As I walked home from the open mic,
My head was on fire with poetry.
Then the heavens opened,
The rain hissed as it hit me.
Extinguishing my spark,
Sending me running for home.
Where still dripping my hand,
Reached instinctively for my pen.
And as I wrote I began,
To smolder again.
You say you’re willing to die for your art,
You declare it proudly with all your heart.
You take the mic up and so you start,
Sleeves rolled up to display your scars.
I once knew a bloke who didn’t proclaim,
He just simply took a razor blade.
Then down his wrists a cut he made,
Never committing his hopes and fears to the page.
I’m still listening to you saying you’ll die for your art,
You’re still declaring it proudly with all your heart.
But when we both roll our sleeves and compare arms,
You and me both just have paper scars.
You told me that you wanted to go looking for a different me,
So although it was a struggle, I knew I had to set you free.
Then at last you could find someone who was perfect,
Until you found fault with them and moved on to the next.
You left a crimson trail of bruised and broken hearts,
As no one was good enough for your fresh start.
So you resorted to profiling and DNA matching,
To try to identify who you should be catching.
But despite all your questionnaires and surveys,
You couldn’t find a different me who’d even meet you halfway.
Because no matter how hard you look,
When they made me they burnt then threw away the book.
Everyone is different, but everyone is also me,
I needed you to discover that, so I set you free.
So when you returned to me from your futile quest,
I would be the different me that you loved the best.
But now you’re back, to my heart I must also be true,
That’s why I’m going looking for a different you.
You think something is coming but after a lot of effort you’re often left with nothing.
When a poet first steps up onto a stage,
Their mind is screaming that they’re a fake.
And that now on this stage their time has come,
To be uncovered by everyone.
So I wear a disguise so I look the part,
I’ve got tattoos on both my arms.
I sprouted a hipsterish beard on my chin,
Now I can’t be found out, where to begin?
You see I get tongue-tied if I wax political,
Embarrassed if I try to be satirical.
So I thought hard on what lines my rhymes should take,
What could I with words create?
So I just wrote down all the crap in my head,
All the stuff that keeps me awake in bed.
All the stuff that is commonplace to me,
I wanted to capture in poetry.
But I found all that anger hard to maintain,
Everywhere I go I don’t want to bring pain.
So when I stand up before you good people here,
I want to try to spread a bit of cheer.
So I started to write poetry on simpler things,
Poems about binge watching TV,
These I found were the words for me.
So that’s my poetical manifesto,
Here I stand giving it a go.
This is what I’ve decided to try,
But remember, I’m a poet, we always lie.
Are our thoughts just abstract concepts
Intangible until we write them down?
Then as we keenly press pen to paper to free them
As we bring them to life and make them tangible
Are they grateful that we are doing so?
Are they happy with this so called freedom?
Or do they feel they have traded their liberty
For ink-chains and parallel cell-bars?
Do they rail against this bondage?
Do they chafe at their paper prison?
Until we hear their impassioned pleas
Making us realise we have done wrong
Then we do what we should have always done.
We speak and free our thoughts from their A4 cells.
Releasing them into the air where happily they dart
Like spectres, intangible again and free.
Sometimes when I’m stuck for an idea I just open the dictionary at a random page and see what pops up. Yes I could be cheating but don’t you think if I was I might have chosen an easier word then intangible? 🙂
Why not give the dictionary challenge a go yourself?
Every morning your shaking hands strip me
Then anoint me with oil,
that leaves me cold.
With ease you reassemble me.
Then before you break your fast
you offer me supplication.
“May I be blessed, ” you say.
“May I spit holy fire at your foes,
May I strike down the unworthy.”
By this you believe
you transfer your guilt to me.
You believe you instruct, I kill.
But I cannot pull my own trigger.
This poem deserves a few lines of explanation. I’m a member of the Birmingham Poetry Stanza group who meet on a regular basis to do poetry workshops, discuss poetry and a whole host of other interesting events. Recently Stanza leader Roz Goddard bought in a host of old postcards she owned and we did an exercise where we chose a image that stood out to us and wrote a dialogue from someone or something in the picture. This poem is the result of that, it is also my fictional interpretation of the image.