To provide you with plenty of airport lounge reading we’ve saved up two Echos for your delectation:
Poetika Echo 56 – 20 June 2018
Brought to you by Alison Craig
Theme UN Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
Hosted by John Bruce
Nicky Michelle Harris gave us a precis of the Declaration and its 30 articles, then read the stunning poem by Maya Angelou, I Rise:
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Then WH Auden’s Refugee Blues:
Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors;
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.
Ria reflected on migrant refugees in dire marine straits: Your legs buckle like a tired horse …. And – packed like sardines: Is all this water one long cemetery? Perhaps the sea is the only place that will take you.
Then from Rupi Kaur, a love letter to the world: I will carry you to freedom.
John B: written after the Peterloo massacre in Manchester:
Ye who suffer woes untold
With folded arms and steady eye
Rise like lions after slumber …
Ye are many, they are few.
Vic described getting caught in front of an English Defence League march – the police evacuated them through a shop.
I’m a judge, I’m a jury
I’ve already found you guilty, don’t you know.
You’ve already lost the trial.
But the problem is …
You’re the judge, you’re the jury
And it seems I have lost the trial.
David R read W H Auden’s The Shield of Achilles 1952
Tianna read Disrespect:
I’ll put on my big girl smile
While your demon children demand toys
We haven’t got.
Lying in bed wishing I was anyone but me
… Too rich to live in, too poor to move out
This is my fifteen minutes to dream
Of a better life.
… My rights which you apparently don’t receive
With your badge and your hat.
Susie talked of the human right to speak out, the human right to be looked after, and how they surprised the children to whom she taught the UN Declaration.
Then she read us a poem about the mixed blessing of owning the dream swimming pool:
Day by day it eyed me reproachfully: come and swim!
…But it’s raining!
That shouldn’t stop you – I’m wet already!
… Some dreams are over-rated.
Susie’s eldest daughter Amber lives in Madrid. Her friend lives in Tehran. They go to visit her.
Bright juices, ancient pastries,
Tehran so polluted.
Friends from Madrid, so different here.
Her lively girlfriend from Madrid submissive, almost fauning.
… Child-like, compliant, trammelled, returning to value the openness of her life in the west, counting her freedoms.
You’ll have to believe in it – it’s just so ingenious.
Edwin read a poem about refugees ‘crawling from the ocean …
Darling could you rub my back with suntan lotion?’
Nicky again, saying she was so nervous she was imagining us all naked!
Describing how fascism is on the rise again, she read her poem Filling Your Boots:
Neoliberalism Trumps Egalitarianism
Fascism is the new fashion darling
There’s only so many times you can eat your own shit
Before you die of your own poison
They’re eating from their own Brexit exit
Love, peace and altruism always flies higher
Humanity always wins.
Then a quick vote to decide July’s theme. Sex and sexuality won over Summer, and Innocence!
John B read his poem complicit – things happen because people let them.
How do you let someone know
Your vulnerability has become your personality
Love … the kind you feel in your soul, your gut
…Still fumbling for the right words
The kind that make your bones crack
… You can’t carry all this weight on your shoulders.
Anna, on behalf of her friend Pete
The windows are open but closed
As she sets sail with him
… Smudging the beads of moisture
Along her lip
… Seals stacked up on the shore
And your hair is like a hairnet to catch the sun.
Ross gave us Byron’s suggested epitaph for Lord Castlereagh:
Posterity will ne’er survey
a Nobler grave than this:
Here lie the bones of Castlereagh:
Stop, traveller, and p—– !
A country needs a resource
We’ve fallen back on artists
Surely we have enough misery
To produce a crop of those?
Alison read Carol Ann Duffy’s Last Post:
There’s coffee in the square,
warm French bread
and all those thousands dead
are shaking dried mud from their hair
and queuing up for home. Freshly alive,
a lad plays Tipperary to the crowd, released
from History; the glistening, healthy horses fit for heroes, kings.
You lean against a wall,
your several million lives still possible
and crammed with love, work, children, talent, English beer, good food.
You see the poet tuck away his pocket-book and smile.
If poetry could truly tell it backwards,
then it would.
The opening – first chapter of the Koran
Refugee man of Syria
You stake out our fear of your crescent-shaped moon
In the name of God the Compassionate
Just you being here
Opens the Other in us.
Cat read a poem about how our opinions are manipulated.
Traffic light system we know like the back of our hand.
As we sit on the M4 in a traffic jam
Discussing the price of ham.
Mike read 3 sonnets
Using pain as an argument
To fix your reasoning
… Make them see you
When they look in the mirror
Right is the thing that everyone has wrong
When they try to take away
Not a right they have
But a wrong they choose to do
Since it is true, whatever they may say,
We are a whole
And suffer as one.
I scrape orange peel on my cereal
And click a card to someone in goal.
Teach me to use what little power I have
To save the less lucky from prison and grave.
Anna’s Words and Soldiers
Drifting down the empty street
Flooding into dead men’s feet.
To a friend
I know they told you no
I know they said you’re wrong
One day we’ll dance away
And not listen to a word they say.
Ian’s poem on protest:
Why are humans obsessed
With owning the best?
… Dare to protest.
… The words like bullets from a gun.
Silence allows the haters to win.
Ria’s Cat’s Cradle
Basking in those days
When the heat went misty then clear.
Then a poem about a wedding in India.
… The endless hall
Of force-feeding feast and the famine.
Vic sang Lost in Translation:
I thank God I am a citizen of heaven.
Ross read the Wandering Jews, first read ‘when Syrians started washing up on shores … the scientific detachment better known as indifference.’
Nicky again – for Connie and Sheila
You’ll be lucky in love
If your head rules your heart
But do the right thing
And wear a condom!
And what her mother used to say …
And that concluded Poetika 56
Poetika Echo 57 – 18th July 2018
A vague reminiscence by John Bruce
Theme: Sex, Sexuality and Gender
Hosted by Ria Rylatt-Chandaman
I haven’t done one of these in a while and it’s a privilege to bring you a taste of our July meeting:
It was myself that started by mentioning the George Herbert talk on 7th August – details here http://www.georgeherbert.
Alison was the first to read with her first ever sonnet, Elan Vitale (now featured on poetika.org.uk – if you want to feature your works here please get in touch). Following her velvet stallion’s back, Grace lived a whole life in less than two months (you fucking whore) and David banged on about ships in the night, somewhere between the belly and the brain…
After kissing your shoulder, kissing your thighs, Edwin was holding your boobs, Tianna told her story of self-discovery, and said ‘No’. Kira told us about a girl who has flowers blooming in her ribcage, and Nicky pointed out that sex was more trouble than it’s worth.
Cat and Mike reminded us of the Colourful Adventures of Merciful Grace (Sat 4th August details here), before I (that’s me – John!) started apart and moaned about Monet and Ria gasped like wasps and bees (and bruised easily, like an ego).
Ian started our second half by talking about sex, baby, then Mike explained he’d rather receive a gift than possess. Anna, a sexy lady, was feeling confident, before Ross warned us that when life becomes subhuman, subhumans come alive…
Peter reflected that the wind and water were as soft as milk, before Nicky returned, asking if we wrote from our own sexuality. For Grace, the day she stopped loving him was no different from any other day, and David R had a second chance to warn us your kiss stings sharp and sweet.
Tiana stretched each syllable within an inch of its life before Cat dreamt of dog days that will burn and burn (topical!). Kira whispered how quietly the earth will mention your name, then it was Game On for Ria.
This was a fabulous Poetika with some really strong poems – a new wave of attendees has invigorated our existing members – everyone – keep up the good work!!
We have a break in August and will be back on Wednesday 19th September – meanwhile we’re looking for suggestions for our September theme/prompt – if you have any ideas, please reply to this newsletter or comment on Facebook.
Have a great summer!
When we asked you to decide on this month’s theme, we were mildly surprised that last month’s audience were unanimously in favour of SEX…
OK that’s a great soundbite, but the real topic – sex, sexuality and gender – is a perfect prompt for a range of work and styles – the world we know is created by ourselves, and we are created by… sex, sexuality and gender… so the world is your oyster for inspiration.
So bring along your new work or previous work on this theme – or any theme – and we’ll be delighted to hear your contributions as sexy or prudish as you like – we’re artists, so no holds barred!
Because of the theme we’ve chosen our sexiest member, Ria to host – so come along on Wednesday 18th July, 7.30 for 7.45, upstairs at The Pheasant, Salt lane, Salisbury. We ask a contribution of £2-3pp please towards expenses.
As usual we welcome everyone who wants to read or sing their own work or that of others as well as those people who prefer only to listen.
Due to closure of the Cloisters Poetika has returned to the Pheasent Inn 19 Salt Lane, Salisbury SP1 1DT
The event will be found in the shoemaker’s hall-function room at the Pheasent Inn. Poetika starts its new season, in a new venue. The evening will premiere David King reading from his new collection ‘Strange Stranger’ Books will be on sale and donations from the book sale will go to the charity Children’s Chance.
The theme for the evening is Strangers and John Bruce and David Kind said
“We welcome all to come and present poetry or short pose, or perform acoustic songs, comedy or other performance – either their own or work they admire.”
Sign up is from 7.30pm on the night, performances begin at 7.45 – a small donation of £2.00 is invited towards room hire.
We here at Big Up Words are excited because The Teapoets Cafe is returning September 10th.
Co founder Cat Randle gets very excited. “I look forward to meeting up with all the poet’s and finding out what they’ve done on their summer break.”
Here they are in their own words
To kick off our new season, we look forward to welcoming guest poet Peter Roe, and singer-songwriter Lisa Thorne.
We welcome one and all who enjoy poetry (either as audience or readers). Come along and have some listening fun, and maybe introduce a friend to the joys of the spoken word too. A warm welcome awaits.
Rum’s Eg gallery and cafe are open throughout.
Spoken word open spots may be booked in advance by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will keep some in reserve on the door.
About the guest-Peter Roe guest poet
Peter Roe was born and raised a ‘Northern Lad’ in Buxton in the Peak District. He has served in the RAF and has worked with computers and emerging technologies in education.
Peter is a poet, writer, film-maker and self confessed Nerd who likes to shatter people’s pre and misconceptions about “Computer Geeks and Anoraks!”
Peter’s poems and stories come out of that bit of the world where technology meets people and have been well received at public readings both in the South West of England and The Netherlands where he was dubbed ‘The Techno-Poet’. As the Millennium ticked over he became embroiled in a Poetry War with his Father and his Siblings… as the words flew it created a schism within the family. ‘The War of The Words’ that followed was a breeding ground for many of his performance pieces.
Forced into early retirement with only a dictionary and a smartphone for company… He remains an eternal optimist and describes himself as “Disabled by Bread… Soft int’ head… Dad of Three… Addicted to Eye Tee… Poet and Writer… App Game Fighter…”
He is constantly rhyming and punning and is currently working on ‘Reunification’ a poetry event with his Brother to be premiered at The Buxton Fringe in 2018.
Musical guest-Lisa Thorne
|Lisa Thorne has never looked back since her uncle introduced her to the music of Steeleye Span when she was a child. Working with an intuitive style, she refines songs until they ‘fit’ the images in her mind.
She is particularly interested in the narrative of the voice, using words to pin down a point of that narrative, rather then to express or describe.
“Folk is certainly an influence,” explains Lisa, “as I adore the melody lines, harmonies, and rhythms.” We are delighted to introduce Lisa to the TeaPoet Collective as we feel her songs deserve wider exposure, and we’re sure you will agree.
And finally news about becoming a member of Teapoets
Our membership cards for the next season will be available when we return to Rum’s Eg on Sunday 10th September. For £30 you will get:
Open Words Arnudels (Ted Health’s house) SP1 2EN Cathedral Close Salisbury June 11th starting at 1.30-4.30
Yes Open Word is back with 2 dates and loads of fun. We start this weekend at Arundels. This is our first event in a garden. Bring picnic blankets, chairs and lots of poetry. We will be having an open Mic so looking forward to your poems.
Poetry guest Paul Canon Harris
With special guest MC
Poetika XXXVIII – Duffy’s Echo
Despite the fact the Poet Laureate did not attend our meeting on Wednesday – probably because she hadn’t been invited – we had another good turnout including new faces and some welcome returners. Many followed our theme by reading some of Carol Ann Duffy’s work, but there were plenty of original contributions too.’Parking seems to be getting harder, despite the large Brown Street car park behind our venue, so it may be worth allowing an extra few minutes if you’re coming by car.
David King did the customary introductions before beginning with Prayer by Ms Duffy – “the truth enters our hearts, that small familiar pain” then followed with something of his own, though he “can’t stay here, because the air’s too thin”. Graham ‘Gray’ Turner continued by “feeding the chickens that laid the golden eggs on our fantasy world”, then Edwin read us History by Ms Duffy – “She’d seen them ease him down from the Cross, his mother gasping for breath, as though his death was a difficult birth”.
Vic brought us a musical interlude where he sang of Salisbury’s dancing man, where watchers were ‘itching to move their feet’, then Mike dribbled about ‘toddlers with tools they may grow up to use”. John made sure he was first to jump the Christmas gun by reading the Laureate’s ‘Christmas Eve’, before reminding us all of the sad news that Leonard Cohen had died, by reading his ‘Poem’ – “I hear a man climb stairs and clear his throat outside our door “. David Robinson followed this with a further tribute to Cohen – ‘The Stranger Song ‘ – “I told you when I came I was a stranger”, before James surprised us all with his assertion that he knew Carol Ann Duffy “before she was gay”.
It was nice to see Papa Webb back to wonder why King Kong or Godzilla had never won an Oscar, and how he’d been “at sea all day, and caught Rockall”, and Inga, who told of “blue grey eyes, that make women want you”, and she wished “that you could be me, for one hour”. Nicky followed with ‘Stealing’, by Carol Ann Duffy – “You don’t understand a word I’m saying, do you?” before performing one of her own – “uncertainty is the new certainty”.
Alison read Cohen’s ‘A thousand Kisses Deep’ – “And then consented to be wrecked, A Thousand Kisses Deep”, Lenka then gave us her Autumn Sketch – “is an afternoon walk, before the dusk brings its dark shadows”, and David King wound up the first half with another from Duffy – ‘Drunk’ – “unseen frogs belch in the damp grass” – was he suggesting something?
The second half saw David King get us going with Duffy’s ‘Litany’ – “A tiny ladder ran up Mrs Barr’s American Tan leg”, before David Robinson returned with a short selection from her collection ‘The World’s Wife’ – including Mrs Icarus and Mrs Darwin. Mike was back with more flash fiction – “squinting through a wall you’ve always found opaque”, and Papa Webb entertained us again with a cautionary tale about the dragon at the door.
It was Vic’s turn again and he brought us Duffy’s ‘The Dark’ – “there’s nothing to be frightened of at all. (Except for aliens…)” then performed for us Leonard Cohen’s famous ‘Bird on the Wire’. Inga returned having been asked “do you want a hand with that, Luv” and told “get down you crazy mare”, and Nicky told us “this kid’s so unpopular, even my imaginary friends have left me”. Lenka treated us to a short children’s poem in her native Czech, ‘Little Bear’, and was good enough to translate it into English for us too. David King then closed proceedings, warning us that “time is a thief in black and white” and that “we rarely notice how fast slowness happens.
It was another great meeting, and thank you all – everyone who came to share their and others’ work, and also those who came just to listen. Our next meeting will be the Christmas one – now we meet on the third Wednesday this means it will be very close to Christmas – on the 21st of December – and we do hope you’ll be able to come.
We’ll be meeting in a different venue to leave the Cloisters free for Christmas dinners and also to allow us to bring our own Yuletide refreshments – so make a note – for next month only we’ll be meeting in St Thomas’s house – on the corner of the walk through between Dinghams and Cote Brasserie (was Snells) – St Thomas’s Square. Opposite St Thomas’s church. We’ll be providing mince pies and a little alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshment as there is no bar (you are welcome to bring your own), and our theme will be Christmas – and traditionally we celebrate the lighter side of the season – so bring your more humorous work! But more details in our event invitation nearer the date.
To finish off, it was interesting to hear from David Robinson that there is a longer version (finally finished in 2009) of Leonard Cohen’s ‘A thousand Kisses Deep’ than the one Alison read – so here it is:
A Thousand Kisses Deep
You came to me this morning
And you handled me like meat.
You´d have live alone to know
How good that feels, how sweet.
Anonymous, and hard, and fast –
(I´d know you in my sleep) –
Then born together, born at last
A thousand kisses deep.
I loved you when you opened
Like a lily to the heat.
I´m just another snowman
Standing in the rain and sleet,
Who loved you with his frozen love
His second-hand physique –
With all he is, and all he was
A thousand kisses deep.
All soaked in sex, and pressed against
The limits of the sea:
I saw there were no oceans left
For scavengers like me.
We made it to the forward deck
I blessed our remnant fleet –
And then consented to be wrecked
A thousand kisses deep.
It´s true that you could lie to me
It´s true you could to cheat
The means no longer guarantee
The virtue in deceit.
That truth is bent, that beauty spent,
That style is obsolete –
O since the Holy Spirit went
A thousand kisses deep.
(So what about this inner Light
That´s boundless and unique?
I´m slouching through another night
A thousand kisses deep.)
I´m turning tricks; I´m getting fixed,
I´m back on Boogie Street.
I tried to quit the business –
Hey, I´m lazy and I´m weak.
But sometimes when the night is slow,
The wretched and the meek,
We gather up our hearts and go
A thousand kisses deep.
(And fragrant is the thought of you,
The file is now complete –
Except what we forgot to do
A thousand kisses deep.)
The ponies run, the girls are young,
The odds are there to beat.
You win a while, and then it´s done –
Your little winning streak.
And summoned now to deal
With your invincible defeat,
You live your life as if it´s real
A thousand kisses deep.
(I jammed with Diz and Dante –
I did not have their sweep –
But once or twice, they let me play
A thousand kisses deep.)
And I´m still working with the wine,
Still dancing cheek to cheek.
The band is playing “Auld Lang Syne” –
The heart will not retreat.
And maybe I had miles to drive,
And promises to keep –
Your ditch it all to stay alive
A thousand kisses deep.
And now you are the Angel Death
And now the Paraclete;
Now you are the Quickening Breath
And now the Belsen heap.
No turning from the threat of love,
No acrobatic leap –
As witnessed here in time and blood
A thousand kisses deep