Attended a workshop today ran by Andy Willoughby, who was the headline act at our first Word to the Wise open mic poetry event (22nd October 2014). It was an interactive workshop, and he got us to write and read out some poems.
Cinquain – a poem of five lines, syllable count: 2, 4, 6, 8, 2
We had a one-minute silence to reflect upon all the things we are in-between, followed by a minute to write them all down without taking our pens off the page. Mine aren’t very legible, but here’s what I put down:
second floor + fourth floor, ceiling + floor, door + wall, table + chair, Scotland + France, Venus + Mars, birth + death, unemployment + unemployment, cathedral + Charles Ward building, that tree + the other tree, Birmingham + London, start of uni + finishing uni, North Sea + Atlantic Ocean, knee dislocation + knee operation
And here are a few cinquains I managed to produce:
fourth floor, above
second floor, and then the
previous relationship and
two seas, landlocked:
Birmingham and London.
Unemployment and ambition.
into what is yet to be seen.
And then we had to think about a moment when we felt free and answer some questions without thinking too much. This created a list of items, which we used as a starting point for a poem based on the structure of ‘Some People’ by Rita Ann Higgins (1988).
Two things you can see: a hovering seagull, traffic lights
Behind you: the Travel Lodge I stayed at
In front of you: the sea
A specific colour that’s near: oceanic blue
A specific colour that’s far away: ____
Something still: me, leaning forward
Something moving: the surging tide
Sounds: quiet, early morning traffic + the rush of the sea breaking on the shore
Taste: salty air, dry mouth because I wasn’t allowed to drink
Texture: cold metal (railing I was holding)
Temperature: cool but in a friendly way, the sun was out of bed but not yet dressed
Phrase: ‘Ice Cream Sold Here!’
Location of ‘free’ feeling: constricted chest
Some people know what it is like,
to nearly get hit in the head by a seagull held hostage by the wind
to witness the lights change from red to green to back again at 6 a.m
to stand and stare at the sea like a blatant tourist
to stand and stare at the sea like a long-lost relative
to see nothing but blue and to not feel blue
to vacate a Travel Lodge, walk two feet, turn their head and be at the seaside
to grin like an idiot because of this simple fact
to know there’s a plaque on a bench bearing their dead uncle’s name
to feel OK because they went and sat and said a silent ‘hello’
to be surrounded by the rush of a surging tide filling their ears like white noise
to have cool air spark arm-hair erections while the sun toasts their face for breakfast
to not care what the passing drivers might think as they pass
to taste salt on their lips and not in their nostrils
to have a python called freedom wrap itself around their entire torso and squeeze
to experience this constriction as an enthusiastic hug instead of fear,
and other people don’t.
Finally, we had to create a few cinquain stanzas for an autobiographical piece.
ripped. The sperm I
was should apologise,
because first you were just fucking
Scotland. Ireland. Maybe
there’s a reason they’re kept apart.
marriage. Like an
impulsive teenage heart.