Finding my voice

When I started writing and performing.
I took a lot of inspiration from battle rap.
Thinking, if I could master my nerves.
Then with the rest of the scene.
I figured maybe I could handle that.
But my early material was pretty basic.
I didn’t rate it.
I just didn’t think I had the knack.
Cos crowds were daunting.
And would give me the hump like a camel back.
So on stage I’d shake.
That adrenalin taste proper prepping me for a heart attack.
So I’d try and project.
But my voice would wobble.
Like a CD that keeps skipping parts of tracks.
So I doubled down to beat the nerves.
And began upping my tempo with faster raps.
But found that they didn’t land with the crowd.
Like a baseball player finding that he’s last to bat.
So I went back to basics.
Began to tell stories that were way more personal.
Which had a reaction.
So I became more purposeful.
And my writing got tighter and practically surgical.
Cos now I was cutting to the core of the matter like I was slicing vertical.
My pen and verses now had purpose.
No longer was I writing merciful.
My emotional baggage all over the place.
Like a busy airport type of terminal.
Cos as a problem, this was workable.
Now my material leapt off the page.
But it had taken so long to get to this stage.
By never pushing myself, how was I expected to change?
Cos this situation had left me intense and deranged.
Selling myself short had become a senseless exchange.
So to preserve my sanity, I now write every day.
Flexing my emotional muscles so that they get exercised.
Purging demons with my pen till they’re exorcised.
Digging into my psyche.
Seeing which parts of me will be next in line.
Cos it’s amazing how, with words, you can get this high.
Although the process kind of has me petrified.
Not long ago I muddled along with the masses.
Now I feel like I’ve left that tribe.
In uncharted territory.
Wondering if I should dive in properly and test this vibe.
Is it worth it, this poetry?
Should I invest the time?
At this point your guess is as good as mine.
Because our complex emotions are as deep as the ocean.
They ebb and flow.
And if you fight and suppress them.
You’ll fast discover that they’re a worthy foe.
Feelings will peck at your mind.
Taking flight when you reach for them like a nervy crow.
It’ll be like you’re lost in a blizzard.
Trying to see your way through blurry snow.
Yeah, this is how your journey goes.
Maybe you’ll turn to religion.
This is probably what the clergy hopes.
Just don’t make snap decisions.
Thinking you can strengthen your position with an early vote.
But I’m making it all sound like a murderous chore.
Is expressing myself really worse than before?
It’s like pre-poetry I was trapped in a room.
And writing has helped me burst through the door.
So now my language has tactics.
Like scrabble, my words do backflips.
Cos all I’m ever doing is learning to score.
So each time I put pen to paper it’s a game and cathartic.
Every day, I get better with letters.
Cos I’m just taming my artist.
In a state of psychosis I explore my neurosis.
Cos I’m a Doctor at this and my mind is my TARDIS.
And as I get more bold and evolve, I’m proud to say that my resolve is the hardest.
My imagination infinite.
Like space, with its cold and its darkness.
It’s where I find my creative place.
And reveal my true face.
It’s where I’m the calmest.

Painted ghosts 

They drift in and out of my life each day.
Their faces adorned with stark, lurid colours.
Warpaint, as they go about their business.
Are they even real?
These automatons. These androids from outer space.
And whilst their expressions are seemingly blank and impassive, they are also revealing.
There’s a crack or two beneath their cool facade.
But what does it mean?
Are they just lost in thought or, almost imperceptibly, communicating with me?
Do they even see me?
Or am I just grey background? White noise?
Perhaps I’m the ghost and they’re the most tangible thing in this world.
Wearing their warpaint proudly, like armour.
For each day, to them, must surely be a battle against the grey ghosts of patriarchy.
The menfolk who leer and lust, all licentious and salacious with their gaze and their thoughts.
For I am one. I should know.
Maybe as men we should paint our faces, too.
For our own insecurities are buried, perhaps even more so.
Hidden behind layers of bravado and testosterone.
The knowing nod to a fellow male.
The slightest of hugs.
The tough guy handshake.
Beer. Curry.
For we are men.
And we’re out of our caves now.
Our spears have been replaced with smartphones and laptops.
We’re just a few clicks from killing that woolley mammoth. That saber-tooth tiger.
Or ordering some more crap on eBay.
(assuming we can stop watching porn for more than five minutes)
So maybe colour is what we need?
Brush strokes of empathy across our face. The eyeliner of compassion.
The mascara of understanding and acceptance.
God, this is starting to sound like the weirdest fantasy game ever.
But there’s hope in these ramblings.
There must be.
For these painted ghosts and forgotten men.
All trapped in the ether between realities.
Drifting through life with abandonment.

Fight Club

Broken bottles and frantic squabbles as two fighters get down and dirty on the rancid cobbles.
Their sweat and blood staining the dirt.
Looking for that killer punch.
A right royal haymaker to get their opponent tasting the earth.
Their whole lives have built to this moment.
But so far they’ve been wasted since birth.
Endlessly killing time chasing the skirt.
Constantly competing and racing for first.

Yet here they stand again.
Two titans, these old men, only making it worse.
Both hungry for the kill.
Like old lions facing the herd.
Feeling ill, as they taste blood and it quenches their thirst.
One uncaged lunges in a rage, but the other dodges.
He’s evasive we learn.
His mind sharper, reflexes faster as he braces and turns.
Facing his foe ducking low.
Looking for that knockout blow that’ll end this damn curse.
Heavy hitter, but each fight just leaves him bitter and he’s getting jaded and worse.
Song fading as he plays out his verse.

If only he could make the other fighter see sense.
Serve him up a cease and desist.
Instead he gets to meet with his fist which weakens his wrist.
Cos he likes the other guy.
And try as he might he can’t be faking his hits.
Fights like this come around less often than a lunar eclipse.
And if he’s honest, these clashes give him an excuse to exist.
Who is he to resist?
Slowly it dawns, he’s getting to grips and getting the gist.
He was made to battle.
Cooking up right hooks coming in at a lazy angle.
Nothing phases him.
It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
Scratch that, he’s a Lord passing judgement now banging the gavel.
Fists ripping through the air at the speed of sound like they were made to travel.
He’s schooling this guy with moves so fly.
Should have his own demo channel.