In features, we are always going to host example of creative writing from the Strathclyde student community. While we are looking forward to receiving your prose submissions (submit any creative writing pieces you’d like to be considered for publication to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject header CREATIVE WRITING). This month, we are glad to publish some poems from the Live Poets Society, a society based within the Strathclyde Student’s Union.
Live Poets Society is a collective created for those with an avid interest in poetry and spoken word in all forms. It is run by Jade Mitchell, Rachel Cairns and Rebecca Gallagher.
POETRY AS CATHARSIS
Poetry as weakness, poetry as defeat. Poetry as the mornings spent tangled up in sheets, eyes wishing they had never opened themselves up to this world. Poetry as flight response. Learning to take yourself out of the driver’s seat, to let go of the wheel. Poetry as release. Poetry as free-fall, the unknowing of where you are falling, but you just are. Poetry as line of defence. The first line of armour to be greeted with their surrender. The first drop of blood to exit the wound. Poetry as healing. The first-aid kit. The stitching. The bandages.
Learning to put yourself back together again. You must always begin with your hands. Poetry as process. Turn your action to metaphor. The longest roads you have travelled down will always take you further than you were supposed to go. Poetry as progress. To look back at it all. The way the light breaks the body of the darkness. It is not reckless. It is not ashamed. Look at how it all takes shape: on our bodies, in your hands, in your eyes. Poetry as catharsis.
It will always begin, with your hands.
In this light, I was holding on to the salt,
the way a knife stays loyal to the wound.
I know, this is no way to live.
To open exit wounds closed long ago.
To love in sacrifice, to hold back this
blood before I make a burial mound
of this house.
You say you don’t know how
I have survived.
To have fought against their tides.
To never let it swallow me whole.
To name me an act of survival
when I choose to stay alive.
Believe me: I have run out of reasons to
wake up in the aftermath of war.
I did not choose a battlefield for a body.
I did not choose to be surrendered upon.
I did not choose this way of living
as a ghost, instead of a girl.
Jade Mitchell is a poet and student at the University of Strathclyde. She is founder and president of Live Poets Society, and poetry reader for Up The Staircase Quarterly. Her work has been featured in Words Dance Publishing, Persephone’s Daughters, L’Éphémère Review, and many others. Her work can be found on her blog: vagabondly.tumblr.com.
Glasgow and Jazz Music at Night
Brass brings the city to life at night.
She’s old and dark
And made from everything but stars but
The drip of honey
Turns her molten.
I step half beats through the city at night
And the buildings are the ones dancing.
I was a lavender baby.
She would put lavender on my pillowcase
to turn my thoughts into honey
And help me drift into dream.
But then I saw the sun rise from my bedroom window,
Saw it bend into view from below the horizon
Like a miracle.
Like I’d held my hands to the sky
And healed it.
And it became an addiction.
So I’d fight the calm of the purple
Crave the black of coffee on my tongue
Turn honey into boiled sweets and ice.
And it’d be worth it
When the sky turned
black and blue.
But one girl can’t heal the whole sky.
These arms are not strong enough
To make the sun rise.
So I let sleep take me under his wing,
let the pillow turn me soft again.
I adorn myself with
lavender and honey,
Sink into the silken embrace of dream.
The day still rises without me and
sleep whispers in my ear:
“Girl, you can’t heal the sky.
That’s something she has to do alone.”
Rachel Cairns is a poet and student at the University of Strathclyde studying English, Creative Writing and Journalism. She is Vice President of Live Poets Society and actively participates in performance poetry in the Glasgow Spoken Word scene. She also really loves her cat.