"We Should Do This!": A Journey into Poetry
A huge welcome to Write Out Loud’s newest contributor, Kyle McCall Wilson:
Hello, my name is Kyle and I write under the name Munkyle The Poetry Machine, I also supposedly make music under the name Munkyle. On Thursday the 4th of October 2018 I read a poem in front of actual human beings for the first time in nearly four years!
First let me tell you a bit about me and my poetry. I’m 28 and I live in Coventry now, however I’m originally from a small town in Northumberland. I was born with spastic Cerebral Palsy and this basically means my body doesn’t work, I can’t walk, I can’t use my right arm and I have very limited ability in my left hand, I also have impaired speech which is exacerbated by stress, to be honest my physical inability doesn’t really bother me, but my speech really gets to me. Unlike my body, my mind works probably too much for my liking, I mean it never shuts up and it isn’t always a positive place. I’ve suffered from depression since I was a teenager if not younger and I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in 2015.
As you might have guessed I use my poetry primarily to help me manage and express the dark thoughts that come with my mental illnesses. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember and before I had a typewriter or computer to write things down, I would still be rhyming words in my mind. I didn’t think of it as poetry at the time, I just thought I was weird (which of course I was and still am). I started to understand what I was doing when my Dad introduced me to the band Korn. I found a light in Jonathan Davis’ lyrics, which he’d scream and cry over his band’s aggressive music, because I had those dark thoughts and emotions too. So I began to see writing what I thought of as song lyrics at the time as a way to get my thoughts out.
I didn’t use grammar nor did I edit my poems until I went to university and joined the poetry society, this was because up until then I never had my poems spoken out loud and I quickly realized that my poetry was very difficult to understand without grammar and the meanings were lost. University was also the place I started performing my poetry at their open mic nights. I got a lot of great feedback and even made a few people cry which was weird, either way I loved and still love connecting with strangers through my words.
Over the past few years I have struggled with my mental health and hadn’t really felt like there was any point in doing my poems out loud. Yet last October there was a slight flicker when I saw Sabrina Benaim “do poems” with my best friend in Birmingham, the vibe of that night and the audience reminded me that people like poetry and a fraction of me was like, “we should do this”. For the past 18 months or so I have been working with a vocal coach as I act in a theatre group and after I performed in a Shakespearean play in May, my confidence in my speech grew. Since June I have been in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, in my first session my therapist asked me what goals I should work on, I jokingly said I’d like to perform my poetry and she said “well… you can.”
Kyle’s next contribution will be an account of his first trepidation-laden visit to Fire and Dust Open Mic in Coventry.