This month’s selection of creative writing features members of Give Poetry A Chance. Poets Laura Ferris, Louise Evans and Cullo provide the words, all selected by Give Poetry A Chance founder Dan Cullinan, who now shares his experience in running the initiative.
Like a lot of lads, I didn’t really open up to people, so instead I opened up my phone and jotted down my thoughts. These thoughts turned into poems, and, by September 2017, I had left my job and moved to Vietnam. While in Vietnam, I collated my poems and released a short run of poetry books. When I returned to the UK in 2018, I gave copies to family and friends.
One day in November 2018, I received a phone call from Mellowtone’s Dave McTague suggesting that I start my own poetry nights, as The Jacaranda would be interested in hosting them. Straight away I said yes and decided that the events would be called Give Poetry A Chance.
We’ve now hosted 13 events across two venues, with our last event before lockdown being our anniversary event on 26th February 2020.
To celebrate our one-year anniversary, we released an anthology containing poems submitted by those who have supported Give Poetry A Chance throughout its first year. All proceeds raised are donated to Scouse Kitchen, a Liverpool-based homeless support community project. Homelessness can affect anybody and that is why we chose to support the amazing work that Scouse Kitchen do.
Words: Dan Cullinan / @PoetryAChance
High July sun submits
to August rain,
of water on glass
and your beautiful name,
in summer – and sugar rain
crystals stream down the window pane.
morning coffee to midnight wine
night then day
then day then night then day again
Skin on skin
touch on touch
I’m treading water, gilded,
in a silver shiver, a river rush
a dream awake, here we are awash
in summer rain.
It cleanses old sin,
lets the freshwater in.
We let go then we go again.
The lights come up.
Stage right/ I’m leafing through those postcard
reproductions of famous masterpieces, you know
the kind. I’m thumbing a Hopper and a
Warhol/ wishing there was a Klimt here for me to
take home and display in a frame and
continue to not know its name/ or anything about it
A voice swims up behind me, close enough for
the hairs on the nape of my neck to respond,
It’s metallic yet soft, this voice/ I hold
my breath and freeze/ a fruit machine
in my brain is rifling through
possible responses and scenarios/ will I
relax into it, hear what it’s got to say or
will I turn and question why it has approached a perfect
stranger in a perfectly strange gallery…
will it get three cherries?
It effortlessly breathes in my left ear/
“these places make me so horny, babe.”
I turn in engaged shock/ revolt –
the feminist in me is pulling up her sleeves/ ready for
a fight, another part is amused at this intruder/
“Sorry, I err… I thought you were my girlfriend.”
A perfect stranger/ my dubious
doppelganger, turns and painfully offers
a conciliatory smile/ an awkward apology/
a little wave and the voice sidles off.
I find a Klimt tucked at the back.
Come to Think of It
We’re building buildings on top of buildings
On top of buildings on top of buildings
No green space left, no air to breathe
We’re choking on concrete, living on cement
There’s brick dust in the heroin
People are dying in tents
Opium epidemic, spice epidemic
Come to think of it, the county’s in a crisis
Food banks instead of corner shops
No pints of milks, but gallons of blood
Nobody’s crying when it’s spilt
Violence has become the norm
The libraries are closing down
No books in the hands of children
But knives in every pocket
Innocence has gone from society
Society has failed the young
Come to think of it, we are society
When will we step up?
How many people must suffer
Before enough is enough?
We talk of mental health
But what’s the next step?
We receive the diagnosis
But where is the medicine?
Come to think of it, where is the funding?
The NHS is crumbling
God save the NHS
You can keep the queen
She’d rather protect the monsters
And keep the people dreaming
People are scared to walk
In case they go hungry
All because some idiot said “This is my country”
But as humans we’re a family
And family comes first
How can you look into someone’s eyes and say
“This is what you deserve”?
One thing’s for certain
We’re not on this earth for long
Start doing what’s right
Never choose wrong
Give Poetry A Chance: The Anthology is available online now.