I love performing poetry at open mics and often write poems specifically for performance. This poem is one that is written for the stage, not the page. I read at Satellite of Love’s wonderful open mic recently and Barry Hollow was kind enough to film it.
This was actually made from a prompt at Bristol Tonic, which was “Forgotten plastic and flotsam people”
Three Tips to Declutter Your Life
Hey everyone, thanks for coming to this seminar.
Today I’m going to talk about how to declutter everything you own in three simple stages. Of course, nothing can be truly owned. Everything is rented or on loan from this world; your car, your house, your body, eventually it will all have to be paid back. Stick around though, Stage three may surprise you!
Gather all your plastic containers, your tupperware of various sizes with mismatching lids. Don’t forget your single use wrappers, your Tesco bags and your crisp packets. Whisper all your secrets directly into the plastic, all your fears and regrets, all your feelings and mistakes and misgivings. Now you want to drive to the nearest beach - something that should be significantly easier in the coming years.
Just to catch you up in case you didn’t read the study materials, the shore is an argument between ocean and land that the waves are slowly winning. You will want to gather all your detritus, all your silly little thought loops that are now safely sealed away. Stare out at the water. Notice how your brain refuses to accept the vastness of the sea, always focuses on a small part instead- a nearby wave breaking and rumbling, the scratch of salt on your lips and fingertips, the shifting shingle slipping between your toes. Walk towards a horizon you will never reach. Throw your flotsam to the tides, donate your used memories to the waves. Plastic bags will become jellyfish drifting apart like the desiccated atoms in your body or societies faced with environmental collapse. In a fun way, I like to think of my rubbish as my greatest legacy, it will out live my skin and my species by thousands of years.
On the sand, everything is liminal including your temporary body. I like to believe I will live forever but I hold up my hand, notice for the first time my fingers are made from wave foam. I can see veins laced with micro beads and polymer strands. The hairs on my wrists are small sticks of coral bleaching in the sun and the heat. I have nothing left to discard. I have emptied myself into the deepest trench and now float, star-fished on the surface. Churches balanced on cliffs will soon collapse. Lying in the water seems as good a place as any to observe the slow erosion of everything we have built. I untether my body, allow my limbs to drift in unseen currents towards an uncertain destination.
That’s it! Enjoy your new decluttered life.