Some blogs from my Spoken word events as well as a selection of poetry

Welcome to my Poetry page. My posts here are a mix of featured poems I have written and photographs or videos from Open Mic Nights and Slam Competitions. I am also available as required for poetry or literature events.

All rights to all words on this page reserved


2019 Round up

All in all its been a good year for me poetry wise. Having done my 1st open mic in April I’ve attended open mic night’s regularly in Swindon at Ooh Beehive and Rusty Goat’s Poetry Corner. I’ve also travelled slightly further afield to Cheltenham for Squawkers and Stroud for Pirahna Poetry. I’ve done two charity feature sets for TWIGS and Swindon Mental Health Festival 2019. I have also taken part in 3 slam competitions: Swindon 23rd Poetry Slam, Gorilla Slam and Squawkers Inaugural Tag Poetry Slam and achieved two semi final places and a third place respectively. For 8 months I am very pleased with how things have gone.


The bells will chime at midnight as hands are clasped and voices raised in a celebration of life renewed. 
A moving from past to future in hope and optimism. This is how it should be
Yet for some the phoenix has not emerged from the ashes but flown away to never return
Crying its grief to the darkening sky above/as its tears fall to wash over the ones it has left behind. 
Trying to heal a hurt that will never truly heal. 
The life that moves under the silent earth does not call to the forgotten/the left behind/the ones missing a part of themselves that cannot be seen. 
These souls can only spend those moments thinking of life stilled/in quiet rest in an earth that does not speak their name.
The holes left in the world are an invisible/intangible/untraceable call of the void that should be filled with warmth and love
And cannot be seen by those that flock around them completely unaware of the energy dissapated and lost to the ether/an absence of emotion in all its positive and negative aspects
Missed equally by those who would trade even a sad and bittersweet smile for a few moments more attached to that invisible force/a part made whole
Life does not always renew. Spring will not always come. Some flowers do not bloom perennially. 
And those moments of noise/celebration/cheer will not pass without the taint of a memory that will not be stilled. 
The passing of the old to the new in silent reflection and a hope to endure

TBB.

10th December 2019

Tonight I did my second full feature performance at Ooh Beehive at The Beehive. It was good fun albeit a quiet night. It was great to be alongside two talented poets like Nafeesa Hamid and Giovanni ‘Spoz’ Esposito.

Side by side images of 3 people. A black and white image of a man with a mohawk speaking into a microphone. A headshot of a woman in glasses and a red beanie reading The Beanie Bard on a background of book pages. And a woman sat at a table with books in the background

30th September 2019

Tonight was my first full feature performance excepting those for charity. I did 20 minutes at Rusty Goat’s Poetry Corner at Baristocats which was a really good experience. I am very glad I got to do the shorter features first, however even then it was still as scary as it was great. Below is the opening poem of my set

I rant and I rave as I spit out the words that soothe 
The bruise 
On my skin and within/my heart
and soul
The toll it takes
The surf breaks/again and again
On my pain 
And my mind
So how do I find
The words to tell my story in a gentler manner
Without the hammer-ing and urgent beating of my heart
A part/of every time I’ve tried before
But I will try once more 
Oppression 
Suppression 
Repression 
Aren’t they all just words for depression 
Synonyms. Words at play 
Don’t show the way/my heart can ache 
And break. I’ve mentioned my heart now once or twice
But it’s a heavy price that deserves the words
To be heard. To lose your heart and mind
Have them left behind/in the mud
The blood. 
Amidst the din you wipe broken skin and clotting blood
Sticky. Black
That packs/your cuts and grazes
The ones no time erases.
Depression doesn’t need your clocks
It stops/your watches….
And watches.
PTSD?
Easy.
Rhyme it with anxiety
Or even ocd
Or Bpd
All good diagnoses end with D
Because my mind/my personality/every bit of me
Is disordered disordered
Ans I ought to/know by now
Know how
To explain that
Cold hard fact. 
I’m the ball bouncing off the pins
I spin and am thrown
Through reams of diagnoses
Neuroses
Psychoses
Fuck, what rhymes with bipolar
Bollocks. Rhyme it with bipolar 
It makes sense to me to rhyme it with itself 
There’s not much else
That works. And besides
It’s an ironic aside to the shitty nature of the beast
That likes to feast/at both ends of the table
A little unstable. But that’s the general choice of phrase
For the ways I react
As my mind is cracked
Into two separate poles/two differing roles
Two separate sides of the fairground ride 
I am on. And have been for too long.
Elation. Euphoric elation
A mind awoken from sedation
The chemical numbness of medication
Strapped to a rocket that flies to the moon
Only it peaks too soon/as panic 
Over rides how manic I’ve been
And the voices kick in
Within/my head, my brain
And once again their ideas aren’t great
I’d take a pass but it’s much too late and I crash
Into depression
Bollocks
I’m back where I started

TBB

1st September 2019

Today I did a 20 minute closing feature for Swindon Mental Health Festival 2019. It was a great day and an honour to perform a set about living with Bipolar. My blogs on self injury were also available as handouts on the day.


10th August 2019

Today’s poem is one about a mixed Bipolar episode where you suffer aspects of both mania and depression. This can cause a wide range of symptoms such as agitation or irritability

There are a million fleeting thoughts
In a microcosm,
The single beat of the restless heart
That drives the blood in fluctuant waves to the wandering brain.
And between the in breath and the out,
They bounce like so many urgent, scattered, escaping frogs
Chaotic, erratic and uncontrolled
From a neurological jam jar
Held by a clumsy child
With undue carelessness.
Paradoxical paralysis occurs due to the opposing forces in all directions
Each nullifying the other
Causing absolute decay of momentum,
Stagnation.
This jittering body, this motor driven husk of blood and bone 
Stilled only from its ceaseless drive to be moving 
By the utter apathy of its directing mind.
Agitated instead into self directed cognitive flagellation
And wishing for silence
Blessed silence.

TBB.

7th August 2019

Another mic night at RGPC at Baristocats plus an impromptu performance at the Ipsum event. Decided to feature a poem today written about Autism

Shes like a whirling dervish
Of energy/and fury/and rage
Exploding like a supernova, helpless to her impulses
Screaming her outrage at the world
Limbs uncontrollable
No matter how hard each time is for me
And it is
It’s a million times harder for her
Being in this world
THIS world
This world of noise-and colour-and confusion
This world where people don’t mean what they say…..
…..don’t say what they mean.
This world of conformity
Uniformity
Everybody made to be a Windows operating system
And she’s a Mac
So I calm my breathing
Slowly.
Deliberately.
Ascend the stairs softly calling her name
Ignoring the answering shrieks of agitated incomprehension at the world that has wronged her by its illogical insistence on things that shouldn’t really matter
Like growing up. Or change. Or sometimes even being offered toast or weetabix for breakfast when those arent what she wants
But she doesn’t know what she does want so why aren’t the right choices being laid out for her to choose from
I push open the door and sit down on the bed quietly..
Silently..
Just sit.
And wait.
Next to the jumbled tangle of arms and legs and helpless resentment
Waiting
Waiting for the right time
The right moment
The right second
An intuition only borne of my own experience
Experience only mine because nobody experiences this the same way
And each time I experience this the experience changes
And at times my experience is that I dont deal with it this way
And I lose my shit
Because it’s exhausting to be the only safe place in a storm.
Then berating myself for not remembering that she’s the confused and frustrated one
But also feeling confused and frustrated
Clinging to the driftwood of my own emotions as I’m buffeted by hers
Raging at the hurricane because I don’t have the tools to control it and get to her in it’s centre and make her safe
Tools that nobody knows how to make
Tools that have to be made/and destroyed/and remade with each shift of the sands we stand on
Because the only predictability about Autism is it’s unpredictability
Perfect chaos theory
Affected by every flap of the butterfly’s wings
Whirling dervishes…

TBB

Photos from previous mic nights

black and white image of a woman in a beanie, tshirt, jeans and converse speaking into a microphone. In the back ground is a banner reading Rusty Goat Poetry
Rusty Goat’s Poetry Corner. 1st time hosting. February 2020. Photo by Scott Cowley
image of a woman in a coloured beanie, grey tshirt, denim shorts and converse speaking into a microphone. In the foreground are people watching
Squawkers at The Sober Parrot in Cheltenham whete I had a ten minute open mic for the first time July 2019. Photo by Drea Macmillan
black and white image of a woman in a beanie, tshirt, denim shorts and converse speaking into a microphone in a pub
Ooh Beehive Midsummer Worders 5 minute open mic at The Beehive Swindon July 2019. Photo by Olivia Alexander
A photo of a woman in a blue beanie, black vest and blue shirt, denim shorts and checkerboard shoes, leaning on a purple crutch and speaking into a microphone. In the background is a green gazebo
10 minute feature slot at Twigs charity night run by Rusty Goat’s Poetry Corner June 2019. Photo by Drea Macmillan

Image of a woman with blond hair and a grey patterned beanie wearing a white vest and blue shirt, speaking into a microphone
Open mic at Rusty Goat’s Poetry Corner May 2019 5 minute slot. Photo by Drea Macmillan

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