Archive | Creative Residences RSS feed for this section

Small Children ‘n drunks…. by Ben Cooper (Creative Resident) #4

8 May

Thoughts

Welcome to the 4th of 4 post slots from our creative in residence for April- Ben Cooper  who has, over the last 4 weeks, been sharing some of his pieces with us.

Thank you Ben for all your creativity over the last month. 

..

Small children ‘n drunks…
How do you tell them apart?…
By their height?
No. A toddler can be small, but there are short drunks too…

By their incoherent demands?
Nope. A toddler yowling about wanting a juice box or that the fact there wasn’t enough peanut butter in their peanut butter sandwich is surprisingly interchangeable with a dude yowling for his ex-girlfriend ‘n for another drink…’n now thanks to toys now-a-days ‘n small kids, awkward drunk dialing isn’t for drunks anymore. My tiny niece loves talking on her tiny play cellphone or stealing my mine.

How can you tell the difference between small children ‘n drunks?

Is it a difference in temperament? Naw. One might throw a tantrum over not watching a particular episode of Max ‘n Ruby or the fact it’s bedtime, but another might throw a tantrum over his team not winning or the fact it’s last call at the pub…’n the I love you man, cuddliness thing is sort of a universal kid trait, but some drunks got it too.

How to tell the difference between a small child ‘n a drunk?

Is it a lack of inhibitions? Naw. My little nephew is as rowdy ‘n annoying as any drunken hooligan…’n has the same bladder capacity.

Energy levels?
Nope. A drunk can be as energetic as a toddler ‘n both of them can crash pretty hard into snoring heaps…eventually…thankfully in the case of small children or there would be packs of insane marauding parents raiding grocery stores for wine, beer ‘n the harder stuff…

Really the only ways to tell a drunk from a small child is a kid acts drunk without the benefit of alcohol ‘n a drunk doesn’t usually wear diapers.

.

Biography:

Hi I’m Benjamin A. Cooper, okay at writing, terrible at writing bios ‘n very happy to be a part of this project.

.http://www.lulu.com/shop/ba-cooper/tim-death-birth/paperback/product-21361873.html https://twitter.com/BenCoopEr666

You can see Ben’s section of our first Hot Potato Collaborative Short Story here and his first residency piece here.

.

BE THERE A THE START AND HELP US MAKE THE VIRTUAL REAL:

Take a look at our Kickstarter Campaign for Transformations

here

new-badge5

 

Advertisements

Tired, The Rebel, New People, White Walls, The Future, Matrons, John, Ricardo by Ben Cooper (Creative Resident) #3

22 Apr

Thoughts

Welcome to the second of 3 post slots from our creative in residence for April- Ben Cooper  who, over the next 4 weeks, will be sharing some of his pieces with us. 

..

Tired

.
When I was young I had this bad habit of chewing pencils when I was nervous, the taste of yellow paint, wood ‘n graphite was soothing. Now that I’m older I know how that chewed pencil would of felt if it had a mind. I’m worn to a nub. Life has seen fit to sharpen me, until it hit metal ‘n eraser. There’s not much of me left ‘n people keep wanting more.

The Rebel

.
I try to be nice to her, she means well, but I don’t like her. She is sees herself as the black sheep of the psychiatrists, a rebel with a cause. She says she only cares about us ‘n doesn’t give a fuck about what the other psychiatrists think. That might be true, but every group session she leads turns into a litany of wails about the other psychiatrists or her ex-boyfriend or how different she is. She drowns out every other voice in the circle. I feel sorry about laughing about her with Bill ‘n Rudy, but if you endlessly complain your ex-boyfriend, even dudes will get catty behind your back. Laughter, swallowing up yells, making things bearable.

New People

.
I’m terrible with names, until I put a face to a name I just think of them as New People. There are nameplates next to their bedrooms, but my eyes skip over them. I’ve seen so many nameplates. It’s just paper, a label, a cheap printed slip slid behind a piece of Plexiglas. The New People don’t stick in my mind too much, mainly because they don’t want to be seen. They sleep. They hide…

Some quite literally…there’s a girl here who isn’t suicidal. She’s hiding from her thirty-something year old gangbanging boyfriend. She’s smart, does well in school…’n she’s incredibly dumb..Her boyfriend taught her how to deal ‘n she gets off on the thrill of being a drug dealer. To top off everything, she tried to break up with his violent ass, so his gang’s hunting for her. How do I know all this? She told me. She happily squawked about her bright future as a drug kingpin. You hire minors to do your dirty work, so you ‘n them don’t do jail time. Her family drives miles every day in order to visit her, to bring her treats ‘n give her support. Lucky git. They’re good people. I hope she finds a better life for herself. She makes me worry. I don’t have a daughter, but one day I might. What if my daughter got into a predicament like her? Bill worries about her too, but I try to be optimistic…I tell him she’s young.

Rudy didn’t mean to be rude when he kept calling Christina a guy. We all thought she was one. She had been moved in during the night. The first morning, there she was, all skin ‘n bones, wearing a baseball cap, sweatshirt ‘n jeans. Grave face ‘n gravelly voice. Huddling, trying not to make eye contact. Clutching at her knees ‘n sinking into the sofa. She had been a firefighter, a hero, but she had lost hope. Lost herself in alcohol ‘n drugs. Her little daughter had an incurable disease, a rare genetic disorder that less than a handful of people have. She wasn’t taking it very well, but how can you take the eventual death of your child well? I guess you try to make the best possible life for your child ‘n spend as much time as you can with them. Life is short ‘n uncertain even under the best circumstances. That just sounds like platitudes to my ears, but if a kid of mine had to go through what Christina’s daughter is, I’d try my damnedest to make life good for them.

Some people here, while not being dangerous, can be quite vicious. There’s a lady here, I don’t know her name ‘n there’s no way she’ll ever tell me. I’m quite happy that she’s tits up on drugs because she’s scary as fuck. She thinks the white coats are poisoning her ‘n everybody else is in on it. She growls, scowls ‘n stares at us all. She never joins in meals, conversations or activities. I once found her crying ‘n I asked her if there was anything I could do to help. She screeched at me to fuck off ‘n that I wasn’t her doctor. I’m one of few people she talks to, out of nowhere she’ll just say things to me. All the other worn children try to avoid her like the plague.

White Walls

.
There is no permanence here. People are interchangeable. I came here with the clothes on my back ‘n one day another will take my place. My name thrown in the bin, another placed behind the glass. There’s a giant lost ‘n found here where we can take clothes if we need them, the cast offs of countless people. Bedding, towels ‘n scrubs are all locked in a communal linen closet. Individuality is frowned on by the dowdy matrons. Destiny’s tank top is lust. Rudy’s Chuck Taylors are vanity. Carina’s painting is sloth. All sins in a matron’s eyes.

The Future

.
Time here is marked by meals, but the whiteboard is the diviner of the day.

.
The whiteboard tells us what will be done ‘n it tells the nurses who we are ‘n who they should look after. Rudy is known as Udy because he erases things when no one is looking ‘n Carina sticks in an extra art activity. The whiteboard is a crumb of freedom in a hive of mindless drones automatically following the whiteboard’s will…keeping us safe from ourselves. There is real no future here only the present or a few hours ahead.

Matrons

.
Nameless for all your name tags…legion. Poking your heads in the morning to merrily wake me, if I hadn’t already. Poking your heads in at night, to make sure I haven’t hung myself by my bed sheets…clipboard in hand. Clucking…How can you read ‘n write in the dark?…

I see better in the night, it drowns out the stalking grandmothers, blank walls ‘n shatterproof glass. I keep my door open, the matrons coo at what a good boy I am. Weariness gnaws my thoughts, but sleep rarely visits.

.
Familiar faces pop through the doorway. I know the night nurses, it’s a novelty to them to be known. They are the ghostly guardians of the sleeping ones. While the other children fitfully sleep, I explore spaces where the matrons can’t peek into.

John

.
Oh Lord of the Crayons, you decreed this place is a psyche ward not a playground from your office chair throne when Carina got up enough courage to ask for the crayons. You smugly denied her while you texted on your phone. How does it feel to be lower than a rent-a-cop? The guards here are decent fellas. While you try to be god of the paperclips ‘n loonies. If you were on the other side of this glass you’d learn grace. We colored in fairies with fading ink. Carina wore a nervous smile, tomorrow she would be free from the Lord of the Crayon’s reign.

Ricardo

.
Quietly you go about your business. A gentle giant, turning up in unexpected corners, in the midnight hours, a touch, a word. Whispering to Rudy in his mother’s tongue…scaring all the boogeymen away. Loved by all…broken children, matrons ‘n white coats alike.

.
There are no real stories here….beginnings, middles ‘n ends all happily strung together, all tied neatly in a bow. I’m broken ‘n so very tired. Will I ever be put back together again? I hope so because at least with Humpty Dumpty if all the King’s horses ‘n men failed to piece Humpty together again, they at least had scrambled eggs for their breakfast. I’m a mess that’s not benefiting anyone…myself included. My mind’s a fog. Nothing is solid. Everything is just fever dreams ‘n a sepia swamp I’m drowning in.

 

Biography:

Hi I’m Benjamin A. Cooper, okay at writing, terrible at writing bios ‘n very happy to be a part of this project.

.http://www.lulu.com/shop/ba-cooper/tim-death-birth/paperback/product-21361873.html https://twitter.com/BenCoopEr666

You can see Ben’s section of our first Hot Potato Collaborative Short Story here and his first residency piece here.

.

Ben will be back on Wednesday 7th May with another piece of his writing. Tomorrow, we will have our 4th Hot Potato section featuring Sam Grainger and some more Transformations  poems. Hope to see you there! 

You can read the other three sections of our Hot Potato collaborative short story here.

.

BE THERE A THE START AND HELP US MAKE THE VIRTUAL REAL:

Take a look at our Kickstarter Campaign for Transformations here

new-badge5

 

Dummy, Light, Carina by Ben Cooper (Creative Resident) #2

9 Apr

Thoughts

Welcome to the second of 4 post slots from our creative in residence for April- Ben Cooper  who, over the next 4 weeks, will be sharing some of his pieces with us.  .

Dummy

My eyes are open, but behind my eyes lies dark throbbing splinters, embryonic nightmares, lustful whispers. My joints complain as loudly as this bed. I wipe the sand from my eyes. Or is it sawdust? Does it really matter at this point?…creaking bed, creaking bones, creaking life…

It’s funny the way we attach ownership to things. I think of this as my window though countless others looked out of it. The sun has barely crept up through the trees, from the lip of the world, pinking the sky.

The clock quietly asks at me ‘n my strings get caught up in another day ‘n I’m dragged along. Once I was a creature of entertainment, children laughed at the antics of me. It was never my doing, my master pulled my cords ‘n I got the laughs. I just dumbly followed…I had words pushed into my mouth the way a little girl feeds cookies to her favorite doll.

Unlike Pinocchio I never wanted to be a real child, they’re soft things with a perplexing amount of disgusting substances that come out of them. I just wanted to pull my own strings ‘n explore. So when my master wasn’t looking I snipped my twine ‘n went out into the world. The world caught me, my oaken heart smoldered to ash. I walked on my own two feet, but my strings kept catching on things; bills, meetings, money, work…’n people they kept trying to pull me in so many directions…I swear I’m a minute away from being kindling…

A matron pops in her head ‘n chirps…Group.  Sweating, slowly skirting awake, I try to navigate a fading wilderness. Dreams, eels wriggling in the corner of my head, slipping from my grasp…

Look. I’m a real boy, all my strings are invisible.

Light

Group time is mandatory, all of us yawning children sit in chairs as stained ‘n worn out as us. We talk about our plans. Our plans are crumbs…do our laundry, make our beds, shower. Blackness shrieks at the back of my head. I see it in the others too. We squirm with discomfort ‘n try not to look at where we sit. Maybe these chairs are haunted. Maybe stains are memories an eye can see. No matter how dirty the chair is, we all want to sit where the sun is. A clouded eye in the ceiling tiles sometimes let’s a shred of sunlight tumble onto us.

There are plants here that are supposed to cheer us up…sickly hothouse palms that have only eaten whining florescent light…drank water from paper cups ‘n that have never felt a breeze…

One of the bright spots of the day here is the walk. The matrons take us beyond the cement of the yard out into the garden, outside the walls for a bit…

I don’t get to go out on the walk, my doctor hasn’t yet said I could. Pleasant things need the doctor’s permission; drugs, coffee, walks outside.

Carina

In the grass you wandered, picking flowers from their brick beds whenever the nurse’s back was turned. You walked in with flowers in your hair smiling at the matron’s scolding ‘n gave me a flower to put behind my ear. Your smile brightens this beige poorly lit box.

.

Biography:

Hi I’m Benjamin A. Cooper, okay at writing, terrible at writing bios ‘n very happy to be a part of this project.

.http://www.lulu.com/shop/ba-cooper/tim-death-birth/paperback/product-21361873.html https://twitter.com/BenCoopEr666

You can see Ben’s section of our first Hot Potato Collaborative Short Story here and his first residency piece here.

.

Ben will be back on Tuesday 22nd April with another piece of his writing. Tomorrow, we have some more great Book 14, Transformations poems. Hope to see you there! 

 

Disjointed by Ben Cooper (Creative Resident) #1

2 Apr

Thoughts

.

Welcome to the first of 4 post slots from our creative in residence for April- Ben Cooper  who, over the next 4 weeks, will be sharing some of his pieces with us. Here’s his first one: 

.

Disjointed
.
My thoughts, a multicolored multitude swarming, a light breath could tear them apart. I wonder where they would land ‘n what they would form? In my hand a yellowed crumbled coffee-stained bit of paper with indecipherable squiggles, ink faded with time. Sometimes I try to read it. Thoughts strung to together like crooked paperclips always falling off or notes that lost their sticky backs that keep floating off the board. Yet I keep writing.Time is meaningless here. Time here isn’t told by the clock’s hands, but by meals that are never looked forward to. A yellow substance the dinner lady swears is eggs. It’s morning. Pale limp ghosts that hang off the fork…chips. It’s noon. A piece of dry sandpaper drowned in gravy. It’s night. No one complains. The dinner lady is kind, ancient ‘n very proud of her food.The matrons care for us tired children. They blunt the scissors, hang the phone cords behind glass boxes at night. People have tried to kill themselves creatively here. No pencils are allowed here, but pens are welcome. Until someone tries to stab their heart out with a pen, I can write with ink.

The paint is locked behind a solid door, far too precious for us jaded children to waste. Sometimes they let us in to play…if we’re good. A girl painted my nails ‘n gave me a unicorn she made to protect me when she went away…a bit of color taped to the dark wood of my door ‘n on my hands. Rudy laughed, but her art is hanging in his window to color the sun. She was a strange delicate thing, the ward was more of a home to her than anywhere outside.

I have gray on my chin ‘n the matrons coo over me like a grandchild, wondering after a future that I’m unsure that will even be there or that I want when I get out.

The bookcase held no books, but many games with missing pieces. While we played Scrabble in the dark, while Bill mocked my terrible spelling, he told me about his misfortunes tinged with triumphs ‘n grinned wicked every time he won. Alaska whispered ‘n fish jumped behind all the tiles jumbled in my mind. A flash of happiness in the darkness, Bill liked to win big.

To wake up to screams not your own…every night. Every day my eyes were shadowed. Every night he bellowed, memories haunted his sleep. He tried to drown them out on the couch, watching basketball, cops, anything to fill his head. Florescent lights flickering a lullaby to him.

The yard holds no green or flowering thing, it blooms with high walls, metal benches, cement ‘n cameras. Not even a breeze escapes untamed.

At the window of the nurse’s station we line up like ducklings waiting for our colorful bread crumbs.

An ex-military man ‘n an eighteen year old girl swanning on about their love of their AK-47s, that was my morning…by the way she liked her glock more. ‘Merica.

.
Destiny

My black haired flower, so easily crushed in the moment. People kept spitting out your diagnosis in your face, a mark against you, like that’s who you were. Bipolar, your mother ‘n all your ex-boyfriends shouted. They never saw you….a loving mother, a kind woman, flawed ‘n all the more beautiful for it. Strong…stronger still for weathering all the storms ‘n staring other people’s madness in the face……

.

Biography:

Hi I’m Benjamin A. Cooper, okay at writing, terrible at writing bios ‘n very happy to be a part of this project.

.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/ba-cooper/tim-death-birth/paperback/product-21361873.html

https://twitter.com/BenCoopEr666

You can see Ben’s section of our first Hot Potato Collaborative Short Story here.

.

Ben  will be back next Wednesday (9th) with another piece of his writing. Tomorrow, we have poet Mandy Gibson’s second ‘FreeSpace’ revisiting  a previous piece of hers which she has specially finished off for us. Hope to see you there! 

 

Nests: ‘Dream Boat’ by Lauren Coulson (Creative Resident) #4

25 Mar

Trees4

Nests

Welcome to the final of 4 post slots from our creative in residence poet Lauren Coulson:

.

In this series of works I have decided to explore the idea of the homes that we create for ourselves. I started with the concept of nests; I have always been fascinated how animals instinctively make their homes and how human shelters develop. From this starting point I decided to examine the various homes that I have made for myself in my lifetime, creating a short series of semi- autobiographical works that explore this theme. 

.

 

Dream Boat

.

Pictures of boats with bare boards
renovate the corners of my brain,
turn them into places filled with planning
about where I’d put the kitchen sink.

.
Crying canals of tears
over photos of floating homes
I know I’ll never take my shoes off in,
I’ll never put the kettle on in,
I’ll never wipe the counters down in,
I’ll never make a home in.

.
I’ve moved into a hundred barges
carved out of photographs and memories
of riverside walks
pictured making cups of tea
and watching the swans fight over
the mornings toast crusts.

.
I’ll rope my dreams to a buoy;
hope they stay afloat
until I can find a boat that will
support the weight of all my hopes
and never sink.

.

.

 

.

Bio: 

In 1992 a wriggling pink baby popped out of its’ mother, who proudly proclaimed “cor blimey, it’s a girl!”. Since then that baby has gone on to study art, and get a first class degree in creative writing (although she is no longer a baby). She now spends her time creating crafts to sell in her online shop and writing about the world around her. She is working on her first novel, a children’s book, but is a poet at heart. On top of this she has branched out into storytelling and running writing workshops in the local community. When she grows up she wants to live on a boat and grow vegetables.

Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/milkymoonshop
Website: www.laurencoulson.co.uk

 

You’ll be able to see more of Lauren’s work in collaboration with artist Cliona Sheehan in our ‘Supporting Mental Health’ Anxiety and Release collaboration (April-May). Big thanks to Lauren and to artist Atalina Homan for their contributions and a great residency. 

Tomorrow, we will be sharing poet Kate Garret’s first FreeSpace within which, through verse, she explores the separate experiences of a family of women through the decades.  Hope to see you there! 

 

Nests: ‘Fortress ‘ by Lauren Coulson (Creative Resident) #3

19 Mar

Trees4

Nests

Welcome to the third of 4 post slots from our creative in residence Lauren Coulson:

.

In this series of works I have decided to explore the idea of the homes that we create for ourselves. I started with the concept of nests; I have always been fascinated how animals instinctively make their homes and how human shelters develop. From this starting point I decided to examine the various homes that I have made for myself in my lifetime, creating a short series of semi- autobiographical works that explore this theme. 

.

Fortress

My shaky hands move blankets
worn holey by love and knees,
into an awkward pitch

amongst the spider’s webs.
I stack book walls and duvet floors;
tear my friends from the pages
of stories I could never write.

Then shut off all the doors
that lead only to unlit halls,
find the boxes filled with fear
and tape the lids on tight.

I build my own home
in the forgotten corners of this house.

.

.

Bio: 

In 1992 a wriggling pink baby popped out of its’ mother, who proudly proclaimed “cor blimey, it’s a girl!”. Since then that baby has gone on to study art, and get a first class degree in creative writing (although she is no longer a baby). She now spends her time creating crafts to sell in her online shop and writing about the world around her. She is working on her first novel, a children’s book, but is a poet at heart. On top of this she has branched out into storytelling and running writing workshops in the local community. When she grows up she wants to live on a boat and grow vegetables.

Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/milkymoonshop
Website: www.laurencoulson.co.uk

 

Lauren will be back next Tuesday (25th) with the final  stage of her exploration where she will be, once again, supported by the artwork of Atalina Homan .  

Tomorrow, we will be posting out some more Transformations poems. Hope to see you there! 

 

Nests: ‘Climbing in the Swamp’ by Lauren Coulson (Creative Resident) #2

13 Mar

Trees4

Nests

Welcome to the second of 4 post slots from our creative in residence Lauren Coulson:

.

In this series of works I have decided to explore the idea of the homes that we create for ourselves. I started with the concept of nests; I have always been fascinated how animals instinctively make their homes and how human shelters develop. From this starting point I decided to examine the various homes that I have made for myself in my lifetime, creating a short series of semi- autobiographical works that explore this theme. 

.

Preface: This was a poem that I wrote last year, and in many ways was the starting point for this project. It has been featured in my chapbook Through The Trees. Although I felt some resistance in using a previous work for this feature, I felt it was the right thing to do as this poem had bee central to my ideas.

.

Climbing in the Swamp

.

I had been told not to climb in the swamp
that was tucked down by the orchard
where we kept the chickens.
Not to climb the trees
that slumped lazily diagonal instead of reaching
upwards for sunlight, in case my feet slipped
and I fell into thick mud,
all broken bones and dirty jeans.
But I had to climb.
Needed to reach monkey hands from river birch to willow,
pushing myself up with skinny legs, until I was nestled
in the trees, roosting like a magpie.
I have always craved small spaces.

.

Bio: 

In 1992 a wriggling pink baby popped out of its’ mother, who proudly proclaimed “cor blimey, it’s a girl!”. Since then that baby has gone on to study art, and get a first class degree in creative writing (although she is no longer a baby). She now spends her time creating crafts to sell in her online shop and writing about the world around her. She is working on her first novel, a children’s book, but is a poet at heart. On top of this she has branched out into storytelling and running writing workshops in the local community. When she grows up she wants to live on a boat and grow vegetables.

Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/milkymoonshop
Website: www.laurencoulson.co.uk

 

.

Lauren will be back next Wednesday (19th) with the next stage of her exploration.  

Tomorrow, we have our Weekend Showcase with artist Ieuan Edwards and some more Transformations poems in a second post. Hope to see you there! 

 

%d bloggers like this: