Thursday, June 30, 2016

Thom Brady Poetry Football

Sounds like you were briefly hot and exciting with The Bernzmaey in Romania. Thanks for inviting me. I had a rubbish time here in Dublin when you were in Romania getting it on with the Mabzta. Jealously seized me and there was nothing I could do but sit here with writers block, fuming for several days, barely writing a word, until the dark cloud of depressing paranoid thoughts lifted, when I thought I read that the European trip you were so happy on, had all gone horribly wrong; and that cheered me up no end. Until I saw I'd misread the post and you were actually very happy.

After which i collapsed back into a low level hum of anger and ill will. But I have cheered up now because the great feminist politician and possible next President of the United States, Hilary Clinton, has asked me to be one of her campaign's official poets in residence, touring speech stops and warming up for her with some of my early love poetry; that I hope America will find as much love hearing and reading as I found bitter unhappiness straight after writing them and finding the courage to follow through my stupid plan the fateful failed night after i gave what i thought was a very innovative ordering and excellently stapled and very well put together home made diy collection, to its intended giftee.

Who just completely crushed me and nearly sent me into STOPPING ALTOGETHER when she shouted in my face and told me in no uncertain terms to piss off because she felt creeped out by me 'following' her. There's no law against being in the street at any time of day or night.

This was my first, unpublished chapbook, 'Fuck Off.' The experimental poetry came to me over several years after leaving Rampton Detention Unit, when I was on probation in London, and working as an interior decoration consultant and outdoor landscaping contract supervisor. With a Canary Wharf office and several people I could shout at and felt very superior to sending out to get me sandwiches and coffee. They are a must have. Underlings to shout at. For a medicated manic depressive like me, they are vital for my well being.

But I will get to the point. The reason why I am here. I wanted to ask, if it doesn't work out with me and Hilary, if the scene turns shitty for me there, if she starts trying to tell me how to live my life or write my work, please can I come and live with you and the Mazba and start a poetry commune in New England, please? I think it would be great. Me, you, Nembzta, who perhaps could give me a start at his university standing about teaching silly voices, running open mics, and setting up a publishing press, finally see my chapbook, Fuck Off, in the printed saleable form it needs to be in if the word is to get out across America. If I am to become one of my new home's most beloved bardic bores. I am thinking of offering a facebook poet contact in Brooklyn, the opportunity of her and her husband setting up a NY base for me, and you, and Ben, when we start doing readings together there, and begin our journey to wherever we end up as America's Next Top Poets. I will post a piece immediately after the result.

Thanks, Thom. I like it better when your name is spelt this way, it is soo more pretentious and effective. Ye never get a second chance to make a first impression, you know, Thom.

Um. Argh, er, yeah, one small thing, mate, how long ava known ye now? Please can you buy me a plane ticket and I swear on Armchairbros next stunning prose collection that he will make sure you get it back from my first payday from whatever university teaching job you, the bobsakil , or any of our colleagues and people i do not know, complete strangers, who are really just friends we've not yet met, can create for me. I wouldn't mind working in tv, with an office, and my own dining, living, and sleeping area. An apartment would be amazing.

And any easy enough no show job you must be able to get me at Lesley, would be just so sweet, darling? Or get Pinksy to give me a no show job. I think we would collaborate well together. The ultimate American master, me, you and the male poetry mafia. Like in cosa nostra, but the cosa nostra of Bawsten poetry.

I was told by my university tutors that the way to success in the world of poetry is to find others whose places you can stay at and who will financially support and contribute with day to day expenses involved in running a focused and committed practice that is fit for purpose in this new era replete with opportunity for any who seek beauty in a song.

I am deeply unhappy now.

Slainte, good luck, hope you do well, but not too well that it will crush my own already very blocked (for five years now) writing process. I am doing a lot of conceptual poetry that is great because it only exists in performance at the synaptic level of thinking something in the mind, and so the performance occurs in the brain only in conceptual poetry and a poem can be done and dusted and go on the CV without even having to have been thought, because it's not like anyone's gonna know, unless the Thought Police are in America yet?

I'm not going if there are no Thought Police to police what I am thinking and keep my mind safe and in this respect I am hoping DS will join our exciting gang of man poets and we can talk discuss shows, times, runs, and how my new life at the Poetry Foundation will be organised. Here's to us. I know where you live, Thom.


Yeah, take no notice of my harmless speculative typing practice. Me and you won't ever run out of long windy screeds of spontaneously composed printed lingo. I remember when we first met on Harriet Blog the summer of Obama, and you and Chris Woodman were the only other two people I had stumbled into online, doing what i had been for the previous four years. My own thing. An unpublished wannabe bardic bore banging all manner of Irish text in English translation against my head like a tea strainer, seven years into working thinking and typing hard on a swivel chair, with another seven to go before the process finally reached some form of resolution fourteen years after I first wrote as a total thirty-something failure, building site operative and latterly an office jockey, who'd written three (very bad) poems over the previous eighteen years.

Then the floodgates opened and the words began erupting on 2/1/01 and didn't stop and still are coming enough to know even if the stuff is not up there with Mezbos and Armchairbros, we can be the B team, they can be our patrons.

We can go stand in for them, if they have any gigs in Dublin they don't fancy doing, that I can do, and that way I could get back at all the slam and live poets here who I am currently in the tenth year of having to deal with as creator of the AIPS and very influential figure in Dublin literary circles that go round the back of my flats and up to the top of the hill and round south city centre, where all the most ordinary working-class Dubliners live and speak a back-slang cant, patois and Dublineez that is chillosophizing and Cuchualinary (copywrite John Cummins Poetician) at once both of and its self and what of itself and very very seriously slippery and whack fol the loora toora laddy whack fol the toora loora lay'ish and by gawd tis a grand place altogether to have a good splurge me aul mukka. God bless, me ye and thee A team dudemanbrosis.

Thom, you know I know you know I know about what's happening with the dreams and plans and schemes to eff u ova, that are only a symptom of a made up mental illness, that i invented and pretend makes me say racist shit, just in order to be able to say shit that's not true, and that I can just then pretend I am mentally ill and get away with it.

It's great. Recondite as Joycean pub crawls on Paddy's Day, when I had my first great idea of the year, and am not going to tell you here because it is intellectual property and intellectual property is very important to someone as significant and influential in certain open mic poetry circles as me. At the very bottom of the ladder, I know, I know, but when I am not on drugs or in prison serving sentences for violence, bank robberies, jaywalking - i fukin jaywalk all over this city, and no one's ever gonna stop me - all kinds of really cool incredibly craic'd and well smooth because I am actually an international war crimes suspect and the cia are very worried one may well take up that opportunity, turn up, do that gig with Hilary Clinton, and, because, well, lets just say there's some unfinished cia cos nostra Irish poetry business, lets call it, and certain high value never before revealed state secrets i stole from Dublin castle and are going to the highest bidder.

Yeah, that's me, a full time war criminal laughing at the pathetic response of international law and at all the mayhem my dreams made real, that me, i, oneself caused, all the wars i started, all the hate i put into the world, and all the repenting I did when i was saved and born again as a licensed preacher and completely rehabilitated volunteer in a small project looking for a patron. Patron of the AIPS, PAIPS, paips is good, its funky, i can go with paips. Marketing just comes natural to me, Thom.

And so sing sweet so friend, i am very seriously and often deeply emotionally disgusted at myself for the harm and mass graves my poetry made happen with just one call of the The Morrígan and straight she comes getting stuck in and demanding really, all the killing and dying and Middle East turmoil i am responsible for as a poetry hating Little Facebooker with a fanzone and everything. Come over, I can put you up, a hundred a night. Spare room. Send the money now and we get started on the All Ireland Poetry Slam funding i am desperate for and without which sadly may well not happen. I have funded it myself all these last nine years, and nine men have won. Do you know what that makes me feel like, Thom?

Fek'n terrible. I am this close to jibbin it off and just going over there to start over, escape the pain here, begin a new life working in a scene i can set up here and with you, arms, my initial-sake, the mebzta, and, who knows, there's loads of poets there that i could start a new rest of my life scene with. Use my wisdom teaching skills that have been handed down to me by generations of healers, carers, lovers of wine, writing and song, and i cud start some writing classes and earn a shitload of lolly outta before the penalty payments kick in, and i have to start work again at the front-line, city centre south, where the coat'd be kut str8 frum ye bak. You know, Thom, I think if I keep going to the angel healing sessions and sign on at the police station every afternoon, stay out of prison, pull a few more blags, a bitta pavement work, all will be kushty mwolgrae. Peace ow yohl.

Why you are SHOUTING.

Leed's finest, Lee, twenty-five, swastika tatts: Am a nationalist, standin upfi ma kuntreh.

Please, the working-class, Stockholm syndrome sufferer, someone has hacked this account and taken over the voice of it and you are being made to write against your will, a mentally-chained perma-viktimid, brainwashed by the English class system all England is born into, and the working-class acting against the best interests of you, your collective mind, hijacked by the working class phony 'new' Labour tory Tony Blair, indoctrinated, lied to, kidnapped by the language of New Labour-Con, that makes no mention of you, silently stolen, stripped of your identity: 'the hard working people of this country', without a name, a wholly invisible, seventeen million Brexiters, the many Bremainers claim, and no both sides, split by Bojo Gorj Guv and Dave, four mountebanks with loud braying sales pitch, all the belief, hope, identity, love and only your one true working-class prayer, the one corner of England you can escape to in your imagination when being constantly abused by the four Lord tory boys and Conservative party's primary male abusers, silencers of the one true English culture that is not Etonian's Bojo, Dave, Gorj and Guv's, laughing at you, blamed for their mess, pissing on you and our peoples' faces and speaking very very slowly and deliberately, as if we are very very stupid, and in a very very loud voice condescendingly mocking us and laughing at us defecating into our mouths, stealing our very agency by one verbal trick of sly speech and in English they are re-configuring it, fit for purpose, into phony blares they confuse and switch and bait, this then, click that move this, no yes what where are we?
Not one straight statement. Were is the surplus Gids prom'd us, yeh yohl, their backs turned on ours and laughing in our faces you believe it's your fault, because they have an Ayten voice that strips and brutalises you, in what you think of as their language but that is actually yours, the lions led to see ourselves as a donkey when one of the tuck shop toffs turns up and starts. Ordering us about, first with smiles and confident bearing, lots of promises, beads for everything from where we're standing to the end of the horizon.
We gave them it, everything is theirs now, and you too, volunteering you for their wars, their long lists of silent dead working-class millions, yet it is their songs, their language, not yours, and you are silently informed in a patronising piss take voice you secretly fear, love, loathe, and every single living thing within us, that can be got out is in your language, but without the pomp, the pageant of recorded history, it is all theirs, the rich golden haired white donkeys braying at us lions in their zoo, for the past six years.
And it is at the stage we have run out of new ideas and if anyone has any, please do not air them here in this zone at this time in ongoing and uncertain political events. Anything can happen. Zeus toppled the Twin Towers, the left cannot hold, working-class phonies they are all Blairites, loyal to the hard working people of this country, as 'wortking-class' is no longer in use, after being banned, quietly, in a secret memo from the office of phony blares, that has a .DICKHEAD extension that opened released hundreds of quislings and clones, factory workers paid to not ask questions and vote for what they got told to by the enforcers and a Messiah that we regret to inform you, is wholly unreal, fake, not there, from the office of fake blooms in culture and language, here come the blerts, you can listen to them fart God Save The Queen, shit on Her Majesty's Crown, in gramma's face, make or break the Unions, and all this for the very reasonable price of treacherous cretins delusionally perverting the cause of Democracy. 
Knowing they are up shit creek facing the crocs, the chancers and cheats buried up to their necks in everything that happened, seem petrified now by the dead millions' collective accusatory voice. For the first time since phony Blair decided to kindly bomb democracy into their countries, hear it speak. 
A voice they've thus far managed to magically block out and separate from the day to day business of bluff, bluster and spin creating the New Labour 'democratic' (Old Labour 'undemocratic') process of inclusive (highly exclusive), tolerant (no disagreement allowed) and aspirational (austerity) Britain.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Guardian Poem of the Week Forum

Response to a Nessa O'Mahony Facebook update on Carol Rumens' latest Seren Books poetry collection, Animal People.

I don't think Carol bothers much with Facebook. At least that is the impression I get from what she says at her forum for global poetry lovers, Poem of the Week; where I have been lucky enough to learn a lot from this legendary figure in British poetry.

I was there the very first week she started, at the beginning of October 2007, six years into my writing journey, with a poem in translation, Far Rockaway, by the Welsh-language poet Iwan Llwyd, translated by Robert Minhinnick.

I was in the thick of my write-thru phase, where you take one text, and re-configure the words into another. And when you get the hang of it, split the words themselves into their constituent letters and re-configure them into different words. It was my contemporary equivalent of Ogham exercises, as I had in my mind the idea that what I was doing was pretty much similar as a practical and intellectual exercise, to how the old bards would've been introduced to and worked with the concepts behind Ogham.

The Guardian Books Blog had not long started then, and I was on my second or third username there, HumanLove, after my combative chip on the shoulder speculative discourse had got me banned from every online poetry forum I'd joined. I was still learning, half way through my own equivalent of the twelve year Fili curriculum of yore; facing into the second half of it.

At that point I was a typical working-class gobshite, very much viewing any Published poet as a know-nothing fraud and my own unpublished rants the voice of the common people.

Over the next six years there I went thru literally hundreds of usernames, seeing myself in the phantasmagorical swirl of my own imagination as some hard done to victim of a conspiracy by the intimidatingly titled Community Moderators to silence and stop me from writing. There'd be long stretches when I'd be left alone, and then, sometimes justified, at other times out of the blue, the username I was posting under would have its 'posting privileges' removed and the merry-go-round would start up all over again.

Some names would last a couple of months, some a week or two, and others not even a day. Some days I'd get through multiple usernames, and by the end had refined the sign-up process down to several minutes. Setting up as a result hundreds of email accounts to facilitate myself getting back in and writing there again.

Around 2012/13, after years of gradually being wore down, I finally conceded defeat once they really clamped down on me and anything I posted was being removed within minutes of its appearance. I spent a year away and when I returned (as gwionb) was left completely alone. Clearly because without me influencing things and trying to be the centre of attention all the time, the poster politics moved on. And so a year of silence and the other voices had filled the void and replaced me as the primary troublemaker. And it had become obvious once I first fell silent there, that in the grand scheme of human doings, what I had been getting up to on the Books Blog was utterly harmless. And also, as nobody else had been doing it, not entirely without merit.

It was a unique way to learn, to spam at length and get out what I had been reading. All the translations of the old bardic texts. And writing there teaches the newb how to focus on a poem at hand and not get sidetracked into talking of extraneous things.

You knew you had written something well when you posted it and the place fell silent and it got left up. The very best was when they left the writing up but removed the posting privileges of the account that contributed it. You learnt from experiencing it, how crafty the publishing game is. How the exclusions are done silently, and to the naive unknowing Reader it appearing as if you'd just stopped writing and gone away of your own accord, rather than some very clever anonymous people trying to impose their view of what publishing and poetry is.

Very much a cat and mouse game, with the goal being to write a comment so well that if they removed it they just looked foolish in the eyes of any objective Reader. And having your identity banned with such regularity, taught you how to be spontaneous, keep on the move, and showed you exactly where we all stand in the scheme of reality and publishing. As some there, the long timers who have never broke the rules, they would be gutted to get banned.

Week in and out writing in response to the poem Carol chooses, was a perfect way of gaining critical skills, because after a while you gain lots of experience and learn how to handle yourself among others.

Most there are anonymous, and there's a healthy mix of folk from all over the English speaking world. From general Readers who just love poetry and talking about it, to professional writers who are clearly very eloquent and knowledgeable academics and published poets, who, I am guessing, love practicing anonymously there because they are free of any concerns published writers have about how they will be perceived and received should they start speaking in a voice they wouldn't feel comfortable with under their real identities.

It was when I finally gave up there for the year that I was forced onto Facebook. Very much viewing the platform as a last resort, and far less appealing than Carol's gaffe, because, on the whole, with a few odd exceptions and oases of tolerance, you don't get the same mix of amateur and pro all in the one place writing for the sheer love of poetry. It is far more strategic on the Facebook platform with the pros, as most are either selling something or networking with one liners written to suck up and fawn. The Little Facebooker environment is ubiquitous, with people being able to just screen out any voice that doesn't agree with our own. So the norm is to have hermetically sealed bubbles of total agreement that do not reflect in any way the real world with all its differences of opinion and disagreement. 

I gave Carol a lot of unwarranted stick over the early years, for which, once I recognised what a troll I had been, winced and apologised many times for my outrageous behaviour. But I think now, after nearly ten years, Carol has forgiven me; as everyone there recognises we are part of something unique in the English language poetry world. That is all down to her, Ms Rumens, as we old timers fondly refer to Carol.

Although to the outsider and newcomer it can appear very cliquey and incestuous, with the same voices - no longer my own - dominating the chat with off topic poster politics and theatrical personal blather; it is a truly democratic and great place for beginners to learn how to write criticism. At first Carol was slightly stand-offish but now goes out of her way to welcome and encourage new voices there.

After running for four hundred and whatever consecutive weeks, I am drawn to participate there now only once every few weeks, and post far less than I used to during the first six years when I was there every day gushing like a river. When I knew I was doing something that seemed weird in the eyes of most, but I trusted my instinct that the process would resolve itself. Which it did, around about last year, after fourteen years of being, in my own mind, a student and wannabe bardic bore.

The other part of the fun there is pondering on the identities of the other regulars who are obviously professional writers. There is one called Pinkroom who has been very careful never to reveal their gender or anything else, but is clearly someone at the heart of British poetry, knowing every single poet's work. And someone who I have thought at various points over the last decade, has been everyone in British poetry. The only thing they have given away about themself is that they support Newcastle FC.

The finest mind and most eloquent critic there, in my own opinion at least, is an anonymous poster, gardinergreen, who is also very careful not to reveal anything about where or what gender they are, who rarely strays off topic, and who I have thought is so good they must be either David Wheatley doing commando criticism, or some Yale poet enjoying themselves incognito.

Slainte to Carol, and long may she reign. What her forum taught me is how to view a poem through any lens, come at it from every angle, adopt any position, and write from every critical perspective. It smoothed the chips off my shoulder, as when I began, using the pronoun 'one' felt very false, until learning through the act and experience of writing, that the English language has no restrictions, and it is only our own mind's paranoia that self-excludes us from it. Her unfailing patience and coruscating wit, over the years, through all our ups and downs, led me to to understand what is important to succeed in this game of finding oneself through language. Perseverance, loyalty, and, most importantly of all, Love.

What Heaney, in his essay, Poetry and Professing, labels 'professional love'. 

Or as the Mossbawn mage eloquently informs us:

'To put it simply, I believes that the life of society is better served by a quotation- bore who quotes out of a professional love than by an “unmasking”-bore who subverts out of theory.'

And, as I have said to several times at her gaffe, though it may not be worth much, is wholly sincere, I will defend Carol and her work to the end.

She is a star, and I am one of her biggest supporters, of her the person.

Grá agus síocháin.

Write-Thru of the first week's poem.


Follow me down to a rock far away, far
rock away, golden bard singing

in strings loaded with karma, naming
the street an ocean of lovers,

and night choir whispering a turnpike
turning black coffee to fine gasoline

rain. Clothing two moon-watchers
touching the road-finger, counting

the roadkill, uncertainly tipped
to follow us down to a rock far away;

who star in the air above a changing
bay, in acid filled lullabies painting

a rainbow on every guitar
in the neighbourhood's brownstone.

Fair is the saturnalian rock far away,
turning each hand to write our graffiti

like secret bar-stool rats,
understanding our home place is under

the subway track, where we walk
with each other carrying vowels

following you down to Sidhe streets
far away from the consecrated rock.

Gun city waiting for a train of love
songs and good will mixing,

vote what is left of the the dew,
seek to kiss it today, in Far Rockaway,

Far Rockaway. 

Kevin Desmond