The other day I performed at The Lyric, Hammersmith. I know! It’s a huge gig. I was graced with the opportunity to recite my long-term-work-in-progress as a part of The Writers’ Rave; a night showcasing extracts of plays, poetry and monologues. It’s a fantastic space for writers’ to have their chance under the spotlight and for actors to reveal their text talent’s. I met some fab people and was given a warm reception by the audience. It boggles the mind as to why I was soooooo nervous.
When my name was called, my jelly legs just about made it to the stage without tripping and despite consuming gallons of water, within seconds my mouth was as dry as plain rice and my lips kept sticking to my teeth (thank you cheap lip gloss).
Anywhooo, alls well that ends well.
A huge cheers to Shereen- Mother of the the Rave and to those who supported me. I’m sorry for this who couldn’t make it but feel free to read the poem below to make up for it.
Some of you make recognise the beginning of this piece from ‘The Setting’ extract I posted earlier. This is a more detailed, extended version fit for performance. You may also question the vibrant punctuation and meter? Don’t worry, it’s supposed to be like that! Hopefully it’ll steer your reading of the work in the right direction. I’d also say, it’s not technically a poem but more prose with heavy poetic influence. Right, I’ll stop talking and let the work speak for itself.
Until the next performance!
The sky was bubblegum, the street was ssshhh, the DLR was pfft again.
The birds were jazz, the foxes- heavy metal rock
and to the beat the odd him and her waltzed to the stop.
The clock was ticking; the bus was…procrastinating
as it does when you have somewhere to be.
Annoyingly, eventually the bloody red wounded whale slid to its station.
Reluctantly, it opened its mouth.
Fumbling about she eventually pulled out her oyster.
People tutting and k-m-t-ing behind her.
Panicked, she trembled her card and pressed it hard
against the angry oyster machine. ‘Beep, beep, beep’ it screamed,
loud enough for all to hear. ‘
Seek Assistance’ it read.
‘Pay £2.20’ he said.
Cut to: Inside the belly of the whale.
On the top, at the back-perfect pose for observation.
She sees the richness of the story behind God’s greatest creation.
One by one they take their seats ready for adventure.
The air now cooling, making way for glitter sunsets of September.
Just ahead slumps the mullet man reliving the fag end of the 80’s.
The tinny sounds of power ballads seep through the headphones
causing instantaneous foot tease.
His phone ‘buzzed,’ he answers-
his kids asking why he didn’t pick them up last night.
As his words melt into each other he musters an apology
A few seats beyond another story blooms.
The girl who had a dad like mullet man fidgets for some room.
Lurking out the window, ignoring BBMs,
twirling her liquorish hair and fluffing her latest trends.
Not long out of school, as anyone can see.
Occasionally rubbing her middle, anticipating a baby.
And to her right a mother who was once liquorish haired girl-
holds her boy close to her side.
He’s eager to toddle about yet as much as he tries-
To wriggle his way from her grip she’s adamant of other;
‘I’m not loosing you again’ says the anguish of the mother.
‘I wish someone held me like that.’ Says the eyes of mullet man.
‘If I keep it I’ll be her’ replies liquorish girls hands.
The whale pulls in amidst the vibe of a fast paced concrete jungle.
As if blind folded she discerns the sounds and the fumbles-
Of the lower deck.
The thumps of the footsteps crescendo; ‘O No!’ she thinks; ‘it’s them.’
The eek-like behaviour and fake laughs of the pre GCSE-er’s
disrupting all things zen.
The loud one, the quiet one, the angry one, the dopy one, the smelly one,
all huddle together behind liquorish haired girl.
Conversing as if she’s not there. ‘How dare!’ Thinks she.
Paradoxically, the quiet one, of course the wisest and the most mature,
Earns the respect of the intellect- the new arrival from the lower deck.
The smelly one somewhat coy keeps his arms by his side.
The loud one with no inhibitions points to where the aroma resides.
But not before ticking off the angry one who somehow finds life frustrating.
The loud one shrugs the words of his peer to boast about girls he never had;
Adjacent to the klan whose neon coloured rainbow soon turns bland,
The toddler stares
his shocked face pleads
‘God, 10 years from now say that ain’t me.’
Mum rubs toddlers tum reassuring him that won’t be the case
The intellect from the lower deck stares ahead in disgrace.
But not at the obvious ostentatious-ness of the boys with their fake laughter.
Rather, he stairs at liquorish haired girl who’s eyes gesture
‘Yes. You could be the father.’
And all the while mullet man stares at the intellect
Knowing how the movie goes- totally Juno
The whale pulls in after another ‘ding’ of the bell.
The mother, the toddler, the intellect and the one with the smell-
Spew into the outside world.
The upper deck again almost bare.
The liquorish haired girl proceeds to stare- out the window.
The loud one plays his ringtones,
Drowning out the sounds of mullet mans headphones.
Angry dopy and quiet soon make their way downstairs.
Loud tags behind-he can’t perform without them there.
Mullet man droops into a deep sleep;liquorish haired girl sheds a tear.
Again she rubs her tummy, stands and turns to face the rear.
Locked in eye to eye, vibe to vibe are she and she.
And without exchanging words they trade war stories.
Downstairs the repetition of the ‘pfft-tish’, ‘last stop’ can be heard.
Mullet man jumps out his seat and bolts across the floor.
Liquorish girl close behind pliaes out the door.
‘I said last stop!’ shouts the driver.
She rises, grabs her bag and the metro behind her.
She walks zeitgeists away from the bricks and the stone and the ‘oi-oi’s!’
She climbs up a hill until she no longer feels her legs.
And there she finds it; that patch of jade green grass where she writes best.
She takes her place at the top of the world. The spot where no one goes.
She opens her diary, retrieves her pen and after much inspiration-
Writes her prose.