Tag Archives: childhood

Gremlins and molehills

My home is the stage, or so I thought. Nobody wants to hear me, besides, I’m not allowed to say what I think.

This was me, aged 21 after discovering that performance poetry was the one place where I couldn’t be shot down. The one place where I wasn’t being told that I wasn’t good enough. The one place I wasn’t compared to someone my family or peers knew. The only place where I could speak my mind and people had to listen.

The stage is my home, I don’t get nervous, I come alive when I’m centre stage. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Having written and rewritten my piece for Man Up, my confidence level was always around 8 – 10 on any given day in practice mode. I’ll be just fine for the shows, do what I gotta do.

Somehow the closer I got to the shows, an old gremlin spoke up and asked, “What if I mess up?” Fear of failure, fear of not meeting expectations, fear of letting others down had all shackled me for most of my years. Despite my confidence in my ability to deliver, it caused me to practice even harder right up to the last minutes before I was to step into the limelight.

Despite controlled recovery from a few stumbles, I beat myself up for the rest of the first show. I told myself it was awful, that my part was the weakest out of the solos. I told myself that the crowd didn’t want to hear me talk about race and masculinity, they came for the stories from people like them. They didn’t want someone to rhyme at them with all those hand motions. I told myself a lot of things. Somehow the rest of the cast didn’t see it like I did. They told me they saw me come alive, they heard my passion, they told me they had to remember to hold their applause.

I arrive at the mid-point of a series of performances, so far two nights, two sold-out shows. I was better this time, not perfect but better in the second show. Self-awareness can be destructive at times, yet with 3 shows to go, I realise the importance of embracing the bright. Take the microphone away from the gremlin and make your voice count in a good way.

I’ve got two shows in one evening before the final performance a day later. What matters most? The simple truth is my story is being heard in a way that only I can tell it. At some point I’ll tell it again without the production values, I might even give you the extended version. Simple truths about the best of what I’m doing matter more than amplifying minor faults. Knowing the mountains from molehills will take you far.

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Filed under Non Poetic Blogs

Drifter

Watching a Father losing his son in front of his eyes.

Seeing the screams barricade his heart in the name of strength

Like the last drop of water rung from a spun load

A tear fell

Traffic stopped, my eyes gazed sky wards

Watching my Father like a worn watch

Praying for time, wondering what will happen when

It happens

There’s a first time for everything they say

He hugs me now with more strength than he ever disciplined me with

We are old friends that once were foes

It’ll soon be time for me to complete the circle

I hope we can hula hoop, if but for a moment

Though some stone him, his shoes I have grown in

Shunning the shade of shalom with my mother’s tongue

I am my Father’s son,

Enlightened I wonder when that which will be has come

Will I be bound or free

Torn between his life and my existence

Conflicted.

A little boy lost

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Filed under Just Living

Bearwood Pick Nick (52/8)

bearwood high st

Every Saturday morning when Des Lynam’s moustache was doing it’s final stretches during the weather just before Grandstand we found ourselves…

In sniffing distance of the Kings Head
Blunt’s shoes? you’d never wear them unless you smoked, were barely out of the cot or closing in on retirement.
Where cash machines are places of worship and the church on the corner is a convenience store outliving us all.
As chips a shade of oompah loompah that fish pouting glamour pusses would bathe in are trophy dinners.
If traversing that red and grey bricked hill to purchase 105 of the 5-a-day was deemed a winner.
I’d grow up fruitless, a damned sinner
See once raiding freezer heaven was finished….we’d head there……
To the land of the A-Team branded Cornflakes, peaches and rice.
Where stealth entry to this economically viable leviathan was vital.
Where purchases were disguised in Safeway’s and Tesco bags to avoid being seen as cheap.
There’s nothing special about this rabidly chavvy anti Monaco
16 years tasting traffic jams instead of tavern pies, doing bicep curls with bags of cabbages.
Drowning in trolley fountains and blue rinse eruptions at the temple of torrential tedium
This wretched hamlet conspired to feed me the beauty of Anneka Rice.
She was round the corner but hey, for every pleasure, there is a sacrifice.

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Filed under 52 Week Challenge

19 Stone Smile (52/9)

19 stone smile was bad, like Mike in 87
Until I met the real miss jackson with her hips and twisted melon
Quiet dog and a fruit cake for whom love was a never.
18 years were two words and (an) escaped life sentence
The mirror separated the pedant from the peasant.
In the future an atheist would bring a Christian to repentance
Dating was a time of the month, lust seemed so feral
It was perpetual rebounding until I found my level
If you’re travelling without moving, how do you know haven’t settled?
The love of love was a drug and for pot I never kettled
Not a man united but experience made for a read devil
Making music without producing, I lied to heavy meddle
Hope my nemesis forgives me for being the herb to her petal
Not everyone’s cup of tea but she knew I deserved better.
Would have loved sons but clouds didn’t produce our weather
My love story’s a challenge
With every page I’m counting blessings
I thought my 19 stone smile was bad like Mike in 87
I was a child then and a child then
After 36 months of emptying my vessel to find my forever
I grew up and realised she was simply the start of the lesson

With the examination my ties were shredded
In 6 years of wrestling I’ve done turn buckle swallow dives
My heart learnt to swallow knives
To see if they would cut it I found myself to lose my mind
Sometimes you need a bare soul to grow into your shoe size
Now my 19 stone smile is someone’s 10 or 25
As my smile
Is now mine
For life

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Filed under 52 Week Challenge, Relationships

Flagged Offside (52/7)

United 92 away

I was just young and black, in gold and green cuffs.
Sent to the wolves, a young cub full of cereal.
I was a serial offender, great pretender
Midfield or defender, I couldn’t remember
I just handed out oranges.
Water boy before The Waterboy
The captain was the manager’s son
A right little Lord Fauntleroy
Bib master, ball boy, cone king
Occasional substitute, should have swapped oranges for another fruit
Dammit I was everything!

Was there something they weren’t telling me?

King of the spelling bee wasn’t helping me
This thing called football required a different type of memory
I could dance better than any white kid raised on chicken, rum and reggae
I had the running man perfect but with a ball?
Ermmm okay…
I was not Steve Staunton or Stan Collymore
Ladies and gentleman in one game I nearly scored
I was young a foolish villa fan
But could I run with a ball?
Could I hit it true like I gave a damn?
Not even Obama would say Yes He Can!

For St Faith and St Laurence I was offside on the touch line
A whole lotta heart not skill was my punch line
When I tried to read the game I was tongue tied
Aston Villa couldn’t inspire pride
When they passed to me they looked petrified
Why couldn’t the clumsy demon be exorcised?
I was too much of a saint to pray abusive parents drank pesticide
Wearing claret on my sleeve I became blue
Praise would be wonder land but cats just asked
Who…are …you?

I am the black Vinnie Jones
A Roy keen to see red
Devil in a new shirt
Not that ugly black red and green striped
Muller branded
Would look better if puked yoghurt was splashed at.

Villa Park will never will be better than my hell on hallowed turf
Old Trafford is more than a theatre
When I watch them I am a dreamer
Scoring Hughes screamers
Weaving the blood of ogres with Ryan’s wing wizardry
My long legs will be David Gower’s bat on a tricky wicket
When that ball comes I’ll know where to stick it
Call me Michael Ricketts and you might hear crickets
I will be a chocolate Alex Ferguson with the master plan
12 years old I will be the man because I am
A United fan

They’ll no longer scold chocolate green and gold.
Paid my dues in the freezing cold
If I tackle you, reach for that 3 digit call
999, see you at City Hospital
Not arrogant just better, yes I’m that bold
I’m a united fan, don’t you know
Trap a ball, head it
Let’s take it slow
One day I might have Tor Andre’s flow
I might score a great goal or swing and slip
Then again…. running for number 10 …
I might just end …in the premiership

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