creativity of the poets, I obviously assumed she was joking. Only…she didn’t appear to be smiling. I waited a moment. Still no smiling. Oh dear.

So, it felt quite personal (probably because it was) and I’m afraid I lost my temper. For one thing, I’d never met the woman in my life, so the concept of having been “told” was hardly fair and the aggressiveness from nowhere was just rude. Customer Service. Whatever happened to Customer Service? or even basic people skills? So, yes, I’m afraid after my initial polite response met with the same bile, I’m afraid I lost my temper.

She was VERY horrible, but I probably shouldn’t have told her that to be perfectly frank I couldn’t give a FUCK what she thought. It was at that point she decided to change her mind about serving me. Shortly after I left….before I did something (like talk to her again) that would get me thrown out. other poets had been free-styling with the words condom and cannabis. As I left, Sureshot was being ranted at.

What really rankled was the bigoted lack of understanding. Poetry does not have to contain expletives. Or talk sex, violence, drugs etc…but it’s worth remembering that such material has a rich history going back to the early 16th century and encompassing everyone from Shakespeare to Larkin. Early spoken word literature was often about really engaging people in taverns and market places. People clustered around poets and playwrights who were spitting lyrics, that really reflected the society people saw around them. Of course, much of Shakespeare’s work WAS censored in it’s day-by the elite classes-and there are countless other examples of the same happening to other writers through history…Lady Chatterly’s Lover was hardly a million years ago and we all know how that turned out.

So, perhaps Miss Bar Manager does understand her poetry. Perhaps she does get how it’s worked before and has simply alligned herself on the opressives side. What’s sad though, is that the space between what she wanted – and what live literature is about – is fairly insummoutable.

Fresh from a previous week of Jazz entertainment, she (it appears) wanted something unobtrusive, less content, more background noise. Something her diners didn’t have to listen to. Kind of like the poetry equivalent to muzak. Nothing challenging. Of course, poetry isn’t like muzak. It’s made to be listened to and concentrated on. It’s not made to be talked over. Seeing as the diners were a long way off down the bar, I was thinking – if they don’t want to come closer and actually listen, far enough, live and let live. Obviously not.

Initially, this was actually a very distressing experience. No one likes to have their work rejected as puerile and thoughtless-especially when alot of work has been put into its crafting. This morning though, I’m feeling a bit better about it all. I can now introduce Get Your Tits Out as the poem that cleared a bar, got me refused service and nearly thrown out for disruptive behaviour. Rock n Roll. It can only help my rep as angry young woman 😉

One last thought though. I can only hope that the 5th Quarter somehow lives on. Maybe with a different name-but somehow it must. It’s too wonderful a night to lose. If you live locally and want to come down to it, watch this space…I’ll let you know when I do…

Steamy Stuff

April 29, 2007

Hmmm. Lately, Lydia appears to have been running out of steam. Today this is particularly ironic. On less steam wanting Sundays, she would normally be going for a run. Not today. Not right now. No. The only running will be the running out. It will be purely metaphorical. It will be done from the comfort of her Mausoleum Sofa.

I need a new sofa, you know. The one I’m sitting on was formerly owned by my parents and when they decided it was too decrepet to keep, I was first in line to inheret. Now, me and Mauseleam have been together in One Bedroom Towerblock, for almost a year and a half.

Someone once told me that major physical changes often become visible like the skins of an onion. So, the skin is worn down very gradually. On a day to day basis you just don’t notice. However, one day the last patch of onion skin collapses and the devastation is there for everyone to see.

That’s what’s happened to my sofa. One moment it was fine and I was bemoaning my parents needless consummerism. The next I was sitting on the sofa equivalent of a  90 year old donkey.

What with the lack of steam and no running, me and Donkey make a very sorry sight. At least we have tea to keep us company. Also, other peoples blogs. We read Ivory Fishbones a moment ago and that cheered us. It cheered us so much that we went on to read another blog – a new add.   In the latest post of Karen McCarthy we were able to discover another person (besides ourselves) to become stongly incensed at the wickedness of toilet-less eateries.

This particular issue has been eating at me (excuse the pun) every since encountering the Birmingham Train Station. It has many eateries – but only one pay to use public toilet-located not in them, but in the station. At the time, I nearly wrote a letter of complaint. In the end, I didn’t (this running out of steam actually happens quite often) but I can nevertheless well understand why Karen would have been sufficiently motivated to research trading standards policy.

You know what else gets me? Escalators. Escalators that take you upstairs in big department stores – but only offer stairs to take you out. It’s like they’re doing everything they can to get you in touch with the stuff-but couldn’t care less how comfortable you are if you wish to leave. Bastards.

Nothing like a little letting off steam. And there I was thinking I had none to loose…

A Bike Called Fury (3)

March 21, 2007

Think this version is stronger…but a little too close to it now. Constructive crit welcome!

What makes it worse
is that My Fury
was probably stolen by a man.

A man – with bolt cutters.
wearing a hood and heavy gloves,
dodging cameras on the run.

Yes. In all likelihood,
it was a man
that took my Fury from me.

My Little Fury.
You were fire engine red
and smelt of oil with

Fury painted on your pole
in silver letters.
My Little Fury.

You moved like lightening
Monday mornings,
slamming rain and

dodging panes
like shattered glory.
Fury. Your tires never broke.

You fucked with four wheel drives.
and caught their eyes,
like new glass marbles.

You made grown men cry
with lust and longing,
and wanting Fury

like a substance.
Fury.
Do you remember the time

we beat a track
down Central Railway
Cycle path?

Sunshine pouring on the trail
weather hot, like a pail
of boiling vinegar.

Fury. Remember that November
we went to Wales?
Freezing rain in liquid gales?

Remember the day
I brought you home?
Remember the man

who stroked your nose?
The one who told us
Fury was my sign?

You made dogs
chase like wolves,
doves break cover,

ravens hide.
My Little Fury.
We were Gwen Steffani

and Madonna,
Sappho, Kali,
Cleopatra.

My Darling Fury.
We were Torvel and Dean
without the fights,

Robson and Jerome
with spark and bite.
You were nimbler

than a car,
You were fleeter
than a horse – Darling Fury

not insured

and giving the come on
with shining pedal and curving guard.

You were almost actually asking-
but you were not actually asking.
There was no permission given.

No free rides.
No undone chain.
No begging tires.

Listen
We don’t take kindly
to being riled-

we don’t like punks who think their fly
and don’t much care
for thieves with knives

Listen.
Fury.
Here’s my sign.

If he’s still with you
take what’s mine.
Pull your break cord.

Fan your fire
My little Fury.
Break the bastard

A Bike Called Fury (2)

March 20, 2007

Think this version is stronger…but a little too close to it now. Constructive crit welcome!

What makes it worse
is that My Fury
was probably stolen by a man.

A man – with bolt cutters.
wearing a hood and heavy gloves,
dodging cameras on the run.

Yes. In all likelihood,
it was a man
that took my Fury from me.

My Little Fury.
You were fire engine red
and smelt of oil with

Fury painted on your pole
in silver letters.
My Little Fury.

You moved like lightening
Monday mornings,
slamming rain and

dodging panes
like shattered glory.
Fury. Your tires never broke.

You fucked with four wheel drives.
and caught their eyes,
like new glass marbles.

You made grown men cry
with lust and longing,
and why can’t I

have Fury just like her?
Fury.
Do you remember the time

we beat a track
down Central Railway
Cycle path?

Sunshine pouring on the trail
weather hot, like a pail
of boiling vinegar.

Fury. Remember that November
we went to Wales?
Freezing rain in liquid gales?

We learnt that sand was
worse than concrete
and coastal cliffs

could get you
fucked up.
We didn’t ride them.

Remember the day
I brought you home?
Remember the man

who stroked your nose?
The one who told us
Fury was my sign?

You made dogs
chase like wolves,
doves break cover,

ravens hide.
My Little Fury.
We were Gwen Steffani

and
Madonna,
Sappho, Kali,
Cleopatra.

My Darling Fury.
We were Torvel and Dean
without the fights,

Robson and Jerome
with spark and bite.
You were nimbler

than a car,
You were fleeter
than a horse – Darling Fury

not insured

and giving the come on
with shining pedal and curving guard.

You were almost asking to be deflowered –
but not actually asking.
There was no permission given.

No free rides.
No undone chain.
No begging tires.

Listen

We don’t take kindly
to being riled-

we don’t like punks who think their fly
and don’t much care
for thieves with knives

Listen.
My Little Fury
Here’s my sign.

If he’s still with you
take what’s mine.
Pull your break cord.

Fan your fire
Set your headlight
Light his eyes up

My Little Fury
Here’s my vow.

Break the cunt-
who rides us now

A Bike Called Fury

March 20, 2007

What makes it worse
is that My Fury
was probably stolen
by a man.

A man,
with bolt cutters,
wearing a hood and heavy gloves,
dodging cameras, on the run-

Yes. In all likelihood,
it was a man
that took my Fury
from me.

My little Fury.
You were fire engine red
and smelt of oil with
Fury painted on your pole

in silver letters.
My little Fury.
you had handlebars
shaped like antlers-

made of chrome,
like a deer
who’d won a fight
and kept the bones

My little Fury.
You moved like lightening
Monday mornings,
slamming rain and

dodging panes
like shattered glory.
My Fury.
Your tires never broke.

You fucked
with four wheel drives.
and caught their eyes,
like new glass marbles.

You made
grown men cry
with lust and longing,
and why can’t I

have Fury just like hers?
My little Fury.
Do you remember the time
we beat a track-

down Central Railway
Cycle path?
sunshine pouring on the trail
weather hot, like a pail-

of boiling vinegar?
My little Fury.
Remember the man,
huffing and puffing,

in spandex lycra,
little boy racer,
couldn’t be beaten,
couldn’t be shaken.

We were late for work and
didn’t care – but he had
nearly killed himself
to come up close and say

‘you can go fast on that,
can’t you girl?’
He twatted it past,
with head pressed down

and man breath wheezing
in the air. My little Fury.
We just carried on,
but were surprised

to find him necking water,
doubled up, saying
nothing, 2 miles later
further on.

My little Fury.
You made dogs
chase like wolves,
doves break cover,

ravens skulk.
My little Fury.
We were like
Gwen Steffani

and Madonna,
Sappho, Kali,
Cleopatra.
My darling

little Fury.
We were
Torvel and Dean
without the fights

Robson and Jerome
with spark and bite.
You were nimbler
than a car,

You were fleeter
than a horse, darling Fury
not insured
and giving the come on

with shining pedal
and curving guard,
you were almost asking
to be deflowered –

but not actually asking.

There was no permission given.
No free rides. No undone chain.
No begging tires.

My little Fury.
My darling little Fury.
We don’t take kindly
to being riled-

we don’t like punks who
think their fly
and don’t much care
for thieves with knives

and saws and wires
and bags of tricks
for stealing hearts
and bending minds.

My little Fury.
I invoke your sign.
If he’s still with you
take what’s mine.

Pull your break cord.
Fan your fire
My Little Fury
set your headlight

My little Fury – I tell you
make a vow.
Break the man
who rides you now.

Saturday Morning, I took myself off to Leicesters Soundwrite, Images of Women day. Positive discrimination at its most provocative, men were banned from attending the morning poetry workshops, but invited to an afternoon of readings. Mostly, they didn’t come..though a few stalwarts did.

Attendees could choose who they fancied workshopping with. I went along to Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze’s, a poet we’re bizarrely lucky enough to have living in Leicester. The exercises she came up with were brilliant and i’ll put up my pieces soon, but I’ll tell you what, just being in the session left me face to face with one shocking realization: I am,  a poet stalker.

It was almost too much. There she was, all ludicrously famous and talented and warm and funny and brilliant and I was just OhMyGodItsJeanBintaBreezeAndShe’sListeningToOneOfMYPoems!!!As the Fishbone has already said on her site, the assembled workshop participants were quite varied-and yes, one of the most disarming things was the way in which totally demure and pensionable ladies were able to unleash dark tirades of violence, simply when told to write a letter.

 This letter writing exercise was Jean’s final and the one I got on best with. She explained it so beautifully. Write a letter to a renowned woman, past or present. Ask them questions, tell them things-just write them a letter. The point, Jean went on, was to be political in an intimate way. By making it personal, you get at the big issues but avoid running into polemic lecturing. 

The whole day made me think quite a bit actually. Without wishing to sound too negative, it made me think of the difficulties we’ve got with poetry, in Leicester – and so maybe in other places too. At one end of the scale you’ve got the hip hop, rappy, beat performance stuff…at the other end, The Leicester Poetry Society. To be frank, I don’t think either group likes the other very much.

Most of the people I talked to at the Soundwrite Day, seemed to be oblivious to the existence of Word – Leicester’s MAIN and most established open mic night. Also, just when I thought I’d be lucky to get a place on Jean (eminent, world famous, jammed with Bob Marly back in the day) Binta Breeze’s workshop…it appeared that there were still places going begging…

Mmm, I’m white, technically middle class and not a natural performer, but this kinda bugged me…It’s Jean-fucking-Binta-Breeze for chrisake!!I guess I could be biased, I’ve been going to Word for years and I really like Jean-but still, I’ve been to 3 completely different kinds of poetry gigs this week. I know it’s important to have a community and genre to identify with, but surely it’s good to look around? If poetry develops factions..starts to exclude, even in subtle ways, those who don’t fit…well, what’s the point? Poetry’s about communication, isn’t it? If you only communicate with a small number of seperate from the rest of society people-then it’s not about communication and it’s not going to be as relevant as it could be.

Oh dear, rant over. The day WAS good and I AM glad i went…just made me think a little about what it means to engage people..or maybe just, what it takes to engage ME.

Bizarrely, the night wound up at a super-cool, underground Reggae club. Turned out it was Jean’s birthday and she invited me and some friends along. If I had to describe it I’d just say Matrix. The entrace to the place was an unmarked wooden door, down an out of town, dark, back street. You rang a buzzer to get in then had to climb two flights of fire escape metal stairs, rising up out of a floodlit court yard. Apparently, the place has been busted by police before, but last night all was chilled. In what was basically someones private house, there was a corner bar serving killer spirits,bottles of baby sham, and an Oracle-esque guy cooking up rice, peas and oxtail soup. The DJ played super slow reggae, ska and soul and we danced all night.

Thanks to Fish who invited me down the pub with Jean in the first place…I now know where Jean parties…;)  

March 7, 2007

If I had any room left for anger
I’d be angry with you
though you’ve done nothing more than
look like my mother
and process my peas and my milk

though your conduct’s been
no more offensive
than the counting of rolls in a
polythene bag and the ringing
to check on the price of some goods

and though all you’ve done
is ask me for five pounds 10
and have dyed blond hair
and a dark green uniform,
I would still be angry, with you.

I ‘d be angry with the car
that tried to slow down
in a misplaced effort
to be helpful,
with the driver of the bus

and the girl on the bike
and the guy with the
mobile phone.
I’d be angrier
than a thick red lake

of exploding algae,
than a sky that’s been
skewered with holes
and then told to
shine with them. Angrier,

than all the vicious things
you’d like to say
but never would
If I had any room-
it’d be nothing personal.

Valentine Blues

February 6, 2007

bra-pic.jpg

I and my boyfriend appear to have reached a ultra cool and apparently bohemian understanding of Valentines Day: Valentines Day is an ultimately capitalist festival, invented by card companies to exploit the masses and we will not debase ourselves by celebrating it. No, not for us the metallic pink, heart shaped balloons of adoration, the 12 red roses of ardent worship, the lacy lingerie of longing. Aren’t we sophisticated? Aren’t we sensible? Aren’t we just so above it all?

You know, I’ve been thinking and I think festivals are important. They give us the opportunity to reconnect with our core values. To come together as a society. To demonstrate to our loved ones how much we love them. Now, I’m not saying that to mark an occasion you have to spend loads of money. Look at the first anniversary year of a marriage-paper-hardly an expensive item. Look at the first day of spring-stripping your house from top to bottom, cleaning, dusting, fluffing-a useful ritual that grounds us and helps us start afresh. And Christmas-ok, nowadays very commercial, but essentially a festival of light. A bright light at the deepest, darkest point of the year.

Of course, you can celebrate such core values at any time-all on your own; personal rituals are important. But you’ve got to question the logic. I’ve got a friend who use to be a Jehovah Witness. According to her then religion, she couldn’t mark any occasions-to celebrate a birthday or a festival was seen to be glorifying wantonly-using up all that special godly adulation on egotistical trifles. She use to say to friends and family ‘Don’t get me anything for Christmas. Get me something sometime else in the year.’ Looking back though, I guess I never got this. I get that it’s better to express your love for someone because you want to, (spontaneously y’know?) not just because you feel socially pressured. However, if the argument is based on not wanting to support capitalist structures then surely you shouldn’t buy anything for anyone at any point of the year. If you’re going to buy your girlfriend a bra on March 8th-or 12th or 13th or 14th- why not buy her a bra on February 14th??

If you’re not going to buy your girlfriend a bra (on any day of the year) because you’re sticking to that completely admirable anti-capitalist argument then fair enough (maybe) but even then, the world does not rotate in a black and white universe. Sometimes, buying things can be a consciously positive and ethicial thing to do: fair trade, or supporting small independent, creative businesses. You might not feel comfortable buying your girlfriend a bra from Primark – but can you really put (say) greenknickers in the same boudoir? I think not.

If your issue is simply that you don’t do gestures of intimacy (and I’m not talking about replacements here, I’m talking about expressions) well then, you just should, ok?Because people like that kind of thing sometimes, alright? And I’m not spinning any chauvinistic bull about men only participation. I reckon woman should give Valentines gifts too. Just maybe not lacy lingerie. Unless you’re a woman going out with a woman. Probably.

Anyway, to conclude and in case I haven’t quite been clear enough:

Damo. I’m changing the plan, get me something nice for F**ing Valentines Day, Yeah?

🙂

greenknicker.gif