Look right in – TFE's Bus to the depths of the soul...
TFE has posted the Poetry Bus prompt this week. Here it is:
Write a poem. Don't think, just feel. Sit yourself down,stay quiet, find silence, concentrate on your breathing, feel your chest rise and fall, your heart beating, blood pumping.You are alive, so alive.Breathe in and breathe out,count those breaths, slowly look into your heart, your soul, how are you? Who are you? Are you happy/sad/ lost/ found/ confused/ certain.Are you where you hoped to be, do you know yourself? Are you who you were? Who might you yet be. Where might you be? Forget what your brain tells you that you know,and forget what your brain tells you to think, listen to your breath,tell me how you feel and why you feel it. How many breaths have you taken in this life? Think of them, focus on them. How many breaths are still to be taken?Disengage the brain and write from the heart.
You know I wrote a poem a good few years back that could have been written to this prompt. It's here. I don't know exactly when I wrote it but it's number 84 in my file (and I'm up to 375 this week) so I know it was quite a while ago. It says 2005 on my website but that's really just when the poems went online first and not when they were written. It was probably written somewhere between 1997 and 2000.
Anyway a lot has happened since I wrote that pretty sad (pathetic...) poem. It's funny that people liked it so much (and they did... how hurt we all are!). I have certainly got better at being positive and coping with what can be my sky-HIGH levels of anxiety since then (I wrote about anxiety a bit back here). I am more aware, for example, of what is good and what can help me stay sane and I know to keep myself away more from what is bad and what can make things worse (hell, class A drugs rarely help anyone stay sane!). These days I live in a quiet place, I am loved by good people, I take things easy and I look after myself (and anyone else who'll let me..). But still, you know, it can be pretty on-the-edge in my head (even if no-one else knows it). I still struggle with driving (and avoid it most of the time). I still don't really like crowded places (school concerts – uck!). And I am still fairly choked up about flying in planes (and big flight coming up soon... pass me the medication, doctor...). The difference now is that fundamentally I know I will survive any panic that comes my way - I used to think I would just self-destruct but now I know that I will feel terrible... but then I will be OK (most likely). I take deep breaths. I do my hypnosis reassurance finger-press thing (that really works...highly recommended!). And I go on living.
So I could write a breathing, focus-on-life poem that could be much better than the miserable one on the link above (couldn't I?). People might not like it so much (how we love sadness and confusion, how we laugh in the face of competence!) but I reckon I could do it. Compared to when I wrote 'Problems with value' I am feeling good... on the whole (except, you know, my Mum dying last year... I'm still a bit of a well of tears on that... still writing lots of sad death poems... wrote one on Friday in fact... quite pleased with it). But surely some of this improvement can be reflected in a poem..? Didn't I write this one a couple of weeks back... it's pretty positive and on the right road. But this week? This week I have packing to do (panicking? No, I definitely said packing...).
Lately we've been watching the TV series 'Six Feet Under' (on DVD, it was on a few years back). It is SO good. It's all about life and death, running a family funeral home and... well, coping with everything life can throw at you I suppose (and it's really funny... and packed with sex... of all kinds...). It's no wonder I like it – its creator Alan Ball wrote the movie 'American Beauty' which I also really enjoyed/rated. Here's the end of season 4 of 'Six Feet Under' (that's where we're up to – please don't tell me anything about series 5!) with the lovely David chatting to his dead father Nathaniel (they do that a lot in '6FU'... the dead get all the best lines). David (lovely, uptight/sensitive, gay, played by Michael C. Hall) has just had a life-threatening experience and then faced his attacker in prison. Richard Jenkins plays dead dad Nathaniel:
'The point's right in front of your face' - when simple lines are right... they are so, so right.
And here are some other simple lines... a sort-of poem response to TFE's fecker of a prompt.
The air is softer than it was And it goes further in And it doesn't always hurt me
And I may come from a family of fuck-ups May be made, in part, of weakness and error But it is not all bad One good soul is enough
And the fight is longer than we think And harder than we know
So breathe again my love, he says Breathe again to stay alive And I listen
Originally from the north of England, I live in Angus, Scotland where I walk a lot, think a lot, listen to lots of music, sometimes write poems, sometimes read poems out to other people, sometimes write songs, read all kinds of odd things, watch a bit...oh and I look after my family too.
I sometimes organise poetry and music events - details are usually here (though nothing coming up in the near future). This year I went travelling with my family - photos and notes are here. Now we're back I have moved to a new regular blog - it is here.
More about the song
You can buy my book (published 2008) from my website if you fancy it (go to 'book' page) or from www.amazon.co.uk if you prefer the comfort of the multinational corporation. My book is printed on recycled paper and card. I have 12 different poetry postcards available too.