I am

As I am now
Because of who I was
Before when I was less than who?
I am

New man
No lonely child
Sitting on cold sandstone
Whittling sticks making soldiers to fight

Life’s oppressors
Brutalizing children
And I followed vengeful pathways
To find

Waiting in walls
Built up as protection
Until they all came falling down

Into new ground
A fresh revelation
We all fought back, giving out to

The Pandemic:

We was robbed. We was all robbed. We all had something or someone taken away from us. People died, jobs were lost, politicians lied and celebrated their own incompetence. As creatives we are asked day in day out to talk through this disaster. We all have our memories of what went wrong, what was lost. My memory is in the envelop labelled what we gained.

2020 I had three guide words troubadour, collaborator, workshop. I was going to travel, work with others, make a contribution to the understanding, commitment and interest of others. Someone else somewhere was giving me another set of names. Extremely vulnerable, shielder, locked down. They said I would be on the island and a buffoon would hold his arms around me. I rejected all that and I continue to. Instead I became safe, secluded but still involved.

Lock down gave me time and I took it. I travelled internally, I travelled virtually, I had at least one gig a month, I spoke to curators and one said play. Play. Play. Play. And I did. I engaged with form, I created prompts, I devised characters, a haiku writing newt, a daily shellfish, I joined online associations, I exhibited. Some of the exhibitions were collaborations. I loved one of my collaborators. I still love one of my collaborators. I hold a deep affection for her but at the same time I’m moving on. My characters have found new partners, new opportunities.

At the end of the day there is Winter Rime. A collaborator said lets do a pamphlet about snow. The pamphlet became Winter Rime and Winter Rime engaged me and found engagement coming back from others to the degree I felt loved, trusted, supported and all these things in the shadow of new 2021 where my guide words changed to kindness (I need to show more of it to myself, to others), lonely (there is a child in my past who sat on sandstone whittling sticks – he is myself, I must find him show him some compassion) and detachment, my secret power, my ability not to be hurt, not to show fear.

In the pandemic what I gained was partly time, party inspiration, partly I gained myself.

The Journey from there to here:

I scrolled down carelessly ignoring the prompt, felt cold towards the envelops, was prepared to let this particular offer go. A demon sat at my shoulder. I told it off for its rudeness in peeping at the words I wanted to start writing. I left it.

I came back to it felt challenged by it. Can I allocate just one memory to the task. All that time, all that loss, all that gain. No. It will not do. All I can do is summarise a lifestyle, a life time of memories, acts of creations which confirmed who I am, why i breathe.

You cannot have a memory. I defy you. No single memory will suffice when gains outscore loss. So I summarise and from that I commit a poem, not in the form you suggest but as a cinquain which summarizes no one memory but rather summarizes another lifestyle from another life time.

Winter Rime is my greatest moment of creative breakthrough. It is co-authored with a greater spoken word poet than myself who does not believe in herself as much as I believe in me. We did it together. She had an idea, I developed it. I sent her my poems. She sent me hers. I put them together. We talked titles. We couldn’t decide. We asked another to choose based on our suggestions. He did. We accepted his choice. So far so good. It snowed. She leaned out of her window, took photos, posted them on facebook. I took one. Made it our front cover. Asked around for a recommendation for a printer, got one, acted on it. It came back I held it in my hand. It felt so good. It felt clean. It was real. Started asking around about it. Hawking it. We were given a showcase. We were given an interview. Friends started asking for a copy. Its selling well. So much from so little effort but its not the pounds. Its never the pounds, its the ratification, the love, the trust, the support. And its my first pamphlet. A realisation of a dream I thought would never come. I can write, I can speak, I have a voice. What else do I need?