Jerry Gordon – Closures

Jerry Gordon responds to Jamie Osborn’s borders and intimacy prompt. To get your work featured submit responses to any of the writing exercises from the first series here.

Closures

I closed roads
to cars leading
into my heart
and have found
more space for
couples to stroll
and kids to mark
the streets with
chalk birds and lions. 
The number of
people whispering
secrets has also increased
three-fold, but that may be 
from more people meeting 
without needing to not
pause. 
I may begin closing
my heart’s skies
to plane traffic, just
because I’d like to 
hear the sun’s motors
whirring again.

Alex Russell – i am going to paint tim burton’s house hot pink in the dead of night

The final guest of the first series of the Poetry Non-Stop podcast is Alex Russell, an imaginative and often unpredictable poet and performer in Norwich. He will be discussing some of his innovative works and how you can use poetry to make a living. Here he is in action at The Bird Cage in Norwich.

Avouleance – Nostalgia

This week’s guest is Avouleance who talks about creativity and living with autism. This is a poem they wrote in about 20 minutes during a writing group I run. If you’re a writer based in or near Norwich you can get details here. You can find out more about Avouleance here.

Nostalgia

There’s a better me
Full of energy
That I’ve abandoned
Not intentionally but automatically
Now I’m less bright eyed
Less blind
But I’d leave all I’ve learnt behind
To be a fraction as kind
Or inclined to look up.

Avouleance

Jenny Pagdin – Regrets

Jenny Pagdin

This week Jenny Pagdin talks about the inexpressible in poetry and her experiences of post-natal psychosis which she explores in her pamphlet Caldbeck.
Here she responds to the poetry prompt set by Jamie Osborn in the first episode to write a poem on borders and intimacy. Please submit your own response to this and other prompts on the podcast here.

Regrets

When I crossed your border
I ought to have held
your language – tactile and direct – on my
unwieldy tongue.

and when I edged
onto your landlocked patch
I should have offered you something for your integrity.

And those nights you lay drifting, permeable,
I ought to have carried you through the crowd of voices
like an untuned radio in the dark.

Jenny Pagdin

Martin Figura – The News To Vanishing Point

Photo of Martin Figura
By Dave Guttridge

This week’s guest on the podcast is Martin Figura talking about how he wrote his acclaimed collection and show Whistle which deals with the death of his mother at the hands of his father. Confronting this traumatic childhood experience transformed his writing and led him to explore life experiences through metaphor, resulting in some of his strongest work.
Here is a poem as performed in the show.

Gothic by Sue Burge

Sue Burge

Sue Burge is this week’s podcast guest talking about her love of poetry and cinema and where the two meet. This is a key poem Sue’s debut collection In the Kingdom of Shadows.

Gothic

A girl, her dress a blank canvas
for long-fingered shadowstains;

a bed, draped, tucked with
the coolness of scented cotton –

under, decay blooming
like a ripening bruise.

A man, noctambulant,
walks a tightrope between two lives.

Shadows, forged by the lamplighter,
undulate like a swirled cloak,

finding the cracks of a world
stitched together too many times.

A garden, walls smooth and straight as a tomb,
the earth beneath sown with broken fingernails.

And me, caught in the projector’s dancing beam,
lips parted, wanting it
dark, dark, dark.

Intelligentsia by Jamie Osborn

This poem by Jamie Osborn is part of a series written in response to working on a refugee camp in Chios, Greece. Tune into the podcast this Thursday to hear him talk about his experiences and share more poems from the series.

Intelligentsia

Suleiman, your breath stinks. Of smoke, of
drink. Though you’ve not a cent or dinar
to your name, there’s money burning holes
in your hands you peer through. You ask, so
I buy you hair-gel, and you eat it,
believing in the alcohol. It
will make you handsome. The sleepless nights
will darken your lids, make your lashes
seem less long. Come on, Suleiman, I’ll
buy you coffee and – though I know you
will not touch it, for your mother’s sake –
we’ll get stoned on pot, dance together
naked down the street. Set the textbooks
ringing – arm in ashy arm, we’ll be indi-
gents, two island-hoppers with nothing
left to revel in but Marlboros.

Originally published as part of the series Chios (a case of knives) in PN Review 246 (March – April 2019)