Sorry it’s a little delayed but this is the full poetry portfolio I submitted as my final assignment in this module. I hope you enjoy it and I will be uploading the readings once I’m back.
The Handbook of Digital & Physical Conversation & Presentation
The sound of stuttering,
blubbering and the grating
of stalling for words
sticks more in the mind
of careful thoughts
broadcast through the filters.
The compulsiveness of conversation
and the action-reaction of Q&A
shows something, something behind the words,
or the lack of
if jaws hang slack and empty.
But who needs the pressure?
Who want’s to be put on the spot
and be forced, cornered into a response,
laden with expectation and
No, no that isn’t how this world works now
because we can think, and we can edit and draft and filter and critique
and then, only then, can we broadcast our thoughts
perfectly constructed in pseudo-spontiunity
in less than one-hundred-and-forty characters.
If we live our lives online
and we forget about the same process
of picture selection, so similar to the pressure of choosing our words,
then all we are left with is
our simple language and the keyboard in front of us,
a digital partner as real as we are
locked into this same scenario,
comfortable and normal now,
with the screen between like
the reassuring touch of a hand on yours.
But now these pressures of language become so great
and now, so intimate, that how can we even begin?
This isn’t a tailor made message for the masses,
it’s one to one, this is simulated conversation
so must it be as quick as if we were to speak these words aloud?
Do we throw away the opportunity to recreate and present ourselves
through our preconceived ideas of likability?
Do we ignore this chance?
Do we embrace the reality of conversation, with all it’s potholes
and embarrassments, the cringe of awkwardness brought
to your screen, is that what you want?
It’s your choice, to embody the flaws of real-time language
into the modern world of filters, or to accept the chance
to reinvent yourself in a fake world
of real people.
I’m so scared because, like every scene,
each dialogue needs a setting
but now it’s the same set over and over,
words are traded in such a familiar space
that despite all the rules we feel too comfortable,
too lax to walk and talk anymore,
and instead of the stories where we whisper secrets
at night in the city, or confess love under stars
each and all of these events move to that
same old setting, our safe place of masks,
holding the experiences way past arms length
and peering at them through squinted eyes.
Quickly, as if overnight
we all had a laptop
everyone of us, suddenly
rounded up and
told “You need one of these!”
You know what? They were right.
in comparison with the desktop, but
only weighing a third the weight!
All was good, all is good,
strictly speaking, but then it was
“Down with real life, up virtual life!”
Forgetting what people looked like,
griping at one another online,
hell broke loose when we wore a screen as a mask.
Just like that, the world became a united mob.
Kicking someone when they’re down
lost it’s personal feel as
zillions of trolls bombarded the tribute pages, these
xenophiles were brutal in their torture.
Can we honestly say these revolutions have not been at a cost?
Violence and hatred are not limited to muggings
no, these emotions are now available at high-speed,
merging with real life for a seamless downfall.
We all sort and organise,
arrange items into groups, colour code
and alphabeticalize the information,
make judgements and expectations,
and hold these silent rules so highly
we can barely hear each other speak from so aloft,
but by God do we hear, with ears far bigger than our heads
tense and ready to jump to assumptions,
conclusions founded on how she said this,
how he spoke to him, how she reacted,
but I am dumbfounded at how
how possibly this could change and mould
to grow, as we do, into not only our ears
but our eyes, burning sentences in a frame
with a location or place, a time and a date.
Blah blah fucking blah
pointless noise being spat out of
drooling mouths, spraying hatred in sharp words,
splattering their faces in more than saliva,
unblinkingly he carries on, only just starting
his wretched engine, choking it to life
as half-words repeat and repeat,
umm-ing and arr-ing his way
through his flawless argument,
pumped full of make-believe confidence
and the bravado of a mind
lost to it’s liquid rival,
the drink of men,
betrayer of tongues.
Are the words we scream at each other
truer than others? Are we honest in our
moments of spontaneity, when our time to respond
is taken away from us and the only right answer
is to answer quickly, without the filter, without all those rules
we follow behind fake smiles and I’m fine’s.
So ingrained in the idea of being English is this politeness,
and despite all the best intentions and well-mannered lies
it’s hard to watch us dragging ourselves through the dirt,
all beaming smiles and filthy handshakes,
standing up and dusting off not a spec of the bullshit we’re covered in
and we think, how nice we are, how kind.
As a victim of all of this, all these rules
disguising so much of ourselves,
I say the crime of the daily lies far outweigh
your opinions, your thoughts
and these should be your words, not mine, so don’t follow,
take in, evaluate and act like a fucking person
not a drone of pleases and thank you’s.
Territorial Screaming Grounds
So quick is conversation
that if you don’t jump head-first into the rally,
you can be lost at the side lines,
listening closely as your neck begins to ache.
Such strong characters and voices
throwing their own as high as they can
to try and win the battle
as your hands creep to your ears
and your vision fades to black.
But you can’t shut out the shouting,
the giant pissing contest we must suffer with daily,
each day getting louder, hammering the skull
again and again, unaware of all the cracks showing.
This noise is unbearable, so engulfing of mind
and soul, of thought and even when you scream
your final death rattle, who can even hear?
But even if the most important words whispered
are as clear as those roared from over-used mouths,
it seems like no one could even hear a whisper
when our ears work to tune out these brutes of conversation.
To think that being born before the Internet
will become such a small minority
is insane, madness
Can you believe it?
Can you still imagine a modern world
where we couldn’t talk
to another across the globe,
at any time, in any place
and see their faces,
hear their laughs
and still feel so distant,
so far away that talking online
with someone downstairs
feels like a world away,
because we don the masks
of our internet personas,
another faceless voice behind the screen
that gains a power we so often abuse
as we lost sight of morals
and social etiquette,
believing that this gives us freedom
to say anything without consequence,
without an impact on another faceless voice,
a voice we can’t hear sobbing,
crying, drowning under
a digital tide that sweeps their feet
from under them,
leaving them to dangle
and sway softly in the air.
Repeat: Lie, lie, lie
Imitation through repetition,
observation and tacticians,
playing nice and nodding in time,
lie, lie, lie.
Imitation through observation,
these tacticians using repetition
to reel in fans on hooks,
gouged through their smiling cheeks,
dragged laughing and screaming.
To act as one acts, and to do as you do,
you conjure a ghost,
empty, dead, but full
of the romantic projections
of a clueless audience.
Full of the dreams from the graveyard of our minds,
wishes forgotten come to light,
but held by leash in the shadows
to make sure they never see
Treading in the Ocean
So, could you imagine it?
A world without the Internet,
the place where we can explore ourselves
through mind rather than body,
as we step away from the anxiety of ‘real life’
we gain a confidence to share
what we would never share,
to explore and learn
what we could never teach,
because how we wear these masks
and how we use our time
is our choice.
To invest ourselves in ways we never could
and to experience experiences we never experienced,
collecting such a wealth of information
without barely poking our toes
into a sea larger than anyone could dream of.
I know you may tire of all this talk
of masks and filters,
but there’s always a reason behind a mask,
always a face we choose to hide
or a body we keep hidden.
Logging on we let our minds come to life,
our conscious and our personality
free of our physical shackles
to express ourselves
and not our shell.
If anything we take off our masks
of skin and flesh,
free to reveal our core,
our lives, ourselves.
Now I would never say that the information age
is overall a bad thing, at all,
because that’s impossible to say, ridiculous
unless you’re a politician with a secret.
Suddenly our community
isn’t our homes, our families and friends,
our street or our town,
even our own countries seem like
closed cages in comparison with a global connection,
linking everyone, everything, every idea and thought
from the mundane to the revolutionary,
and if we see something we like
we’ll make damn sure someone else sees it,
before you know it
the world is in conversation.
How can a million words go unsaid,
or a crucial sentence be left out?
Some advice, or reassurance,
a comfort blanket in the form of soothing words.
It may seem wise, to think before you speak,
and filter down the words to the necessary,
but is it that?
Do we say what needs to be said?
Or do we play fleeting with our language
and, for sake of politeness and
hospitality, do we keep the important things inside,
and the let the casual and harmless flow from our tongues?
Language is not easy, nor has it ever been,
but necessary? Of course.
We can speak and interact and discuss and debate,
we can solve problems, prevent them, talk them over,
and we can do this, because if language is one thing
I still believe I could never
grasp the full impact of language,
as each sentence, arranged in countless different ways,
and how words are wrote, how you say them so softly,
how they can be sang with so much
emotion, so much depth that as much as I try
I can never see the bottom,
so who am I to say there is one?
I close my eyes in a room already wrapped in darkness
and let my thoughts drift away from me,
feeling so detached from flesh I’ve called me forever,
and I could never describe that feeling
of being away from yourself,
merely hanging in the air and grasping
with a fingerless reach at lyrics
never meant for me,
never meant for you,
but meant for us all
and that is when the loneliness can either die
or burn like you’ve never felt its touch before.
Because floating amidst the music, who am I to say I’m alone?
A page in my book
Through the words in our life
we take in so much,
through the music we embrace
we learn and we grow
taking lessons in love
from the radio.
In the pages we read
and the endings we hate,
shedding tears to characters
and stories imagined
in a world so far away,
yet this language is grounded
inside of us, a part of us.
All of these changes that we take
from the words we hear and the ones we read,
so is it really a surprise we can be
so careful with our language?
One we have seen used so eloquently,
swen with the trickiest of stitches
as we fumble our way through
The Soul of Conversation
Talking with spoken words
can sometimes bring out the beauty
of our spontaneity, showing ourselves
though the little flicks of idiolect
and our tells of lip biting, chin scratching
and where our eyes focus or dash to,
each revealing ourselves,
showing ourselves in this private moment.
With the care to notice
and an eye for all these things which make us us,
you can learn so much,
and find that these bland characters
which I now write, and you now read
shows nothing of character.
The tone of poetry can never replicate
the tone of voice, nor can texts
substitute our tells,
until we speak the words aloud
and you see the words spoken
and then you see
what a person can look like,
with flesh and depth
that words can only hope
to capture and convey.
One in a Billion (Trenches)
Nevermind all this speculation
of what the world thinks
of one in the sea of millions,
another tweet lost amongst the masses
and think about how little each of those readers
even care to take the time to hear the words,
to think about them, to care, to share them,
and is it worth the worrying?
Are we stressing ourselves over a situation
only we care about, because obviously
as the main character in our own lives,
why wouldn’t anybody care?
But instead of wondering about how
many people care, how many don’t,
we should sonder and take stock
of all these other lives, with which we only notice
when they relate to us,
ignoring all these stories as they are made,
daily, constantly around us beyond
our care and interest.
We’ve dug this trench to lay in alone
and as the judging eyes peek over
and whisper all this imagined cynicism,
we ignore all the other trenches around us,
full of the trapped souls, locked in their own
Even after all I’ve spoke and wrote
of language and it’s shortcomings, it’s vastness
and the beauty of it, how it can bring us together,
I still hide behind these filters,
I still hold my tongue, in favour of pleasing words,
I think too much before I speak so
I never say what I truly feel,
and instead of showing myself in these daily cycles
of conversation, I hold these talks in my own head,
complete with put downs
and quick witted jokes at my own expense.
No, I’m not following my own advice,
these thoughts that often would not make it to tounge
are now staring back with at me seering eyes,
daring me to read them,
and lodge somewhere in my head,
leaving little room for unsaid words
and chances missed,
because to seize the day we must express ourselves,
show our friends and families that we were not cast
in the mould, nor is anyone
but the masks we wear seem mass produced,
as each unique person wears
an identical smile.
Despite all this talk
the only thing I
is the comfortable
of a moment shared
So what do you think? I didn’t mean it to be a full attack on our online world, just wanted to offer both perspectives. The internet has been such a fantastic tool that I believe, for the most part, isn’t used to even a shade of it’s full potential by many of us. It’s brought us closer together in some ways but driven us apart in others, yet there is so much more we can use it for that often goes wasted. The main message I wanted to get across in this portfolio is for us to use the internet to better ourselves and not to become too wrapped up in the online world.
Well there it is! The full poetry portfolio I submitted for my final assignment is now available to view in full. I hope you enjoy it and see the brighter side of what I’ve learnt whilst writing this, despite the general tone. Thank you for reading and let me know your thoughts in the comments.