I'm emailing you because I've been put in charge of the spoken word tent at some tiny festival. I need a lineup that can keep the audience engaged and entertained. Unfortunately we can't pay you anything, but you'll get a free pass for the whole festival and the opportunity to perform in front of some really lovely people. Slots are ten minutes max. We will also be holding a poetry slam. If you want to be in with a chance at performing please email me with links to your work and a short biography.
Fuck off. No just ignore.
... and what do you want anyway? Poetry or 'spoken word' because I do believe they are totally different things. I wasn't going to get angry but I haven't got a job and there's fuck all else to do. I get an email inviting me to a festival only to find out it's another fucking job application. Or a workfare order. Come here. Do this. In our language. Lazy cunt. Sorry. I wasn't going to get angry but I've spent all day filling out a form and fucking around on facebook. There's some great books around the desk and a load of great music but now I'm listening to this link on Upworthy and I hate it so much. She steps up to the microphone and closes her eyes with a deep breath. She starts talking from the hell of her identity. And why not. She's espousing a symptom and she feels tender and dead. She's been abused by all these horrible doctors. She makes me think that people like you aren't so bad. After all, you're putting on live arts events, and even if they are utter crap (to me, sometimes) you're tearing us all away from a load more utter crap. But now I remember when I first met you. Do you? It was in a bar at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and you were chatting animatedly to me whilst you had this child on a leash, you called them a boy, you kept tugging at him, choke. Choke. And think about how I just referred to that person on Upworthy. Straight in with the gendered pronouns, straight in with the exit via back story. She's an element, a commodity and a complex of collected hatred.
That is a deep discomfort. People are celebrating the violent symptom as it speaks, totally emersed in the language of the disease.
Save to drafts. This is dumb. Don't be such a dick. Write something else.
Three years ago I would have jumped at your message. I always told people I loved poetry. I never read any. I didn't actually like it very much at all. I liked going to nights where people told me I was good at something. I was socialized as a boy and I wanted thunder. I did that shouty comedy rant stuff. I did this faux-serious stuff. Really, it was the worst kind of poetry. But I used to get gigs.
This keeps going the wrong way. I had my good friend do a reading once and they run a lot of this stuff. They are smart, and read poetry. My utter respect. There was a poem they did and it juddered and left me speechless. It would open up on a point of understanding like (para) 'to think I actually touched your face' and then close its jaws on 'a corporeal mincing of' and 'electrocution device'. It sounded like the kind of poetry I was becoming interested in, poetry. It was. It still is. I have a copy of it in a pamphlet along with some graffiti. But it seemed to have found an exit in a culture that wouldn't normally give it a look in, which is grotesque. I remember I was a judge in a poetry slam once. Someone went up and read a poem. I didn't understand it. Refused to applaud. Gave it a 4/10. Now her book is in my bag. I read it every day. She's a poet who will go down in history. Why weren't we listening? Because of a cultural wound. We were absolutely expecting poetry not to change us. It might make us laugh a bit, feel sentimental or moved, but only pretentious wankers take poetry seriously. If you've got a ukelele and everything is ironic you get to inhabit a world where you couldn't hurt a soul. And that's what you want. You love the world. You love poetry. You love everyone. You think people who take things seriously are the worst.
a) (TRIGGER FUCKING WANING) wanting to
feel deficiency. Markers up. Flares in the spirit of motherliness. Not 'I am'. Oppose inspiration.
Glue is made in factories and gas masks and choking horse paws melted fires, English people
stomach this. Little flaps of paper. I feel humourless.
flames form schedule knifing /// roots and ------L's . To your failures; have a nice day. Do
f--p ist a rights of war be boil. Bubonic. Hoch.
b) Sects. I left one gang for the arms of another. Nothing personal mind.
But when I left
the church, when
I started fucking
with my gender
I would still
cling to any hand
and you were so appealing
take me fell and weird
l o vers O my happiness
fading O I fading form.
And it had to be a novelty. There is a lot of mess when you start talking about taste. It's all very liberal. If you're a liberal, I'm sorry. You might be there for a while. I'm upset about Brighton. Apparently there used to be this cinema. Now we're all clawing at the doors of the Komedia because
I miss the cinema
and what happened to
erm, those folk
singer songwriters. Strings, sweet things. My eyes are full of balisticks.
It's very pretentious I think to go up onto a stage and 'recite' memorised spoken word under the guise of spontaneous and witty outbursts. I mean, what is wit if not a slander on tedious reproduction. Perhaps it's always a trick. You've seen some of the stupid stuff I get up to. Pissing off royalists. Spreading those poisonous memes. But I almost feel like they are good. They don't disguise themselves as anything other than sick. A pink sunset, a vapid statement. An existence of vampire sharing. They're similar to these people I'm writing a job application to: the more desperate I am from their deranged wisdom and economic freedom the more likely I am to do anything they say. Performance Poetry is different to that. Actual people. You have to look them in the eye. They say all kinds of things.
I could have written something big about the Tories. Just fuck it.
It would be best now to proceed with caution. These are acted thoughts.
I won't tow the line pure against career, if you have to work and what is
remaining 'pure' this is not for authenticity but against tedium. 'Stop exploring'.
I'm in love. I love the world. Just in case
there were a few friends
I hadn't managed to piss off.
So on these Upworthy videos people get an idea of poetry as this stayed performance, everything vocalised and in a tried and tested language. Something you can use straight out of the package and they are right. That's the thing we're watching. And it works by the logic of presenting some kind of crisis that can be overcome simply. The overcoming is important, and the art is secondary. At least that's how I'd put it if I had to. It also wants to reach people. It wants to claim that poetry isn't alienating. Have you read the passage in the Divine Comedy? The one down in hell. The one that's all about you?
Or Rimbaud? Of course poetry isn't alienating. He was gay and drank absinthe!!!
I feel like we're exposing ourselves to a culture that doesn't even want to fuck. Real passion is useless when you're trying to get people through the door. Everyone's just so disconnected these days, maaaaan.
Abandon the alphabet, but this is the next sub-section)
Thou great redeamer, thou compensating
maternal super-ego. You're a person of this
demeaner. We like you. Look at your
I don't want to write anything anymore. I want to feel comfortable, and to do that I need a long and winding list of enemies. Can I think of any off the top of my head? Apart from the obvious ones that is. This person who started touching my sister's face as they slept by the fire. Is it cruel? They don't read this kind of thing and don't care and we split
Ash, what do you think of running a night together
where we try and reach out to the Godless, the people
who have abandoned morality. Okay, it's that. That's
the problem at the moment. Annekdote. Personhood,
body. I've never even been your brain. I'll read anywhere.