Tag Archives: Halloween

A Prelude To Halloween…..’Angels’ by Jessica Cooke

28 Oct

Angel

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Angels

by Jessica Cooke

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She had never bothered me before, not really.

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She used to have a grey look about her, not the grey of a washed out dishcloth, but a shimmering steel grey that trickled slowly like a sewage river, beneath those great almost diamond shaped cracks, the ones where her skin stretched clear over.

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It’s because of her blood. Not red like ours, but polluted, like the snow you find in a gutter.

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You can probably tell I don’t like her. I’ve never liked her. She doesn’t scare me though; to be scared of her would be like being scared of your own face in the mirror, or the sky outside your window. She’s always been there.

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For some reason, I never spoke about her, I don’t know why. I wondered why she was there, but only in the same lazy, childish way I wondered why the sky was blue and why the trees grew up instead of down, and why I had cancer.

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But, like the trees and the sky and my cancer, somebody, somewhere eventually came up with an answer, so I figured that, eventually, someone would explain her to me.

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His name was Michael. He was in my leukaemia ward, and he was eleven. My mum said I looked up to him because he was older than me but I liked him because of his funny accent. I found him different to all the other children on the ward, I giggled when he spoke.

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“Sure, I have one,” he told me, in a very matter of fact manner, “but mine don’t look like you say yours does.”

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“Is yours a man?” I asked, with the typical boys-play-with-boys and girls-with-girls social science of a ten year old.

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“Nah,” he answered, “Mine’s a woman like yours is. But she don’t look the same, mine’s got bright white hair like smoke! Or snow! Or Nurse Chandler’s hair!”

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We both giggled.

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“And sometimes she gazes at me with big groggy eyes, like a bull frog, and sometimes she does this with her mouth.” He opened and closed his mouth slothfully like a fresh water fish, “but no other people can see them – you only have them if you’re sick, like me and you,” he pinched my hip, and I wriggled back. “Don’t worry, Bluebelle,” he
grinned a toothy smile, “they’re here to protect us. Like angels.”

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I looked at my lady. I’ve never seen her face. All I saw was her stark grey body, with her bright, thick veins, like lead stitching, awkwardly bulging among the thick tufts of dark hair, which sprouted oddly in places across her head and back, like poisoned crops.

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She didn’t look like any angel I’d ever seen.

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“Eh,” said Mike, suddenly, “If you want you can have Patrick to sleep with?” He handed me a life-beaten bear with a missing eye and buttons hanging down. He said his mum said the bear was falling apart, but Mike thought he was special. I held him tightly all night.

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It was my Mum who told me Mike was Irish.

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It’s remarkable the way your mind works, when you’re that small, I was sure I loved that strange boy with the jingle bell voice, but now I realise I know nothing about love, and probably never will, but that’s okay, I know what love is, and you can’t miss something that’s never been there, just like you can’t be afraid of something that always has been.

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“Mum, would I become Irish,” I asked, one night cuddled to my mother’s warm body, winding her golden hair around my finger, like a ring, “you know, when me and Mike get married?”

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“If you want,” she’d said, but her voice sounded funny to me, as though it was cracking at the edges. I told her I’d put it back together, but she simply kissed my head and told me to go get ready for bed.

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When I came back there were red blotches on her neck and face and her eyes had tiny ruby lines around the pupil, like a crimson- white kaleidoscope.

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I asked if the Lady had done it to her.

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“What do you mean?” She looked bemused, and wiped away the tears that I now know she’d shed for me.

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“Well,” I began, “My lady never does anything to me; she just looks straight out of the window. I’ve not seen her face but, I don’t like her. Do you like your lady, Mum?”

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My Mother had said she didn’t have a lady, and after that I had to go talk to a man in a suit, he was a nice and he was a doctor, my mother had assured me, and I was to tell him all about my lady.

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“He doesn’t look like a doctor,” I’d protested, doctors wore white coats; I knew that, I’d read it in my books.

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“He’s a special kind of doctor,” she told me, smiling, but her eyes bore that strange falling look I’d glimpsed in the bedroom, “he’s going to help you get rid of that nasty lady.”

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And I was rid of her, at least for a while.

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It was the summer after I’d gone into remission, just before my 14th birthday. I noticed she seemed to be fading; the cracks across her skin began to spread, like an earth-quake moving in slow motion, until she stood, thin and wavering at the edges, as though I was just looking at her reflection in water.

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I started over to her, picking my way among the toys that lay littered across my bedroom floor, a dozen tiny faces at my feet;

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Step. Step. Step.

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She seemed to waver, the outline of her body shaking fuzzily like the hectic dancing of white static on an empty TV channel.

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Step. Step. Step.

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As I drew closer to her, I noticed the drops. Tiny perfectly formed droplets of water, that fell with a sucking sound from behind her long veil of dark hair, and clung to the windowsill in tiny frozen pearls.

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I now know that this is what happens when they cry.

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My angel, if that is what she was, was dying. I suddenly felt a surge of hot guilt course through me; I imagined the sight from the window pane, where she stared; her frail frame disappearing in tiny glimmers, like the blinking of a transmitted light; a fading message sent from somewhere faraway.

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Slowly, I reached out to touch her, my own pale fingers shaking, as if to mirror her.

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Slowly, slowly, I extended my arm, my forefinger stretching toward her like a tree branch, gently moving closer, closer…

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“Belle.”

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I jumped and span around, my arm still stretched out in front of me as though I was pointing.

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My mother stood in the doorway.

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“What are you doing?” she asked, puzzled.

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“Nothing,” I said quickly. I glanced back at my Lady.

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She was fading still. The shape of her bones were illuminated in the morning sun; ghost bones; the kind you could see right through.

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I looked back at my mother.

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When I think back now I remember her stillness, how the white doorway framed the moment like a picture, my mother; eyes shining with tears, clutching her mobile phone in her hand.

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A split second, half a heartbeat; ignorance, peace.

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A moment later, she told me Michael had died.

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It’s strange that the things you expect can still come as a shock, my mum had warned me that it would happen soon. Every day as I sat beside his bed, his face seemed to grow paler and his bright smile had become a heavy grin that stretched out across his tiny bones. His happiness was always greater than he was.

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I remember the last day I’d spent with Michael; I’d held his hand and Patrick’s as I sat, nestled in his covers, his warm slow breath caressing the skin on my cheek, listening as he talked once more about his lady.

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“Everyone says I’m getting sicker,” he told me, I leant forward to hear him; his words were thin and whispery, like falling paper. “But I don’t know. I feel it, my belly hurts and I can’t move as much, I need their help with pretty much everything. But the angel, Belle, I wish you could see her, she looks so beautiful. Do you remember the white statue?”

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The year before, Michael and I had been to Lourdes with our parents, and whilst Mike’s Mum and Dad had gone off to explore, Mike had insisted on staying with me, so him, my mum and me had sat eating our sandwiches on a pure white concrete block; at the centre of which was a small sized statue of a bright white lady. She had the most beautiful face, carved of vanilla stone.

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Mum had told us the statue was of a lady who said that an angel had appeared to her and drove a spear right through her. Mum said the spear didn’t kill her but the lady was happy and filled with the power of God. I asked Mum why someone would be so happy to have a spear driven right through them, and why God was so special?

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Mum stared at me, her eyes widening in shock.

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“To be visited by God would be a privilege Belle! Why the Lord is the utmost …” her voice was becoming shrill, like the noise a microphone makes when you try to tune it in. I imagined my Mum on a podium preaching God to people passing by, getting shriller and shriller as they marched on with their blasphemy,not knowing her daughter was among the uncaring.

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“Years ago,” she started, “People would even sacrifice themselves, or even others to God to prove their love for him. It was the angels that did his bidding, of-course. It was an angel who visited Abraham and asked him to offer up his only son to the lord.”

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“As a sacrifice?” I asked.

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Mike looked down and began to fidget awkwardly with the hem of his t-shirt; a ghost of smile playing on his lips; he knew what my Mum was like.

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“Yes,” she continued proudly, “with a blessed knife.”

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God sounded like a great spoiled child to me, and I definitely did not like the sound of his angels.

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I normally try to keep my Mum happy, nod along when she talks about “The Lord”, go along with her to church, in that moment, curiosity niggled at me like a hot itch, and I just had to know.

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“Would you sacrifice me to God if he asked you to?”

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Mike looked up from his fidgeting and began to eye us both warily, as though he was watching someone tread through a mine-field.

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“What do you mean?”

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“If God came down from heaven and asked you to offer up me, would you do it?”

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Her eyes bore into mine, she opened her mouth but closed it soon after, as if she had been about to speak but thought better of it.

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“I love you,” she said instead.

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“So you wouldn’t?” I persisted.

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“Oh!” Mike said suddenly. With his eyes still fixated on Mum and me, he had reached behind him to grab his Ribena carton, missed, and knocked it flat over.

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We jumped up quickly as a sticky red river began to form where we’d been sitting.

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Mum gasped, with shock or relief I’m not sure. But she whipped out a tissue from her bag and began to clean frantically the feet of the statue, her eyes fixated on the vivid pool of red, she would not have it taint the ivory gown.

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The cool blue light of the hospital room placed a gentle glow upon Mike’s face. I told him I did remember the statue.

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“She looks just like her, just like her,” he told me, suddenly he gripped my hand and for a moment I was frightened; his fingers clung white-tight to the flesh of my wrist, “she’s beautiful,” he said again. He was staring at me now, his eyes dark jewels in the cobalt shadows.

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Under the eyes of his angel, the dying boy gave me my first ever kiss.

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Soon after this, I saw Mike’s lady for myself. It was at the funeral, we were all gathered around the grey headstone, under which my best friend lay. I looked at the tiny cracks that had seemed to form already across the fresh stone, I wondered if I could plant flowers between the cracks, and maybe they’d bloom so Mike would still be beautiful. 

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That’s when I saw her. At first I thought she was part of the crowd, someone dressed unusually in bright white linen, but then I noticed she began to walk alone, to glide across graves far from our crowd.

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Her long white gown trailed softly as she moved as a boat sails across water. Occasionally she stopped and leant down slightly at a grave here or there, craning her head as if she recognized it as something she once knew.

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Then soundlessly she would stoop to pick just one single flower from the grave that stopped her, before continuing to slide along.

I felt happy for a second when I saw her looking down upon his new bed, glad that he wouldn’t be alone, cramped in that tiny coffin, packed into the silence – he’d have his pretty lady with him; his angel to watch over him.

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Then I saw her face. The way she was looking at his headstone and my blood ran cold. It was that smile.

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It was like an open wound, as though the force of her glee had ripped a grinning hole in her face. I knew that smile, I’d seen it before, it was the one that the villain wore in a film after he escaped justice yet again, it was like the one Tom Chester had when he pushed me down in the playground and looked at my bald head, and called me freak, back when I used to go to school; it was victory.

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I still think of Mike all the time, especially now since I’m sick again. I don’t believe in life after death but I like to pretend I do sometimes to keep my mum happy. That’s why I go with her to church, that’s why I talk to her about God, as if he’s real.

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But there’s no such thing as a man with a long white beard, who watches over us from the land of fluffy clouds. That would be too nice, too convenient for us all.

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There is simply life and death.

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And the angels that watch over us. Waiting.

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Writer’s Biography:

My full name is Jessica Cooke. Am 22, from Liverpool. I do Creative writing at Sheffield Hallam and currently live in Sheffield for Uni. I work in Local authority bar and apart from writing, socialising, and the odd hike and rock climb I’m a little bit boring! Haha. I do the occasional bit of performance poetry, enjoy music and reading.

http://madramblingsss.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/JessicaCooke5

Beauty, Deformation and Monsters # 4

24 Oct

Deformity

 Lydia Allison our ‘Writer In Residence’ for the month of October.

..and the ever-changing Halloween Monster !

‘I often just write what I feel. I have a real interest in physicality/beauty/deformity as I think image impacts on everyone.  I’m particularly interested in how people see themselves and how that influences their appearance or physicality subconsciously/metaphorically in terms of their feeling or actively by self harm/eating disorders. And I’m interested in perceptions of beauty and body dysmorphia’.

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Here’s the fourth of five poems on deformation by Lydia Allison illustrated this week by artist Sara Mena.  You’ll also find the third instalment of our ever-morphing, dastardly collaborative monster. This drawing is being collectively produced and passed from artist-to artist week-by-week- all contributing to one image.

The artists collaborating in Lydia’s project alongside Sara have been Gary Caldwell (whose art work went out in our first post here) and Amanda Santos (whose art work went out a fornight ago here) and Diana Probst (whose art work you can see here

So….each week you’ve been presented with a new poem and two new images/artworks (one illustration & one growing monster) today is the final poem and monster completion before the grande reveal next week of a new poem by Lydia especially written for the culmination of this project and the final collaborative version of the monster in situ for Halloween on the 31st.

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claws_saramena

Claws by Sara Mena

Please do click on the image to enlarge-it’s worth it

scars

by Lydia Allison 

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like lapped scum from waves
fish scales the shape of nails biting flesh
soft grey of freed blood
fractured vein
lightless shadow under skin

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weight of sleep and sheets
a mercury circle of brine slides from one eye
to the other eye

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swollen face of a stranger
empty body full of colour

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raised lines like child’s writing
fake letters link
breaths wait to stagger pain

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the legs
the chest
body set
hollow nest

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still and patient
not to find anything

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The Monster:

... with legs…or are they….here are Sara’s additions:

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grand_monster_complete sara

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 He’s amphibian….who’d of thought…

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Writer’s Biography

‘I’ve been writing for a couple of years and am currently in my final year of my BA in Creative Writing. Two years ago I thought it would be a miracle for me to string lines into poetry, but quickly fell in love with it and proved myself wrong. My real passion lies between the border of poetry and prose.’

lydiaallison.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/LydiaAllison13

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Artist’s Biography:

 “HI I’m Sara Mena, i’m a freelance illustrator and 2D artist and very positive with life and with the things I love. I was born in 1985 and although I have a BA in Graphic Design I was always drawn to the visual arts and illustration and decided to go that way. I like to work in paper and digital, usually mixing those two. I’m passionate with expression and emotion in paintings and drawings and I like merging media to find new ways of expression and to convey responses. At present time, I’m doing figurative work, science art and also art for videogames. Sometimes I work in some art exhibitions. I’m glad to be able to work with such different areas, they make me use different techniques and make me think in particular ways, that helps me grow and expand my art.

http://saramena.com/

https://twitter.com/_saramena

You can find more of Sara’s art in a previous feature on ArtiPeeps, Interactions and Intersections’.

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The monster is sticking with Sara until next week so she can put him into a context for the big reveal…Be very,very  afraid…or not…

Lydia’s final poem especially written for the culmination of our project will be out on ArtiPeeps next week for Halloween –Thursday 31st October.  

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As always, your responses to either Lydia’s poetry or the art that has been created would be very much welcomed!!

Beauty, Deformation and Monsters # 3

16 Oct

Deformity

 Lydia Allison our ‘Writer In Residence’ for the month of October.

..and the ever-changing Halloween Monster!

‘I often just write what I feel. I have a real interest in physicality/beauty/deformity as I think image impacts on everyone.  I’m particularly interested in how people see themselves and how that influences their appearance or physicality subconsciously/metaphorically in terms of their feeling or actively by self harm/eating disorders. And I’m interested in perceptions of beauty and body dysmorphia’.

____________________

Here’s the third of five poems on deformation by Lydia Allison illustrated this week by artist Diana Probst (See her biography below). You’ll also find the third instalment of our ever-morphing, dastardly collaborative monster. This drawing is being collectively produced and passed from artist-to artist week-by-week- all contributing to one image.

The artists collaborating in Lydia’s project alongside Diana are Gary Caldwell (whose art work went out in our first post here) and Amanda Santos (whose art work went out last week here) and Sara Mena (whose art work is still to come).

So….each week you’ll be presented with a new poem and two new images/artworks (one illustration & one growing monster). You’ll be introduced to each artist as we go along too.

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Cauliflower Heart

Please do click on the image to enlarge

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Cauliflower Heart

by Lydia Allison

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You see them, don’t you?
These little scars just below
where my bra sits?
In the right light they shine like new
You noticed my fingers
blackened at the tips
nails hard
feeling gone

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I know, I’m trying not to slouch, but
can’t you see the ropes?
Woven thick
and reaching
down?
All these tendons from tired knee
to toe are old rubber bands
I can’t reach any more
stretch…….. leap……fall
best foot worn

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these stitches run like ladders pulling holes
but not everyone can see like you
they see: red wine purple teeth
cheshire cat grin
but not the split fruit skin,
and under it all
the hard tissue grows.

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Writer’s Biography

‘I’ve been writing for a couple of years and am currently in my final year of my BA in Creative Writing. Two years ago I thought it would be a miracle for me to string lines into poetry, but quickly fell in love with it and proved myself wrong. My real passion lies between the border of poetry and prose.’

lydiaallison.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/LydiaAllison13

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Artist’s Biography:

 Diana is a young artist in Cambridge, who is continually surprised that people will pay her to do what she loves.  She likes beer and being paid on time.  She has illustrated two books and a lot of bits of paper.  She wants to paint portraits, takes commissions, and drinks tea like it is water.

http://dianaprobst.com/

https://twitter.com/DianaProbst

You can find more of Diana’s art in a previous feature on ArtiPeeps, Ask An Artist.

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The Monster:

with Diana’s additions

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grand_monster

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The monster was passed to Sara Mena today. She’s fiddling with his appendages as we speak….

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Lydia’s next poem will be out on ArtiPeeps next week-Thursday 24th October.  You can also check-in then and  see what stage our cheery monster is at too!  

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As always, your responses to either Lydia’s poetry or the art that has been created would be very much welcomed!!

Beauty, Deformation and Monsters # 2

10 Oct

Deformity

 Lydia Allison our ‘Writer In Residence’ for the month of October.

..and the ever-changing Halloween Monster!

‘I often just write what I feel. I have a real interest in physicality/beauty/deformity as I think image impacts on everyone.  I’m particularly interested in how people see themselves and how that influences their appearance or physicality subconsciously/metaphorically in terms of their feeling or actively by self harm/eating disorders. And I’m interested in perceptions of beauty and body dysmorphia’.

____________________

Here’s the second of five poems on deformation by Lydia Allison illustrated by emerging Artist Amanda Santos (See her biography below), and the second instalment of our ever-morphing, dastardly collaborative monster. This drawing is being  collaboratively produced and passed from artist-to artist week-by-week all contributing to one image.

The artists collaborating in Lydia’s project alongside Amanda are Gary Caldwell (whose work went out in our first post here) and Diana Probst and Sara Mena (whose work is to come). So….each week you’ll be presented with a new poem and two new images/artworks (one illustration & one growing monster) and you’ll also be introduced to each artist.

______

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Blood Gold by Amanda Santos

Please do click on the image to enlarge

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Blood Gold

by Lydia Allison

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it drags the veins as it flushes and trudges
heavy and sludgy, it reminds you
of energy and time and waste

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it weighs
and stretches the fibres
the skin
until she is numb
and unable to see
the leaves that shimmered
now gather around the rich tree root trunk of her heart
like cholesterol snagging in corners
and shutting valves like doors.

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the key
a bright speck that navigates the brain
or abides in the green retina of the left eye
he noticed once

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and hurts? can you not know?

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it hurts
it makes her shine
and now it pools
a small dam low
in her chest

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it pools
small sac by sac
so when she breathes
it’s cold and half dead
and tastes
like blood

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Writer’s Biography

‘I’ve been writing for a couple of years and am currently in my final year of my BA in Creative Writing. Two years ago I thought it would be a miracle for me to string lines into poetry, but quickly fell in love with it and proved myself wrong. My real passion lies between the border of poetry and prose.’

lydiaallison.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/LydiaAllison13

Artist’s Biography:

 “Hi, my name is Amanda Santos. I’m a junior in High School, and I only really got involved in art a year ago in my Art I class. Since then I have tried to learn everything that I possibly can about every type of art that I could find. I am still trying to find a style and a voice in the artistic world, but I’m on my way.”

https://twitter.com/AmandaS5454

You can find more of Amanda’s art in a previous collaboration on ArtiPeeps, Interactions and Intersections.

________________________

The Monster .

with Amanda’s additions

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Amanda's monster (2)

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The monster was passed to Diana Probst today. She’s shaping the monster as we speak….

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Lydia’s next poem will be out on ArtiPeeps next week-Wednesday 16th October.  You can also check-in then and  see what stage our cheery monster is at too!  

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As always, your responses to either Lydia’s poetry or the art that has been created would be very much welcomed!!

Two Strands: ArtiPeeps Mini-Relaunch

30 Sep

Two Strands

Well, as from tomorrow until the end of the year ArtiPeeps is back with gusto. We are now entirely driven by multi-form collaborations and Individual Showcasing (the two strands) It’s a real treat to say that over the next 3 months…

  • We’ve got 12 weekend showcases * lined up featuring a real gamut of emerging and established creatives and forms every Friday (see below).

        *Weekend Showcase Initiative (Every Friday, 1 Creative, 1 Piece of Work, letting their work speak for itself)

  • We’ve got 1  FreeSpace* creatives ( Michael Schmidt, Nat Hall & Lili Morgan, Shannon Pardoe, Eliot Winters, Holly Gibson and one of our lovely Transformers Karin Heyer) and 1 FreeSpace Group (Space2Create)

          *FreeSpace Initiative (3 consecutive slots for further showcasing or projects).

  • There are also two mid-sized collaborations under our new strand ‘Supporting Mental Health’ ( part of ‘Creatives Making A Difference’):  The first collaboration bringing together 4 artists and 4 poets  examining the dynamics of fear and trust and the other collaboration (involving 3 poets, 2 artists and 1 photographer) on light, comfort and re-assurance. In each case poets, artists and photographers will be  working alongside each other on the themes.

The two collaborations above highlight one of the major threads of ArtiPeeps’ intention which we’re letting sit under the banner of ‘Supporting Mental Health’. The artwork and texts created in these two collaborations, alongside   ‘The Recovery Project’ will form an ongoing artistic and therapeutic resource for people in need and also provide an innovative access point from which people can engage with difficult psychological themes and issues. This I’m hoping to call  ‘ Comfort Zone’.  (This, I hasten to add at this point,  is very much a work in progress). And I also have in mind that these collaborations could be grouped together as external exhibitions , to increase public awareness.

I’d be very grateful for any feedback on these two collaborations. What you liked about them? If they helped? How valuable you think this strand is?

And….importantly

we are introducing our  Writer in Residence for October (Visitor Peep)  emerging writer and poet Lydia Allison. We’re thrilled to have her with us over the next month. Indeed, we have built a whole multi-form Halloween-style collaboration around 4 great poems of Lydia’s which focus on  a particular interest of her’s- notions of deformity. You’ll hear more about that tomorrow!

And here’s where our third collaboration comes in….because October leads up to Halloween 4 great artists are not only providing illustrations for each of Lydia’s  poems but also collaboratively creating a monster together. At Halloween you’ll be able to see the ghastly, terrifying  collaborative Monster they’ve shaped together and a new piece of writing by Lydia too.  We’ve also got a spanking new piece of Flash fiction with a Halloween theme coming out from emerging writer Jessica Cooke which we’re also very excited about which will pave the way to the Monster. 

We’ve also got ArtiPeeps’ 2nd Artist in Residence returning (Lydia’s predecessor) lovely neon artist Lili Morgan and her neons . Her monthly journal is back until the end of the year.  It will be a delight to have her neons and spirit back on show. And there will be the steady heartbeat of Transformations poems passing through too on a weekly basis.  All is well.

So over the next 3 months well over 30 wonderful creatives will have been individually showcased and have connected and collaborated together – making a difference and  creating new artworks and literary pieces whilst showcasing their talent and artistry. That’s the idea anyway.

I did a bit of calculating last week and I’m proud to say that since last May over 100 creatives have taken up ArtiPeeps’ opportunities. I know that’s probably small fare compared to some organisations, but it is a lovely firm foundation from which to grow.  It is my every intention to continue and develop these opportunitives further and provide concrete oulets like ‘Transformations’ our 2014 large scale art/poetry exhibition on a regular basis. Now we have found a home in the form of Hanse House for our events this can happen.

You’re feedback and support is much valued,  particularly in relation to this new strand. – So do come back both physically and with your comments and ideas. There’s lots on,  and much quality and talent.

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The other Creatives and there work featured over the next 3 months will be  as follows:

Monster: 

Gary Caldwell (Illustrator & Artist)

Diana Proubst (Artist)

Amanda Santos (Artist)

Sara Mena (Artist)

Fear/ Trust

Ryan Atkins (Artist) Richard Biddle (Poet)

Rob Fitzmaurcice (Artist) Robin Sounder (Poet)

Mat JimDog (Artist) Tom Murphy (Poet)

Ray Bentley (Artist) Melissa Diem (Poet)

Comfort and Reassurance

Hugo Smith (Artist) Lenka Monk (Poet)

Ken Fasimpaur (Artist) Lauren Caulson (Poet)

Atalina Marie Homan (Artist) Candice Buchanon (Poet)

Weekend Showcase:

Heather Mary Burns (Artist)

Eliot Winters (Writer and poet)

Em (poet)

Estrella Azul (Writer)

John Austin Brooks (poet)

Jenny Bailey (Writer)

Tony Adams (Photographer)

Mina Polen (Poet)

Virginia Clarke (Artist)

James Gidding (Writer)

Anil Godigamuwe (Poet)

Jeremy Mosley (Photographer)

And maybe more….

.

We hope you enjoy the diversity, talent, quality and creativity.

All the very best.

Nicky

P.S. Today, I’m going to be hopefully inaugurating an ArtiPeeps online calendar on the ‘What’s On’  Page so you can see ‘what’s occurring’ throughout the month more easily.

ARTIPEEPS HALLOWEEN HOTCH-POTCH

31 Oct

 

Welcome to Halloween HotchPotch the first multi-collaborator ArtiPeeps blog themed around Halloween and ‘spookiness’. You’ll find a real mish-mash of fiction, audios, videos, poems and illustrations. Feel free to pick and mix and come back to savour…..And we’d love your feedback!

 The talented contributors to this blog are:

+Gary Caldwell+Jasmine DeGrado

+Kate Garrett

+Lisa Risbec + Ryan Shaw 

 

 

                                                                                                           Original Art Work by Ryan Shaw

 

HAPPY HUNTING!  

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http://acloserlisten.com/2012/10/24/various-artists-trust/

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All Hallows’ Eve

by Kate Garrett

They’ve run barefoot for hours

Over dirt paths littered with broken glass,

And they feel no pain.

He says, “Your patience breaks my heart.”

And kisses her hair,

As one tear taints the blood on his lips.

She says, “I love you, but I need the sun.

We’ve been in the dark

Too long, and I can’t handle this.”

He has to decide.

He touches her cheek. They part with a kiss.

She can no longer see his face

As he returns to the hours of starlight.

Her smile fades with his silhouette,

And regret steals her childlike delight.

The choice was never hers to make:

When he needs her she is there.

She’s a secret, a charm – invisible as ghosts.

When he sleeps, she is awake.

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The Contract

by Jasmine DeGrado

Original Photo by Lisa Risbec

 Dear Readers,

The excerpt you are about to read was found in an abandoned car. The tow truck driver was a friend of mine and had found loose papers thrown about in the back seat of the car, and thought I would be interested in reading them. The writing was that of an elderly man. Upon reading, I feel eerily connected, as if I need to share this story with the world. I have made no changes or revisions of any kind. Read at your own risk.

When I signed my name in blood that night, not long ago, I knew what would happen. I dare not speak upon it except in silence through pen and paper.

He had looked at me with dark eyes…those dark eyes. They seemed to reach into my being and steal my soul, leaving my shell so cold and void. I remember the physical changes. I could never seem to warm my body, my blood is chilled, like a fine wine. My brain has slowed, but my eighty year old step became much faster.

The ties that once bound me from freedom released me, one by one. The first was my son, a pathetic drunk ass. He died surprisingly fast. They called it alcoholism. The next to go was my beautiful daughter tortured for nearly forty years by the grasp of drugs. Tears of joy I cried for her, only her, as I stood over her coffin. Soon after, my beloved Mary finally died, her evil heart worn from a lifetime of anger. That b***h, that b***h, was finally gone, along with every so-called fake friend we ever claimed to have had. Some questioned the deaths, while others felt pity and did not how to react, so they simply disappeared. No one questioned the money.

I moved into a fine neighborhood, one I could not have imagined a year before. It was just I and the two inherited dogs, each dying six months apart until I was completely freed from my past.

A woman had been brought into my realm “As a reminder of your past,” he would later say, standing over my hospital bed. My face swollen, my jaw wired shut, my old, frail body at his mercy. He had looked at me with dark eyes…those dark eyes.

The woman had been a gift. She had all the characteristics of those who were killed, those I had been freed from. That woman was to remind me of my loyalty to my contract and to the man with the dark eyes.

You will be rewarded,” he had said. A new woman would come into my life soon, a very beautiful woman with dark hair and a daughter. I was to take her in and love her. What could an old, worn man like me do with such a woman? He looked at me, his mouth slowly drawing up into a snare…or was it a smile? His teeth showing yellowed stained filth. “Destroy her,” he had said.

As promised, the woman arrived with her child and all was well. Then it began. I loved her so much, too much, though never once touching her. I watched the woman filled with curiosity struggle with her new life, with her new money. Blood money. From my bedroom window I would watch her sneak back into the house very late, night after night and I began to hate her as I hated the others. And so she began to drink. She began to get angry. She began to do drugs. She wanted to leave me. I did nothing.

The woman, drunk, smelling of sex and perfume, stumbled into my home one night. That hot summer night. And then he came, the man with the dark eyes…those dark eyes. Paralyzed in fear, standing in the doorway of the woman’s bedroom, I watched him.

Even now on paper, I do not have the courage to bring to life what my tired eyes had witnessed. She had made no noise, there was no mess. The man with the dark eyes stood up from her bedside, looked at me fiercely, and heaved a sound indescribable, vibrating every inch of my being. A demonic voice of a thousand souls speaking in synchronic subhuman misery screamed, “Abaddon!” The house shook with fury and wind. His eyes were huge, his mouth became monstrously large, his face grey, almost glowing in the darkness. I hid my eyes with my arm and then it was over. I slowly lowered my arm and looked toward the bed, but he was gone. So was she.

I ran into the little girl’s room. She was sleeping so soundly, as if nothing had happened at all. I will drive her to her grandmother’s house tomorrow. I feel as if we are in danger, as if I did not destroy the woman enough to fulfil my contract. I feel as if the man with the dark eyes will come soon for her, Abaddon. What have I done? The contract I had written with the blood of my wrist on virgin parchment was meant for freedom and wealth. I am afraid I cannot take this back. So be it. If these notes are to be found without me, please publish somehow as to warn the world there is evil waiting for you, watching you with dark eyes…those dark eyes.

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Here we have a rendering of Robert Browning’s  My Last Duchess, An Unreliable Narrator of the Highest Order:

Written in 1842. It links the short story form, the tableau and the dramatic verse monologue….

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The Third

by Jasmine DeGrado

The torture of sobriety’s bitterness lingers on my tongue,

his face haunting my memory.

My heart, after all of this time,

ripping apart.

Still. I let him go, but will never let him go.

My soul, will forever hungrily gnaw

at my pathetic, cold heart.

Stake me before I rise.

Decapitate my thoughts

and spare him my misery,

for my eternal love will

surely seduce him into the darkness…

as it has the others.

 

THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO by EDGAR ALLEN POE

Original Art Work by Gary Caldwell

 

Picture within Soundcloud player by Larry Vienneau, With Thanks

The Cask of Amontillado is one of Poe’s most well known tales written in 1846. He is one of the first theorists of the short story (which he called ‘The Tale’ or the Prose Poem) He believed this particular form to be superior to the novel.

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Original Art Work by Ryan Shaw:

 

 Boo! Some Devilish Books!

 

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Original Photography by Lisa Risbec

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Inspired by Woman With A Crow by Picasso:

Every day that my mistress comes to visit me the sun always

lies low. I have been her familiar for over 10 years now,

and I see no reason why this should change, unless I wish

it so. Our relationship is founded upon mutual disregard.

She only comes when she really needs me, otherwise I am

left to my own devises to peck & scrummage. My talons

are sharp, precise and can draw  blood. As soon as I see

her coming I offer my head and as she bends, my claws

root into the wood below, as my emotions surge to the fore.

To me her lips feel like thin parchment and her fingers

like snapping twigs. Everything about her is veiled, translucent

apart from her intent which I feel as her white lips pucker. Her intent

is dark and lies deep behind her masked eyes. Sometimes I

wonder whether I am more alive than she is? I wonder who is

the better phantom-she or I? She hides herself my mistress, and

she knows no bounds. My  mistress and I, we know no bounds. “

Picasso’s Woman With A Crow:

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Day of the Dead

by Kate Garrett

His place was set, a plate was left

Untouched.

No time to think, she poured a drink –

Just enough.

To raise a toast

So he knows

He’s still loved.

She cries at times when he’s on her mind

But consolation

Returns to her when she uses words

For transformation.

Finding grace

In the memory

Of those she loved.

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We all hope you enjoyed our Halloween HotchPotch and wish you a HAPPY HALLOWEEN. As always, thank you for your interest! And if you would like to get involved with any future ArtiPeeps collaborations, do get in touch via the comment box or @ArtiPeep on Twitter or follow our blog via the Follow button on the sidebar…

n.b. If you want to follow any of the above creatives on Twitter:

Gary Caldwell: https://twitter.com/GaryCaldwellart

Jasmine DeGrado: https://twitter.com/JDest1978

Kate Garrett: https://twitter.com/andlavendercats

Lisa Risbec: https://twitter.com/LisaRisbec

Ryan Shaw: https://twitter.com/ryannotbrian

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ARTIPEEPS NEWS

  • New Page: FineFocus which focuses on specific techniques, genres, forms and processes in art/writing/creativity. At the moment we have two videos by a young artist CeleneArtiste up which show a new technique of hers. Do get in touch if you’d like to contribute to this.
  • Our First Guest Blogger , James MacKenzie was a great success, and I think brought a  new dynamic to ArtiPeeps. James is now our official ‘ArtiPeep’ English Art ‘Correspondent’ so you’ll be seeing more of his blogs on ArtiPeeps as the months go by. We’ll be having another guest blogger in November, Alastair Cook,  A Film Maker…
  • Also from  Wednesday 7th November we’re adding  a regular Wednesday fortnightly flash fiction element to the blog with Laura Besley…..
  • And you’ll find our  first ‘Visitor Peep’ in residence on the Visitor Peep Page. Another new poet, Susan O’Reilly, having written for only a year, who will be sharing her work with us. She’s keen to have any constructive criticism…Please see the side bar for more information about this initiative
  • Shortly there will also be a new ‘FabFiction Page’, a place for new poetry and prose,  so if you’d like to contribute, do get in touch!

There’s a lot going on!

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