Reading Tour Autumn 2019

Small Revolutions/Chwyldroadau Bach  Reading Tour

  Dedicated  to my father, John Allen Jones, who first planted the seed of The Chartists into my soul

  From “A song For May” 

 ‘People, rise! and arm thee well!
Hope, that care cannot dispel,
Self-reliance, firmly wrought,
Wisdom by Experience taught,
Thrift and order, courage true,
These are arms to lead us through!
Wield them now—as you would thrive!—
Onward! 'tis the time to strive!’

 From a recent number of the Court journal we learn that
the Queen, in consideration of the sufferings of her
starving subjects, has been "graciously pleased" that the
crumbs of bread from the Royal tables should be given to
the Poor, instead of being thrown into the dust-bin.

 Ernest Jones, chartist  poet 1842

  As part of The Newport Rising  Festival 2019 , commemorating 180 years since the Chartist Uprising of 1839 whilst bearing witness to 2019  with the release of a new poetry album ‘Renegade Psalms’ with Membranes’ frontman John Robb , I am setting out on a journey to find out what people will stand up for today.
 An evening of spoken word. Ideas. Debate. Protest.
Hope.
Special guest performers at each reading plus open mic. 
Come and have your say in creating a People’s Charter for today.
 
Pay what you can afford
 

“Thoughtful, provocative and challenging, these poems engage and
 enrage"

Peter Tatchell

 “Very strong stuff” Harold Pinter

 www.patrick-jones.info

 https://youtu.be/b7Xq_i1DMUw

 

twitter ; heretic101

 

http://www.gwentarchives.gov.uk/learning-resources/chartist-resources-at-gwent-archives.aspx

  Special guests include  performances/talks by Eric Ngalle Charles, Lucy Purrington, Jamie Bevan, Extinction Rebellion, Yes Cymru,  Memet Ali Alabora and Julie Pritchard.

  Workers Gallery Ynyshir  October 3rd  7 pm 

Swansea Fringe Festival  The Bunkhouse October 5th   5.45 pm 

Chapter  Arts Centre, Cardiff – ( The New Chartists)  October 15th  730 pm (£5) with Memet Ali Alabora/Jamie Bevan 

Gwent Archives  Ebbw Vale October 23rd 5pm  with Memet Ali Alabora and Julie Pritchard 

Big Pit October  Blaenavon Workingmen’s Hall   30th October  7 pm with Lucy Purrington 

Newport Rising Festival  The Westgate Hotel 

Newport  1stNovember  7 pm with Eric Ngalle Charles

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RENEGADE PSALMS - new album with John Robb

I am excited to announce that my new spoken word album Renegade Psalms will be released on September 13th 2019 through Louder Than War Records. It is my third album and features all music by The Membranes frontman John Robb. It is a document of our time and aims to bear witness to the issues that affect us as well as finding some hope and light in our common humanity. It also features a spoken word sample by my late great beautiful mother too. I will be doing a number of readings around it and linking in with The Newport Rising Festival . More to come……

https://louderthanwar.com/shop/vinyl/patrick-jones/

photo by Lucy Purrington

photo by Lucy Purrington

the unaloning

I believe the creative arts, with particular emphasis on writing, can take us to a place of healing away from our pain. For example when we dance or paint or sing or play an instrument we travel to a different part of our mind, our heart our spirit. We forget where we have been and where we are going and simply be.  As artists and/or practitioners we need to revisit our core beliefs of why we embarked upon our own creative journey. I often go back to why I started writing.  Out of loneliness, heartbreak, despair , sadness and rage I found words or they found me. I also think back to those incendiary moments and how I felt. That is the key. Feeling. That first flush of pride of self discipline of creation when you have written a poem, painted a picture played a few chords can resonate forever and we need to be able to offer our participants that same excitement because it is the same for everyone. And from that flood of positivity arises a plethora of ripples- self confidence, warmth, solidarity with our fellow group members, satisfaction to actual  chemical changes in the body as endorphins are released and lift the mood alongside neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine that play vital roles in balancing the body’s emotional functioning. These feelings can take us somewhere else and in the blizzard of mental pain these ‘other places’ can be vital in providing respite from the anxiety, fear and loneliness that our mental health struggles can cause.

I believe the arts can anchor our souls in a drifting world. Even when things are dislocated poetry, music, dance, painting can gently piece the fractures back together, if only for a moment.But  that moment is all we have sometimes. Thus, we need to articulate these feelings - for ourselves and for others who may feel alone on their own journey. I am adding below a poem someone sent to me yesterday. I think it is beautiful and check out Sophie’s instagram and twitter pages as she documents her story. Below that I add a poem by Rumi which I often use in my workshops, The Guest House. So read these two poems and see what feelings they evoke. Thank you Sophie and Rumi.

  This poem from the 12 century Persian poet can be a comfort to those experiencing distress. Its message is one of inclusivity. Of  allowing all emotions/ moments  into the mind no matter how tragic or difficult they may seem. We can cope with them he says.  This can open up discussion about our worries and anxieties and by sharing we feel a burden lifted perhaps. Try to capture these maybe in a group poem with all contributing a worry and a coping strategy.

As we get older our defences are weakened we worry more end up fearing change or alteration which in turn affects our mental and physical well being. This poem, even though written over 800 years ago, comforts us in its message that whatever comes our way we should welcome . Particularly evocative for mental health struggles as Rumi openly invites depression, anxiety, fear, despair into his house. 

We can survive. We can tolerate hurt and pain. Do not be afraid. It will be alright. A glorious message to offer to the reader.  I use this poem as a trigger for the group to possibly explore their own ‘house’ and what we welcome into , what we have kept out and how we may furnish it. Perfect way into looking at metaphor and exploring, in very accessible terms, how we can take realistic life statements into a more poetic realm. 

Also,  you may want to explore it as a group piece whereby you have different rooms with different visions but all linked by the concept of the house or castle or hotel?

Run

by Sophie Mullins

instagram ; RunsWritesCodes

Twitter @RunsWritesCodes

I have run, gleefully, away
from my old body
whittled it down to muscle and sinew and, yes, bone.

I have tapped out a new rhythm, found a better way to live
with myself:

powerful (still thin!). So much finer
than waif-like,

choking on bread,

crying over calories -

so much better!

I have run, gleefully,

into the wild alone
touching fear in high hills
when the fog rolls in

and marvelling

at how fast my salvaged body can carry me

onwards
for hours
over anything

I run

because the whole world is huge,

not shrivelled, dry.

No longer a bird in a cage

waiting to die.

I run at the sun with a dragonfly

Tap, tapping out a rhythm

meditative,

calm.

this body amazes me

after all i have done

it forgives
and carries me

onward, forever

into the sun

THE GUEST HOUSE

Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

‘ You were born with wings. Why crawl through life”’ Rumi

‘ You were born with wings. Why crawl through life”’ Rumi

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To follow on from the previous post. That must not be the end. Those who use names, fists, gang mentality and  silence to chip away at the souls of those they are ultimately threatened of would like it to be,  but it is not. 

It should not have to be that way but sadly it sometimes is and it is imperative we empower and listen to those in need of support, those affected by another’s perception of them. It is not the reality we must remember. It can, for a time, become the reality and the face teeth flesh hair  we see in the mirror is distorted beyond what we can bear. We stare at ourselves but do not see our true selves. Our bodies, by way of our neural pathways, appear bloated, ugly, discoloured, too thin, too fat, too black, too white, too feminine, too male.

 We become coated in another’s words, swallow another’s fiction, paint ourselves with another’s colours and it tarnishes our beautiful reality. Partners, peers, parents, so called friends, alongside society itself dig their claws into our very being and we  lose sight of who and what we truly are.

But, but we must reclaim our bodies from those who would amputate our souls. Stare through the fog to truly see who we are. Not easy, especially during those fragile teen years and today’s digitised age adds another level of hell to fight against.

We need to talk to others, reach out to those who love and care for us. We need to find ourselves in books, songs, paintings, dances, instruments, clay and nature. When we are lonely and cut adrift reach for the musical medicine of our favourite song or poem. They will speak to us and help us find our voice again. 

Then in turn we shall articulate our pain and struggle for others to read and digest and feel as Arthur Miller said of his wanting to write plays …’unalone’ . We must continue building the cycle of care, love, empathy and unaloneness. Reach out , reach in. Be. 

We must not let the haters win. Remember , you, we, are not alone. 

 

A House Called Tomorrow

Alberto Ríos, 1952

You are not fifteen, or twelve, or seventeen—
You are a hundred wild centuries

And fifteen, bringing with you
In every breath and in every step

Everyone who has come before you,
All the yous that you have been,

The mothers of your mother,
The fathers of your father.

If someone in your family tree was trouble,
A hundred were not:

The bad do not win—not finally,
No matter how loud they are.

We simply would not be here
If that were so.

You are made, fundamentally, from the good.
With this knowledge, you never march alone.

You are the breaking news of the century.
You are the good who has come forward

Through it all, even if so many days
Feel otherwise.  But think:

When you as a child learned to speak,
It’s not that you didn’t know words—

It’s that, from the centuries, you knew so many,
And it’s hard to choose the words that will be your own.

From those centuries we human beings bring with us
The simple solutions and songs,

The river bridges and star charts and song harmonies
All in service to a simple idea:

That we can make a house called tomorrow.
What we bring, finally, into the new day, every day,

Is ourselves.  And that’s all we need
To start.  That’s everything we require to keep going. 

Look back only for as long as you must,
Then go forward into the history you will make.

Be good, then better.  Write books.  Cure disease.
Make us proud.  Make yourself proud.

And those who came before you?  When you hear thunder,
Hear it as their applause.

 

https://youngminds.org.uk

the image of self, the self's image

I remember the day well. It was hot. Bright sun Children’s voices. Pontllanfraith outdoor swimming baths. Wet cubicles. Warm grass.I was 10. Fumbling to get changed. Excited at the prospect of cool water on skin. I remember leaving the safety of the changing room clutching my towel around me. Into the white sunlight.Already body conscious, though we didn’t name it as such in the 70’s I knew I had to get into that azure pool as quickly as possible. unnoticed.slip in. breath. Too late. Towel ripped off. Vultures circling. “Fat Pat, Fat Pat. Look look” I remember feeling as if every single eye turn to stare at me. Blubber. Pale. Teetering.In hindsight probably a few bored teens. But, but. Those few words used mostly as they rhymed easily ,stayed with me, branded into my forehead, followed me around like a lost dog. It wasn’t just the words, it was the power they gave to those who wanted to appear stronger, tougher, harder. More names followed like football chants bleating in my head announcing my arrival at every PE lesson every football changing room, every…every. Unbeknown to those few boys they had unleashed a would be poet for i began to invent revenge speeches in my head. Huge swathes of glorious eloquent put downs ending with a punch and I would walk off into the sunset . Neither materialised but I had begun to feel the latent brutal power of words.

It took me 12 years before I felt confident enough to take my top off in public again. And even now, as a 54 year old father of three, I relive those hot minutes slightly out of breath. As Wordsworth said, “Vertigo recollected in tranquility”. Maybe, maybe.

So in this week of Mental Health Awareness it is important we share our stories, our sadnesses, those scars that haunt but also those strategies of our overcoming those words of hope. More later……

TRACING THE BODY

 

the map of life lived

touch the skin

shelterer of souls

savaged and ravaged

ripped and wracked

opened and weaved

a casket, a cave 

embroidered with blood and tears

I finger the scars

roads back to hope

paths to understanding

tissue torn 

marks that warn

the soft shiny skin of then

grown over , wrapped up

healed and sealed

snapped yet somehow still intact

dislocation

abrasions

elbow frozen since 1979

nervenumbed ankle

spine slashed open

plastic disc cushions the blows

the surgeon's slice

above L4 L5

the cut

that saved your life;

 

trace those lines creaking 

the angle of your neck

stitches

knitted together

wear them  with honour

to say

 I           have                  lived

veneers and crowns 

panic attacks

black eyes

fear instilled

darkness distilled

stitches in time

bandages, balms and cracks

mindfields of 

breakdowns, 

break ups

and 

breakthroughs

read the poems

etched across your body

the sentence of sentences

the doingness of verbs

the thingness of your body parts

spoke and shall speak

the eloquence of screaming

startles the old

and inspires the young

tell it as it is

and

that, that shall be enough

an archived survival manual

resilient routes etched into existence

I place my pulse

over this persistent patchwork

pause. Feel. 

it throbs like a sun adrift in a galaxy

shining

 

shining

Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

In my role as Writer in Residence with The Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales I will be blogging this week for MHAW and hope to share some poems, articles, videos, writing exercises and my own mental health journey . The theme for MHAW is body image- an issue more important than ever. So, to start off here is a fantastic poem by Lucille Clifton . A glorious body and life affirming poem.

homage to my hips

BY LUCILLE CLIFTON

these hips are big hips

they need space to

move around in.

they don't fit into little

petty places. these hips

are free hips.

they don't like to be held back.

these hips have never been enslaved,   

they go where they want to go

they do what they want to do.

these hips are mighty hips.

these hips are magic hips.

i have known them

to put a spell on a man and

spin him like a top!

 

Poem for Record Store Day 2019

DAD’S RECORDS

 ( for all the beautiful record shops now then an forever )

Flip, flip, pause, wait, flip, hold

With each flick of plastic

I transcend time

Find myself

Transported to Martin Luther’s

Blackwood high Street circa 1981

 

He was the king of vinyl

Where,

Just to walk through town

With a plastic bag  with the shop’s logo

Was a badge of coolness

An insignia of hipdom

Even

 If it did contain

Duran Duran’s ‘Hungry like the wolf’!

 

Flip, flip, pause, wait, flip, hold

 

My arthritic fingers

Suddenly nimble as I

Flip through the albums

As Sepia memories flicker 

Time travelling in close grooves

I taste the titles

Finger the little squares of heaven

Like a naïve archaeologist I carefully dig

Discard the surrounding soil

To unearth the turntabled treasure

Black Sabbath ‘Live at Last’

In   the    bargain         bin!

who needs the  Dead Sea Scrolls

 when you find this?

I like the order of the records

A-F Heavy Metal

Prog, Punk, Indie Ska

Layered lives

The neatness of band names

Half man half biscuit

The Slits

The The

Even splodgenessabounds ( though they should be stored in comedy not punk)

The immediacy of then

Comforting the now

Compartmentalized moments

 Held to the light

Smiles  in amber

 

Flip, flip, pause, wait, flip, hold

 

A road map to solace

When all else fails

It is that one song

We remember

Sending echoes through neural pathways

Lighting lost roads

With that soaring chord sequence

Framing that tragic love story

As Spandau  listened to Marvin

The weeping

The being

Anthems of a blue,marooned ( not 5)

Generation

Suddenly finding their way home

In the museum of the  misplaced

As

Tiny black grooves

Spark

Epic rainbowed veins

Arteries to resonance

Paths to glory

Highways to hell

Like a

Ragged 10 commandments

You create yours

To walk the line

Begin your day with the friendly voice

See kidney machines replaced by rockets and guns

Fallen leaves in the night

 I had no way of knowing

fallen leaves in the night

Isolation desolation incantation

I will  still follow

it’s just a spring clean of the may queen

Even if there’s no future in england’s dreaming

So stuff your fucking army

Killing  isn’t my idea of fun

We shall overcome

In the tunnel of love

With our bullshit detectors

and stay in our garage all night

 

Flip, flip, pause, wait, flip, hold

Hold

 

 

Hold, 

poetry reading

it has been a while since i have performed live due to various practical and emotional issues. I feel i am ready once again to get out there and share words. the time is right. x

Poetry Reading

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Monday 25th March

7.30 pm

live poets society

Cinema and Co

17 Castle St, near Castle Square, Swansea SA1 1J

Swansea

an exciting evening of radical poetry organised by Tim Evans

TO BE OR NOT - new poem about schools denying lower sets the chance to take English Literature

TO BE OR NOT

 

(for   Rajvi Glasbrook  Carolyn Hitt Marjorie Sheen  and Abbie Wightwick   and all the children being denied the chance to study english/welsh literature at gcse level)  

 

 "you think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read."

James Baldwin

 

not Duffy Shakespeare Taliesin or Angelou

because you, you see, are in set two

so those words are not for you

 

for we need to prepare you for the workplace situation

cvs  letters forms and basic comprehension

to make you ready

for zero hour contracts  minimum wage 

and strict regimentation

 

no time for Miller  Sassoon or Ishiguro

oh no those words are not for you

because you. boys and girls are in  set two

 

no room for character motivation, metaphor   or  Barrett Browning’s sonnets

why so astonished?

think of this as a mind colonic

just dot the i’s and fill in the gaps

know your place  know your class

you’ll be surprised how quickly each lesson passes

 

as expression only distracts

and we cannot afford any cracks

so learn by rote and memorize the facts

all we are concerned about is how you can make a profit

what is more important,  a dream.  or a full wallet?

 

even though ‘ english literature remains a statutory requirement in the curriculum’ *

don’t fill your heads with literary nonsense

what matters is the a-c grade performance

achieving  the bare minimum,

we are in the age of officialdom

not martyrdom,

 

and anyway,  ‘the welsh government has never placed a statutory requirement on schools to enter learners for specific qualifications’*

 

so it shall be literature for those who will pass it

and language for those who are dull

and in the  selection of the brightest

all  poetic  aspiration  is   culled

no chance to escape the margins

no colours but the teacher’s red pen

where the sun is merely a noun

and writing’s  just a means to an end

 

And what of love?

Of Walcott’s mirror

What of doves?

Of Niemoller’s horror?

 

And What of  the compass to this land

Of Hedd Wyn’s Gogledd

Clarke’s West

And Davies’ Bells of Rhymney

What of  the

Caneuon  fy nghwlad ?

How to be yourself

Beat bullies, accept others

and

navigate the world with truth and  empathy?

When you are trapped in classrooms outwardly benign

where the bookshelves 

gather  dust not spines

a place of  cv’s and full stops

and the  application forms   await the primark  sweatshops

 

and 

and i think of my own dear mother

reading bed time stories to me

and all the dead poets ‘ blood

 spilled  in their eloquent lonely  pleas

for

love imagination and humanity

as Lorca Sexton

Saro Wiwa  Plath  and Larkin

now circle in skies so lost

for they have no  place to alight on

as all literary dreams lay quashed

except for those  select few at the top

 

five

** the clock really is striking thirteen

four

and the pupils are asleep in what had once been the gymnasium

three

and april truly is the cruellest month

two

that was me.that is alex and my three droogs

we all learnt to love big brother 

 

and

one

 

 

i  now know why the caged bird sings,  sings   sings…. **

zero

 

 

because

no Duffy Shakespeare  Thomas Angelou  or Wilde

for you boys and girls

as  you are now  in set  five

we want you to exist and survive

not  question and thrive

 and those words 

 those worlds

will never

be yours

no matter how hard you try.

 

 

*extracts of  an official letter from the office of education minister kirsty williams am

 

** based on the first and last words of life changing books  and poems many pupils will now never  read

 

1984                   george orwell

the waste land        t s eliot

the handmaid’s          tale margaret atwood

caged bird          maya angelou 

clockwork orange         anthony burgess 

 

 

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There shall be a rising

My response to Donald Trump and his executive orders -

 

SOUL TRANSPLANT

(RUH ZARA'A)

'These don't look like children to me- We should do dental testing to certify the age of refugees'

David Davies MP

 

MAY THE SYRIAN SOIL

BENEATH YOUR FINGERS

FUSE WITH THE WELSH EARTH

TO MELD INTO A NEW GARDEN

 

MAY YOU TAKE REFUGE IN TRYFAN'S CRAGS

AND WANDER WILD UP PEN Y FAN

MAY YOUR BREAD RISE

WITH THE BLOWN BEACH WINDS OF OGMORE AND

RHOSSILLI

 

MAY YOU BRING SUNSHINE TO OUR VINEYARDS

MAY THE TEIFI ELAN AND TAFF

BRING YOU HOME WHEN YOU ARE LOST

ON WINDING AFTERNOONS OF MIST

LET THE SLATE MOUNTAIN OF BLAENAU FESTINIOG

BUILD A ROOF TO PROTECT YOU

 FROM THE NIGHTMARES OF YOUR PAST

 

LET THE DEEP RESERVOIRS MOAT

YOUR FEARS

 

LET THE TONGUES OF BEVAN AND GLYNDWR

BE YOUR ADVOCATE AGAINST

THROATS OF FRENZY

 

LET CYNGHANEDD CHIME WITH ARABIC

TO FORGE OUR NEW LANGUAGE

MAY YOUR CHILDREN GROW LIKE THE

RINGS OF THE LANGERNYW YEW

SUTURED AND SECURED TO LAND

 

MAY YOU SPICE OUR LARDER WITH BAHARAT

FALAFEL AND FATTOUSH

AND LET US SHARE FOOD AT ARTHUR'S TABLE

AND

SEEK SHELTER IN CARREG CENNEN'S SECRET TUNNEL

AND AWAKE AS A POET

FROM THE SLOW SLUMBERS OF CADAIR IDRIS'

DAWN DRENCHED SLOPES

 

ANDLET THE SALTED ARC

OF CARDIGAN BAY

SOOTHE         THE SCARS OF YESTERDAY

 

ANDMAY YOU STAND UPON

THE ACHING ARCHES OF PUMLUNON

TO VIEW THIS TINY MASSIVE LAND

FROM WHERE

THE SEVERN, RHEIDOL AND WYE BIRTH THEIR JOURNEY

AND YOU TOO, CAN FLOW

 

MAY THE CRADLING ARMS OF THE CAMBRIANS

STRENGTHEN YOU

SNOWDON'S MIST SHAWL YOU

AND THE VALLEYS CWTCH YOU

AS 'NA THELYNBERSEINIOL FY NGWLAD'

(NOR SILENCED THE HARP OF MY COUNTRY)

BECAUSE

IT NOW HAS A NEWSTRING

FROM AN END TO

A JUST BEGUN

 

FOR

WE ARE ALL TRANSPLANTED

FROM SOMEWHERE

BROUGHT BY THE BREEZE

FROM SEA TO SHORE

SETTLED ON FALLOW GROUND

GRATEFUL FOR THE SUNLIGHT

WAITING FOR THE RAIN

 

AND WHEN THEY TRY TO BURY US

WE DIG DEEP

SPROUT ROOTS

CLING TO OUR PAST

ANDFROM THE LIVED PRESENT

INVENT OUR FUTURE

YOURS AND MINE

COME,

LET US CULTIVATE OAK AND OLIVE TREES

SIDE BY SIDE

 

FOR CHELSEA MANNING

Knowing the unknown

 (For chelsea manning)

“I will only admit evidence of the chilling effects of Bradley Manning's actions have had on US diplomacy if those effectswere observed directly after the information was made public'

Judge Denise Lind

 

To tell the truth about atrocity

To provoke debate about honesty

How can that aid the enemy

To ask questions of military intervention

To instigate a mass mobilization

These facts existed

What changed was the public perception

And lest we forget in the tourniquet of instapatriotism

The acts of bush/blair and their shock and awe

Enough to endanger us interests at home and abroad?

Or numerous soldiers killing children and mothers

Raping women then lying for each other

The chilling effects of a bullet are more bullets more lies

The chilling effects of bombs are more bombs from more skies

The chilling effect war

Wasted lives,

The chilling effects of chelsea manning's actions

Were education

Illumination

Dissemination

Like wilfred owen, siegfried sassoon and tim o' brien

Before her

Bearing witness to savagery and

Dehumanisation

Like the suffragettes

the chartists

Freedom of information

And emancipation all she wanted

Yet chelsea manning

Lays imprisoned

By her acts of responsible humanity

A whistleblower only asks questions

to what is civil in our civilization

holds the mirror up to society

The only chilling effect isknowledge and

Knowledge has its own destiny

And that does not aid the enemy