Been A While and Short Story

Merry Christmas to everyone! It’s been a while since my last post because I’ve been on holiday from Artlink. There should be more Artlink stuff up in a week or so. For know here’s a short story I wrote 🙂

Waltzing The Minotaur

Everyone knows that there’s something else. Even on the nicest of days, the suns shining and the sky’s all blue and warm and the clouds fluffy like cotton, even on these days everyone knows there’s something else. Even since the days of the Greeks and the Romans, there’s been something else. It’s human nature to look beyond the clouds, past the sky, through the thick blanket of trees and sky and cloud and space and to see the invisible. It’s human nature, human nature to see more than a picket fence in a suburb, to see more than a smile, more than a headshake. When we awake from the hot-flash of our dreams and flail  and struggle to find which the tear between reality and dream, flail, flail, flailing our arms, lost in the sea, we know there is something more…

I’m lying back, pressing down the blades of grass which tickle my back, begging me to get up. The sky’s all blue again and the sweltering heat is more humid than anything. Everyone’s all serene and calm, on the quilted blankets, slouching, limply like dead wasps. This place is like the dessert, with all the white skin carcasses lying sizzling like bits of bacon in a big pan. I can hear the gentle swish, swish, swish of people’s thoughts, calm, calm, and serene, like the gentle buzz and hum and overspill of a leaky radiator. In my mind the race continues…

There’s these two parts of me, see. There’s one part like everyone’s, calm, calm, serene, and there’s this other part that’s forever a-poke, poke prodding me, rubbing my pride with sandpaper, telling me I can’t can’t, can’t. It’s always there, lurking in the shadows of the maze of my mind, bang, bang, banging at the walls and bustling to be free. The tighter you chain him, the more he struggles. I’m probably being selfish to think that it’s only me who has it, everyone does to a greater or lesser extent, it’s the human condition and it’s always there, in the shadows on the blue sky-est of days. It’s been there since the dawn of time, it’s the residue from the original sin, a product of mans ability to think. The greatest challenge for man is to rid himself of this beast, throw the shackles off and watch the beast co-exist peacefully with his fellow man, the shadow and the light side by side…for even the clouds make shadows in the sky….

Anyway, I’m here on this day, slouching like a dead bumble bee on the lawn, the gentle humswish of people’s thoughts like a washing machine, the warmest of blue skies and the fattest of cotton wool clouds suffocating the sky. My minds racing, following a piece of string through its own maze tirelessly. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.

Strangers blaze a golden trail to nowhere on the tarry concrete, never crossing my path, never entering my life, I can hear their thoughts too, a-humhumbuzzing away, I see there faces melt down the road, just like I see a face at the window of every flat and every high rise, looking down as I look up, looking so forlorn, a seal trapped in a big metal and glass aquarium, staring down at me like he thinks I’m in the big blue sea. I can’t I can’t I can’t. Round here this park is like one bit left un-injected, the one bit of solitude in this city full of people suffocating there desires and their wives. And it’s hardly much of a solitude. Round here in this city it’s like the seventh circle of hell. I moved here to get away from it, to run away from it all and I ended up coming full circle and bumping right into the back of my problems.  In the horizon, I see the city landscape cut into gods canvas, I see the corners licked by the grey of the smoke puffing and seeping from factory chimneys. I can’t I can’t I can’t…

 

I close my eyes, try to drive the darkness to the bottom of my mind, try to let the sunlight flood in, calm, calm, serene. I try to make my body feel light, floating, like a water vapour, to be at peace with myself, with everything around me. I breathe, feeling the cool air dive through my nostrils and clean my mind as if it were a dirty oven shelf. I feel calm, calm…I can’t I can’t, the beast lurking rises violently to the surface causing me to clench my fists and screw my eyes shut…

 

I open my eyes, sunlight blazing a hole through my irises, seeing the park like a kind of cemetery. I feel possessed, my muscles feel tighter and the trees sway despite the absence of a breeze. I feel myself blink and rise in the dazzling light, slowly my muscles begin to move in a sore and careful jive. I trip and dance around the thoughts of a million men, humhumbuzzing away. The park is empty despite the people lying letting this life wash over them like a tide.  I dance my way, as if controlled by invisible strings, towards the throbbing  city. I follow through the maze of traffic and people I have never met, follow the string deeper into the maze. I follow the trail of the beast that I can never find, he hides behind my pride, I dance and pivot, despite the bright light, I have no eyes. I embrace the beast as he and I become one, slowly waltzing through taxis cabs, solicitors offices, ATM’s. We waltz through picket fences and middle class children playing in the yard, through the dingy bars and women scantly clad stooping in the corner. I feel his husky breathe upon my neck and his rough hands on mine, I stare into his eyes, reflections of my own. We waltz and waltz and …My timber limbs creak and groan through the light until it slowly fades like hope, the waxy streetlights buzz and flicker and the curtains draw, The sirens still stare from top floor windows and the starlight rains down like tiny shards of glass…My limbs dance, following a beat I cannot hear, the lyrics I chant are, I can’t I can’t…

 

I awake and the sunlight is dying like a flower, retreating behind the hardness of metal and concrete. I shake off the fragments of a dream, searching for my scope, for reality. The park is now almost empty, apart from the odd passer by melting into grey. I lie where I fell asleep, my back is damp through and I realise it’s been raining. I feel the thin blades of rain pierce my cold, clay like skin and I shiver. I can feel the raindrops, feel them, feel them, Feel them, every one. I hear no voice in my head and my ear is free and clear and clean, to hear the sounds of every disgruntled cabdriver and marital dispute shivering through the glass of an apartment. The sound of the city is beautiful, a delicate eco system, a jungle made of concrete and wire, this is my jungle…I draw open my lips and laugh….

I walk home, feeling the raindrop every step, the soft humbuzzing coming from me oozing to fill the cracks in the pavement. The I can’t’s trail behind my ankles, beating a soft yet persistent tune. I feel alive, and to be alive, I know there is always something else…

This beast he wants to waltz in the sterile sunlight, with the head of a bull and the body of a man… I follow him through the city until the damp lamplight comes on and the curtains are drawn, I will dance with this beast forever more, this beast I call the Minotaur…

 

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Adrian Howells: May I Have The Pleasure?

An interesting artist who tries to break down barriers in society through his intimate performance art. This will be my shortest blog ever.. Just check him out 🙂

The Air Blows Colder

The air blows colder now,

Rises and falls,

Stutters a difficult hello,

Rubs its neck,

Earnest and embarrassed

At its lack of social poise.

 

It dries to dance

With clumsy, tripping feet

But stumbles over the broken pavement;

Shy and defeated.

 

The leaf gives birth to a butterfly,

Oh how can patterned, spun beauty

Grow from water and dirt?

 

I watch its wings grow

Imagine breaking it with cool, damp hands.

 

I take it home

Put it on my mantelpiece,

Still fluttering, still alive.

In a jar, it beats repetitive patterns on the glass.

 

The wind enters through the chimney,

Sifting through the ashes of coal in the hearth,

Hoping to find something, searching.

 

The jar sits next to the urn,

Battering away with an unsteady rattling.

The urn observes the butterfly

With a callous quiet.

 

Butterfly wings would shred like paper,

I could pluck off its antenna,

Pin its legs,

Leave it struggling

Bare and limp,

Broken in my hand.

 

PS. To anyone who asks, and there have been a few when I have read them this, I’ts not about hurting animals and I don’t harm butterflies of course 😛 I’ts about delicate hope.

Young and not so Young.

I want to do a piece getting back to the original reason my Blog is on the web; addressing mental health and my volunteering with Artlink. I feel I have strayed in recent weeks.

Today at Artlink Central, the charity I volunteer with, I was watching a DVD made by Artlink artists’ Elaine Kordys and Derdre ni Mhathuna and various other people. It’s called ‘Young and Not So Young’ and it focuses on elderly people with dementia in the Ward Four of the new hospital in Larbert. Although dementia and talking about mental health among the elderly isn’t usually my focus, I tend to focus on the young, this half artistic film- half documentary style DVD interested me greatly. The way the DVD was made, with touching quotes and a focus on clear sound, made the DVD arty instead of purely documentary driven.

I liked seeing the enjoyment among the participants, when reminders of their past sent strong, happy feelings through them. The project showed things like film, dance, fashion and gardening. Elvis Presley was a popular favourite, something I share in common with them, him being one of my all time favourite artists. As It says on the inside sleeve of the DVD, ‘the film is an exploration of the participants’ relationship with memory and creativity…The project embraces a person-centred approach in which participants contributed as individuals in sharing their life stories m feelings, sense of humour and future.’ The DVD touchingly and sensitively explores these feelings of nostalgia and the worth of strengthening the value of self-worth and appreciation of the past as a journey which shapes who you are.

I was also interested in the DVD on another level. The DVD was the Artwork produced at the end of the project, and a fine piece of Art it was. It was a change in focus from the typical Artlink Project; in which the Art produced would be something produced by the participants, such as a piece of animation or a painting. In this project, the artwork was made by the Artlink Artists’, yet it was about how the participants engaged in the various fun exercises they were given, and their emotions and growth as individuals.

Equally as crucial as the Artwork produced in any Artlink Central project is what the participant gains through sharing this project with the Artist and fellow participants. Every artist has a different method of working; some like to be teaching based; some like to be purely focused on the artwork and the benefit this gives the participants; some like to be care based, building self-confidence and trust. But always, the outcome is positive. And the enjoyment and sense of personal achievement gained from the project is as important as the actual art itself. Artlink focus on participatory art projects, their art is not simply an ‘expert’ making art for an audience who appreciated or receive it. Artlink are much more about moving audience from being passive to actively being a participant, gaining something in the process.

Anyway, check out the DVD. If you’re interested you can get in touch Artlink Central  🙂

Dancing from the DVD

Tarnished

Shhh, don’t tell anyone

It’ll be our secret, as I circle your lips,

We can sit and laugh about it, and we’ll be like cardboard cut-outs

To everybody else.

 

Shh don’t tell anyone,

We’ll make a secret pact

And bathe in the splendour of a shared little patch of knowledge,

Our own little ground;

For secrets cannot be delighted in alone.

 

Shh, don’t tell anyone,

It will only stain the bed linen,

Your throat gargling like mine with a gleeful chuckling,

Like two kids holding a sandpit as their rightful fortress.

But shh, don’t speak a word,

Do not even breathe, just hold your breathe,

Do not let the sky, collapse on us,

Due to the weakening support of our pact.

 

The breathe seeps into the air making smoke,

And the leaves are crunching under foot,

They seem to be saying;

‘Ours, this is ours, don’t you tell anyone now!’

And their right, if you did, the sunshine and the laughing,

And holding a mirror to my grotesque reflection, would all be gone,

Obsolete. No more laughing at me looking like a trussed up turkey.

 

Stick your hand up me and through my head, And make me a puppet!

I could do the same to you, we could be puppets controlling puppets

In perfect timing, dependant on one another

Like wheels and spokes,

Man and wife,

Mexicans and Americans,

The ill and the lab-coat.

 

And shhhh, don’t tell anyone,

Because there’ve been others who did,

I trusted them and we did laugh,

But my laughs drowned out theirs,

And I saw them, telling others, sharing our joy

Whoring our promise,

Gathering crowds and making them laugh.

Their laughs were so unclean!

Their eyes darted like schools of fish,

Around the trail of laughter,

That ripped through the crowd

Like the plague.

 

 

And the sky, Crushed down on top of me like I was Samson!

And it turned from virgin white to a purpley-redy muck.

 

So shh don’t tell anyone,

And we can trust and love and feed off only each other,

No man is an island,

No man is a fort.

It’s the youth’s fault? Oh, really?

I’m still doing my work with Artlink and exploring mental health. I think I understand why so many young people suffer from mental health problems. Of course, it is the human condition to wonder why and where and when, and this leads to stress and strife. We are no longer hunters, we are thinkers; trapped in a world where we don’t know how we got here or the reason why. This isn’t to say life isn’t beautiful, wonderful; but it’s easy to get sidetracked, lost and disillusioned

I always ask myself, why is there such a stigma around mental health and I have never been able to find the answer. Maybe we are scared of the unknown. One thing is for certain we don’t measure mental and physical health in the same way. No one is ashamed to have a broken leg, it’s not something we can help, so why be ashamed to have depression or OCD?

I was watching question time last night and it was all about pensions and whether industrial action in light of the current economic situation was wise. And it got me thinking, what sort of burden and pressure has my generation been passed? We are stuck in a world where there is more pressure on us academically than ever before, to be told that there are probably no jobs for us anyway. On top of that we have to sort the environment before the world burns itself out, figure out a way to end rising poverty and famine and also worry about sorting our own problems on a personal level.

Campaigining for youth future or being unrealistic about demogrpahic timebomb??

Being a teenager facing this, I will tell you, is no fun. It’s  hard enough trying to find your way in life in a very confusing time without all this extra pressure. And to have adults turn round and say my generation is the worst there have ever been, is frankly a joke. Child poverty in the UK has risen since 1997, despite Tony Blair’s ‘pledge’ to end it. Now on in four of children in the UK experience relative or absolute poverty. One in ten children living in absolute  poverty has considered suicide. Adults must get behind today’s youth and help end the stigma.

Check out  the Arltink webiste, I’ll be bloggin about some exciting projects soon 🙂

Thanks

The Calm

A poem about the beggining of a storm/ tsunami in Japan. Imagining the calm and unknowing befor the destruction, like can happen in life sometimes.

 

At ten o’clock, the fruit vendors called

About their delicious produce

From a nearby hillside,

While men in suits read the paper

Held it down from fluttering like a sail in the wind.

 

The women went about the normal business,

Shuffling the children off to school,

Gossiping and laughing,

Threading through the busy market

Like sewing needles.

 

The clouds smothered the sky

In an embrace,

Like a long lost relative or lover,

Found his way home.

The paper thin sun

Exchanges bitter words with the sky

As it struggles to force its way up.

 

The gulls dance like washing in the wind,

The children skipping school

Watch the wave

Lick and stick it’s snout against the bay

From underneath the rickety dock support,

Smoking and spitting like westerners.

 

Later in the day,

As the traders pack away,

The men return home

And the sea,

(Which looks a like a patient),

Lethargically chases its tale out to the horizon.

 

The clouds are growing tighter to the sky,

In bigger, darker, more rigid looking clusters.

 

In the clouds the sky tears tiny lacerations,

Which allow delicate rose petals of rain

To land on the village,

At first as slow and delicate

As a stroll.

 

The rose petals gradually

Form to something harder

In an ever quickening drumbeat.

For overtime, the rose petals turn to gravel.

 

 

 

The Leibster Award

The Leibster Award.

 

Thankyou, Neekswriting for picking me to be part fo your top five, it came as a surprise to me.

So the rules are (I have simply copied and pasted from Neeks Blog):

1)      Thank the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.

2)      Reveal your top 5 picks for the award and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

3)      Post the award on your blog

4)       Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the Internet–other writers (basking!).

5)      And best of all–have fun and spread the karma!

Here are my five picks:

1)      Lawnmowervisionquest-Read the adventures of an excellent blogger.

2)      PoetJanstie– Excellent, thought provoking poetry.

3)      Marrissa Mullins–  Talented and inspiritational.

4)      Tom.basson– check his stuff out.

5)      Of course, I don’t know if this is cheating as I was nominated by this blog, but my favourite blog, I had to add.- Neekswriting.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Fundraiser and Poem

Sorry for no blog entry last week, my school was having a charity event on Friday, a dress up day for Children in need, so i took the day off Artlink Central to help raise some money. The day was a great sucess and massive fun 🙂

I'm not wearing the hat but yes, ! was a crayon 🙂

Anyway here’s my weekly poem 🙂

The Impressionist

And the stars are dying

She says

They’re dead,

In fact,

But the light is still travelling to us.

And new stars are being born,

She says

They’re breaking into the sky,

Growing harder and colder.

Where’s the moon? I ask

And you can see the mottled clouds

Dampening the sky like

The sky was a fevered forehead

Dabbed by a sponge.

Her lips are tracing

Round words

Polishing them,

Carefully selected

And her hair is like a choppy sea

I am a shipwreck.

And the night is dry and cool

The sky makes me feel so small

I say

She agrees, but says she hates the feeling.

My mind doesn’t race

It’s paralysed, Frozen, Slow

All information appears

In slow rolling screeds

I cannot digest.

An image flashes by

Of yesterday sometime,

I caught myself being many different people,

In front of the mirror.

Weekly Poem

I’ve been very grateful for all the positive and constructive feedback. Here’s another! This time I thought I’d show a different, less introspective side to my poetry 🙂

If the polar ice caps melt,

And the gulf stream conveyer belt halts

What will we do?

Will we be presided over

By a frozen parliament?

Will we regress

To the Infancy of our evolution,

Will we hunt and rape

And clamber over rocks

On fours?

Will we lie on frozen tundra,

And looked at the veiled moon,

Feeling breeding boil in our blood?

Will we embrace

this chance to start again,

This chance to dispose of the razor

And live like we would

If we weren’t trapped by walls?

Will the cavemen press,

Hammer out news on frosted rocks?

Or will we only know

What happened in adjacent fields?

The business man will buy, buy, buy

Their shares in yaks,

And sell, sell, sell the cow.

In Africa,

What will happen?

The worlds eczema

Will be soothed by a damp wind,

Or maybe it will just crack

Further to the joint.

And Africa, rid of debt,

Will rise as a nation

Like lions kept in cages,

Taunted by the cruel whips

Of their ringmaster’s

Meaningless celebrity appeals.

And in years to come,

Will they talk of us

As a third world country?

Will a white toothed African singer,

Cries dry tears,

Over a baby in the Home Counties,

Drinking infested water

From a rusty saucepan.

When the polar ice caps melt,

Jam the gearbox of the Gulf Stream,

Will we eat in greasy spoons more often?