Sunday 18 May 2014

Guest Poet 19 - Ananya S Guha - Grandmother And Her two Son

(This what I am guessing is the last guest poet is late through been very busy is by Ananya S Guha, a poet from India who I met many years through a website called Heart to Heart which featured some of both of our poems)

I have taken this weight off,

the proverbial burden of responsibility
or irresponsibility, we call it whatever we will.

Once upon a time I sat on grandmother's lap
to listen to stories of ghosts, catcalls and her two sons
climbing up the wind, soaring skies after dying of  poisonous
fumes of the stomach. The narrative, unreal, surreal blended
into my apostasy, my image of myth maker, teller of fables and lies!

The weight suddenly lessened, slowly in life, when I realized
that truths told were untold ( lies!)
Grandmother, her fabulous world were lies, until she died
at a ripe old age of hundred and two. I looked at her frail self,
and wondered how this frailty could cause a string of lies!

Fabulous, untold stories, of her two sons, flying across
when space crafts did not exist. Now I know.

I know, unexplored terrains, I know grandmother as a psychic
teller of tales. Fantasy.

I know, she is still climbing across untenanted skies.
Grandmother's ghost is real. The house in Guwahati
shackled with ominous ruins is as true, or false as
Grandmother's tales. Her rickety fingers still point
at me. Her narratives give me a lull, and then
sleepless nights. Her two sons, dying of cholera
are my dying assets. I still live. Grandmother, her two sons...
They were twins.

(Ananya S Guha lives in Shillong in NE India. His poems in English have been published in both print and online journals in India and abroad. He holds a doctoral degree on the novels of William Golding. He works in the Indira Gandhi National Open University)

Saturday 10 May 2014

Guest Poet 18 - Meshach R. Brencher - A Ghost in Me

(Our 18th Guest Poet, Meshach R Brencher is a young rapper / poet I have known from going to Write Out Loud's monthly event at Stockport. Here he offers a ghost poem that is short but certainly not sweet)

A ghost in me I cannot see The another part of me I cannot be sees the decomposed, Fragmented, Broken elements of myself A formula that cannot work Without being in reach with Every aspect a part of me Collectively makes me who I am Where the ghost shows me who I am not

(Meshach advises me as a bio 'I’m an autistic poet & spoken word artist. I’ve written poetry for round 4 years. I tend to write in character, using deep and emotional or dry humorous content adapted in various different forms and styles)

Friday 9 May 2014

Guest Poet 17 - P.R Mcdowell - Remembrance (1st draft)

(Our 17th guest poet, P.R. McDowell is another writer who is good friend of mine from Oldham who I am writing a play with him slowly called 'Twisted Promise'. 

In this poem, he offers a different take on my ghost poem which I really enjoyed and hope you enjoy too.)

It was a good day;
Filled with
friendly chatter and
hearty laughs;
Right from the moment
we all met
at Piccadilly Gardens
eager to board the tram
and be on our way,
Our boss had said
we couldn’t organise
“A piss up
in a brewery”
And now we were
about to prove to him
that we could,
Because we had
for his 50th.

Best was that
he had no idea.
He thought
that we were all
just going for
a curry and drinks,
At that new place
in the city centre
and we’d stay out late.
When the tram came
we hustled him
aboard, and after
it had made two stops
We told him, and
he couldn’t believe
we’d hired
the Irwell Works
brewery in Bury.
When we arrived
he seemed to be in shock
we all were
As we were shown
around by the staff
and we saw
where the ales were made.
He thanked us.
Then we sat round
a massive table
the brewery had set out,
Filled with their own
ales and bitters
to wash down
the burgers and
pies they provided
for private parties.
Must have been there
for about four hours
by time we’d done
and the boss exclaimed
“The night’s still young,
so let’s get our
arses back to town again!”
And we all agreed;
like it was a great idea.
Then, before long
we were on a tram again,
Heading to Salford Quays,
and I don’t remember
who even suggested
that we go there.
But I remember
what happened before
we got to our stop…
Blinding light shone
on one side
of the carriage
Then spun in an arc
quickly towards
our tram;
Everyone panicked,
started to run to
the doors at the other end.
But it didn’t stop
the hysteria
or the car
Slamming right into
the exterior,
making the tram flip
Onto its side
where those of us
still conscious and unhurt

Had to rely on
each other, as strangers,
and the doors
on just one side
To escape;
But we didn’t
get chance to.
The car burst
into flames.
Translucent zig-
zags flew through the air,
catching some of us unaware.
Leaving red vines
and crude etches
marking us
As survivors
a, great tragedy.
The cries, and
the wails
From inside and out
were deafening
and as the flames
licked hungrily
at the side of the tram
I knew some
more wouldn’t make it.
I could see
the water, it
seemed close enough to
dip a finger into.
And it sent
a shiver
down my spine
just as much
as the dead did.
My boss,
Steve- he was always
so calm and collected
but now
He was cold and so far
away, no amount of time
would lead to him
Telling us
what we should do.
For a moment
I thought of going
to Becky and Mark
who clung onto each other
wet eyed
as he tried to stop her
from seeing her mate
Toni across the aisle,
So many were slumped
lying here and there
like discarded marionettes
Their strings
off like their breath;
Then from the corner
of my eye
I saw the flash of blue
As the emergency services
came racing as fast
as lightning
And I hoped
and -for the first time
in years-, I prayed
That we would
be saved and no one
else would die.
The sky was like treacle
as the smoke seemed
to echo Hirashima;
The firemen fought for
what seemed like hours;
we kept slipping away.
I saw so many
helped out by them,
I was the last to go;
I couldn’t
call out and
fallen seats hid me from view.

The tram finally went
the water ate it up
and freed me.
Out the window
I could see
just how many survived;
 It could have been
so many less and
The dead count
so much more.
They say on the
anniversary of that night
a man can be seen
Walking along the dock,
and then kneeling
as if paying respects;
Then afterwards,
he’s gone
like he never existed.
But I know
people still remember me,
and in a way
I enjoy those peaceful strolls.

(P.R. McDowell is a Mancunian writer of fiction & poetry as well as being one part of Unity Media collective & an occasional event organiser. He currently lives in Oldham and is working on a novel, his first collection, and the Twisted Promise production & other projects in the works by Unity Media; his poetry has been published by JackMove Mag, on the Napalm And Novocain e-zine, and in Best of Manchester Poets third anthology amongst others)

Wednesday 30 April 2014

Guest Poet 16 - Jeff Dawson - Eternal Fury

(Our guest last poet, is my good friend Jeff Dawson aka Jeffarama!, who offers this alternative take on the story which has unfolded)

I often wondered
what kind of deaths they led
or I suppose who had it easier?

The ghost killed in a mining accident
the ghost killed in war
the ghost drowned at sea, or
the ghost killed in a dockland tragedy?

Maybe it just depends
on what kind of lives they had

The happy ones
are probably few and far between
Those who play tricks on folk
scaring them half to death
In their homes
or an old country pub

On this occasion
it seemed right to vent their fury

No excuses needed
No motive necessary
They had their reasons
No-one would understand anyway

But in the morning
when the sun rises
through the dockside mist
With a bit of luck
it will be quiet again

Until the next time….

(Jeffarama! is Bolton's Punk Poet and has been writing and performing for 6 years. During that time, he has supported the likes of Dave Sharp (The Alarm) & TV Smith (The Adverts), and loads of other bands. Also part of poetry & music band A Means to an End with Andy N & Petrova.
Jeff is a founder member of Half Evil Promotions Bolton, who organise open mic night and gigs, and went on two tours - Buskin 4 Beer & Jammin with Jeffarama! combining poetry and music. On a similar vein he created the very successful nights Guitar n Verse & Performance!
Jeff also organises Bolton WriteOutLoud nights and has also just released his first solo book 'Loud n Proud', a collection of 40 poems from over the last 6 years (£5 - available from Jeff)


We met one time after that
Under damp light
Next to that faded red brick tunnel
Which eventually led
Back to Chester Road
Just off the quays,
A few days after

Graced with meloacholy
Sucking in my breath

Swallowing In my nerves
Steeped in a measure of constructed sweat

‘I don’t understand what happened?’
I asked in surprise at your smiling face
‘I could have saved you’
 Looking at the palm of my hand.

But you had gone when I looked up. 

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Guest Poet 15 - Kealan Coady - Birthright

(Our next guest poet came from un-usual sources and with a bio which I have doubts about still makes for a stirring poem)

Pale efforts of being, our used pasts whine in nights of blunt and sudden childhoods deformed beyond reason.
The freedom to fail and be flayed for a fathers killing grin or mutant offspring cry.
There is bliss in the shadows, thrills in shade. Nothing is vacant in theory, just empty voices, cold and alone, as silent infants thread the waves of care homes.
Someone abandons all meaning and welcomes the ghost as a birthright.

(Kealan Coady is a fictional Irish writer created by notorious serial killer Michael White. (1856 - 2009) Shortly after his execution, a series of poems and short stories were found to be in his possession. Of the poems, only 'Birthright survives, and is kept at the torture museum, Amsterdam.

Some more of his short stories can be seen here)


Afterwards you had gone
when I was picked up
from the edge of the flames
by the first two policemen,
almost like you hadn’t been there
in the first place,

Removing all traces
of your mudden footsteps
and the stains of your denim jacket
which had touched the
edge of the shelter
like you were trying to edit yourself
out of the story,

until it got to the point
when you turn the lights down
and ask yourself whether
the conversations you had
were real,

or imaginary fragments
sulking at the edge of the quays
of some untold novel
lost in your thoughts  

letting your perfume carry
a wordless thank you
over what you had just done.