Words are vehicles of great power, and their engines lie at the very depths of us. Our subconscious is a tapestry of dreams, and poets the primary translators of this arcane territory. In this new PROLE JAZZ feature journo-cad & surrealist fashionista Oliver Porpoise Firefly sought out some of the finest poets of Sheffield and beyond to capture their dancing prose like small fireflies in the translucent jar of language.
And so: We proudly present four poems from four very different poets & collectives – Genevieve Carver & the Unsung; Moojeeni of SUPERNEUTRAL collective, the esteemed host of Gorilla poetry Isaac Stovell and the mysterious & wonderful Tæ.
Their incandescent words explore issues of how personal history and identity entwine, plunge us howling into a dadaist world of psychedelic & shamanic experience, dance a path of ecstasy and loss and confusion… immerse yourselves in their wares and wonderments my friends, comrades, lovers; be bewitched by the eldritch spell of their sublime and fantastical poetry, sink into their conjurement with finesse and grace and be attentive to the unfolding.
~ Oliver Porpoise Firefly
It’s Alright Dad, I’m Only Disappearing
~ Genevieve Carver & the Unsung
My bedroom wall is a shrine
to who I think I want to be
topless boys wield guitars
that wail a song I cannot sing along to
and there’s no space left between the noise for thinking
I’d like to take a rubber to myself
and sketch my outline anew
but I am being inked in
and the numbers you paint me by do not add up
well I never knew that growing
could feel so much like shrinking
The spiral in the sand becomes a shell
the shell becomes ammonite etched in stone
the stone skims oh so briefly on the surface
but it’s alright Dad, I’m only sinking
On the stereo in the corner
Bob Dylan skips on his jog wheel
freewheeling seems so easy to him
but how was he so sure his fight was worth fighting ?
I am nothing but echo, softshell crab,
putty in your hands
be gentle when you mould me
watch closely where you guide me
There’s an aeon to pass ‘til my driving test
and of driving I must learn not only how
but also in which direction
when you ask me why I mask my face in paint
I can only answer
it’s alright mum, I’m only hiding
My hair is purple and my clothes are black
my eyelids carefully lined to match
but there are times I lift my folding pocket mirror
and nobody looks back
everybody’s staring at me
but I can’t catch a single eye
everybody’s talking at me
but I don’t hear a word
and when I snatch a fragment through the throng
I cannot make sense of what I’m hearing
I place my palm on the photograph of Chopin’s hands
inside the cover of my piano book
my fingertips reach his knuckles
and I ask him how I’ll ever fill the space between us
but my ears are blocked again with noise
a nocturne drowning in a drone of jeering
The moon is full and I am were-wolfing
Frankensteining monster turning into
I am square peg boring into round wound
I am clinging onto / Peter Panning / running home
my limbs are driftwood tossed to shore
my bones are rotten at the core
the playing fields are wide and bleak
I do not have a team I wander lonely
I am shadowless, oblique
but it’s alright Dad,
it’s alright – I’m only disappearing
‘It’s Alright Dad, I’m Only Disappearing’ is from Genevieve Carver & The Unsung’s new poetry, music and theatre show A Beautiful Way to be Crazy, which explores female experiences in the music industry.
They’ll be performing at Buxton Fringe (16th-19th July) and Edinburgh Fringe (19th-26th August). For more info head to genevievecarver.com or follow them @theunsungpoetry on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Go see them!! Also head over to their Kickstarter page (here) to contribute as they fundraise to get the cash to hit the fringe!
Your words are footprints in the snow and it keeps a-snowing and you keep a-wandering and the fruit machine plays Beethoven’s fifth symphony beneath mirrors made of sunlight where we find comfort in the faux log fire.
Birthed with a crimson latex cloak we howl from a fecal fountain for the weeping teat. What is comfort but a numbing of the senses? Certainty provides comfort for the foolish (where utopia seeks to reduce perfection to the singular, existence remains unbiased). Life as a book of poems. We are vacant bubbles floating in hot mad lava, random access intruders. Pierce the yolk dawn in Hypnos’ nest: oh wandering, waking dream of ganzfeld – rest. Feed the unicorn on the shores of Lethe, inhale the cuneiform of somnambulist breath. Existence as waterfalls: the long plunge, then sudden, new depths. Conditions for collisions: the impact of multiple flows moulds mutants, partial representations collected to form a new beast. I cling to the teeth of the behemoth, vigorously sharpening fangs as its mouth closes around me. War cries and death screams in the morning traffic – a thousand deafening soliloquies. Solemn sunset resides in argent mourning bed where I collect fragments, images and sounds. Ripples of the wind trace hieroglyphs abundant. Attempting to locate experiential hapax legomenon. Lir bathed my anabiosis in mesonoxian foam. Motatorious roam beyond selcouth regions; my delitescent home. When I looked up I noticed an aeroplane had painted a beautiful motif across the sky with fuel and fumes. Trace the story of your life onto hopeful shadows and be done with story telling – a diary of translucent autopsies. The windows of my old school are boarded up with cast iron sheets but early education still finds gaps to regulate my existence in society. Backstreets like creases in the wrinkled face of the city. Labyrinthine tunnels beneath the streets reinforce ancient relics of architecture that stand bold and uniform in red brick. Today we found fragments of discipline long forgotten and practiced them in new unknown ways to celebrate the difference within repetition. Unchangeable, ultra constant, anchor in space-time, vital reflexive grounder. Is this so, or are we all hurricanes? Experience as oceanic flotsam, reality washes up on perceptual shores, categorize, quantify, qualify… why build altars? Let flotsam be flotsam. Life is living, survival instincts, social constructs, detours from reality. I walked the city for days manic routes making patterns with footsteps and now with one wing only I circle the skyscrapers and bathe in smog.
Fragments of coherence in everyday life trailing through endless virtual potential. I see reflections of dreams in the fogged window on the top floor of the bus. I read runes of futures unseen on the inside of my eyelids. The first thing I see today I will take into my heart and cherish forever. Forgive everyone always! Property is carnage! Demolish purity! Transcend communication! Compute divinity! Let them feed (industrial genesis)! Throwing visceral pebbles upon abstract pools. Judge your judgments (judgment reduces reality to predetermined texts). Music for life preservation; my acoustic arsenal, but my head no longer attached floats like the last petals of autumn and dreams and fears spill out – are we tracing shadows on the floor as the sun sets? There is nothing to be done except carve trenches in the sand and mould manic chaotic calligraphy and chant to the approaching sea.
Only when all is lost will it begin. I bade farewell to the womb and ate the living heads of beasts. Perceptual jigsaw, endure perpetual realignment. Long shadows of lost memory in high noon of now, floral borders on the desert of yesterday and scintilla of tomorrow. Genetically engineer new bodies of music into sonic chimera of sweet songs with lunar improvisation. Dismember, rearrange and duplicate. I am reborn every morning and I dip my hands in grease before attempting the trapeze. Condensation on windows of the morning bus as an aquatic union of our unseen selves. From swimming underwater to surfacing, walking on land: you are entering a new aquatic ambience. City growing concrete chimera, sea sways invades recedes, wind pulls puppet trees that seed. I run in circles and never see the same thing twice.
Sewer angels dry their tears on golden blankets of yesterday laughing at dreams of redemption, caressed by ergot and rams’ bones. The railroad is well built but still doesn’t lead anywhere. Translucent figurines bathe in preparation for morning cataract of diaphanous connections. Dream feeders insert exotic waste and I transcribe the sunlight with pale, knife-edge wings. Allow my passage through your alien scented orgy, dazzling eyes and crazy puppet arms, hypnotised by some imagined grandiose rhetoric. The gradual realisation of oblivion. Eyeless, bald mannequins slow waltz to corrugated sheet symphonies. Hundred headed stallions howl at every corner to satisfy the carnage. I am in some crazed world; insect voiced drone banter, wide-eyed monsters and coughing, sneezing half dreams. Red eyed demons cower in their shuffling buggies in endless rows and the aluminium sky births endless razor sharp tears. Pigeons chew cigarette butts in ceremonial feasts, manic typing surrounds me like an army of hundred legged plastic spiders and I can see heaven in the fluorescent lamp. There are long toothed eels in the water and passive spectators observe slow destruction. A multitude of vibrations echoing in endless night need no signs. Help me ingest your scum (hope for the hopeless) and mountains are tombs of past worlds.
I am an infinite alien. I chose to live in this body for its lifetime. Wander on the nighttime bloom, soothe the song beneath the moon, daybreak lost, forgotten noon, come again and maybe soon. Seek the wide sea that sleeps in a snowflake: a new cartography of flesh. I enter the swamp, skin immersed, heels in silt; I sink, naked in the moonlight, bathing in the flames, full of whispers: I am nothing at last, summoned to rejoin the dust. The abstract reverie of infinite flux where dusk limns moon drops on the horizon of my lethargy. I greet the abyss with a warm kiss (she has been waiting for me).
Moojeeni is a member of the elusive & nomadic SUPERNEUTRAL art collective. Check out their poetry / sound / art here – https://theinnerspheres.blogspot.com
radical self-help for fun people
~ Isaac Stovell
we all need to grow up
eventually – but
can’t ever let our
inner childs perish from
neglect or abuse or adultocide
we need to trust our instincts
wire them into learning & values & skills
& if we’re lucky & can – work
it might go without saying
but anything in our lives
that is neither beautiful nor useful
either demands patient imagination of
proactively pursuing change or else is
on the toxic–addiction spectrum:
decluttering is terrifyingly liberating!
nurture that in your nature which is
beautifully/usefully – you –
trying too hard to control things
makes us unhappy – fail or not
(this is a fact AND a wisdombit)
& there’s only two things
you really truly to any extent
Can successfully ever Control:
so cheer up in the backseat
& quit hitting your sibling
squawking passionately about
how unfair it all is.
we must remain open to new
possibilities of personality & experience
friendship is political solidarity in its
most potent organic form –
never let anyone tell you different!
& never accept anything as more-or-less
valid without assessing the cohesive
reasonableness of its origin!
truth may have lost its teeth somewhat
in the winds of contemporary communication
but both it & hope fight on in love.
your empathy as a spoke in ignorant wheels
your pain as a trigger to invoke sympathies
(actually don’t do the second one on purpose,
that’s – no, sorry, just – kindofirresponsible)
but if this isn’t happening anyway – why?
pains – hidden?
triggers – unrecognized?
sympathies – absent?
invocations of – misused? mistrusted?
yes, it’s a rough life for a kid
aged past however old they were
when forced to get older than felt okay
but it’s worthwhile for the brutal joy
of adventuring with people in places
whoever whenever wherever you are
adventure can easily cross your threshold
in all manner of forms –
& anyone who has any adventure
has an adventure only they could’ve had
because of how it’s had, as their adventure,
&generally it’ll be bonkers & brilliant & stressful
ordeals will be surmounted, possibly
friends and/or enemies made, possibly
& it’s free for the taking almost everywhere
in the world – although it is getting somewhat
prohibitively expensive or formalized or dangerous
in many areas for those not of a seasonedly-with-the-flow
but it’s all there!
& this is not
necessarily a cause for concern
but adventures have been known to
happen to some people “accidentally” –
on some, you may meet or battle monsters
find treasure, a prince or princess, gain powers
or discover something awful/awesome
about yourself &etcetera.
transformation is easier than you think –
sociological structures are made & populated by
psychological agents – many of whom Know
they are stronger collaborating.
almost Nothing is certain
or inevitable – except Death.
brave as a six-year-old
trousers rolled into shorts, wellies on
hovering at an illegibly-mossy signpost
in the forest – maybe
you have an owl or a hedgehog or a talking newt
or a magical animal companion of your choosing
or a group of easygoing likeminded friends
or a rucksack full of crisps & juice
or a nerfgun to scare squirrels
or a tent & sleeping bag
or a colouring book
or a frogspawn jar
or a telescope
or all –
& you decide
by random freedom
to be a small thing aroam in a big world
& you brandish a large multi-pronged twig
& yell “the future is Now!”
& charge happily away
into the woods
lostly at home
Isaac Stovell is a written & spoken word artist and activist working in Sheffield and the host of the wonderful Gorilla Poetry, a monthly open mic in the Gardener’s Rest on the third Monday of the month. Next one is 15th July! All welcome! Find them on Facebook here
We take form into this world in different shapes
Our cocoon covers and nourishes us until it breaks
From the darkness that’s inside, it develops into light shades
Of beautiful colours, on your wings that finally heals and rises
Every time I ponder at the world
It leaves me in a ponderous mind shield
Which forms a pond created by tears
When I see our sentient beings, living with fears
The seed of our consciousness is contained
Nurtured and grown into a projection, released
If we could only realise, that’s on our thoughts based
As we change, lenses of perception, gradually the shell is cracked
The flower blossoms and transforms into what is supposed
Warmed, sometimes burned by the sun rays
Every day, it becomes obvious, with each gaze
It’s there on the sky, and the birds sing and cry
We are caterpillars of the Universe
But our consciousness, caged by flags
Gut remains the one leading to our purpose
Our society seems to be like sets from N.Y gangs
Like the Butler, projecting it’s power
Of influence with fear, don’t be a prisoner
Of daily struggles, as a frustrated consumer
Be free without things, go be a pursuer.