neal pike sst9 draft 2.5

24 Jun

i have no idea where im going with this piece right now

Tech hoping to have music played through a tape deck that’s my main wish lighting something quite bright maybe white to associate with daylight and something I can stand behind maybe with room for a mic stand

feedback would be very handy thanks neal

(intro to be either played over the pa or by someone with a mic backstage
coconuts start of green, become old and dry
like our character slouched over his coconut stall

my good left ear ,hears
the rhythmic bashing
of a steel pan drum

in THIS south London street
the same one ive been
for thirty odd years

on this stall, my stall
always at the end of august
when the sun slows down ,goes backwards

since the sky was black and white

my father had this before me
before, they knew what
this strange hairy thing that is neither
nut nor fruit was
the jelly ones that are full of life, and goodness
sit beside me in my box waiting to have
fragile rum drunk hands around

I am more like bag desiccated coconut
old fragile flakey the liquid of life
near enough extinguished

now they, the people
drink them to cure
Saturday evening hangovers
so they can go again
it’s a bank holiday weekend, after all
tubes are full with
raucous rabble
of an certain kind of excited
twenty somethings

with red stripe dropping
from their fingers
tree stump jointn, in their gaping mouths
making battery acid but sweeter smoke
past this coconut stall

the ones that pull on their
branches ,pull on root clusters
dangerously hanging heavy
above the crowd

making the sky smell like
like battery acid but sweeter

but they are just heavy with
young milk and will dry up soon
becoming care free yet not


4 Responses to “neal pike sst9 draft 2.5”

  1. MouthyPoets June 24, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

    Hey buddy, know I’ve sent you this over fb but putting it here too – just so other people can weigh in, and see if they agree – better than just having one persons opinion!

    This is quality buddy – really really like it
    Imagery is hella strong
    not sure what making battery acid but sweeter smoke means?
    the narrative starts dead strong, but i think gets a bit more fazed out near the end – but maybe that will be ok on stage, as you’ll be the man saying it? so audience will get it? but might be good to come back to him (the old man character) somewhere in the text, even if its just a line
    since the sky was black and white is a quality line!
    not sure what the end means – becoming carefree yet not dangerous? what is this trying to say? can it be clearer?
    even though i dont totally get it, i like the line making the sky smell like battery acid but sweeter’ – but if there’s one word in there i don’t think is working hard enough, it’s ‘making’ – could be a better word there?

    • MouthyPoets June 24, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

      hey neal, Jo here!

      really like how you’ve developed the coconut imagary – the ‘heavy with young milk but will dry up soon’ line works amazingly well – i liked the contrast with him feeling like an old coconut and them using coconuts as hangover cures.

      not sure of the ending – why does it end with ‘dangerous’ – there’s been no real illusion to danger before so i’m a bit confused there. also am not sure about the ‘battery acid but sweeter smoke’ line which recurred a couple of times.

      basically its coming together nicely – i think you still need to crystalise what you’re trying to say and what the contrast is between the old man and the youngsters. also i think you need to figure out why the coconut imagary is central to that – i can see the character as knowing everything there is to know about coconuts as he and his family have sold them but i think that needs a bit more development.

      over all its really getting there man – gonna be an amazing piece xx

  2. secondanne June 25, 2015 at 9:07 am #

    Hey Neal – Anne here – I agree with everything that’s been said above. I think there are a few things going on in this piece – so definitely look long and hard at what you’re trying to say exactly. I know you are talking specifically about London because you talk about the tube and I know that London is like a spiritual home to you in some ways – but because I can hear your voice when I read this it jolts me because I’m thinking “hang on, he doesn’t sound like he’s from London” so I’m wondering if it needs to be London – another thing about the bit about the people on the tube is that in my mind I was at the coconut stall with you and then you yanked me away to the underground.
    I could listen to your stuff all day Neal – so it’s hard to critique because I love the way you amble through a poem, so I just follow along – but I feel that this is a bit disjointed to follow as a stage piece.
    Are the coconuts a symbol of ageing?
    How is the old man feeling? Is he happy that he’s old and not going through all the drunken teen stuff, or is he wishing he was young and juicy still?
    I’m wondering if you did this more in the voice of an old man and were very direct – tell us that life is like a coconut – if that’s what you are saying? Like those old fellas you meet at the bus stop who give you their philosophy without you even asking for it!
    Try that – like a full on character piece – you could wander round the building during the day with your coconuts too.

  3. Katie June 27, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

    Hey Neal,

    I like the staging idea of having you at the stall with changing lighting. As I’ve said before, I like the line ‘since the sky was black and white’. I also think that using the coconuts as an analogy for passion drying up with age works nicely.

    I feel that the strongest moments in this poem are the really descriptive bits – maybe there could be even more of that? Maybe instead of ‘the people’ you could find another word to describe them that gives more character/imagery?


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