Why do you write?

19 Dec

You will (hopefully) be glad to hear that I (debris) am still write, if anything more than usual. This is a poem a wrote at Oak Park River Forest Hight School, where I have been learning a rediculous amount as they run the biggest spoken word school program in the world. And this is a poem I wrote for them as an example for an exercise. And please do not assume that it being in the first person means its 100% me 🙂

I would like to see some why you write poems in return 🙂



The day I could reach the top of the fridge

to the fruit bowl, only ever filled with a variety of oranges,

Mum force fed Richard two pints of Milk for punishment

for saying Jesus without an Amen…


Inside, I was chanting for his throat to keep front stroking.

My silence choking on McCain potato smiles

and the smell of day old chlorine on the folded forearms

I was hiding in.


I tried to think of my bed sheets

stitched from grown out jeans and sample fabric.


Mum was a broken Lego spaceship.

Me and my brother were uneaten satsumas

in lunch boxes constructed from 6am hands.

Dad was the washing up and two pieces of toast

every Saturday.


Now, Mum wants to be granite.

We want to be volcanic

under white sand, transparent waves

and translucent fish.

My brother didn’t have gills.

So I will have them

in the shape of deflated brown semicircles

growing underneath eyes recedeing ino age

like the ones my mum grew…


as she forced that bottle into my brother’s mouth

as she spread the Piccalilli into my sandwiches,

as she chopped up my potato smiles at the 5pm dinner table.

As she drank decaffeinated

proud and apparently un-addicted.


I am sitting with by fifth warmish peppermint mocha,

and more pens than can fit

in any of the 26 outgrown pockets

of the bedsheets she stitched.

I am a writer

because of her.


3 Responses to “Why do you write?”

  1. Lydia December 19, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    you know people are actually going to read a lot of stuff into this … I feel used! abused! n slightly bruised

  2. Jesse Ellsbury December 21, 2011 at 4:15 am #

    Great prompt.

    I am a writer because…
    of fires’ unchecked burnings of the soul,
    the inherent weaknesses in things like rock and roll,
    and the myriad feelings that make up my goals;
    the truth is that writing is my only console
    of life to be lived that I can control,
    just as there’s more to it than my being alone.

  3. mouthypoets December 24, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    Love it Jesse, I think you should develop into something whole? Definitely seeing a strong character I want to get to know better in that!
    Debris x

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