Sunday, 30 October 2011

Performance at Brizzlemania (On Loneliness)

This is a poem I wrote one night while on tour in Chicago. I was trying to figure out if I was feeling lonely or if I was feeling sorry for myself. After a conversation about this I realised how reluctant I was to allow myself to feel lonely so I just let it be and wrote this.

(Excuse the sound of the waitress walking around the room collecting empty glasses off the tables)

Do not ask me if I'm lonely,

I will not know how to answer.

Mum says I came out her womb,
screaming like I was wounded
until I was put in her arms.

Do not ask me if I'm lonely.

Writers talk about owning their own loneliness,
but I think its just something they say to the walls.

I get mad at time, at times
because it can't give me any more of my childhood.

At times,
all I can taste are the spaces
sore between my broken teeth,

at times,
I see old lovers under falling snow
in yellow summer dresses,
looking like a warm place to escape to.

Grandma says
its amazing what we keep in our brains,
some we want, some we don't want.

This is the darkest place inside me,
I walk in, turn on the night and watch what disappears,
do not ask me if I'm lonely.

I do not know if loneliness is an injury.

I was afraid to learn this poem by heart
because of what it might do to my heart.

I sit with my loneliness and we both agree,
we like each others company,
but only when we know what to do,
with each other.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Breaking Silence by Jacob Sam La Rose & Strange Light by Derrick Brown

This is Jacob Sam La Rose's first full collection believe it or not but it's worth the wait as its published by the leading publisher of poetry, 'Blood Axe'. Jacob is a key figure in the UK poetry world as a performer and writer. I caught up with him for a chat about his thoughts on Slam Poetry and why there is a divide between poetry on the page and poetry on the stage.

Listen Here

This is the forth collection of poetry from US poet Derrick Brown. Derrick Brown is an ex-weatherman, failed magician and paratrooper turned poet. He runs his own publishing house (Write Bloody) and is a key figure in bringing some of the biggest names in performance poetry (such as Buddy Wakefield, Anis Mojgani, Andrea Gibson etc) to the page. I caught up with him in Boardway Market, Hackney for a Boar Burger and a chat about travelling, performing and getting older.

Listen Here

These interviews are episodes from 'The Punch & Gumption Podcast', run by myself and William Stopha.

Subscribe to hear more from UK poets such as Polarbear, Hollie Mcnish, Inua Ellams, US poets such as Emily Rose, Robb Q Telfer and German poets such as Sebastian 23 & Lars Rupple etc.

Here's a video of Derrick at last months Keats House Forum run by myself and Simon Mole.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Operation : You

A thousand miniature versions of me are wearing masks of your face.
They stand at machines behind dirty factory walls,
listening to your telephone voice on the PA system.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Film Recommendations & A Week In Pictures.

Dizraeli's mind-blowing set at Chill Pill.
      A woman shows me her favourite poems at The Stratford Unitarian Church.
  We showed up & rocked Royal Holloway Uni until I collapsed with Flu Symptoms. 
                                                          Poeticat also rocked Chill Pill. 
I can now brag about my ability to cook a traditional Jamaican dish of Ackee & Salt Fish.
Apparently you should know this.

Lastly you should check out these films.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A Capitalist At Dinner by Claude Mckay

In honor of all the people who are currently occupying London’s Stock Exchange, Wall Street and other significant locations in Rome, Vancouver, Oslo , Sydney, Tokyo, Brussels, Amsterdam, Madrid, Athens, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei, Zurich etc. 

As part of the Occupy Movement/Protests I give you this poem by Jamaican poet Claude Mckay.

An ugly figure, heavy, overfed,
-Settles uneasily into a chair;
Nervously he mops his pimply pink bald head
Frowns at the fawning waiter standing near
The entire service tries its best to please
This overpampered piece of broken health
Who sits there thoughtlees, querulous, and obese
Wrapped in his sordid visions of vast wealth

Great God! if creatures like this money-fool
Who hold the service of mankind so cheap,
Over the people must forever rule,
Driving them at their will like helpless sheep-
Then let proud mothers cease from giving birth;
Let human beings perish from the earth.

This poem was written in 1919.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Oct 13th Dream Journal Entry / Conversation With A Woman At A Train Station

There is a particular road that keeps showing up in my dreams. It’s on the side of a hill and it swirls around it. The road is paved with cream colour stones. A row of red bricked houses runs along both sides of the road but I’ve never seen any people. I always pass the road on a double-decker bus. I sit on the left hand side on the top deck and peer out the window onto it.

As soon as I see this road I know I’m dreaming.

Most of my dreams involve some form of transportation. I’ve steered a huge wooden ship through a sleepy ocean, I’ve been a passenger on a plane (in-aisle-eight) and I’ve gone on road trips across deserts with talking coffee cups. But usually I’m either on a train or waiting for one.

I wonder why there are so many transportation services in my dreams when I have the ability to teleport.

Last night I dreamt I was on a platform of an old fashioned train station. The railway tracks were made of rusted steel and thick brown wood which ran across a sea of black pebbles.

I sat on the gravel floor of the platform next to an old woman in a baggy red coat. We were the only people around. The wrinkles in her face were thick like lightning bolts stuck in the sky. We started talking but every time I asked for either her name or what she does for a living her voice and the weather would distort.

This is what she said.

Should’da got a taxi. My father drove a taxi. He used to grow peppermint in the front seat and apricots in the back. He loved nature but hated cyclists. The sky kept falling into his hair. He was full of electricity and if it came with a bill my mother was paying it. The world could have turned off and my mother would have stayed on. She didn’t die, she just stopped running. She walked out of her body for a cigarette and didn’t come back. At the funeral my father said we were sharing a house with too much fire. I only wore red from then on; I was trying to show my father what it felt like to look like him. That’s why I didn’t get a taxi I guess, I might have had to sit in the back seat with apricots.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A Londoner In Worcester (Oct 7th 2011)

Last night I performed a set of poems at the Parole Parlour in Worcester. I was specially happy about my new poems going down well. That night I slept at the local Travelodge. 

My train back to London was at noon the next day. I checked out of my hotel at ten and went for a walk around town. The sky was red that morning. A red sky is meant to be a sign of rain but the sun stayed out. 

Walking past a medieval Cathedral and then a M&S supermarket, I noted the queue for the self service check out and then the free wifi sign outside the coffee shop next door. I wondered how I’d explain this to someone living seven hundred years ago. I pictured myself standing there holding an i-phone and showing it to a man in a black gown and an iron mask.

Outside London people talk to you in the street; this takes some getting used to. I was sitting on a bench and a woman with a face like a rotten carrot came up and sat beside me. Her arm was in a sling and she reeked of alcohol. The conversation went like this.

Her - Hello, you have great teeth.
Me - Oh’, thanks, was I smiling? I didn’t notice.
Her - What do you do?
I thought about this for a moment before answering the question.
Me - I’m a poet.
Her - A poet? How’d ya do that then?
Me - I write poems and travel places to perform them.
She looks at me blankly.
Me - Even I think it’s weird.
Her- Oh’. I never met a living poet before. Do all poets have teeth like that?
Me - I don’t know... some of them wear capes though.
She doesn’t laugh.
Her- How can I find out more about your poetry?
Me - The Internet... look up Raymond Antrobus.
Her – Don’t know nothing about the internet.
Me – I rarely meet a person who knows nothing about the internet. Well, unless I tell you a poem now you may never get to know.
I opened my notebook and read a poem I’m currently working on.
Afterwards she smiles and I notice she has about five teeth in her mouth. They look like yellow dices.
Her – I like the bit about not being able to stand on top of a mountain without feeling like a cloud is shitting on ya. I’m a bit like that. If I could sing or write poems I’d enjoy my own company a bit more. 
A man comes over with a face like a rotten potato. He reeked of alcohol.
Man – Careful mate, she fancies you.
Woman – oh’ shut up!
I check my watch.
Me – Alright, I’ve got to catch my train now.
I got to the station half an hour early and start writing this into my journal.
Disclaimer: All people in Worcester DO NOT look like rotten vegetables.
Upcoming Shows (last of the year before flying to South Africa)
October 11th : Royal Holloway Students Union w/ Simon Mole, Deanna Rodger, Tshaka Campbell, Anthony Anaxagorou, The Ruby Kid, Poeticat

October 14th : Rail Road Cafe' (Hackney) w/ Captain Of The Rant & Rachel Rose Reid
October 15th : Little Lamp (Brighton) w/ Richard Tyrone Jones

October 16th: Stratford Unitarian Church

 October 19th : Gallery Cafe' w/ Adam Kammerling & Anthony Anaxagorou

October 20th : Chill Pill @ The
 Albany w/ Dizraeli, Simon Mole, Deanna Rodger, Poetikat, Mr.T 

October 21st : Mixed Messages @ Mekan w/ El Crises

October 25th : Passing Clouds w/ Rafeef Ziadah 

October 23rd : Keats House Poets Present... (Keats House) w/ Bohdan Piasecki

October 27th: The Horse and Groom (Shoreditch) 
w/ The Ruby Kid plus Guests

October 28th : Open The Gate, Reel Rebel Radio w/ Inua Ellams, Malika Booker, AnthonyAnaxagorou etc
October 29th : Keats House w/ Benjamin Zephaniah, Patience Agbabi and Jordan Westcar

Friday, 7 October 2011

Pictures vs Words Q&A w/ Brighton Based Rapper/Poet Adam Kammerling

Been gigging quite a bit with Adam recently, every time I hear his name I'm heard shouting "I LOVE THAT GUY!" and this mini interview hopefully shows why.

What does your writing desk look like?

I don't really use a desk for writing. I write anywhere with a seat that serves tea. And sometimes even where they don't serve tea. Like on buses. I edit my stuff at a desk. It's got piles of envelopes and books on it, a map of paris and three ash and fag encrusted ashtrays adapted from gu pudding pots. And some dirty cups. 

What is on your to do list?

Send Sam promo stuff. Ticked.
Send Ray interview and photo response. Soon to have a big tick next to it.
Practice new stuff.
Book trains.

Then I have an infinite mental to do list that includes things like save money, be a better person, read the classics, eat vegetables, quit job, get gigs, watch films, get cleverer etc etc  

I feel like my actual to do list is super boring. I'm doing other things today, they're just not on the list. OK?

What's more important, talking or listening?

Listening I reckon. If you don't listen, very little you say will be worth hearing. There's an ancient chinese soundbite in there. Daniel San, one must first listen, only then will he be worth listening to.
Having said that, I am a chatterbox. 

What makes a better story pictures or words?

Well I'm gonna have to say words because I'm biased. However, I am constantly envious of the instancy of visual communication. Pictures are more primal, requiring an effort to disengage as opposed to words which demand an effort to engage with. However words give you control. This answer could get really long. I'll curtail it there.

Respond to this photo
Where walls and board char 
the same beige shades,
and baking tins are beaten flat 
with bricks 
by deranged cake-haters,
what else to do but dump rubbish?
But, as no one coos for the baby
in the 'If Found, Return To Pub' onesie,
No one wants to use a bin
With shit Street-Art on it.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Conversation With A Copper In Dalston

What happened? Kids with guns probably. That’s what keeps happening anyway. Some estates round here hire guns. It’s organised. Young lads go into the estates and can hire a gun without bullets for twenty quid. Scare other kids off. It’s in levels. Next level up is buying a gun with bullets but if the gun is used they have to bring it back within twenty four hours to give time to circulate the gun to an estate in another part of the country. It’s hired out again somewhere else while its just being reported here. Clever eh? Meanwhile, we're onto another group of kids. Each of them is named after a type of brick. They get together and form a wall. While we’ve got our heads banging against other things these kids are making up the streets. Muggings are up so there’s a lot of goods’ being sold through a hole. A tight network of bike thieves operate here too. They peddle more than a lot of the drug dealers. Ah well...