27 Jun 2011


for S.G. 

It is almost night
the sky is your favourite shade of blue
the dim tinted blue you feed your silent white canvases,
the dumb rectangles you give lips to.
I hold your paint brushes to my heart and weep,
anything you have touched.

I’ve done all the necessary clichés;
read your old messages and kissed them
dreamt of you on long train journeys, and
in foolish childish haste mistook every man as you                                      
                                                                       every man is you
                                                                                  every man is you.   


24 Jun 2011

'Ayat' a Poet Jailed for Speaking Out.

                                                Ayat Al Gormezi

Ayat Al Gormezi is a Poet from Bahrain, she was arrested at her home by Bahraini police on March 30th for reciting a poem condemning the ruthless ruler of Bahrain during a pro-democracy rally in 'Manama' Bahrain's capital. I watched her perform her poem before a crowd of Bahraini protestors on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOVANbq_q5A&feature=related 
Here's my translation of her poem.

Al Gormezi begins her poem as follows:

This is a message to he who assumes he will dance upon the pains and wrenches of the people suffering from sectarianism disorder and chaos[1]. This poem addresses the man behind the injustice and prejudice in this country, the ruler of this country himself Hamad[2].

(Protestors shouting: Down with Hamad, Down with Hamad, Down with Hamad)

The poem is a long dialogue between Hamad (the ruler) and the Devil. The Devil being the source of all evil is left speechless by the horrors which Hamad has and continues to inflict on his people, the Devil urges Hamad to have mercy on his people and stop the bloodshed, but Hamad refuses to stop the suffering and responses to the Devil as follows:

I still haven’t filled my stomach with their blood
I still haven’t exploited all the riches of this land to benefit myself and my companions
I still haven’t tortured every youngster every child every old man,
I still haven’t stepped on their heads in my jails and dungeons.
I will agonize them and open a million doors to ensure their degradation
I don’t care about the hard working men and the well educated
I will ensure they are jobless, poor, weak and dependent  
They mean nothing to me, they are worthless to me, they are worthless to me...

(Protestors shouting: Down with Hamad, Down with Hamad, Down with Hamad)

Al Gormezi ends her poem by emphasizing on the strong ties between the Sunni and Shia in Bahrain, with repetition always being a method of emphasis in Arabic poetry:

Sunni, Shia we are brothers protected by God.
Sunni, Shia we are brothers protected by God.

She finally end her poem with the very highly provocative line:

Take my advice Hamad; gather the garbage of your unsuccessful, failed regime and depart
you never lived up to our expectations or the high standards of the good heroic people of this land. 

(Protestors shout: Down with Hamad, Down with Hamad, Down with Hamad)


[1] Bahrain has a majority of Muslim population divided into ‘Sunni’ and ‘Shia’ Muslims, the relationship between the two sectors has always been peaceful, however, in recent years the corrupt government has provoked a sense of deep discrimination and segregation between the two Muslim divisions, causing hate crimes, discrepancy and racism.
[2] Hamad, is the name of the Bahraini King.

22 Jun 2011

Meeting Aoife Mannix

My meeting with Aoife Mannix 

June 21st 2011
11:00am – 3:00pm
The MAC, Birmingham.

After being selected for the BBC poetry project ‘Verb New Voices’ (see my blog May 5th) I was giving the amazing opportunity to work with an established poet to develop a poem I will then perform on BBC Radio 3 show The Verb hosted by British poet, journalist, playwright and broadcaster IanMcMillan. I jumped on the opportunity to work with the wonderful and the very inspiring Irish poet and writer Aoife Mannix, with a published novel and four successful poetry collections under her belt, Aoife has not only crossed every major spoke word festival off her list of performances but has also been invited to read her poetry in Istanbul, Taiwan, Thailand, India, Norway, Austria, Copenhagen and New York. She is currently poet in residence on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live and for the Royal Shakespeare Company. For other works, shows, and anthologies Aoife has participated in please see her official website  http://aoifemannix.com/

I've read Aoife’s Novel The Heritage of Secrets (2008), and her poetry collection Turn the Clocks upside down (2008) and have listened to her beautiful Audio collection Different Words for Snow (mixture of poetry and music), and I personally recommend all these publications: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B003BX2JNY the CD is available on her website.

I found my meeting with Aoife most inspiring, she is a gifted, warm, charismatic person, with so much to offer, her enthusiasm about the project and my poem has given me so much confidence and reassurance to the point where I am certain that this poem I am in the process of writing will become a very substantial piece of work and hopefully gain a lot of recognition.

I’ve chosen a very provoking and perhaps a very stigmatizing subject to write about ‘Child Sexual Abuse’ and have come to terms with how much responsibility writing a poem such as this weighs on me as a writer; be it the pressure to produce something that can give a true likeness to the tremendous suffering of the victims and the ugliness of the crime, or be it the integrity and emotional intelligence which the poem must portray in order to carry the audience to where they can ALMOST understand the vast loneliness of the sexually abused and the crippling alienation which many victims fail to survive.

I will continue to work with Aiofe on my poem ‘Self harm’, this title may change a zillion times in the future until we reach the final product in September. My next meeting with the BBC is July 26th to give updates on my progress, and my next meeting with Aoife will be August 1st during which I will continue to write and refine my poem. I will post updates about both my meetings here in the future.
Here are a few lines of my poem Self Harm (still a very rough draft).

why I cut myself?
why I bruise myself?
why I carve my skin blue with hate?
to numb the anger to silence the screams in my head that would not rest
the smell of his stinking breath on my face
as the weight of his body presses me deeper, deeper into the sheets
my comfy cosy bed, my secure hiding, my place of safety becomes my grave.
I repeat it to shrink after shrink, to therapist after therapist; I’m not suicidal,
I just need to burn myself.

8 Jun 2011

Yes! My first audio poetry collection.

Recording Poems with Poseidon

I’m very happy that my first audio poetry collection will be available soon, I recorded a number of poems at Poseidon Record Production http://www.poseidonmusic.com/index_poseidonmusic.html on Monday June 6th, then went back on Tuesday to incorporate some sounds and subtle music with the poems, the experience was exciting, Phill Ward, my sound engineer is a very cool dude, he had some terrific ideas and was very helpful and supportive. The studio at Poseidon was very advanced technology wise, and Jordan Morris the lady manager who runs it all is a charming and diligent lady, she had a personal account for me up and running on the Poseidon website (above) in a matter of minutes when I agreed to the recording, then on the same day I did the recording I got back home and found all my poem tracks in a file on my Poseidon account! Talk about efficiency! Not to mention, whenever I emailed her with a query – regardless of what time of the day it was - I found an immediate response in my inbox! I’m telling you, the lady is hurricane of positive energy!
The title of the CD is ‘MOTH’ and it holds 23 tracks (poems) some from my book The Heart and the Subsidiary (available on Amazon, Google books, Waterstones, and Authorhouse.com) but it also includes new unpublished poems. Having an audio recording of my readings has always been one of those little dreams I hoped to accomplish, so I’m really looking forward to sharing this with the lovely people I meet at different poetry readings which I attend. I’ve designed the CD front cover and back cover myself and I’m anticipating the final version soon. I’m also planning to put the CD on e-bay for those who might not be able to attend my readings/performances or perhaps don’t live in the UK.
Having sold more than 300 copies of my book The Heart and the Subsidiary, I feel MOTH might even do better than the book, especially that people spend a lot of time driving in their cars and would sometimes like an alternative to music, or as my fantastic sound engineer Phill Ward pointed out; it’s something to listen to when your relaxing in the bath!

Here is a sample from MOTH... click the link and you'll find two MP3 files entitled Time and Pebble, just double click the one you'd like to listen to!

6 Jun 2011

The Silence

The apples falling like great drops of dew
to bruise themselves an exit from themselves.
And it is time to go, to bid farewell
to one’s own self, and find an exit
from the fallen self.

The Ship of Death  by D H Lawrence

The Silence,  For my Dear Friend Fred Holland

Pam said you chose where to be buried, and left enough
for the tomb stone.
John said you chose the poem to be read at your funeral;
The Ship of Death by D H Lawrence.

I listen to them and remember your last days
you looked so different
you said you were tired and that you’ve had enough
you squinted trying to grasp the moth eaten memories.

In the silence of where you have gone
do you miss the sound of traffic?
the smell of smoke?
the birds singing their last song as the sun sets?
is there grief, tears, longing where you are?

The magnificent man I used to know, always had something
brilliant to say,
though you never quite found your place in this life
you knew exactly where to be placed in death,
and of course, knew exactly how to say goodbye.