Yesterday I was at Andy Killeen’s Cityscapes – Story Workshop at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts Birmingham
The workshop is about writing stories, rather than poetry, for Birmingham Book Festival. The story reading event takes place on 11th October from 6.30pm – 8.30pm at the Barber. I’ve been working on my story without much success – too many ideas, not enough application – but revisiting Birmingham, where I was born and grew up, evokes a lot of memories for me. As the older generations of my family are now all dead, I always get a hollow feeling deep inside as if I’ve become eroded, or worse, invisible by the time I get to the Maypole roundabout on the outskirts.
To distract myself from these glum thoughts, I tried some mental composition in the car…
CITY WITHOUT WAVES
and no one waves
from house, or concrete block
or bus stop.
All in their graves –
the makers of me.
Later I drove down Serpentine Road, Selly Park, which immediately reminded me of another Serpentine Road in Harborne, very near where I was born. I mused on a bit…
My Serpetine’s in Harborne
not here in Selly Park
the twist and turn
the scorch and burn
But by the time I got to the class I’d got the negatives out of my mind and was ready to share my scribbles from our last session when Andy had taken us on a tour of the Barber. I’d come up with a few poetry seeds which I might be able to take forward in story form.
A Dancer Ready to Dance. DEGAS.
Here’s a dancer ready to dance,
Her hands outstretched to the sky,
She’s naked and neat
– the prettiest feet –
And a look that’s wondering why
She’s left her heart in the City
With a raver called Sid the Snake,
She’d rather be bouncing the Bhangra with him
Than teetering round Swan Lake.
The Adoration of the Child Jesus by Cosimo Rosselli
Do angels stalk in cities –
flap their grubby tousled wings ?
Are they lurking and pretending
that all these city things:
the clatter and the clamour
the glitzy flashing lights
the squalor of the daytime
the menace of the nights
and older squares…
are worthy of protecting
with their basalistic stares?
Arch of Constantine by Jan Miel
A LIFE WITH ROSE-HIPS
Is this the way to nowhere
-the clamour far behind-
or will there be a better life
to search and maybe find
the rose-hips in the hedgerow
as Autumn stirs the air
the seeds to live a simple life
beyond the city glare?
Yes, it was a good day, even if I didn’t feel I’d met the story brief….
On the way home I tuned in to Classic FM and almost immediately the second movement of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto spilled through the air. It reminded me of my dad who was a religious man and loved that piece of music. I’m not religious but I hoped it was an omen that I’d come up with a decent story. More later. Will I make it?