Moving Through Walls by Paul Point

Ronald Turner stubbed out a smoke in a plant pot caked in stale

ash. Choked, the cactus that lived there was haggard and greyed

bare by the stash of dog ends and toxic cinders, knowing only a

life of dim light and locked windows.


He was the kind of guy who hadn’t earned his environment – he

inherited it. In the same way an inmate inherits a ball and chain

it clung to him like a picture frame. Call him the product of it –

a victim of impositions – he would call you a fool and drill

down into your decisions that he sees as highlighting his

abandoned ambitions, not as the tools that make bricks, in the

walls of cathedrals.


No plans today; he got up anyway.


He wasn’t without skill recalling odd facts and information at

will, though often strained by tradition, dull and mundane.

Addiction lit another cigarette with a match, since his lighter

was broken and out of gas. That metaphor echoing his feeling

of disdain which amused him – at first – and then meandered

through melancholy even worse, at the start of a stormy



No desire today; he kept smoking anyway.


Amongst others he would often be the butt of all jokes, drawing

the short straw and be labelled both: the blackest of sheep and

the friendliest ghost. He mirrored moons and planets he read in

a few books, the ones he envied for the peace he assumed they

knew – Looks, were exchanged with an old mirror; cracked,

examining dents, cloaked scars facing the fact he’d never wash

them away, flannelling water and scented soap bars.


No one to impress today; he freshened up anyway.


For him life lived on a passing cloud, hopes of grasping he

coped without, tending to touch that empty feeling, the

whispers of thrills that filled traces of breathing. He knew the

world as a place he had no place in and nestled himself in that

negative space within. No one learnt the landscapes better than

he, not even the astronomy he studied solidly when solitude

grappled his mind and strangled his body.




Below is a short film based on this spoken word story:

Genocide by Casey Bailey

I am a spoken word artist from Birmingham. My work aims to unlock personal and social issues with a combination of honesty and humor.

This piece, ‘Genocide’, was written after a conversation with a friend who had recently returned from Srebrenicia, having visited the graves of many massacred in the genocide that occurred there.

The video was filmed and edited by Pippa Riddick as part of a project called PowerPlant, created in conjunction with Apple and Snakes.

If people want to see or here anymore of my stuff, they can type baileysrapandpoetry into Facebook of YouTube, or go to

I am not a silent poet by Reuben Woolley

This is my introduction to I am not a silent poet together with a few poems of mine that were published on the magazine and are now in my chapbook with Erbacce Press, dying notes. The video was recorded at my reading at Culture Club at the Thrive Cafe in Totnes last Friday. The lighting wasn’t very good but here it is. Thanks to Graham Burchell for filming it.

Go Outside by Lyndsay Burtonshaw

Today, I didn’t want to go outside
haven’t looked at the news
heard regurgitated views
jubilant celebrated despite their barefaced lies
two mansions and no spare space inside?
they dared to tell us – abide by economic doctrine
sit down and heed this mocking
so-called need as we bleed you
with cuts with austerity
not much for the plenty
and outsourced welfare to Atos
they said it would be chaos
without them as the boss
and you’d see the costs be worst off without their cross in your box
but they lied
fat white heads head high with swaggering sickening pride
while people actually died
they couldn’t state why until too late
Oh – and wait
their names weren’t cried
at the state election celebrations at set stations
in mews and roads and avenues in normal towns
once home to normal people, with normal frowns
as they tried to survive under skies of a regime that tried nationwide
to erase their subsiding to provide
squash working class pride
but you know it’s true – they lied
We are the salt of the earth
daring to try
besides – our hearts have a girth swollen with perpetual mirth
and hope to birth the ability to grow tranquility
to not just cope
Don’t mope
we can more than survive
thrive – bite that hand that feeds you shit
we belong to our lives, this land and everything in it
we have commoner’s logic and memories with it
I ask you darling, go outside
don’t let this fake mate stalemate state
dictate how your life fluctuates
remember to salivate to create
stay up late with life’s questions that you ate inside out and see
beyond drip-fed tries to ply you
there is life beyond a state that lies
Murmurate, create and celebrate this life together
don’t hide, go outside

Saturday May 8th 2015

Eyes Open by Jess Davies

The majority of my sexual experiences
have been spent with my eyes; closed,
The telling of which struggles to fit
under sugar spun cages
And so, I decide not to
Because upon closer inspection they will
explicably break

explicitly explain –
exit through, extra information
I might not even be here
by the end of this poem

my ex,
my ex,
my ex

From under his fingernails, let loose
packs of wolves
across the resistant shivers
of my skin,
Whose barks equalled their bites
and left splinters in my thighs,
Rubbed salt into the wounds – preserve those ya know?

For other lovers, who ignore the ‘un’
taste of it all,
Underdone unknowing unsure under
pressure, but sometimes
understand. With space barely
between us to taste the salt.

When permission is given
and eyes can open.

‘React Poetry’ asked if I could perform one of my poems that I felt gave a voice to a world view or cause that I feel strongly about. I chose this piece, which was first performed at Hit the Ode, who are hosting their Hit the Ode – May edition on the 21st. I loved working again with Murdock Ramone Media and and CAGED Arts. It has been great to learn more about ‘React’, which is an O2 Think Big UK supported project that aims to use poetry to develop literary skills in those aged between 15 and 24. This piece has been created and shared with the supportive spoken word community in Birmingham where a diverse range of Poets can share a voice.
With thanks to

I wish I could be strong by Jolene Rae-Walsh

I sit down in a chair that’s designated for the sick, for a ten minute appointment with a clock on the wall that goes tick, tick, tick.

It happens like clockwork, no sooner have I sat, the doctor asks how I’m doing.

My mask slips, the tears start to flow, and he’s able to see my suffering.

I’ve been trying to hold it together, trying to look like I’m coping better, but for whose sake I wonder?

Inside I’m dying, I’m hurting, regressing, fantasising about red baths and razor blades cutting. Releasing. Disappearing.

He asks have I been taking my pills and how am I sleeping, any better do I think?

I don’t know why he asks cos he can’t give me anything to help me sleep; prescribing those kinds of meds is the job of a shrink.

Then he asks about my drug and alcohol consumption and because I’m honest he can’t refer me to the shrink for a medication review.

I’m drinking alcohol and smoking the herb and until I stop, there is nothing they can do.

I wonder about the people who are on the right medication, who recreationally drink or smoke without detriment to their well-being or illness provocation.

And I think about the people like me, who are stuck in that catch 22, who aren’t properly diagnosed or treated, so we self-medicate with our own form of drug.

Which prevents us from being properly diagnosed and treated, so we continue to self-medicate with our own form of drug.

I leave the surgery with another monthly script for pills; the maximum dose of sertraline to cure my ills.

But if anti-depressants are supposed to level out a chemical imbalance in the brain, and if my illness relates to the trauma of an abusive childhood, then by taking these pills what do I actually gain?

They don’t help me sleep, perk me up, make me feel nice, or take away the feelings of despair.

They make me forgetful and ditsy and slow which frustrates my daughter cos it’s like her mum never listens and therefore doesn’t care.

But that’s just not true.

I get back to the house that I hate to call home, from which I want to pack a bag, run away and be free to roam.

Like a gypsy, a traveller, a nomad; I long to be free.

But maybe I just want to run from the pain that consumes me.

Instead I climb into bed and I pull my duvet over my small, weak shell.

I bury my head and I wish, wish, wish that I could handle life.

And I ask myself ‘Why can’t I be strong like everyone else?’

I find it so frustrating.

I find it so frustrating that I’m encouraged to acknowledge the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 which confirms I have a disability in the form of a mental illness.

But the government won’t allow me the benefits or support that correlate with this diagnosis.

It’s so frustrating that I missed a medical with ATOS because I didn’t receive the appointment.

So the government stopped my benefits leaving me 2 months with no income. And we’re still counting.

Every time I go to the Job Centre to try and get some help I end up in tears as I’m passed from pillar to post, I’m given the wrong info and it seems like everyone has a problem in knowing their arse from their elbow.

It’s so frustrating having a mental illness when those around you don’t understand and can’t support you properly.

There’s no explaining the dark thoughts and feelings that have me wanting to leave this planet early.

It’s like there are two of me; the professional woman who has strived for so long, to be a good citizen, a good employee, a good mum.

Then there’s the other me who is damaged and weak, who is wading through mud on her hands and her knees, who is struggling to be and struggling to breathe, and it’s so frustrating because I know I will never intentionally leave.

I will never intentionally leave. I just wish I could feel strong.

Every day, week and month blends into one and the hours in a day can feel so incredibly long.

From when I wake up and wish that I hadn’t and I think here we go again, to the time when I climb into bed and I pray, pray, pray that I can sleep and I pray, pray, pray that the nightmares don’t come.

I wish I could be strong.