Michael Wilson is a national slam winner at the prestigious Cheltenham Literature Festival and progressed to the final of the BBC Radio 4 Slam He uses british sign language and various art props and writes on the tried and tested subjects of sex drugs and rock n dole, as well as mental health. He is currently having his second and third collections of poetry published, one inspired by REM, the other experimental poetry published by Knives Forks and Spoons His first volume, After All Tomorrows After Parties is available through Knives Forks and Spoons and is stocked by Amazon Michael has performed at all kinds of events, with three residencies under his belt, festival appearances, slam wins and regular guest slot appearances, as well as numerous publications in magazines and anthologies.
The ECT Poem Ward Round Monday 10.30am A ladder to somewhere else drawn on my arm The days give each thought a bitter aftertaste The terrible spun gold in my veins has finally been bled away As you were my boy But the dark always looks stranger with a keener sight Surrounded by gluey eyes that try to scratch any meaning From words and words, written over and over On the same scrap of paper till the ink sweats from the page The Doctor speaks from behind a shuffle of notes “you see, we can’t get there from here but I think it’s time to see what we can call upon” Something speaks for me And he tells me the treatment will begin very soon Once he regained his sense and the shape of his tongue Tim tells us all a ghost story How if you change your thinking, if you try and get off the gurney They strap you down so they can safely feed icy water into your veins To freeze the life inside you He tells me what the letters mean “you were tricked, my friend, “but don’t worry, it’s just like sleeping, except you wake so much more tired The days stalk the walls like shadows My time is spent in circles Orbiting the thought On an ever shortening leash The centre of all this is a dark hearted sun I sweat out my dreams And spend the daylight hours shitting out my fears Until they tell me it’s time to go Hold your head, you’re the lucky one On the gurney, the ceiling glides over my eyes The nurse looks down, affection and distance etch-a-sketched on his face Ward, corridor, lift, corridor, prep room Until they inject the coldness into my hand And I count back through every mistake I’ve ever made They drop the curtain so I never see The metal hands that pushed sparks into my mind And I come back in the middle of his sentence The world in front of me the size of a postage stamp He plonks breakfast on a table in front of me And my mind struggles into the clothing of thought Come on, he says, back to the halfway house Only five more treatments to go “Each time I see you, you seem more... alive” Became familiar words from visitors carrying goodwill in brightly coloured bundles Visits are no longer conducted through cottonmouth sentences And layers of blankets that muffled down everything to a murmur They told me at the last Ward Round I’d get out of intensive care soon The marvel of a Monday morning I traded my memory for this place to turn its back on me A life to come as full as a harvest moon And eyes that have seen the things we hide from ourselves Only to know the reason why Shocked back into life and slotted back into the world Complete Untitled Be careful with that cigarette in your hand Watching the honeymooners play their limbs up to the night I see others peel away the edges of their tin foil heart and devour all they find The push and pull of human skin, the twist and turn of puckered bone In it together and all that, the glint of teeth and smell of sweat Light filters through fingers while the strange thoughts creep noiselessly through your head Figures hunch in desperate drafts, and at your feet are all the misery of tomorrow But for now there’s still a few hours to spare On the big screen staccato sharp images are punctuated by clunky soled adverts for this and that, but after a while it all crashes together so you pay no mind All the colours pass your eyes, lost in themselves, striving to be a different shade Magnetic tattoos and glowsticks, vicks and the dense damp air of poppers, and you still get tracers from that cigarette in your hand, as the prophetic and dumb grind thoughts break in, enter your head and destroy all they come across. And you know there isn’t long, you can hear it, feel it threaded in the thrusts of arms around you and the DJ plucks and plucks at the music until it peaks and drops everyone into tomorrow. You push away from the press of heat of the tent and the sky outside quivers between night and day. All around you are Lowry’s matchstick men, shambling past each other, trying to piece together their own concentration and sense of purpose, kicking through masses of rubbish and at your feet are dead plastic fires, flat plastic cups, empty plastic bottles and plastic bank bags, they stretch away from you over acres and acres. And you don’t want to be here as all those litmus paper tongues an hour ago were so sugar sweet will be turning to acid and your mind’s tired self slips into the murky cool of a comedown, and something you didn’t want to think about tugs at a sleeve of thought. When suddenly, the thin lying form of the horizon brightens and a dilated pupil of a sun breaks through the rubbish strewn ground. And the sun brightens the corners of everyone’s faces as your mind is jolted to the present for just one blessed moment, as you can feel the grind of the earth underneath your feet. But it’s the speed you notice most but it seems at once longer and shorter than that. And the sky is a beautiful blue eyed boy and some part of it gets lodged in your throat and stays throughout the day, but for now it’s time to go home. After all, life is a wonderful waste of time. Knight’s Move Thinking The weirdest little thoughts bulk up the littlest hours Keeps your mind going laps round the living room Spending the adverts thinking of those you’ve loved and left Time on a string The night an ever decreasing loop of repeated programmes The bed in the next room whispers sweet nothings through the wall Clockwatching the other way around Sparking the blue touch paper of a boredom Threaded through with dope The strangest little revelations only come out at night Forgotten in the blink of a channel That life is not a vocation For many of us it’s a potting shed hobby And across this imagined community There are people in the same pubs across the same cities and towns The same songs playing from the same jukeboxes and sound systems The same songs crooning softly from the same bedrooms The same families sharing the same TV scene And in Manchester the city is strangled by its own legacy Buildings of now and then stand knock kneed cheek by jowl Working on your knees high up in a glass tower On a task that requires all the literacy skills of a five year old Clockwatching, time as taut as a piano wire Always five minutes since your last fag break Always five minutes since the clock last changed Thinking about how earlier it felt like you fell out of bed And landed slap bang face first on your desk And a walk through the streets is landmarked by an A to Z of a hundred memories But if you stick around long enough the bitter ones get swallowed up by the sweet And the week runs on a maddening loop And the months stumble into each other And the years pick up speed And before you know it you’re staring down the wrong end of your youth With no way back again Life begins every day, the world exactly as you left it Still 17 in heart mind and soul if not body, at breakfast wondering what Mr Kellogg’s did with your toy And trying to work out how far along you are in life Is like staring at a giant map without a YOU ARE HERE Nothing in your head from all those years in school Except that Pythagoras rhyme, Venn diagrams and Oxbow lakes Following the clockwork lifeline timetable like an on off switch With all the wit and wisdom of knight move thinking, A to B to C to G Always at the height of fashion a season behind cause you shop at TK Max With a record collection that pretty much stunted and stayed in the last 90’s Ducking questions of kids at Christmas from the elderly relative that skipped the sherry and went straight onto the gin And at the end of every daily odyssey you find yourself in the same room With the same thoughts circling above the bed enveloped in smoke Waiting for the bed to begin to sink under your dead weight Waiting for the nightly surreal picture show to start Giving in to the splendour of losing the game And the months that shuffled past And when gravity finally wraps itself around your body And these words finally fade to black Your soul will rest safe in a box stored underneath your bed
All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.
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