To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Outsider Poems: A Mini-Anthology in Progress (35): tweets from engels

[The following from Manchester poet Philip Davenport]:
The arts organisation arthur+martha recently launched an epic twitter poem in collaboration with homeless people in Manchester and Bury - including lines from the 19th Century social campaigner Friedrich Engels. Interviews with many homeless and vulnerably housed people were edited by participants and by various writers to produce a long poem, which appeared in tweet form four times a day at!/tweetfromengels

The 'verses' are snapshots in text of homeless lives, in all their moods - joy, terror, humour, resilience, anger. Famously, Engels wrote about the harshness of 19th Century Manchester; people today who live a comparable existence are the homeless. The poem imagines a dialogue between Engels and the homeless people of Manchester. Interspersed through the poem is material from Engels' correspondence with Marx, and his classic The Condition of the English Working Class.

The project was developed with several international poets, along with local writers. Canadian Steve Giasson suggested a kind of everyday epic, inspired by Louis Zukofsky. Poet Philip Davenport, artist Lois Blackburn and poet Geof Huth (from USA) met with Big Issue vendors, prompting the lines. The Mancunian writer copland smith helped to give the piece a formal design, loosely based on the traditional Welsh poetic form the englyn. Longtime arthur+martha colleague Rebecca Guest helped Philip edit the final piece. Most importantly, many homeless and vulnerably-housed people gave their time - and opened up details of their lives.

This project is in partnership with the Text Festival, The Big Issue in the North, The Red Door (Bury Housing Concern), Brighter Futures, The Booth Centre, The Lowry, LOVE Creative, the BBC. Poets and writers who've been involved include Steve Giasson, Geof Huth, copland smith, Anna MacGowan. The resulting long poem is being tweeted over the coming weeks and streamed as occasional online video by LOVE Creative. Visual versions of some of these texts will be shown on the BBC Big Screen in Manchester, commencing 5th August (the date of Engel's death).

This project is supported by Arts Council England.

[The work is now completed and will be launched in mid-March, designed by Steve Giasson & published by Apple Pie Editions, isbn 978-0-9568584-8-1.  In advance of that some of the project follows.]

tweet from engels

tweet from engels= yr info about conditions in #Manchester is of gr8 interest 2 me// th newspapers having chosen 2 draw a veil #fred

panic attacks back 2 th wall got 2 draw a quiet veil #brion
cant breathe every1 walks right thru u jumpin 1 side 2 th other #brion
in th city its stressful 2 me very cos u cant move in //
space #brion
go thru 2 quiet avail #brion
quiet place in th cathedral where they know me they trust //
me I think of it as sanctuary #brion
the flock // thrush in th mornin same 1 that // wakes me #brion

dead bird in th tank again feathers comin out // taps need a sieve // 2 live in #comfort + joy + not hav hassle from th landlord #anon
15 people sharin u cant sleep all day arguments police come // 2 view 2day my new flat 2 years waitin get furniture fix my #home #anon
now Ive got this place let no1 kno where // #drunk bangin on door hes my mate // hell let me in #open doors+windows #anon
adults r like scared // ol lady grabs her handbag #closed // people see me in th wingmirror lock th door innit #anon
wots th magic word? // please? abracadabra? #anon
every1s th same colour = am i a thug? no just chillin me jus a little chiller = buzzr gets me up last nite slept on th #dogsquilt #anon
even tho I do nothin I jus wanna sleep #anon
gettin #drunk vodkacoke drinkin in cars men we meet // u jus cant 4get it hurts cant move on #anon
// some days jus dont wanna be here again // daylight has been so exhaustd #anon
see us not workin + livin in #homeless #hostels they think bad things // dont see = wot happened #anon
I dont tell any1 where im livin // its embarrassin #anon #homeless #hostel
prostitution is th thing he puts his foot down on // if I go back 2 that I kno th relationship is over #anon
so tender a concealment #fred
in a bedsit £ missin door kickd in cellphone missin dont want that again = in bedsit noise traffic commotions // whisperin windows #anon

kit + krystof
survival instinct is more prominent in th #homeless // society wears blindfolds #kit
I wake up + think oh no another day will I walk in2 sum1 whos generous //? //or a fist #kit
alcohol + drugs get u thru th nite // like prisoners #kit
#comfort = a big word when u think of it = warmth is th main 1 Id say warmth like an emotion #krystof
family push-u pull-u in again or Id be out of here = a bullet from a gun // a changing face #krystof
yr hand = comfort a warm feeling in th pit of yr stomach + a glow in th mind nice + toasty #krystof

1 person I can trust // myself // I rely on chaos #jackson
#fred I discovered this scrawl on th day after my return from Manchester
relaxin in front of th telly keeping out of trouble cos I’ve always been in trouble #comfort #dooley
as much as I like 2 work Im lazy #dooley
making tea here working 4 nothing I don’t mind tho theyr grateful for a cuppa comfort #dooley
a cuppa+toast warmsem again// after theyve had their methadone #dooley
#homeless gr8ful 4 a cuppa theyr freezin // if u use yr please+thanku = theyll say it back #dooley
I don’t make this many brews @ home // people I kno on th streets theyr grateful 4 a cuppa theyr freezin #dooley
keeping occupied = keeping out of trouble makin tea here #dooley

[as u please people alone now sharin // police comin + gone // i make it my little home // got this place let no 1 know] #erik
cant sleep sleep = 15 people x 2years sharin = all th day arguin #erik
this 2 me is a big thing // yr own place // people alone can breathe #erik
my little home furniture fix up 3 items 30 pounds th need 4 shelter doors + windows // th need 4 shelter #erik
interrupted by beerhouses #fred
#drunk banging th door // gin // all day arguments // police // 15 people sharin // u cant sleep again // people alone can breathe #erik
Ive got this place let no1 kno where #erik
yr own place can breathe structure // come+go sleep // 2day my new flat waitin #erik
my little home = breathe th place fix it up as u please // as u please #erik
// we just get on // climb th ladder so ppl who judge us we can look down on them // a job a husband #jay+jay
a citadel looks #fred

2 survive in a tent inna quarry = its hidden got bottles of water from tesco // got up again // had a bbq hadda wash #anon2
#anon couple living in tent // mortals of small stature #fred
days different everyday // again // I dont know a normal # anon2
looking 4 food money no help bt we got to survive// in a tent// in a quarry #anon couple living in tent
the need of a shelter #fred
got a couple bottles of still water // got up had a bbq a wash got our washing + brought it here = red door #anon couple living intent

I live temporary #shelley
my kids arent allowd cos all th rules #victimsupport theyr across th road from me // in them #hostels hard2getout #shelley
get a #badroommate + thats it get put out #homeless when I get a place 1st thing Ill do is get my kids room ready #goodreport #shelley
2 get settled in them #hostels // 2 cheap// its 2 easy// need 2 get standin on yr own 2 feet #shelley
them #hostels 2 easy 2 getta #badroommate // make a mistake #drunk gin they’ll put u out again #shelley
# they gave me a good report #shelley good #marx
1st thing Ill do when I get a place is get my kids room ready #shelley
I just want 2 get a bit of structure #shelley
just live temporary no support //th reports not easy //Ill get my kids room ready // theyre cross the road from me #shelley
Id giv anything 4a #normal life 50 million id turn it down u cant buy a normal life #lev
they section u inject u giv u #medication // rpt prscrption // how can they tell? = u can see in a mans eyes bt cant see in his mind #lev
we r all space // we r all nothin // nothin matter // s #lev
problems = an invis()ble rucksack #lev
[homeless people cannot pray on section // medication 2day // with normal people away // 2 undrstand wot we say] #lev

blank u class u walk past u // dont hav // time is a lot harder got 2b tuff inside no relaxin when yr #homeless #philipk
I want my slippers #philipk

im a big believr in positiv thinkin itll b bettr itll b right gets u by positivity like gravity #likeattractslike = sunflowers come up #saul

rai / rainer
bein a #survivalist = nite police torches #rai
#rai my friend got murdered ystrday backdoor open lights on = stoppd // that was th last time I // spoke 2 her he batterd her again #rai
im a #survivalist been on my own since age 11 adjustin out here I adapt life moves fast // police torches checkin u #rai
I was born here in #memories // #memories r th reason I remain #rainer
cruel u never wear th same face ive tried so hard to follow // my path bt got lost in th human race #rainer
walk past a restaurant // smile @ them thats th mask // I wont let them see me hungry #rainer
pass thru these lanes + glance thru open doors + windows in2… #fred

[cant go on th balcony fleein // vision of walls fallin // split second 2 get back in // gettin too old for fightin] #sal
I see buildings collapse // prostitutes down th end of th street drugdealers evry 10 steps #sal
a #brew + a fag person // brews 1st thing I think of // I get up no electric 5 cigs + a #brew #sal
ageing // used 2 work yknow #middleclasscommission // every1 fights 4 th best pitch #sal
different class of customer Good Mornin Sir // other places its Alright Cock // hacked it out 2 weeks door2door // I was happier b4 I was happier b4 #sal
#areascrap #everythingscrap #sal
prostitutes down end of street 10step drugdealers // they wont mend it // their idea of mending = silicone #sal
Ive more #silicone than ceiling th air full of dust // piss out fluff #silicone sal
can’t go on th balcony // Im fleeing domestic violence #silicone sal
fuckin cryin // 2 old 4 fightin round th houses #silicone sal
Ive got visions of walls = holes = walls #silicone sal
fleein again // domestic violence // a split // second nobody takes notice #silicone sal
asthmatic air #silicone sal
pigeonshit cant open th window // pigeonshit cant go on th balcony // pigeonshit + no electric // th air is full of dust #silicone sal
get up 1st thing 7.30 do + hour in th gym #robbieb
tidy up come here// help out make a mean cup of #tea #robbieb
decorating // #robbieb
looking 4 voluntary work// cant work proper cos of my illness //
stimes all day here #robbieb
evening probably do bit more at th gym// chill out rest// nite // repeat #robbieb
nothing else much 2 do
I dont have friends keep myself 2 myself its th best way

1 comment:

mark said...

if we choose our exile we are seeking

if we are exiled we are exiled from our souls

everyone shd work w/homeless at sometime in their lives

we are all one tragedy away from living on the streets

fantastic project - needs more exposure - the "naive" can be gads closer to truth than the literary