Breathe out your inner bluebird

I see the world throbbing,
so many bluebirds
buried beneath
tailored suits and shiny shoes,
locked inside caged hearts
feeding off dissilusioned thoughts,

(but) you don’t have to feel
like a cog in a wheel,
spinning
on someone else’s cognition,
chasing numbers instead of
heart beats,

rushing, running,
along bustling streets filled with
those clacking by in expensive shoes
and clicking out last minute e-mails that don’t need to be sent,
there where so many fettering thoughts
spatter outta muddled mouths,

future bills, surging petrol prices,
new devices, cable television,
cooked dinners,
these are arbitrary constraints
you don’t have to bleed into,
these are fears that are not palpable
but merely mortal illusions,

the worry of what is not
sitting before you
is the robbery of the self,
but addressing them is the only way forward
to deepen your perception
of your own mind
and lead to an open portal
for internal growth

there’s nothing holding you to
any of this,
only your mind
and all the expectations
you cling onto
that float like dust in the air,

time is but a concept
we tie our souls to
and pretend we can swap and exchange it,
reallocate it
and rearrange it.

Time can become a cage
but it doesn’t have to,

the key is buried in the sand
within an hour glass.
You can shatter it if you’d like to.

Breathe in…

Breathe out…

Abstract, foreboding, future
past, scary
fleeting, wishing,
forever, lasting
lost, become something
leave, ongoing
wasted, missed opportunity

anxiety feels like opening too many tabs in your browser
and the whole thing crashes
and the screen turns black,

but suffocating these feelings only festers these feelings,

breathe in…

Breathe out…

Feel the sandstorm in your mind
settle each grain
as your breath draws away
into the air surrounding you
feel yourself
unlatching
the clasp of
the dust-expectations,
feel your mind unravelling…

Don’t be afraid to break away from the crowd,
to bite the hand that feeds you,
you may just find that you can feed yourself.

Peel it back a little

Do you ever think about how society is shaped just so that
we can sustain human life,
and that we’ve found pleasurable
and profitable ways to go about it,

like sex sex sex
is promoted on every corner,
whether it be the red light district or the local strip club in your town or city,
on the walls of a subway
or jamming past you on a tram or taxi,
and they’re offering the morning after pill and pregnancy tests,
lube and condoms,
tampons and lip gloss
in vending machines,
at the airport, in bathrooms,
in laundromats and bars
alongside your friendly m&ms and skittles,

I mean it’s kinda great cause
some people are too embarrassed
to go to a register and ask for such needs
or when regulation and laws
fall short and
funding is not allotted,
it is truly essential that these such places offer an
alternative source.

But pull it back again,
don’t you find it kind of fascinating
that all of these things are inserted into our daily routines and leisures
and completely embellished by pretty labels and vibrant colours
so that we consume more
and more and more
(and breed more
and more and more)
in order to do the
basic human things
that we do anyway?

Sunday Night Workshops

Okay so as well as sharing a good amount of the poems I write (roughly 1 in every 3), I’ve made a promise to myself that I’ll share every poem I write during the 10 minute free write we do at our poetry/spoken word workshop at an activist arts hub called Under the Hammer every Sunday night from 8pm until anywhere from 11pm to 2am. Yep, poet time is even more relaxed than island time.

I’ve also decided it’d be worth sharing experiences from spoken word gigs, poetry slams, powerful performances I see and my own performances.

So here’s my poem from last night’s free write, (there are lot’s of gaps but I’m happy with it as a free write).

20th March, 2016

The prompt, thank you Esme, was: What are you fucking tired of?

I’m tired of
mental illness being pushed aside
by government officials
who make the cuts on where the funds are allotted,
I’m tired of workplaces ignoring mental breakdowns
narrowing it down to mere sleep deprivation
to fuel a cycle vilifying any neuro-atypical behaviour,

but we still seek the stars at night and undiscovered planets,
we still look out for alternate life forms,
but any issue that doesn’t make headlines or big money
is fettered away to the community
to scrounge up the funds to fuel accessible alternatives ourselves,
NASA’s claiming we’ll inhabit the moon by 2025,
that’s pretty damn soon
we’ll all still be here,
most likely,

oh how quickly humanity’s desires do escalate,
how is it that we keep conquering land and people and cultures
but the ‘heroes’ and the ‘first settlers’ never invested in conquering their own minds,

hey, at least sea world has finally cut off the breeding of killer whales for human spectacle,

but robots are already amongst us
and we can’t even tell
the difference,
we shouldn’t need special sunglasses to see that the
decision makers have given up on humanity
and the elasticity of empathy and understanding within each of us.

There I said it, I’m tired of this

do you think women like it when
you hurl verbal abuse about on the street
as if it’s a stroke of foreplay,

’cause it’s not a complement to call me beautiful when
the last syllable you spit is b*tch.

just because we share different anatomy and gender identities
doesn’t make me the freak
nor you the other
I’m not a strange creature
for you to pry open and dissect

I am a human being,
did the elephant man teach us nothing?
Maybe it’s because he too was turned into a commodity,

and I don’t think Emily Pankhurst
endured incarceration
and starvation
for a girl to be harrassed
on the street
over one-hundred years later.

See, uncertainty must
breed open-mindedness
so that the space between our eyes
can absorb more intricate observations,

not to merely squark at everything we see

so why,
you ask,
is it so ingrained in women to not speak up?

See women are too often taught
to quieten down
and keep to themselves
to be delicate, pretty flowers.

Well fuck that.

Ugh, I wish I were so brave,
but I just sat there and turned away
and thanked the universe that my stop was up next on the tram,
when a man started puckering his lips at me
and commenting on the waves in my hair
and the tightness of my jeans,

Why didn’t I first curse the universe
for some mens’ self-entitlement to harrass women in public
for their own amusement
and to mark their sense of territory upon unsanctioned land,

I was screaming inside but
I tried so hard not say a word,
to not squirm or shift
or show any sign of discomfort,
like a catch twenty-two,
it would’ve only encouraged him,

I’m pretty damn tired of this,
it shouldn’t be okay
simply because it happens every day,

why do I have to be constantly objectified
by strangers and
billboards and
TV presenters,
prodded and poked by
wolf whistles and sexist slurs
and expected to swallow
the hollers as if they are
necessary obstacles on the footpath,

these are not
necessary obstacles
on any
footpath,

trying to make women less than human,
just because these strategies worked ten, twenty, one-hundred years ago
to sell products, pass laws and push wars,

and it’s safe to perpetuate
such polarised thinking,
of women as objects
as objects as women,
Less feeling, less thinking,
less of a being,
especially when big money is on the table,
well, it’s not working the way it used to,

money cannot come before humanity
if this world is to stay afloat,
and we cannot teach
the next and the next
and the next
generation of men
what women are to them
and polarising genders against each other,

I am not the freak, you are not the other.

Hidden in the screaming silence

Yoyo Ma once professed on the radio that music happens between the notes
and that poetry happens between the words,

and oh boy, there’s some truth in that,

I am the breaths you self-censor and the screaming silence that follows

I am your subconscious thoughts,
I am your unmediated mind,

I am the words you’re too afraid to choke up,

I am the eyes that peer at reality through the fog of expectation,

I am the lost child standing beneath clenched fists after another storm,
I’m the kid trying to finish their trigonometry homework and put three younger siblings to bed,

I’m the echo of a bullet breaking through its shell
I’m the taste of gunpowder on your fingers as you eat your morning toast
I’m the lump in your throat that you can’t swallow as you sip on that scolding brown sludge,
I’m the bruised spirit
with too many bullet holes,

I am those trousers you pull on with too many holes to bother repairing,
I’m those socks your mother knitted for you,
I’m that bald patch on your head from always wearing hats in the sun,
I’m your freckle-speckled-neck that never got shade,
I’m the click in your knee every time you try to run fast
up stairs,

I am the aching shoulder that slows you down in the water,
I’m the ear infection that gives you only one side to sleep on
facing away from the window,

I am the amusement park on full blast
blinking fluorescent lights, 
echoing shrill screams, 
I’m the gut churning head spins coming from all directions,

I am the backseat driver,
I’m the tram inspector 
I’m the police officer that pulls you up for J-walking,
I’m the employer that dismisses your coloured hair and tattooed arms,
I’m the customer that undermines you for your femininity and your young age,

I am the oven,

                           you switched off

before you sat down 
to read this,

                                or did you?

I am you,
cowering in the corner
rocking back and forth
holding your limbs into your body.

I am fear,
would you care to
test me.

(my mind is) blinking behind closed eyelidsย 

You’re gonna be alright,
you’re gonna be alright,
I know it’s hard sometimes
but I know you can get through tonight,

I know the world falls into darkness sometimes,
and it’s hard to see the light
behind the heavy shadows,

but it’s alright to hurt,
let your tears fall
into the darkness of night,

I know your eyes well up sometimes
when you think about your mamma,
I know you don’t understand
why it seems as though you don’t have a mamma,

I know it hurts inside
mostly ’cause you’re too confused to tell anyone,

it’s your mamma coming home drunk on too many evenings and early mornings
and disciplining you for her demons,

it’s your mamma sobbing over a divorce that should’ve happened ten years prior,
stinging you with the venom of slandering secrets,
two hands full, one with a glass,
the other with a bottle,
tripping over herself
late at night
while you’re in bed
trying to recite
your studies for your final university exam
for the following morning,
curled under the covers
with the lights off,

she talks to you like a friend,
but a disposable, soggy-season-pal,
not at all like a daughter,

she tells you she’s in a bad place,
but she’s been using this excuse
for over a decade now,

when you went to North America for eight months
she didn’t even try to reply
to a single email
or pick up a phone or Skype call
that whole damn time,
she didn’t message on Christmas
or New Years or your birthday,
she didn’t even pick up or try to call back
when you called her five times on Mother’s Day,

then you came back

and she had no idea you were sufferring at the hands of the man you thought you loved,
and she didn’t understand why
you didn’t run to her for support,
and she didn’t understand why she knew nothing about you,

but she loves to pretend she does
and she says social media counts as human interaction
and she says she loves you more than she loves herself,

and all you can hear
is the screaming silence,
wherein lies the many misdemeanours never acknowledged,
and the many wounds left undressed,

but it’s alright,
it’s alright,
it’s okay to hurt sometimes
this is why the night is dark
and the morning will soon rise

I can see it in your eyes,
I know you’re trying not to cry,
’cause your mamma doesn’t know a thing about you,
and she probably never will

Sunrise state of mind

Microwave thoughts,
short lasting
bit soggy,
too hot,
slightly undercooked,

Short fuse,
long burn.
Forgetful
but I’ve never
forgotten
You.

Curiosities linger

and rattle the still mind.

Sometimes,
memories pierce
through the moments inbetween.

Mostly good ones.
Like the way you
wander through
the walls of your mind,

I see it sometimes
in your eyes,
drafting itineraries,
mapping plans,
early in the morning
as you trail the asphalt path,

You snatch some berries off a bush.

too lost in thought to look up ‘n worry if you’ll get caught.

Flow through the day
like a ribbon
trails in the breeze.

You don’t care to impress,
naked as the waves tide,

you only care to unleash
the little bluebird that sings
in its cage

beneath smiles and small talk
under the glaring sun

sipping the nectar that trickles
from the roots of the soul.

Neurotic Tendencies

I wanna go some place
where I can see the Milky Way shimmer

I wanna find that space
where nothing but now exists

Let’s make magic!
Come,
come and add a sprinkle of your stardust to this bare palette

I cram flowers and weeds and trees and birds and worms
inside my chest

I stowed them in the far recesses of my mind,
and now I’m finding it hard to let go,

my head’s heavy
and tonight I cant hold it up,
I’ve got at least five different poems burning inside me
but tonight I can’t tame the fire,

I’m falling asleep
as the hidden words singe my skin
and scold my finger tips,

I went to bed with regret last night,
forgot to wipe
the makeup off my face,
my contacts concealed to
my dilated pupils,

the morning
lifts its shade,
the birds draw pink and blue across the sky,
orange leaves fall upon thirsty grass,

I rise with the taste of salt upon my lips
the crunch of sand between clenched teeth,
the sun drowning my eyes

I’m scraping off the crust
that formed
overnight,

scatter your flowers and strange inner creatures before me,
’cause these flames are trapped inside,
diminishing and
curling into ash with each breath in,

got to
got to rescue the remnants
of songs that
fingers never played,
lips never tasted and
the winds never lifted,

I woke up with emptiness today,
lost the only bandages
that could soothe my wounds,

somewhere there’s a solvent that’ll disolve it all
that doesn’t contain drugs or alcohol,
maybe it’s buried inside you and I,

oh to spill it all out and flower
a living breathing jungle around us

sometimes you’ve got to write when you’re too tired to,
sing when your heart aches,
ink the blank paper,
before it evaporates
before the circus of free thoughts dissipates,
Sometimes you’ve got to paint your own Milky Way
with the darkness and the stardust

see I let the truths fester beneath
clenched teeth and unopened notebooks,
and I’m spinning out
from telling my heart it doesn’t feel what it feels
but it still aches in my chest
when I’m out of breath from
holding every gasp in,

I’m trying to sweep up the ashes of words unspoken,
trying to stir this pot that’s
boiling and bubbling over with
caged thought-eggs that
weren’t bred to hatch and thrive but
to be poached, cut open and eaten.

I carry a heavy heart through the afternoon,
swallowed too many thoughts
before they could surface
all day long,
again.

I went to bed with regret just a moment ago,
but I’m still awake and I’m writing this poem
(is this a poem)
with well-cooked, free-range thoughts
and I’m extinguishing the flames
that burn me
so that I can light up the page before me,

there’s a typewriter concealed to the back of my mind,
the letters are leaking out,
there are ink blots stained into my fingers and palms

I can see the Milky Way
and I like it.

Nana, the first poem you’ll never read

Nana
I miss you so much,
I don’t know how to breathe
without choking,
how to see
without glaring,
how to be
without…

My heart
hurts
I can’t hold it,
My heart hurts
it’s scolding me

Nana
I miss you so bad,
I just wanna cuddle into you,
again

Nana
I just wanna be with you,
can I join you wherever you are,

Nana
I miss you,
and it makes me wanna believe
that there’s a heaven up there
’cause oh boy, if there is
I know you’d be the first one let in

not because you didn’t sin,
I mean, we all have and will,
but because you never lied,
you were honest in who you were
and in the way your eyes curved
upon the world

you gave your heart
to every soul you met,
you gave a stage to every voice
that called to you,
somehow,
you made everybody feel whole around you,

I hope that your soul
is sparkling across the universe
’cause the world needs more of you,
the world needs more of you
the world needs you
just you
just you
back

the world needs more
and more
of you

and Nana
if you’re glimmering through
the unseeable realm that surrounds us,
does that mean you’re here with me now?

’cause Nana,
I see petals that echo your name,
and bushes of roses as rich as your presence
and I wanna rip ’em all off and dance with them

…Ouch! Thorns. Branches. Sharp leaves.
A drop of blood falls into a crease in the concrete
infusing the dirt,
creating some kind of sludge,
and I wanna believe
that your atoms are also those particles of dirt
and that I can be with you
anywhere, at any hour
if I look hard enough,

and Nana,
is that you tweeting in the trees,
rustling the leaves,
nesting amongst the leafy branches,
is that you,
burning my shoulders,
kissing freckles onto my cheeks,
is that you,
breathing cool air across my forehead,
brushing through my hair,
is that you,
all sweet and salty,
all grainy and sticky,

like the sand clings between my toes,
I cling to every atom of yours that dances amongst the universe

now that your soul has been set free
from the ravaging tides
of that merciless disease,
you’re free now,
from the wild waves of black and green
that flooded your veins,
making it so hard to
eat and sleep and breath,

you are free now

as light as the breeze
as heavy as the rain,
as soft as the clouds
as harsh as the sun,
you’re everything
and you’re infused in everything
around me

Feed the Fire

There’s something about curiosity that I find irresistible

There’s something charming in vulnerability,
to leave oneself open,

to be free,
to run wild,
back to our origins,

Rough beginnings are better than crippling fears,
’cause at least you started
and you’ve gotta start somewhere,

You can only fight yourself for so long,
won’t be long ’til the mask’ll
wear and disintegrate,

the truth is always unpolished and raucous,

and the mask is the shield and armour
we use to protect ourselves
from fragments of our realities
we wish not to confront,

but see, your wild side
is found
in those thirsty thoughts
that always drip back,

late at night,
midway through a meeting,
a shift,
a gig,
a class,
a conversation,

All those still moments
that are peppered through your day,
spiinning so fast
feels like we hit pause,

Culminating into a wild dream,
so don’t let it take a back seat.

Sometimes,
it peeps its head into the front
just to remind the driver
that there’s more to this
than filling your pockets
with gold
or counting the appraisals of others,

do it for passion
do it for self-liberation
do it for happiness
for open-mindedness,
for a legacy,
do it ’til those sprinkled moments
become
an entire smorgasbord
of rich and delicious bites
of a well-fed, flavoursome life