Saturday, 30 October 2010

First Projection Dates

I've recently been told the first two dates on which my poems will be projected in places around Bath.
The first will be at the Illuminate Bath launch arty on Monday 1st November, 18:00 to 20:00. BBC Points West will be filming live at around 18:45/18:50, so if you're watching the local news you may see me interviewed about the work.
The second will be at the Pump Rooms, Stall Street, Bath, on Thursday 4th November from17:00 to 20:00. My poems will be projected onto the West front. Unfortunately, I won't see this projection myself because I'll be at an inter-university poetry slam in Birmingham. If you happen to see the projection, please let me know how it looked!
If you're able to, please try and get along to the Pump Rooms on the 4th. If you have any comments about the work, feel free to get in touch by e-mail.

Remember to check out the other Illuminate Bath events, by downloading a brochure on their website.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Illuminate Bath 2010

I am the poet in residence for the very first Illuminate Bath festival. I'm very excited about Illuminate; there's going to be some amazing work appearing in Bath's public places for two weeks beginning on the 1st of November. Most of the festival is about visual arts around the themes of kinetic energy and illumination; there will be dance, sculpture, film, music, animation, textiles, installations, theatre, poetry, and workshops. See here for their website. There's an online festival guide you can download, and brochures will be distributed around Bath over the next week.
My contribution has been to write a series of poems in response to the festival themes of kinetic movement and illumination. I have been working in collaboration with Graphic Communication students to develop imaginative projections inspired by the poems, and it is these projections which will form part of the festival. I haven't seen what they've come up with yet, but I'm looking forward to it. There's no set time for when my work will be shown; it will most likely appear at either end of one of the festival's visual projection pieces, or at Green Park Station, throughout the festival. As the poems appear in public, I may also post them here on my blog.
Please check out the festival if you're able, I'm sure it's going to be amazing, and keep an eye out for my poems around Bath.

Poem a Day Project

I have ended my Poem a Day Project. The project was good fun, and made me try something different, but I've just started the third year of my degree and there's so much other writing to be getting on with! I'm really excited about some of the things I've got the opportunity to write this year; I will upload some drafts at some point.
I'm also involved with the Illuminate Bath Festival this year, as poet in residence, so there will be some details about that coming shortly.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Poem a day, 40: October 10th 2010

Level One: Childhood.

I am five years old. I refuse to eat anything but fish fingers or chicken nuggets with chips, although anything covered in breadcrumps will do at a pinch.

I am Super Mario. My hair is so horrendous I need to keep it covered with a cap, and I’m getting overweight so I can squash you flat.

I play football at lunchtimes, always in goal, and I get my glasses broken twice. I back down from fights.

Level Two: Adolescence.

My smoking habit starts by stealing one of mum’s Richmonds from the bathroom, flushing the toilet to cover the sound of the lighter, and blowing the smoke out the window. Nobody is any the wiser.

I am still Mario, and try to convince my friends that a Nintendo 64 is clearly superior to a Playstation, but the fools don’t listen.

I try magic mushrooms after drenching them in honey, and soon the room becomes huge, with a certain odd quality of paper box about it. The flowers in the garden are formed by way of an intricate origami, although noone can see this but me.

And sex for the first time is a little like ticking a box, an exchange of bodily fluids and shame, my dignity along with my virginity lost.

Level Three: Adulthood.

Finally, after all that rigarmole with gel, quiffs, and spikes, I shave my head. I lose a few stone. I become a vegetarian, although I still enjoy beige food in breadcrumbs. I am no longer Mario.

Finally, I get a job. I type addresses from envelopes onto computers, my wrists twang with repetetive strain, and my boss yells with a tongue like a metaphorical whip whip sound as my brain melts.

Mr Drew, can’t you type any faster? We’ve got to get these biscuit samples on their merry way to Manchester!

I’m Mario again, and I desprately need help.

Mr Drew, can’t you enter the addresses more accurately? We’ve simply got to get these energy usage questionnaires on their jolly way to Southend on Sea!

This desk job’s messing with my health, and I’m accumulating little wealth.

Mr Drew, you need to just accept your fate, this is the most you will ever achieve, your dreams were never all that great, one day you’ll be in middle management like me!

Fuck you, Steve! In my eyes you represent Donkey Kong, Peter Piranha, Bowser and all his bastard kids. Now look at this (middle finger). I’d rather be a bloody goomba than work in middle management.

Mr Drew, there’s nothing else that you can do, you’re under qualified and low on self-esteem!

Fuck that, I’m quitting my job and living the real American dream: killing my boss on the way out. I’ll catch the barrels you throw so that you slip and fall to the ground a hundred feet below and snap your hairy monkey back, because I am Mario!

That’s right: I will never age, I will never change, I will never reveal what’s under my cap, I will never shave my moustache off, because I am Mario! And when I’m done, and bowser is defeated and the princess is naked and gagging for it, I’ll switch off. And begin again. Because no achievement is enough for me, and though my lives may be wasted on pratfalls, moving platforms and very small people, the levels where I struggled the most were the best of all.













Saturday, 9 October 2010

Poem a day, 39: October 9th 2010

On my way back, a balloon preceded me;
a red balloon wafted its way down the street
drunken and listless. An advertisement flashed
for a moment, giving the balloon away
as an escapee from a closing down sale
like the striped clothes of a jailbird.

On my way back, an elderly gentleman approached me;
an elderly gentleman walked to the shops
purposeful and expectant. He moved aside on the pavement
and I thought he was getting out of the balloon’s way
but then he kicked it towards me
like we were playing football.

On my way back, I played football
with an elderly gentleman and a balloon.
I got it back to him with a knee and he missed
with his first kick, but tapped it as it passed
with a little flick of his sandaled feet.
It’s funny, the people you meet these days.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Poem a day, 38: October 8th 2010

Today I picked from the pavement
two dirty red elastic bands.
I used to have one of those balls
constructed from elastic bands

but now I can’t find it
so I wrap one around the other
to begin a new one.
Then I think:

I’m bound to lose this one as well.
It would be better to keep them
on silver hooks in the wall
or inside a glass cabinet

or lined up neatly side by side
in my bottom drawer.
Then I think:
What do I even need elastic bands for?

And I put them back like a small animal corpse
found on the beach
and met with disapproval
by my mother.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Poem a day, 37: October 7th 2010

An old lady was in the park today, sifting through the crackling leaves –
trying to find the hard oval of a conker among those brittle little pages
ploughing sharp drifts aside with her feet in black dress shoes
and unaware that everybody who approached her would deviate
from sealing a deal on their mobile or exercising the dog
to join the search, just for a moment.
I found one and pocketed it, like a hard smooth little heart
not deceased, but looking for a place to be of use.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Poem a day, 36: October 6th 2010

I wish you all the best: everything
that keeps you hungry, prevents your growth
forces your silence, straps you down-
taken away like tar from your lungs.
Unless hunger heats your desire
your size keeps you safe from large hands
your silence stops them repremanding you
and those binding straps allow your technical study
of this square red room
we are in.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Poem a day, 35: October 5th 2010

Norman Wisdom has passed away
who was lucky to never break a bone
rolling down the stairs and getting stuck
in train carriage doors and such.

Mr Grimsdale! Mr Grimsdale!
Get your hands off that woman
and her ample bosom
there’s some emergency or other.
Mr Grimsdale! Mr Grimsdale!

He fell and fell and fell and fell
on my grandma’s television
while my grandpa
hidden in the kitchen
shouted in: what’s he doing now?

Mr Grimsdale! Mr Grimsdale!
There’s milk to be delivered
and we’re behind the times
everything’s moving far too fast
we’re sure to be left behind.
Mr Grimsdale! Mr Grimsdale!

My grandma would shout back something like
it’s that bit where’s he’s brought the horse
inside the house. Any second now
Mr Grimsdale will find out
and then there’ll be hell.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Poem a day, 34: October 4th 2010

As I stand before you on this stage
I’d like to ask you all
if you have any tips
for dealing with stage fright.
I’m aware I’ve probably left it too late
because I can hear each beat of my heart
and I feel as if I might quite literally shit
in my trousers. And actually that might
help me to remain on the stage
because it’ll be days before you smell this.
Perhaps I should picture you naked.
I doubt if that helps.
Instead I’ll just speak really really fast
and get each poem out of the way
as if I was running across broken glass
and make up crappy new obvious rhymes
if I forget my line.
After I’m done
I’ll sit back down
and pick up my pint.
And I’ll feel alright, because anyway
nobody will remember me
by the end of the night.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Poem a day, 33: October 3rd 2010

We choose to kill one animal over another
because one is clever and the other is ugly and wild
ignoring the long-lost cousin and loving the brother.

When the dolphins were killed in nets the people were bothered
and boycotted the lot, because dolphins are smart, that’s why
we choose to kill one animal over another.

Now the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, has other
creatures ignored, like the tuna that has no smile
ignoring the long-lost cousin and loving the brother.

Now the albatross are endangered, they say its more productive
to fish at night with heavy weights on the lines.
We choose to kill one animal over another
ignoring the long-lost cousin and loving the brother.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Poem a day, 32: October 2nd 2010

Grandma, I’m sorry about the jumper
you knitted for my eleventh birthday
which was bright yellow
with Dennis the Menace
wearing his own jumper
in black and red stripes
and the catapult in his back pocket.
Only today did I have the revelation
that it must have taken many evenings
by your electric fire
casting on
and binding off
knowing that I loved Dennis the Menace
and would surely love a bright yellow
jumper with Dennis on my chest.
I wore it once for the smile on your face
and hung it in the wardrobe
in mum’s house
on the far left
out of the way.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Poem a day, 31: October 1st 2010

Yo. It’s hard to stay high in these troubled old times when people in the street are so polarised. Some people see signs in sunrise and rainbows, some people see aeons of slow change in birds’ flight. Remember this question from playground philosophy: how do we know that the red you see is the red I see? When I say tomAto, you say there’s an answer to prayers. When I say tomรกto, you say that nobody’s there. And I just want to love, and wait, and make up my own mind, but I’m standing on the fault line between continents drifting apart. To stand my ground I must learn how to fly.