July 13, 2014

Standing in the river.

If anybody walking the road were to stop a moment and look over the wall, they might see this. Now, it is past her knees, and just the tips of her fingers pull at the tension of the surface. If you were to join her you may notice that the water is reaching towards her hands, rather than her pushing into it. You won’t though. That is why she is here. Just to stand, alone.

 

She likes it. The sound of it. She comes here to stop thinking. Here, everything manages to stop. It starts with her toes; and when they stop, no longer tingling, she goes deeper, and plunges her hands in too, with the palms open, and her bones turn to dead metal, and all that’s left in the world is a shirt and a head.

 

She can see the sky in front of her is dark, but behind she knows the sun is bright. The yellow-orange water tells her it will sink though, but the river will stay. Light and cold. She steps further. It’s reached her sternum, her handbag is long gone, the feeling is leaving, but there’s still so many words going around and her head can’t hold them all. So many people and voices making sounds. The water holds her, its presence is firm and constant.

 

When the surface reaches her collarbones, her breathing will deafen her to the noise. She will just be.

 

Although her eyes shut minutes ago, she smiles, with nobody to see it. She sees everything through closed eyelids. The muddy slope down to the stream, her abandoned shoes (ha!) and the bronze scum cumulating around the edges of the water.

 

She allows it to pull her and she leans to the left, swaying with the weight of the current, and she sees them all, the voices, all the noise and the questions, the demands. She sees them but finally, doesn’t hear them. She relaxes further, leans at a more unnatural angle. She feels something glide past her face, with the sharp flatness of the other: something not of the river. A dead leaf or an old ATM receipt. The current presses on her. She leans more, filled by the white noise of the moving water, and breathes in silence.

 

© Lydia Allison 2012

June 5, 2014

Rose petals

like flat sheets

weak, round, reaching

like open hands

with fingers          spreading and empty.

Inverted like mushrooms

splaying gills that sigh spores.

 

Red edges          unravelling like bandages

stained black with time

the dry cracks curling.

The first layer like pastry

a dark blood dust that stuck in her skin.

 

The inside like a bud and still soft,

she tore the bright leaves

that smelled less like perfume than grass.

Inside that, like damp talc,

a rich yellow she brushed on her hand

scattered          marked the carpet

stained the petal scraps.

 

© Lydia Allison 2014

April 24, 2014

The Found Poetry Collaboration 4

The earth

Beneath the ancient age-grimed flags,
between the niches
its sheer physical variety is dry and open.

Stone-officials, whispering clerks,
pass under a complex jigsaw.
Dim white-tiled lightwells,
rickety cross-corridors,
keyholes whose floors are deep in dust.

Test the doors, the hinges.
Living and non-living matter.
Living things are thinly scattered,
they fill the space.
A corridor. A large round patch of light
glows ahead, broadens out.
The air, I’d swear, forming
complex webs of life.

A length of wall which ought to hold
lush forests, mountains, rainfall.
The patch of floor has a rainshadow
I don’t recall.

I reach the great round river
polishing the glass with a rag.

ArtiPeeps

Words

The Found Poetry Collaboration 2014

For the last 4 weeks poets Lydia Allison, Kate Garrett, James Giddings and Joanna Lee have been writing 1 piece of found poetry per fortnight:

A found poem is created when words in an existing piece of writing are lifted from that writing and rearranged to create a greater emotional response. A found poem is shaped from a collection of words or phrases found in one text or a selection of texts to shape an entirely new poem.  

The poets were free to use any texts they like, and I  have thrown in one found text of my choice per fortnight just to mix it up a bit. For the Week 4 poem I chose a section from a  novel by Iain Banks called ‘The Bridge’ (you’ll find the section at the bottom of the post, should you wish to read…

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April 9, 2014

The Found Poetry Collaboration 3

the youth

the young man listened, astounded
at the madness and difficulty
the sadness and gravity
in the people.

he had a sense that he knew
he would never grasp
the complex context
of these terrifying, terrible, obscure,
dark things.
he felt no desire,
no wish to understand.

these sorrowful, pitiable people were creatures,
creatures of a lower order,
they had not been blessed by bright
gods. the light of the gods.
they were ruled by demons, some mischance,
mishap, some horrid error.
the course of life seemed too painful.

He was sorry for these, who lived
in dread of death
lived in gloom and killed and slew each other.
ignoble faces, crude
expressions of deep, terrible sorrow
caused him pain.
their disturbing shining fashion
almost ridiculous, almost laughable –
ridiculous and disturbing, laughable and silly
shameful and foolish.

ArtiPeeps

Words

The Found Poetry Collaboration 2014

For the next 4 weeks poets Lydia Allison, Kate Garrett, James Giddings and Joanna Lee will be writing 1 piece of found poetry per fortnight:

A found poem is created when words in an existing piece of writing are lifted from that writing and rearranged to create a greater emotional response. A found poem is shaped from a collection of words or phrases found in one text or a selection of texts to shape an entirely new poem.  

The poets are free to use any texts they like, and I throw in one found text of my choice per fortnight just to mix it up a bit. For the Week 3 poem I chose a section from a  short story by Hermann Hesse called ‘Strange News From Another Star’ (you’ll find the section at the bottom of the post, should you…

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March 24, 2014

The Found Poetry Collaboration 2

Out of evil

much good has come to me
quiet, attentive, accepting

reality – they are, and not to be
such as could before.
When we accepted things they overpowered us.

I intend to play in this way accepting everything.
What I was:
force, thought.

Keeping nothing remaining,
taking things as I want them,
doing all this – unusual knowledge,

unusual powers I have imagined.
I always thought in some way or other
to be true towards the game

of life – receptive whatever –
good, bad, sun, shadow – forever,
my nature side’s alive.

Fool! How I tried
to go according to the way
I ought to.

ArtiPeeps

Words

The Found Poetry Collaboration 2014

For the next 4 weeks poets Lydia Allison, Kate Garrett, James Giddings and Joanna Lee will be writing 1 piece of found poetry per fortnight:

A found poem is created when words in an existing piece of writing are lifted from that writing and rearranged to create a greater emotional response. A found poem is shaped from a collection of words or phrases found in one text or a selection of texts to shape an entirely new poem.  

The poets are free to use any texts they like, and I throw in one found text of my choice per fortnight just to mix it up a bit. For the Week 2 poem I chose a section of a  letter from a former patient of Jung quoted in Anthony Storr’s Solitude (you’ll find the section at the bottom of the post, should…

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March 10, 2014

The Found Poetry Collaboration 1

rings

 

walls hung with copper masks,

hand-coloured and perhaps untouched

 

wear it: bankers, investors, 

people who believe in symbolism 

plaster blotches moth-eaten

a ghost bowed by sorrows

colourless, pink, blue, 

green, champagne,

there are moments, through rooms

sure of the shores or the heart

the symbolism is clear: 

there is only one.

 

the dark continent.

say which decade for ages co-exist

ArtiPeeps

Words

The Found Poetry Collaboration 2014

For the next 8 weeks poets Lydia Allison, Kate Garrett, James Giddings and Joanna Lee will be writing 1 piece of found poetry per fortnight:

A found poem is created when words in an existing piece of writing are lifted from that writing and rearranged to create a greater emotional response. A found poem is shaped from a collection of words or phrases found in one text or a selection of texts to shape an entirely new poem.  

The poets are free to use any texts they like, and I throw in one found text of my choice per fortnight just to mix it up a bit. For the Week 1 poem I chose a section of text from W.G. Sebald’s The Ring’s Of Saturn (you’ll find the section at the bottom of the post, should you wish to read it). 

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February 1, 2014

He walked the plains

in days of arid lust

his hands had held the worst of dreams and dust

and in the night he saw her glinting eyes:

 

a faery goddess, slender, lithe and bright,

with swathes of hair as fine and fair a mane

as no-one else could know. He deemed her his,

 

and left to make it so. He strode through woods

to find the maiden’s den. He cast his spell

like plaster on her limbs, and sealed the door.

 

Another shadowed thought then forced this beast

to tie her hair, and pull her tendons taught.

He tainted her, indulging sour dreams.

 

 

Enchanted times had turned to empty want,

the one she most desired drifted, changed;

the nights so hard that even hell denied.

 

The knots of rope still held her there, but greying,

split, and frayed, she pulled each hair, she broke

the chain, and left the golden kinks of hay,

 

strands of light turned silver-grey, from yellow

sun to dusty moon, the roots she kept,

and left his walls, his floor, his cage.

 

Stormy, rough, illiterate, her losing frown

with paint splats dulled to hide the nights before,

a warring heart, and hateful mind impure.

 

© Lydia Allison 2014

January 1, 2014

sad man

he told me

man

the man told me

she’s been rooerin

on the phone to her sister just fuckin rooerin

both fuckin rooerin

it’s fucked up man

 

then he starts talking something i can’t understand

and i feel this in my stomach, hard through like ice

but soft like life

and hot like life

and he’s talkin about the social, man

and anything else

samsara, man

and how it’s unfair,

and how it’s not unfair

 

and after i think about how it’s

unfair, man

not unfair

fucked up

and how i didn’t get the sad man

and how i didn’t know the sad man

and i told someone

and i told myself again

 

soon i’ll see the man

and i’ll see her

and it’ll all be so fucking sad, man,

we’ll smile and talk about last month.

 

© Lydia Allison 2013

December 1, 2013

Roses. Those strawberry dreams are no good.

Do you remember that teacher we had at school? He taught us Biology, had a real sweet tooth. Every example he gave us had something to do with food. Well, sweets. He said mitochondria were like liquorice torpedoes. Do you remember? Probably not, you always preferred the science of it. Well, mitochondria are like liquorice torpedoes – now you know.

Once, he was teaching us about haemoglobin, how it picks up as many oxygen particles as it can hold, and when there’s a lot, it drops some and picks more up. I think that’s what he said, only I don’t remember the science too well because he was talking about Quality Street. He said he loved Quality Street, and if the room were full of Quality Street, he’d be running around trying to pick up as many as possible, dropping them as he went along, filling his arms and pockets. I thought that sounded good, but I think he was trying to make a point about respiration.

Anyway, then he went on and talked about what happens when you get carbon monoxide poisoning, and it’s when your cells are trying to pick up what they should (like the ones with purple wrappers) but then they pick up a toffee coin instead. And it gets stuck between your teeth and then you can’t open your mouth so you end up dropping all the green triangles and the little bronze rectangles of fudge and everything.

Well I’ve been thinking about that loads. Because I’ve been trying to collect all the good stuff. But it feels like I’ve waited too long, and everyone else has had their hand in and taken everything, and when I think I’ve got something, it’s just another toffee coin cementing my jaw up and setting hard behind my teeth.

I need you to remind me. I’m stuck, dying, can’t move. Tell me a pink foil story because all I can remember is the fights. If I could move my lips to kiss you goodbye, you’d smell the rank sickly sweet of it; but I can’t, so I’ll leave you again, and again I’ll look for the bright ghostly crumples you might have left.

© Lydia Allison 2012

October 31, 2013

Claws

It started at the fingers and grew.

More changed than grew, she said.

The cuticles spreading up out over blunt nails

thick cracked and callous and she tried to bite it but made it hard, dry as tree bark.

Each cut made a scab, each scab

a wave, raised and spreading –

 

she chased the new breaks with fingers swollen to claws

cracked skin showing liquid flesh

that leaked out and set black on her shell –

 

Every scar she had filled out to white blisters more like bone

busting out in flowers shouting everything she’d tried to hide –

 

I did that when I was afraid in a dream, to make it fade.

Did that when you were next to me in case you’d see.

That because I wanted more than black court shoes to say you’d gone:

I made  a seam to break the paint-thin layer of skin –

 

Joints shift with slow juts of movement,

nudge by creaking nudge;

raw air that seals like a cautery.

the back splinters as she curls herself closed to a pinpoint

the centre of the snail’s spiral

the numbness of fossil and bone.

ArtiPeeps

Pumpkin

.

Lydia Allison our ‘Writer In Residence’ for the month of October.

..and a new Halloween Monster !

‘I often just write what I feel. I have a real interest in physicality/beauty/deformity as I think image impacts on everyone.  I’m particularly interested in how people see themselves and how that influences their appearance or physicality subconsciously/metaphorically in terms of their feeling or actively by self harm/eating disorders. And I’m interested in perceptions of beauty and body dysmorphia’.

____________________

Happy Halloween Everyone!

And to celebrate we’re not only offering you Lydia’s final poem focusing on deformation, specially written to pull the project together but also a new monster formed out of all the  poem illustrations by the artists involved in this project who have been inspired by Lydia’s poems.  You probably  haven’t seen anything like it before! This has been created by Sara Mena (you can see the image she…

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