This is a poem I wrote and performed with fellow BAR and Roundhouse poet, Sophie Fenella. Tyrone Lewis (BAR) filmed and edited the video. Will Tyas (BAR) created the music and soundscapes for the piece. The poem seeks to capture two voices at the time of the apocalypse. Will be developed into a full show at some time in future, hopefully before the world ends…
Rooms For Hire!
£500 to stay in my stomach, per night.
We wake you up when you need!
Shout instructions into the room on entry.
Breakfast is complimentary.
We’ll do our best not to eat you.
We held a piss party.
Clean place, up until the games began.
HA HA HA
Accommodating staff, didn’t ask questions.
I murdered my wife in Room 208 last night.
Pillows were plump and cosy.
Police response was too quick.
I wish I could have tried the breakfast.
Played Hide ’n’ Seek.
The room almost gave me away
when my giggles tickled it.
Game lasted 45 minutes.
Please resubmit feedback.
We need it to breathe.
My grandson’s graduation was the next day.
Our stay was perfect. I’m glad the heart-shaped
bed can split in two. He didn’t need the alarm system.
I kept him up all night with the motorbike
stuck in my nostrils. I need to get it fixed.
Wish I had the chance to bring my wife here.
The room tricked us out of a séance.
Gladys is convinced Derrick was talking to her,
but I saw the walls throw the mirrors off
and inflate under the table.
I didn’t pay for bullshit magic.
Please advise your rooms to behave.
Also, the décor was too Nuevo-post-glitch-core-abstractism for me.
I like sinks where the water pours downwards
and doesn’t avoid your hands.
Thank you for positioning paparazzi outside
our room. I should be alive in newsprint again
for at least a week now. One ruined marriage,
one revived career. Big Brother, embrace me!
Sorry for throwing a wrecking ball
through your walls yesterday.
The government told us to play catch
with the wrong building.
If you survived and need somewhere to stay,
the Comfort Inn down the road
does continental breakfast too.
Standing attention to the sound of first shouts
post dance floor, I listened with my stabiliser wings
clipped by taxi rank breath of engines, a howl
in the concrete cube alley outside Revolution
where a punch drunk fist blew echo holes
in the throat throat throat…
It turned the whole street into a procession
with blue light sirens and kebabs spilled,
neon vomit on the high heeled
‘Oh no,’ flamingos, pencilled into their skirts,
holding onto their fannies with their clutch bags,
squawking with tiptoes around the rugby kit mobs
oofing the championship brawl of the curb,
oof oof to each fist landed, the proper Reading lad
beating a Northerner for looking at him funny,
at least, that’s what he thinks he said,
in testimony as the law enforcing, luminous jackets pile
batons on his boxer brains, echoes his claims
that he’s not a racist, he just hates Northeners
and I recognise his bloody eyebrows from school
and his mouthy grit stained lips, spitting curses
and baseball bats at the officers, who monotone
their radio, cancelling backup, checking in the arrest,
test, test, they boom the mic, as a band starts in a bar
down the road, swooping the echo attention
of the crowd massing to a shout fight,
where a guys is almost killed for his accent
by someone I used to break juice boxes with
and watched him hiss at pupils, teachers,
without ever trying to stop him.
The elevator stops like it’s supposed to.
The bell hop drops without reason,
his little uniform a tidy pile on the floor.
The number 3.571222… recurring
is lit up on the door. Ross, Man 1
in the elevator, is covered in mud,
holding a football, running practice
in his head, like each connection in his brain
is focused on where the ball should have gone
but didn’t, because his team lacks
the understanding of synergy required
to complete successive movements up field,
to result in goals score to then make tournaments
and champions of themselves
in front of their families, who are mildly pleased
that their son’s hobby has finally culminated
in being paid. Man 2, played by Julian, poetry teacher, shifts.
Julian assess Ross on the basis of the thought
bubble fumigating out of his skull and is surprised
that someone in a football kit is capable of formulating
critical thoughts. He than looks to the corner
where a girl stands, bored, and registers that
sweet nothing is pluming from her scalp. He thinks.
Breaking silence is an option. He looks as the pile
of bell hop. EMERGENCY is also an option, but
“Isn’t this a rather poetic situation?!” Julian muses,
clicking the elsewhere heads of the girl and Ross.
They both sigh, like they were counting up to a point to do it.
Julian shrugs and wonders why he said that aloud.
The girl, who is Emily today, lights up.
Julian and Ross take equal turns to address
the NO SMOKING sign, who shrugs and lights up as well
at her blatant disregard for elevator etiquette.
The bell hop still has nothing to say.
Ross and Julian watch Emily.
They conclude that she is at ‘that stage.’
Ross reckons she’s a 7.
Julian convinces himself she’s too young.
Emily turns the radio on in her thoughts,
but there is no signal. Julian sees white noise.
Ross thinks about Talk Sport, which lubricates
the elevator with commentator chatter.
The elevator is getting sick of the smoke
collecting inside its stomach.
Julian coughs. Emily eyes, puffs, approaches,
puts out the cigarette on his belly,
which is pushing button holes
that he has safety pinned shut. He doesn’t wince,
or utter hurt notes, just observes.
Ross ‘is like what the fuck?’ But loses interest
to fantasy football role plays in his bubble.
He begins to utter monotone gibberish.
“A passes to B to C to D to E all the way down the alphabet,
back to B to B1 to B52 to A to C to AA to L, L, L! L!
L sidewinds, L manoeuvres, L evades taxes
with his kicker control, L shoots, GOAL!”
Ross screams, continuously, no pause for air.
Julian, unable to withstand the fag butt searing his gut,
howls free verse; “You have to wear two hats,
it’ll give you a sense of Brio and purple language,
don’t you always take note of unfortunate situations,
like if you get beat up in Brixton, you can take solace in that fact
that you’ll get a good poem out of it at least!”
Emily mumbles in retort:
“I am sixteen, I have problems,
I am sixteen, I have problems,
I am sixteen, I have problems.
No one relates to me.” Julian comments
on the poem’s interesting form
and Ross runs out of breath at hearing Emily speak.
The bell hop returns from his lunch and fixes the lift
by pressing up. The hubbub of the elevator fills with helium
talk, until they are spat out at highest pitch.
The three people return to being quiet,
in separate doors, awaiting the next bout of small talk.
The elevator descends, like it’s supposed to.
An old performance poem of mine, dictaphone recorded and ready for listening. Warning, contains metaphors…
Spaghetti Yeti grew grottos
yet he knew he was bound
not so much for this life
but spreading pasta love
in the lungs of bolognese
their nights in alleyways
slurping up the remains.
He wants to be the servery
the king of the culinary
cuts of strips and stripes
the layers of longing
caked in broody words
between man and woman
doubling in size after each meal
seeing each other as fools
and practicing the pasta weaves
on their veins to become circus tricks.
Yeti will lick these folk forever
and lust the catering career
until it becomes his…
It’s not you, it’s me…
OK it is you, but can you blame me?
You don’t give me room to breathe,
Always there in the air
Never wearing the shapes I draw in you
Or the words I splutter out of my mouth
And whenever I think you’re listening
You blow the wind in my face
So I have to shout over a hurricane
to get a message through to you.
And you elude me in the most interesting places
Where I want you indispensable
In space, I have to fill myself with fake you
Just to take in all the beauty.
Personal space means nothing to you
We like to be claustrophobic as a race,
That’s why there’s pollution about the place
Traffic congestion and cigarette indigestion
We’re sick of you being the only option.
Maybe just a day apart,
So we can rethink our relationship
And evaluate why it’s important
To not suffocate trees or factory workers
Citizens of big cities and those wall flowers
That get punched on lunch break.
I’m not calling you selfish
I just could do with one day where you aren’t next to me
Inside me, over my head, under my footstep
Just a little privacy…
OK maybe that’s lunacy,
Just promise you’ll look away when I’m naked…