NaPoWriMo 2016: Day 10 (for the UCLA #CUPSI16 team, Shasperay, Alex, Jesse Parent, and The Hole in the Wall dive bar)

I woke up this morning

All broken pieces and sick vampire

The sun was just…dangerous

The ghosts of alcohols past

Clung to me in a thick net

Weighing me down into the dark blue sheets

My limbs feeling like the heaviest empty bottles

My head one part koi pond in a storm

One part Darth Vader vice grip

In total

I am hungover.

But last night.

Last night i was getting drunk on honesty

And good conversation

Each empty glass was given a piece of full heart to echo

This is the night at its fullest

Poems exchanged like waving flags

Over a table

Our new definition of a stage

In a dive bar that we filled with our noise

No apology necessary

As we threw our words out to the world

And dared it to ignore us.

Everyone is a big damn hero:










Lewis, Dan, Rachel, Catherine, Toby

I love you all like a homecoming

This poem is for each of you

This poem is for the bar

This poem is for the drunken cypher

It is two words

Thank you.


NaPoWriMo 2016: Day 9

This poem was written after a day of listening to the awesome poetry on display at CUPSI 2016 in Austin, Texas. Throughout the competition a central theme was racism. While I agreed with 99.9% of the things that were being said, it was still quite difficult to listen to hours of poetry which singled out straight, white men as being THE problem when I am a straight, white man. This poem is an attempt to sum up my feelings and kind of act as a response of sorts to the poems I heard.

Side note: If you ever get the chance to see the CUPSI tournament then go! It is an amazing event filled with amazing people who were all super friendly and welcoming.


There is an issue of Marvel’s Uncanny X-Force

[Uncanny X-Force, The Apocalypse Solution (Part 4) to be exact]

In which

Deadpool feeds pieces of himself to Archangel

In order to transfer some of his God-like healing ability to his damaged body.

I want you to take this skin

I want you to take pieces of it anyway you can

If it will make you feel safer

Hannibal Lecter my privilege

And make a three course meal of my security

I promise you I can take it


Are dying

And i don’t know what else to do.

I have heard so many poets tell me

That I look


Like the problem

Like apocalypse with a capital A

It is an inheritance i never asked for

So carve it out of me

Grind it down

Use it to cover the door posts of your bodies

When the angel of death comes

I hope there is a new passover

When the angel of death comes

I hope he is not a he

I hope death is formless



A thousand shades of colour

I hope death lives on the other side of somebody else’s mirror

So i don’t have to check my reflection for the smile of his scythe

So i can stop looking for the blood and the bones

In my voice

Every time you walk on stage.

I want death to work like he does in the comics


Keeping an open handed grip on souls

So that all these heroes can one day come back

And if death isn’t looking too closely

I want you to take this white boy healing factor.

And i know what this sounds like

I’m not trying to be a Mr. Fantastic

I’m not trying to save you

I just want to be standing beside you when you save yourself.

Remember how we started this poem.

Deadpool feeding pieces of himself to a dying angel

Maybe one day

We’ll finish this poem


NaPoWriMo 2016: Day 8 (HAIKU HOEDOWN!)

  1. It was your eyes first.

    They were an honest mirror.

    So was your heart beat.

  2. I tried to say ‘dad’

    Instead said mad gibberish

    My first word problem

  3. He sang “Why? Why? Why?”

    But Tom Jones never asked her

    Who is Delilah?

  4. Everything is grey

    The dames, the drinks, the whole show.

    Bloody film noir.

  5. Up, up, down, down then

    Left, right, left, right, B, A. BOOM!


NaPoWriMo 2016: Day 6

This vodka tastes like petrol

Is just another way of saying

This vodka


Like Russian dinosaurs!

It’ll put spikes on your chest nevermind hairs.

It’ll turn your blood red

Like communism.

It’ll fill your head with ideas

Like communism.

It’ll sink it’s teeth into you,

Chew you up,

Spit you out,

And make you dance

Like a t-rex making a bed



These Russian dinosaurs we’ve been drinking,

Shotgunning down our throats like a double barrelled Brachiosaurus blast from the past,

I wonder if they were drunk when the meteor hit?


“oh no!

Jeff just ate the lovely herbivore family from out of town!”

Or were they just hungover.

Like after the biggest dinosaur wedding party any of them had ever seen hungover.

Where the dinosaur groom

Accidentally called a diplodocus

A brontosaurus

And even though they both knew that the brontosaurus didn’t exist

They laughed it off and drank themselves into an extinction event.

That hungover.


Imagine being that hungover when the world was consumed by fire

And your entire species is turned into museum exhibits and the exact opposite of museum exhibits by the bottle.

When these future creatures rip you out of the dirt coffin you didn’t have a claw in making

When they harvest you like a failed socialist crop

Expecting life but only finding bones

Imagine the crazy stories they’ll invent

When you

And everyone you know

Become part of the rocks under their feet.


But then again

Maybe we won’t have to imagine much longer…

Comparing the U.S. & U.K. Spoken Word Scenes

Definitely worth a read for any US or UK poet.

Katie Ailes

Hello folks! So in late March/early April three of the four Loud Poets organisers went to the U.S., myself included, and participated in the spoken word scene there. I was back on the East Coast for a visit home, during which I took part in two poetry events and taught two spoken word workshops on my undergraduate university campus. Doug Garry and Catherine Wilson were two members of the University of Edinburgh team that won the U.K. UniSlam this January and earned a place at the annual CUPSI competition in Austin, TX. Team Edinburgh (which in addition to Doug and Catherine included Rachel Rankin, Lewis Brown, Jyothis Padmanabhan, and coach Toby Campion) went to CUPSI in early April to compete, and ended up winning the Spirit of the Slam Award! (And while we were off galavanting, Kevin Mclean was holding down the fort in Scotland running LP solo…

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NaPoWriMo 2016: Day Five

She lays in the 11am sun

Her hair tied back loose

Brushes the back of her neck soft

Her man is making faces at his reflection in the window

She smiles

He’s wearing a black vest and shades

He looks like and old rocker

Screaming to himself silently

Then laughing it off.

She might just fuck him tonight.

That night they go see some music

The lead singer talks about being alive in a titty bar in Portland, Oregon

(his words)

Everyone laughs

She notices the bass player has sweat through his shirt

It looks like a small set of lungs

For a while she watches him breathe in stereo

Her man is holding her by the hips

Absently tapping out a beat on her midnight blue dress

It isn’t the same as the drummer on stage

But it fits.

She pays for food

He pays for another round of drinks

They agree they couldn’t put a price on love

But if they did

It would end in a .95

It would feel like a bargain

And come in easy payments

She and him

They know their love is too expensive to explain to other people.

When they get home they stay awake to watch the sun come up

“you’re beautiful” she says.

“you’re everything” he says.

They fall asleep to the tune of her blue dress hitting the floor.

NaPoWriMo 2016: Day Four

He has this recurring dream:

The room is in the city

High up

The streets below are filled with hyenas walking upright

The cars push their lights through the window

Washing the ceiling

He is lying in the middle of the room

Drinking in the emptiness

He grows and shrinks with his breathing

At some point the birds fly in

Small at first

Finches and robins and swallows

Then crows, magpies, blackbirds

Finally great vultures and




The owl

It perches at the back of the room

It has a pair of antlers

Great antlers

In each one something/someone has wrapped filament bulbs

The humming quiets the birds

One bulb explodes.

The birds swarm him

They begin pulling words like feathers

Until he is laid bare



He stops growing

The owl opens its wings

Gathers all the words up inside itself

The owl it looks him in the eye

Says one word…

He forgets it

Every time.

NaPoWriMo 2016: Day Three


In God’s house,

There is a stone faced preacher

Somewhere in God’s house

There is a respectable congregation

Dressed in modesty

Swaying respectfully

Singing hymnals written for their space in God’s house.


In God’s playground,

There is a wicked guitar solo

Somewhere in God’s playground

There is a rabble of honest sinners

Cooking barbecue slowly

Drinking their beer cheaply

Loving life constantly

These people make sport from chicken shit!

They make holy places of shade

All here is sacred

Maybe because none of it is

And yet

It is in these places

I have found God


And again

And again

And again


NaPoWriMo 2016: Day Two (for the city of Austin, Texas)

There is a music in these streets

It shifts together like meeting currents.

This drummer hitting old sticks off older buckets.

This singer fighting his way through Springsteen classics.

This guitar player, turning metal strings into electric blues

They swell and fade

And there is no need for sense here

In the passing street

Where the neon lights call out to the electricity in all of us.

There is a beauty in these streets

Beautiful women move casual everywhere!

This beauty is indifferent

It exists without trying (seemingly)

Their smiles are warmer than this Texas sun

They move dresses like fabric breezes

So cool they could freeze a heartbeat.

There is an ordered chaos in these streets


You are a nation of straight lines

These roads do not bend to the earth

I wish I could move through them in circles

Meet these people from a new angle

The Jesus follower missing teeth

The bouncer in love with the rhythm

The charity couple calling out strangers

The waitress impressed by French

The bartender chilling glasses

The driver with the disconnected arm tattoos

The poets drinking ice tea in Styrofoam cups

These lives

They merge together.

Like meeting currents

Beautiful chaos



When the day ends

I wonder if they change at all