Lacking the use of a shower
I found it takes more than willpower
To get fox poo off your furry daughter
When you only have 6 wet wipes and water.
As you break in the arms
Of an auntie to be tethered to
With cottonwool thoughts
In no language that can be taught
So rocking that ‘just out of womb’ hair.
Stretching like a cat without claws
Surfacing from hibernation.
Into our world of autumnal flakiness.
They put the clocks back a whole hour
Just to give us more time
To hold your head and mumbling heart.
Sleeping in the warm
Your eventual exiting lacking elegancy.
Rocking from abstract to realism
In the blink of an eye.
You see in black and white and blur
But in the taking of a breath
Your legs set into hips
Daddy builds a turret to tuck you in,
To keep you safe
Adding pages to the map
As skin grows to cover a woman’s frame.
Melting Mummy’s heart every day.
Latched into the world with love.
Lovely little lady.
Freedom is cold air,
And rain on the clothesline.
It’s swimming in the pool:
Pretending I think I’m cool.
It’s sore throats and a berocca.
Going to the sales,
Even though it’s chocka.
With ex strangers.
Shrugging a shoulder.
This. Is. Me.
I. Will. Be.
You. Will. See.
I never found my lifeguard.
But tomorrow is my bankcard.
Yesterday was time well killed.
Forever is a notebook to be filled-
Meanwhile I’ll just scoff pick and mix,
And smile at the world…
Which is quite significantly full of dicks…
DONT STOP ME NOW
Because once upon a chance.
I didn’t think I would get here.
But it looks like freedom beat the fear.
Recently I’ve been able to start doing more events. This makes me very happy. This week I went to The Speakers’ Corner in York and performed at their open mic. I was shaking like a leaf but extremely comforted that I couldn’t see the faces looking at me. Blindness does have some benefits! I’ve even made some poetry writing friends and I’ve had some great feedback.
Love and Lemonade,
You are tentative with your words
As if I am made of butterscotch and bite.
Like you are building
Straw houses in Haiti,
And you aren’t quite sure
If time repeats itself to me.
So I will try not to smile because I know
that my history with the past is recurrent.
I try everyday to sneak and creep,
hoping it won’t spot my silver linings,
But the monster never seems to sleep.
But one day we will try and forget.
Sit and bask in the light.
And play Bach in our bus shelters
And build those houses,
In this heritage site I paid the price for.
And we will see the irony
When we can simply be
As we place an ash tray in Pompeii.
Because we’d buried the past that day.
Those words were my ashtray in Pompeii.
This is the filming from Wormwood in The Garden- a retelling of an Italo Calvino folktale. With some cheeky original poetry thrown in!
This post was originally posted on my other blog The Upside Down Chronicles
There is nothing that I could be happier to receive than a project; something to get my teeth stuck into and to keep me focused when life gets blurry.
When I first arrived at *Cheery Lodge they told me that they had a storytelling workshop based around fairytales. I was angry and fought against going. My feeling was that they were tipping ‘happily ever after’ into us along with Prozac and so I said no and asked for therapy. There is no such thing as happily ever after.
The next week however boredom got the better of me and I decided to go along. It was then that I met Cath Heinemeyer, a PHD student and storyteller. Though I was aware that fairytales outside of Disney aren’t all rainbows and fairy dust; I had certainly never ventured into traditional folk tales or the shadowy world of The Brother’s Grimm.
The process started with a very strange story called ‘Wormwood’ by Italo Calvino. It is the story of a woman who started life as a baby left to die under a wormwood bush. Wormwood is controlled entirely by other people and their actions. I became enthusiastic about the story quickly and after hearing retellings and the original several times I was wanting to work with it more. Cath had asked everyone in the first storytelling workshop to write a poem from different characters to Wormwood and her responses back to them. We soon had poetic conversations between characters that varied hugely in style and warmth.
Cath then asked myself and another patient to continue working on the story with the aim being to perform at a local festival celebrating arts and mental wellbeing. We met several times in various cafés and bookish environments- pouring over many sheets of paper and fine-tuning the tiny threads of each relationship within the story. Week by week we worked together to make the story into a script, which would later become our performance. I felt a connection with Wormwood and after looking through my poems I found some that I hoped would bring emotion to the character that we knew very little about.
In the end it was just Cath and I who did the performances. We were aided by the little hand sewn puppets we created and we also had the fantastic input of a local theatre director. The audiences for all three performances were fantastic and listened throughout. Many admitted that they found the story strange but fascinating.
I particularly loved to get feedback from those who had experience of mental illness themselves and hearing that they could connect to my poetry was amazing. It was the first time I had every performed my poetry live, and it certainly won’t be the last. I got a real buzz from it. The poems I used were ‘I am Exhaled’ and ‘We’re All Rare Anyway‘ accompanied by my letter to mental health professionals.
There were so many amazing things going on at the Love Arts festival that it was impossible to choose what to attend. So many people were there with so many links to mental health and the arts. I am so very honoured to have been a part of such a project and I am so gateful to Cath for the opportunity, and of course to all those who came to see us perform on some of the hottest days of the British summer!
At the end of the performance I repeat a line from We’re all Rare Anyway and tell the audience that they are all the most beautiful of creatures. It is at this point a basket of slightly battered apples get passed around with little tiny things to decorate them with and birth certificates. You can tell that these apples were made by very arty folk!