Tag Archives: John Mansell

Nifelheim: ‘Spaces and Pain 4/4’ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

16 Apr

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 22 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Nifelheim (The Realm of the Dead

Featuring:

Karin Heyer and John Mansell

Choices

by Karin Heyer

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In the mists of time,
Hel, goddess of the dead
was the moon that
drew good or evil
across the water.
Her gigantic power
should not fall to abuse,
for that was Hel’s hell.

She ruled over men
on this sea of wagons
with fierce piercing eyes.
She could protect or destroy
the apple-tree of strife
under the miraculous moon’s hall,
so that the brutal blood-snake
would strike
not in thoughtless revenge.

She was master of
the dream-assembly for
the sick and old,
could prevent the slaughter-dew from flowing
over the ruthless river-fire
in the lone battle of life.

 

The translations of the kennings:

Sea of Wagons = earth; Apple-tree of strife = warrior; Moon’s hall = sky; Blood-snake = sword; Dream-assembly = sleep; Slaughter-dew = blood; River-fire = gold

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Nifelheim

by John Mansell

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The night stifles with moon and star-fall.
The skald saunters through the throng.
Arms aloft like antlers he shuffles words
on his rhythmic tongue,
full of soot and cinders, to fall upon
the eager warriors gathered in stately enclave.
The night ignited by the sparks of his recital,
spreading the gloaming like bleeding flame.

“We are such as gather before the camp fires of lore.
We are those who thrust to that glorious death.
Yet betwixt and between there are those
who crave infirmity and age.
Look and you will glance their shifting eyes
behind the slatted windows of hovels,
fearful and stripped of dignity.
No feasting halls for them.
Nothing but sullen Nifelheim awaits.
The mist-home.
The clutch of ice and cold upon ancient flesh.
The dread of the Rime Giants or the Children of the Mist.
We are such as will never see those spectres.

“And lo I tell you, Nifelheim is older than the first star.
It was created before earth, and at its centre Hvergelmir,
the Roaring Kettle, from which nine rivers flow.
That hoary land where Odin sent
defiling Loki’s grotesque child Hel.
That cruel daughter;
half sable as night, half as you in stippled wipe of fire.
And there with those whose usefulness has diminished
go the evil doers, the molesters of dream.
Helgrind, the Gates of Hell, ne’er more apt,
that edifice entrance; that hall called Eljudnir.
She strewed the minds of ambling man.
Her dish was that of Hunger.
Her knife the famine before her table.
Her slave a slender wraith call Lazy
and Slothful her serving wench in harlot stance.
We are such as will not fall to her peril.

“We are such as will not see before the quivering sun,
as it shudders beneath the end of the earth,
the sail of her ship of death afloat from its mooring
in that place that traps and spits her name as if both are one.
We are such whose eyes will not stoop beneath
the lowest horizon before that Mistress of Death.
That Mistress of the pusillanimous hand.
Not lest you be as brave Hermod
whose ride to her foreboding hall entreats all glory.
To release sad Balder from its mortifying hold.
None must weep she said
to show that he was truly loved.
None at all she said.
How harsh her condition as that sole giantess
with eyes of granite frowned and found no tear.
We are such as Hermod.
We are such as defy the impossible.
No Nifelhein for us.
No falsifier of Death to retch our glories.
For we will find the perfect deaths to attend our only Master.”

The fires had burnt low.
The moon had travelled along the sky.
The gathered warriors gripped in thought the silent blades.
And the skald with no hint of farewell
departs as if he had never been.

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Hvergelmir

Hermod

Balder

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You can read the overview of Nifelheim  here , and see some Nidavellir poems here

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Find out more about Karin and John here:

Karin Heyer

Contact ArtiPeeps

John Mansell

https://twitter.com/JohnMansell1

 

As always, thank you for your interest.

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Nidavellir: ‘ Darkness and Gold’ 1/4′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

26 Feb

nine realms8

19 poets, 22 Artists, 3 musicians and a Viking Boat

The Nine Realms

9 months, 19 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Nidavellir (The Realm of the Dwarves)

Featuring:

Joanna Lee, John Mansell, Nat Hall

 

the secret and impalpable things of the world

by Joanna Lee

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strength has no purchase here,
in the dark places
where ribbons of the secret
and impalpable things of the world
are forged from stony,
sunless wrists
to catch a moon-
snatcher

by the heart, the chain.

he would slay the best of them,
she said, so slaver-
dripped fingers fish
for breath of cat moving,
the noise of mountain roots.
even a god will lose a hand
to feed a wolf
and bind him.

 

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Fenrir

 

 

Nidavellir

by John Mansell

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Sombre snarled in nascent clutch
the maggot-born unbound
from mire of decaying Ymir.

In sunless dwelling of slate hue wrath
Sindri’s bloodline wrought in nanistic voracity
the skilled gems and emblems of gods.

Moon-wane fields that emptied to the shuddering north.
The clout of smiths in melanic retreat,
to swirl to solid mist the aureate seal of their fame.

In red-gold sanctum magic Hreidmar wrecked in wealth
the family bonds to scream in shame his daughter’s names
as sanguine blade slept through his flesh.

Three chains that snapped, one in death,
unbridled Fafnir, serpent spawn slithered the morose realm.
His rancid pause of poison like lava.

And Regin fearful shied to shameless oblivion.
It is a dire place this home of dwarves,
this land of shade and patricide.

There had been valour here, the lofty battle flags unwrapped.
Their unfurling now a memory
of dust chastened in the quietening mines.

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Sindri

Hreidmar

Fafnir

Regin

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The Open One

by Nat Hall

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They wanted to tame prophecies,

the fen-dweller,
son of Loki,
fanged
beyond fears,
moon howler
Inside a troll’s skin;
feared by most gods,
shackled by silk
dwarves 
once
fashioned in
dark dwellings –
ribbon
woven
out of mere six impossibles:
a faint sound of feline footfall,
a woman’s beard,
a mountain’s roots,
a bear’s sinews,
breath of a fish 
and
bird’s spittle…

They say
Gleipnir, the open one,
will resist him.

© Nat Hall 2015

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Gleipnir

 

 You can read the overview of Jotunheim hereand read some Vanaheim poems here

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Find out more about Joanna, John and Nat:

Joanna Lee

the-tenth-muse.com

 https://twitter.com/la_poetessa

John Mansell

https://twitter.com/JohnMansell1

Nat Hall

nordicblackbird.weebly.com

https://twitter.com/nordicblackbird

 

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As always, thank you for your interest.

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Asgard: ‘Warriors and Ravens’ 2/5′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

20 Nov

World Tree Norse

The Nine Realms

9 months, 22 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Asgard

Featuring:

Shirley Golden, John Mansell, Lydia Allison, Ross Beattie

 

Yggdrasill Groans

by Shirley Golden

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So here am I: ancient, wise and eternal. Rooted in the heart of Asgard, I channel into lower realms. Above, my canopy extends as a shield for all creation. Always was and is and will be, so they say. You might imagine that one of my standing would claim attention and be heeded. If only. Ra-ta-tap, ra-ta-tap: paws scurry along bark and branch from source to crown, conducting a berserk exchange. Together. Apart. Deep in the soil, Nidhogg’s scales abrade my knotted foundations. His teeth rip and tear, keen to unearth. Deer and harts snack on my shoots before I have time to unfurl. I’m gnawed and chewed upon, hung from, and tapped for sweet knowledge. But it’s never enough. Trouble is the gods aren’t so gifted to keep calm, listen or reflect.

Look at him, running around with his stunted hammer, trying to wield notions of equality, and him a god. Granted, he has a stout heart and likes to keep things in order, but why oh why can he never grasp when he’s being tricked by those frost giants? And the Allfather with his all-seeing eye? Pah! I mean, how often does He neglect to observe the rascal’s antics? Time and again the shape-changer creates chaos, and with his wheedle words slithers out of predicaments, slippery as a fish. Will they never learn? How many times can one make amends with ill-gotten gifts? I blame the eye. Sacrificed for wisdom, but He failed to appreciate the value of depth perception.

Is that harsh? I’m old, too old and cranky. If it wasn’t for the Norns and their care, I’d have rotted long ago. I tire of the gods and their games. It’s all act, act, act; treks to other realms, tests and trials. Who’s the toughest or the swiftest? I do my best to give sound counsel but I’m unconvinced that they hear me. All they sense is a susurration of leaves, lifted by the breeze, from which they seize a sketchy message and thunder ahead, regardless.

The wind gusts his ice-breath and my joints creak and moan, but I’ve seeds to sow and trust that one day they’ll take. Understand that I’ve considered on countless occasions what I might say (if only I could articulate their words, and if only they’d be still and mark my warnings). And the best advice I could offer?

“Whatever you do, don’t listen to Loki.”

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Yggdrasil

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Asgard

by John Mansell

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I

Slaked emptied the meaded-horns.
The soothsayer’s runes yield their redden field.
The smoke coil-feast entwining the bowed heads of Long Serpents
bobbing with rimmed-eyed-red.
The feast for slaughter to wed the lost to death.

Grim battle carrion shredded bannered.
The disjointed stride of deed beneath the beak.
Splashed vivid and dripping the echoes of dawn.
War hounds draped in the grim spoils between the broken weaponry.
The shattered bodies sprawl by jewel tipped shaft.

II

By Bifrost span the heralded torn from earthly womb.
The golden shrill shouts of the choosers of the slain.
Renewal of strength, rearmed and armoured
by the wall of spears and the shielded roof.
Aesir-dwellers in brine enactment of that perfect fate.

The daily spectacle before Geri and Freki by their Master’s feet;
by Huguinn and Muninn at the godly ear.
And man’s desire to repeat his seething deeds,
rehealed and re-aled beneath the folds of Frigga’s sky,
reveals no boy returning from whence only men filed.

III

Far below, the earthly funeral lights the dimming horizon.
Adorning glory. The warriors muster and poets sing.
The brutal ferocity glad against the breast of night.
And in humble earth-wood home the hero’s woman
beside another who soon will taste the meaded-horn.

And all men by their camped fires recite the lists of dead.
Who line abreast four score by ten the many rounded doors.
The quieting scene. The poet eyes the distant moraine.
And hums in rhythm and fighting rhyme
His battle hymn to those aloft in eternal praise.

 

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Poem read by Nicky Mortlock on John’s behalf.

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they never said

by Lydia Allison

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dying is travelling
a light-year in a second
completely alone,
in a sense you have never felt before
not in dreams or worship
or bleak nights.

I was part of the writhing mass
the storming spreading attack
part of the dance between me and that
man that other warrior that superior clan
I was part of that
company, closer than everything
and when I look back
his face was the face of my wife.

did he look away out of shame
for my weakness shame
for his own life shame
for how tenderly my body leaned to his blade.

here is the look of oil on water
like heaven’s reflection you can touch.
as a child I chased rainbows
made idols from glass refractions,
stooped in the road.

I see thickly, this space shimmers with moving light
violet edging faces I know
and I mourn my rainbow
revising memories of blood
the sun, fresh leaves, and sky,
pure darkness, and white light of ash
and I weep clear tears
laced with the pigments of the dead.

they never said it’s just like living,
seeing one colour
and searching for your own heartbeat.
and when you go it’s more like
everybody you’ve known is falling
away, leaving you to grieve in morbid hope that they
would not, that they would stay.

 

Lydia on her poem: ‘One of the things that intrigued me most throughout the reading was the idea of light a rainbow/bifrost, acting as a bridge to Asgard’.

MP3 to come.

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Asgard

by Ross Beattie

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Stand beside me brother and together we can begin again.
Only through death can we break the existence in which we suffer.
We will wash our exhausted hands in the blood filled rivers, before growing strength again to walk fearlessly through the doubt.
Will we ever know if we are too afraid to try ?
I see the palaces in my mind, huge hallways and gold walled rooms, beauty in our control from the sacrifices we choose to make.
Wisdoms waits at the end of the battle, and even though we cannot see what lays ahead we mustn’t turn our heads now from fear as that will make this an ending instead of the beginning that it stands to be.
So stand strong beside me and we will cover the ground in flesh, and build every single mountain from the bones we will rip away from the deathly cold that controls all we see.
And from there we can create all that I know is possible.

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You can read the overview of Asgard here

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Find out more about Shirley, John, Lydia and Ross:

 

Shirley Golden

shirleygolden.net

https://twitter.com/shirl1001

John Mansell

https://twitter.com/JohnMansell1

Lydia Allison

http://lydiaallison.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/LydiaAllison13

Ross Beattie

http://blackpoemblues.weebly.com/

https://twitter.com/blackpoemblues

 

Watch out for more Asgard poetry next week!

As always, thank you for your interest. 

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Does The Sun Forget To Shine by John Mansell and “Polaroid (distant seaside memories) by Ieuan Edwards: The Loneliness Collaboration #3

1 Apr

Creatives Making A Difference

‘Supporting Mental Health’

LONELINESS Collaboration

Welcome to the third and final collaboration in a six week, fortnightly engagement with the feeling of Loneliness.  For this particular collaboration we have paired 3 artists and 3 poets together.  The poets have written a poem around this particular emotion and then passed it to the artists for their interpretation. The artist can work in parallel with the themes  within the poetry or in contrast. In so doing we’re attempting to artistically and accessibly engage with the feeling of loneliness. Each pairing is different so  we’re hoping to create a range of interpretations that might communicate something to everybody. The poets and artists have been exchanging  ideas over a number of weeks and what you have seen as the 6 weeks have rolled by is the diverse expression of that exchange. We hope to turn our mental health collaborations into an exhibition next year and an online resource. 

Big thanks go to the other poets and artists involved in this collaboration: Stephanie Brennan and Deborah Sheehy, Charlie Eliot Winters and Jeremy Moseley. Your work has been outstanding! 

 Your feedback on this project would be very much welcomed.

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This week’s collaboration features

John Mansell (Poet) and Ieuan Edwards (Artist)

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polaroid

“Polaroid (distant seaside memories)”

 

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Does the Sun Forget to Shine

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She awoke as usual;
the pale ochre of dawn suffusing
………………………onto her tiny form,
………………………wrapped in the middle of the bed.
Stretching, she found the quaver of her voice
braid the early chill
……………………………….Good morning me.

………..Life like tainted breath
………..spools the sudatory day,
………..The wrecks of dreams, their hulls
………..mauled by the coral of neglect,
………..crumbling on rocks of melancholy.
………..Whispers that were voices once known.
………..Eyes flecked with the discolouration of ennui.
………..Time traces over her.
………..An indistinguishable imprint in the vanishing ground.

Arranging her perfumery,
she touched the fragrance
…………………….of a teenage girl
…………………….playing in the snow.
And with a casual aside leant to the mirror
desilvering like that teenage girl who fell
and found no hand to help her up.
…………………………………I was once all I wished
…………………………………………..but that was.
……………………………….I knew you when you were beautiful.
………………………………I knew you when there were lips for you.
………………………………………..Have a good day me

………Cold in malefic darkness.
………Crisp moments of the past shuddering in illusion.
………The stalks of ruin litter the glass table
………Shelves moiled in damp-dust.
………he drapes of some remote taste glistens untouched.
………A single voice gyred to impossible dialogue.
………Trails suppurate the translucent blue her mind ever evokes.
………Twisted shafts of that conversation
………fluted by the lambent decline.

She held the photograph
as void of life as memory.
The man therein without a smile
……………………..featureless before a line of sea;
……………………..as still as his grave,
A tear blossomed and burst
………………………into vitellary regret.
A daily kiss of the glass.
………………………………….Hello my love, from me!

…………Clutched obsolete gestures.
…………Warped on fields of yester-dawn.
…………Amethyst moans of dissipating breath.
…………The towers of other worlds fold into shifting mist.
…………Emptied rivers of songs;
………….sun fond:
……………………..the what was…..
………….Midnight tears, when all that would ease
……………………..is distant and gone.

And she knew she would never
hear another’s voice in the confines of her existence but her own.
……………………And that sad lost echo
……………………of her lover’s voice
trailing ever fainter
…………………….into the hollow silences
…………………….of all time.
She poured a welcome Merlot.
…………………….Listened to Satie;
…………………….looking beyond her moment.
………………………………Good health me………

And all she beheld as a future
mewled with the same stain
bleaching her happiness
of every colour she knew.

 

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John Mansell

I was born in Manchester and lived there most of my life. I studied Ancient and Medieval History at the University of Manchester, my thesis being on he ancient Welsh poem Y Gododdin. I successfully completed the first year of an M Phil concerned with the Dark Age aristocratic warband known as the Comitatus, I sadly never completed it. I still live and work in the Manchester area. I have been writing ever since I can remember,usually short stories or poetry. What really started me was writing lyrics for my mates’ band as a young teenager. I have self published one volume entitled “Kakemonos” and have had about 100 pieces published in various small publications. Currently working on a website to gather most of my work together. But being one more comfortable with pen and paper, and the beauty of libraries this is proving a slow task.

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https://twitter.com/JohnMansell1

 

You can see John’s contribution to The Recovery Project  here and tto A Christmas Carol here

Ieuan Edwards

“I am an illustrator and printmaker, working primarily in linocut. My overarching aim is to emulate the spirit, energy and edge of the originators of the medium; one which has often been used throughout the years in political and protest art.

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My areas of interest are industry (drawing particularly on my coal mining heritage), tradition, eccentricity, tribalism, exploration, folklore and the human interaction with the animal kingdom. Living on the Kent coast – with its heady mix of seaside towns, folk festivals, history and colourful characters – provides me with a plentiful supply of inspiration.”

http://www.blackgoldpress.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/ieuanedwards

You can see Ieuan’s Weekend Showcase here 

 

Watch out tomorrow for our second creative resident Ben A.Cooper and the first post post of his residency.

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If you would like to get involved with one of our future collaborations or opportunities. Do get in contact via the contact form on the What’s On Page or via @ArtiPeeps. Thank you so much for your interest.

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The Recovery Project Collaboration: ‘Creatives Making a Difference’

4 Jun

THE RECOVERY PROJECT

More than several months ago I had an idea about creating a mini-collaboration on the theme of the mental health term  ‘Recovery’. This is not only particularly relevant to me because I have bi-polar and am in a state of recovery myself, but also because ‘recovery’ is important for lots of people (including creatives) who are affected my mental health issues. It’s a universally important theme and experience.

With this in mind I asked the poets Carol Robson, John Mansell and Rebecca Audra Smith (all accessed via Twitter)  if they would like to collaborate on this and write a poem for the project, each taking up a particular facet of the path to recovery. Carol took up the theme of DESPAIR, John, MUDDLING THROUGH and Rebecca ‘RECOVERY’. I asked 3 artists who were then paired with the poets: Ray Bentley, Photographer Jeremy Moseley and Hugo Smith (all accessed via Twitter) to produce artwork inspired by the three poems. I also asked audio visual artist Shaun Blezard to write an accompanying soundpiece for the three sections. So this whole project is completely fuelled by new literary pieces, artwork/photography and sounds. The piece can viewed in sections or be taken as a whole. I have also produced a mini-film  which includes audio versions of the poems, and will give you an idea of the piece as a whole and how it could be turned into an installation of sorts (watch this space…).  It is worth mentioning that everyone involved in this project either has direct experience of the issues or an explicit interest.

The Recovery Project is an important bench-mark for ArtiPeeps for it really represents the first contribution to a new mental health initiative we are going to be instigating more explicitly in October: ‘Supporting Mental Health’.  This ongoing  initiative will produce collaborative material which will form an online artistic and  therapeutic resource for people in need. This will be part of other larger shifts in ArtiPeeps’ intent. There will be more news of this and its implications as time unfolds. But it’s all good.

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THE RECOVERY PROJECT

“Recovery is being able to live a meaningful and satisfying life, as defined by each person, in the presence or absence of symptoms. It is about having control over and input into your own life. Each individual’s recovery, like his or her experience of the mental health problems or illness, is a unique and deeply personal process.”Scottish Recovery Network 2009

Recovery is not about ‘getting rid of problems’. It is about seeing people beyond their problems – their abilities, possibilities, interests, and dreams and recovering the social roles and relationships that give life value and meaning”Julie Repper and Rachel Perkins, 2002

>>>>

THE RECOVERY SOUNDCSAPE

by Shaun Blezard

Section 1

DESPAIR:

Restraint Chair No.1 (crop)

Restraint Chair No.1 by Ray Bentley

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Another Psychosis

by Carol Robson

 

Here in a place, which I should be
I need to be here and in all places
Yet! an urge to run rages through me
fear of physical contact, my brain now in overload
here, feeling alone in a place full of people.

Like a frightened gazelle
taunted by its hunter
I search for the exit to safety
an egress to my solitary state
my place of safety in my Prozac stained mind.

Neural networks firing their manic impulses
ignoring my vain attempt of rational logic
craving for their mania overload
knowing again, they will fight a long battle
against the Lithium army, that will bring them down.

Highs and lows come and go
trying to live your normal life
my exterior facade is all you see
as it hides a mind and soul in turmoil
just trying to get through to the next hour.

A life in a day to day existence
that craves for whatever is normal
a time bomb mind with a fragile trigger
controlled by whatever the drug of choice is.

Clinging to a life of hopes and dreams
that is out of this drug controlled despair
I will one day rise again like the Phoenix
out of the ashes, of Another Psychosis.

© Carol Robson 2011

 

Section 2:

MUDDLING THROUGH

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photography by Jeremy Moseley

>>___

______________

>>>

Solitary Lights in a Forsaken Landscape

by John Mansell

 

Day opens like a strange flower.
Had it really closed?

Eyes adrift with bitter tears.
I see you viewing me with unease,
…………toothbrush in hand;
Do not call me stranger.
Do not make me mute
……….by filling my mouth with dread.
Lined linear colour,
the implements of survival
…………in their little compartments
…………………….with designated times…..
Consumption of the divine;
a woman purled in momentary
silence forages the impression
that once she knew me.
And then, like a shoot that appeared too soon
……….is gone…..
Each moment a disgrace to pleasure:
………..the floods of worry
…………………..have strewn me along
…………………..various embankments…..
And when certain suns shine,
I know it is a worry
as unnecessary as
…………the solitude I veil myself with…..
Walk with me these grim corridors.
Though I was able yesterday, today I have fears
that arrest me.
I see faces and eyes rimmed with farewells.
I hear names spoken,
and children laughing…..
If I listen intently enough, I am sure
one of those children is me…..
I am sure there were good days once…..

Shift the falling grains
so they rumple not to the
………..gathering years
but the trench of a memory
…………you think may have held yesterday;
as if your yesterday never existed.
The moisture of dreams drowns
the fallen edifice of your time…..
You are, but never was
because you fear
what you were for it would exhibit
………what you
………………..would be…..
you keeper of empty paintings.
Sleep in a place
where time is a flick of a page;
the dying groans of lost hope,
the flippant drapery
………..of a night
that will come despite
…………your efforts, thief of my life
…………despoiler of all I held beautiful…..

Day closes like a strange flower.
Had it really opened?

 Section 3:

RECOVERY

trying for the brighter by Hugo Smith

‘Trying For the Brighter’ by Hugo Smith

>>>>

Recovery

by Rebecca Audra Smith

 

Hunting for the key
that can slot into my ear
unlock who I am, with
its slow turn and click.
 
I can hear it in my head,
doors open to staircases lead
to cellars where weeds chatter
about sunshine, light and seed.
 
Fumbled fingers in the bed
searching for a lighter
to set fire to the sun,
board a chariot, ride far.
 
I could have burnt my home
to ash, to dust- my family
rooting for my bones;
I’m trying for the brighter.
 
Planting keyholes inside tulips,
my hands are full of keys
each day a little lighter,
a stronger step for me.

The Recovery Film:

>>>

  >>>>

Bunny Hops: ArtiPeeps Update

1 Apr

Hurry

>

It’s been a little while since I’ve given everybody an update of what’s afoot with ArtiPeeps, so I’m taking this Easter Monday as a cue to do so. I am trying to embody all the energy of the hare above at the moment but not the speed- slow and steady is what I’m aiming for; trying to build something solid and meaningful in the long term. All of what you’ll find below is part of that trajectory.

Today is the launch of the new ArtiPeeps logo that you’ll see to the right at the top of the sidebar. It has been designed by artist and illustrator Gary Caldwell and Gary and I have been working on it for a number of months. The logo’s aim is to embody all that ArtiPeeps stands for in a clear and precise way and to communicate the notion of collaboration visually. There is also an explicit nod to another one of ArtiPeeps’ concerns -well-being. We’re going to use the logo on all our official documentation and business cards etc. It will also be the logo I use for my various social media profiles. It’s one of the stages in our professionalisation, so it feels good, and Gary has been a great collaborator. Artipeeps likes Gary.

In terms of present and future collaborations our Transformations Poetry Project is going on a pace. It’s our 3rd month in and the quality of the poems has been extraordinary. Long may it continue!  You can find all the poems here, here, here & here. My aim is to also bring in artists into this project to contribute one painting, illustrating one book. We have two artists so far. If you are an artist and would like to get involved with this please do contact me. The poems and art will form an exhibition/collaboration next year and this will, in real terms, move the virtual collaboration into something concrete and tangible (which is an important intent); foregrounding all the creatives involved. The exhibition which hopefully will also include the poets involved will take place in Kings Lynn late next year; I will be crowdfunding for this exhibition starting in July (that’s the plan).

Our mental health ‘Recovery Project’ is also well under way- 3 artist (Ray Bentley, Jeremy Moseley, Hugo Smith); 3 poets: (Carol Robson, John Mansell and Rebecca Audra Smith) 1 audio visual artist, (Shaun Blezard) working on the theme of recovery *. You can find full details of the project here just last week the 3 poems were passed to the artists. Indeed, the first section of our piece ‘despair’ is already complete as is the soundscape for the whole piece written by Shaun . The artwork combined with the poetty will be ready by the end of April and then it will be a matter of combining all three sections into a whole of some sort in May and releasing it to the world. It’s an extremely affecting and powerful piece we’re creating, I can feel that already. We’re getting a mental health charity involved with us and I’m working towards placing the piece in some way within psychiatric hospitals and/or like-minded organisations.

In relation to the well-being aspect of ArtiPeeps, it is also my intention to create a sister site (ArtiPeeps Well-being) that is dedicated to supporting creative minds. The two sites will be interlinked, but there will be a very clear psychological imperative to the sister site using art, literature and poetry therapeutically and creating links with similar groups and organisations such as Space2Create (with whom we’ll be forging a firm link shortly).

We also have our first prose collaboration Hot Potato kicking off in the middle of April, where 8 prose writers (Ben Cooper, Gail Aldwin, aksania xenogrette ,  CJ Sullivan, AK AndersonLaura Besley, Gwendolyn S, Natalie Beech (over a period of 16 weeks, will be writing one short story sequentially). It’s going to be good. We’ve got great potatoes!! 

We have also found another visitor peep/artist in residence Kelly Occhiuzzo who will be with us for the month of May co-ordinating and taking part in a 4 artist project she has developed in which 4 separate new pieces of art will be created over the period of a month. We’re in the process of firming everything up at the moment. We’re so glad to have her with us!

My focus is still firmly fixed on building as many individual and group opportunities into ArtiPeeps as possible, and the well-being sister site will be developed steadily alongside everything as best I can. I have to admit that balancing the running of ArtiPeeps with actually doing what I need to do to develop it is difficult. Finding the time to do business plans, make connections etc. At present I am in the process of trying to find not only someone to help me with all the day-to-day computer work but also someone who can help me with the budgeting of my 5 year business plan which will act as the foundation of ArtiPeeps’ business equity and project crowdfunding plans. I am approaching CamCreative in relation to this….

In terms of individual opportunities, ‘Weekend Showcase’ is running smoothly every Friday with a new creative featured each week. Every creative showcased is then offered the option of taking up ‘FreeSpace’ (3 separate slots which can be taken up in a cluster or spread across months for mini-projects or for further platforming). James Knight has already done so and Koos Kleven (cartoonist) is also taking up this offer as has poet Oregon McClure. I am also starting up another mini-opportunity called ‘FullSpread’ which will offer creatives: a showcase, ‘FreeSpace’ and a guest blog. This could work particularly well for groups and organisations that want to not only communicate what they do but also want to foreground individuals and projects. We are in fact in the process of offering this to Space2Create.

In terms of features our usual ones,Frenzy’s Flash Feature’ (Greg Mackie), ‘Flash Fortnightly’ and ‘Classic Friday’ ( Nisha Moodley) are going strong, and we have now introduced a new monthly ‘writerly’ feature ‘The Tiniest of Things’ with poet Tiffany Coffman.

Last week ArtiPeeps was nominated by Ant DiMartino for the ‘Very Inspring Blogger Award’ which caused me a bit of concern because it’s not me that does all the writing and the contributing it’s you. As I said to Ant I’m thinking hard how best to handle this and I will only proceed if I can foreground creatives from within ArtiPeeps and its environs… and they might not want to participate…so we”ll see.

As you can see there’s a lot going on; things shaping and shifting in every direction. It’s all really exciting but there’s such a lot to do so it’s about being slow and steady whilst embodying boundng hare-like energy that moves us consistently forward. It’s a matter of stepping forward each day and leaning into every opportunity I can to develop ArtiPeeps and all those who sail in her.

I thank every single contributor and supporter of ArtiPeeps. You are growing ArtiPeeps by your sheer presence and that is an amazing gift, and if you want to get involved just contact me!

Nicky 

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* “Recovery is being able to live a meaningful and satisfying life, as defined by each person, in the presence or absence of symptoms. It is about having control over and input into your own life. Each individual’s recovery, like his or her experience of the mental health problems or illness, is a unique and deeply personal process.” Scottish Recovery Network 2009

Recovery is not about ‘getting rid of problems’. It is about seeing people beyond their problems – their abilities, possibilities, interests, and dreams and recovering the social roles and relationships that give life value and meaning”Julie Repper and Rachel Perkins, 2002

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