Why I have to perform…

3 Feb

Hello! Debris here. 

I have been thinking a lot about my writing and performance recently. The main question I have been asking myself is – should I perform at Say Sum Thin 4. I am currently editing my first collection, working in the South East on weekends on a project to develop my writing for children and am on the cusp of developing my show with Notts Playhouse… I felt like there was other writing I needed to focus on. 


Then I went in to Mouthy. And asked everyone else to perform because I believe the work we do at Mouthy enables us to explore what we want and achieve it. So, what do I want? I have been studying poetry for 4 years now, got my 1st class BA, got my MA with distinction… should I be satisfied? I don’t think I am the kind of person who is ever satisfied! I am too excited about what could come next. So what am I excited about?

I have been challenging myself for so long, I think I might have lost touch with why I started challenging myself in the first place –> because writing, editing and performing poetry is how I understand the world. So in editing this piece, that is what I had in mind: what do I want to leave the people who mean the most to me…


Swallowing Life Whole

Suzie, steal our memories of being 4 or 16: build

boats out of beer barrels, escape on the 25 bus,

peel shapes out of your eye-brows like wall paper

and hollow your Caucasian hips wide enough


to compensate for rhythm. I’ve left you drunk

recordings of our hands high as disco balls,

eyes sticky as foam-party bubbles. I’ve left

my phone-voice inside of yours. No one has noticed.


Mum, I stuffed your pillows with poetry.

I’m sorry. Dribble over my boisterousness

till the linen is transparent and your neck

is creased. Read the anemia under your eyes,


sunken from screams up our ripped stairs.

Read till you laugh up our living room

like a hiccup. You lined my duvet with custard

to tip over the monsters in my head. I’m taking


that with me. Dad, I tipped my emotional vocabulary

into the toaster for you. The overspill is mixed

in with the Marmite. Save it for lazy lunches

on boxing day. When my babies are tall,


Don’t wait 18 years to say you love them:

Arun, I have crushed my sobriety into your Asprin

and filled your work bag with those miniature Lego Men.

Richard, I have crumbled my empathy over your laptop


and folded the bus routes to our old house

into your freezer. Gary, I have built you a shed

out of my chocolate coin collection: a bank

system you don’t need to feel guilty to work for.


Joel. Thank you, for packing our tall home

into gift boxes. For using that giant bubble wrap like our duvet.

And the contents of my note-books like wall insulation.

Please. Pack yourself in my skin.  Because alone,


your boxes are too thin. There is a leak in the living room.

A Christmas Tree drying out in our attic. Don’t open your mouth,

wedge the corners of corrugated card in till the jaw

Dislocates. Don’t gulp it all down jagged.


I didn’t mean to leave the monsters in my head.

But I did mean to leave the powdered custard in the cupboard

and the smell of our bodies under the bubble wrap

Giant as the memories we built behind us.


 Debris x


3 Responses to “Why I have to perform…”

  1. Sacha Wise February 3, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    Hi Debris.

    I would say regarding SS4… the question I would ask is not should I perform at SS4 but maybe do I want to perform at SS4? I think you should always follow your passions. Life loses it’s edge without passion thrown in and you always have to be true to yourself cause deep inside you know exactly what you want…. it’s just that many times there are a lot of other things clouding our judgement.

    And obviously poetry is a passion for you.. but maybe the question is what else do you want to do with it to make you fulfilled because once you are on that journey…. before you even get to the destination, the journey would start to look beautiful (if it doesn’t already). Maybe you are excited about all of the things your are currently doing that hasn’t yet sunk in or your waiting for the completion of those goals. Maybe something else? Life is one big question mark sometimes… and in finding the answers we find ourselves.

    Sunday musings from under my duvet 🙂

    • mouthypoets February 4, 2013 at 11:48 am #

      Hi Sacha,

      I definitely want to. I am sure as we get to know each other you will see I am an infinitely reflective person. I like question marks – I see them everywhere. For more this situations was a wonderful epiphany: Mouthy is growing, my career is growing, faster than I could ever have thought two years ago when I was standing at the edge of it all.

      These feels of – should I perform? It was an access point for me to realise I am lucky enough to be in a situation where I have learned so many things, now is the time to use those skills to stand up and articulate myself to the best of my ability.

      Wish I had seen my duvet yesterday! More like under paperwork! But actually, I am enjoying the paperwork, the people and the poetry. And I am even finding time to explore myself – clearly. And to me that is what poetry, people and Mouthy is all about!


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