The Poetry Cafe – Why I Love Open Mic Poetry Nights

Wednesday evening of this week I spent in a Costa coffee surrounded by friends and like-minded people reading and listening to poetry. The event was organised by my creative writing tutor from this year, but I have also been to open mics where I knew no one beside the organizer via email. I have always been of the opinion that just about every poem sounds better when read aloud and this affect is amplified further when it is the author of the poem that is reading. The subject of each poem varied from suicide to artwork, nature to dick pics, politics to pooping; and everyone got an applause.

Writing is a collaborative act, there is no such thing as the romantic poet holed up in a white tower writing on the sails of a muses kiss. The best writers throughout history have always been part of a group of writers – Shakespeare was part of a group of emerging playwrights in the era, the Bloomsbury group, the Beat Generation, the ancient Greek dramatists, the romantics holidaying together in the Swiss alps – writing is as much about reading and asking questions as it is about putting marks on a page.  I never feel more inspired to write than I do after hearing other people’s poetry. Even if this is just an hour going through YouTube’s slam poetry archives.

So after my short intro, here’s a transcript of the poem I read on Wednesday night called ‘England’:

England, you've never failed to disappoint me, but recently you've gotten worse.
England, you're an idiot but you think you're clever.
England, are you listening? I've got something to say.

England why are your libraries full of men?
England why can't your women walk in silence? Stop telling them to smile.
England why are your children so blank-eyed, academised, standardized and 
unsatisfied?
England why are your rivers so blackened?

England, stop pushing me! I know why I'm doing.
Listen, Indian summers don't last through the weekends, you should know that by 
now.
You should know a lot by now.  

England save the red squirrel.
England reintroduce the wolf.
England free the royal family.
England the lizard inside David Cameron is dying. Although I suspect he's been 
dead for a while.
England there are greater theings at stake right now than Donald Trump's hair. 
Donald Trump, for example.

England are you going to let your life be run by the Guardian?
I read the Guardian everyday.
I'm addicted to it's colours.
Where Jeremy Corbyn stares straight from the seats, with a crocked tie and 
English teeth.
England I've got a confession to make:
I don't know the words to God Save the Queen either, stick me on your front pages.
England you've been listening to the wrong Jeremy C.
Clarkson is not God.

It occurs to me England that i'm talking to myself again. 
Maybe you should try it.
Maybe you need a good telling off.
A look in the mirror.
Maybe Angela is right,
Germany is showing you up.
German compassion, fashion, fast cars, movie stars, Fassbender, weekender, 
televison, Eurovision, zero emissions, nuclear fission, population remission, 
refugee missions.  

England you'll never win the World Cup or Wimbledon again, so stop getting your 
hopes up.
The flags look tacky anyway.

England, I'm trying to help you, you're one step away from collapse.
England get your head down and stop trying to be America's friend.
America doesn't like you.
America doesn't like anyone really.
America has trust issues after the wars.
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