- Mark T
- Akosua Edwards
How do you start a fire?
Raise your eyes and look at the black
Night and note its withering leaves and
Lost fragrances. I never believed the sky
To be anything but reassuring until
I saw the tinder up above to start a fire
To strike a flame and it fell and hit me on
The head as a fourteen-year-old rolling
Into school because the bus had broken
Down and there was no time to waste
Ethereal now and spectral, the gods
Decided to turn the tinderbox into a
Constellation of inane speckles on the
Sky which remain invisible because it is
Too polluted to see anyway. What does
it mean to fight? To be mad beyond rage and
Find calm; to be struck beyond hate and
Find love; to be killed beyond love and find
Life in the afterhood of ashes. To write
And feel alive, not listless but listening, not
Enthused but inspired not calm but angry
And angry to be living a dance we have
All forgotten the steps to – where some lie
Cold and hungry and helpless on the
Edges of the dancefloor whilst others
Brush past in silks and fit their choreographed
Steps neatly to the dimensions of their
Moral exclusivity. Most of us wander here
And there looking for titbits and tattle,
Nibbling aperitifs and tossing apple cores
And not looking too hard at the floor to
See if it’s a face that’s been trodden
So tell me, you who are here with me
Waltzing at this beautiful party
what is become of Europe, that
old tradition that imagined itself modern
In Aeschylus’s signal fire? How did he
Light it? Can I find it burning still in the
Edges of memory, in the papery heart of an
Old professor, or should I go to the arsonist
Myself and set the forests on fire?
- Beatriz Santos
Starting a fire takes time but to start it, you need that burning passion to fight against the injustice in the world. Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, poverty… There is so much darkness in this world. However, w e can put fuel the fire of change with our words and actions to transform our society.
- Lottie Manning
1. arrange fuel materials in a secured array of absent seconds now all shaded as arranged as just one & becoming what is.
2. ensure an appropriate degree of desiccation among matter’s emerging purpose its gaze without gaze like something intended an interruption a grasp while deeply sealed.
3. strike flint against a flicker in doors ajar the instantiation of is they moment & then they moment as well, it is shaped & it is without shape & it unfurls.
4. maintain a safe distance from what is witnessed within the frame of seed withered out & the torrent of forest under glare, life & the rampage of life, it is possible to imagine the folding of plains, roots extend, they are distributed.
5. assume a position outside what is burning & burning. it is necessary that burning. without burning it would not be possible that burning. if we had not burning then burning. the vastness of a world fluid & thread burning.
6. warm hands.
- David Greaves
- James Coombes
- Molly Cheek
- Cat Chong
It does not take much to make me fall in love
Where others see a dead line
I see a spark
Reality and fiction blends into one
And I am reading books about drinking tea whilst
Loving someone who never existed
It does not take much to make me believe
And now I stand on the burning island
As you finish poring the gasoline
The boat leaves
And I am left standing with a phone
- One of those old fashion ones with a dial -
Holding on to the receiver
With a cut wire
- Eliza Newman
How do you start a fire?
You burn everything up and you’re seen as animals
You peacefully protest and you’re seen as nice people
Where is the inbetween?
If there isn’t a fire within people then nothing has the ability to change
You need a fire in lots of people for major things to change and happen.
You can do whatever you want to if you put your mind to it
A physical fire
You need to have dry wood, fire starter - flint and steel, cotton wool, lighter, gasolineeeeeee etc. A dry place to have the actual fire.
- Wren Chaffe
Are you feeling calm?
Have you thought about employers of workers, the cleaners, the security guards, the porters, the "unskilled", the invisible? The ones who had no work while the rest of the country busied itself setting up aesthetically pleasing home offices? The ones even less lucky earning £8.72 to expose themselves to this virus? The ones it killed and those whose deaths have been swallowed by swelling statistics?
Have you thought about our leader's right hand man, who broke every rule we were told we had to obey, with no clarity, no understanding of what would happen next, beyond the understanding that the government would probably fuck it up again? Have you thought about their smirks, their new tactic: never acknowledge the mistake? There will always be those who say they were trying their best.
Have you thought about the fat cats earning billions while the millions and thousands in their employ were working hundreds of hours for tens of dollars because we wanted cheap tat, now?
Have you thought about the reality star leading the free world? Who flings loose paper printed with bar charts familiar to a Year 7 in a Geography class at journalists and still inspires loyalty? Who paid less in tax for years than a barista? Who paid less in tax than a month's rent on a single room in a London flat?
And have you thought about the fires? The fires at corners of the world map, ignored because it suits the above? The fires that will rip through all the big houses, the office towers, the cars used for eye tests in Durham, the factories, the green notes, the bank vaults? The fires that we have set with our dense woven lies and greed and belief in our leaders and spending on the small things to forget the big things, the fucking massive things?
Maybe you disagree with everything I've said.
But I'll ask again:
Are you feeling calm?
They don’t want to introduce anyone else into that government who could possibly inflict change aka (poorer people, lower classes, people who need change) because they’re scared that it will change what they know and they’ll lose their power and status.
They want to keep it familiar so that they remain in power they remain the same and they don’t loose what they have
If someone in that government can see something to relate to those at risk: who need change, those ideas can be considered and then could possibly become possible and they don’t need or want that.
It’s all learnt behaviour, it’s a cycle. Just like how the abused becomes the abuser.
- Lianna Cottrill
[gather materials & find high ground]
Once you have had enough time to look around head to the next page:
A fire starts with pain. Then is mixed in with anger. But to allow it to flourish there must be hope. Hope for a better future. And soon that hope will become so strong it will become a demand.
Fire does not negotiate.
Fire spreads until everyone has no choice but to listen.
No choice but to change.
- Maggie Thorn
BLOW THE SH*T OUT OF SOMETHING REALLY BIG
By listening to others.
How do we start a fire when our humanity is doused
And dampened with distraction?
If the bonfire behind our eyes is extinguished,
Is it still possible to light our hearts ablaze,
when we can no longer remember the feeling it is,
to be full of hope?
How do you bring warmth to yourself, in a place as cold as this?
I don’t want to burn what little we have,
But I am split, Disfigured, and scarred.
Already scorched from your Feverish indifference.
Devilish cries of injustice and flame,
What’s a little more smoke to the damned?
I’m lonely without the embers,
Fruitful of darkness and doubt.
It seems my sparks fall on deaf ears,
My Voice snuffed out from a blackened throat.
Only I will still scream,
Even if nothing comes out.
- Naiomi Flossmann
You know that feeling,
Of being sat in a dark room,
With no peripheral of what’s around.
It’s just you and yourself, not really making a sound.
Your eyes dilate,
As the shadows take shape
And the wolves begin to climb
Into the back
of your throat.
We are howling on stagnant air,
Helplessly drowning on red thoughts.
Whilst silently breathing in gasoline,
I can taste blood on the tip of my tongue.
You cant seem to place yourself,
And are no longer able to find
A suitable reference point
As proof of your existence.
It’s no use,
I only know I’m real
When my mind begins to boil,
And the Fiery Pits of my stomach
Spit embers of rage.
For its in the dark room,
Where we ignite the blackest flame.
- Naiomi Flossmann
Rub two dry ancient
rigid brittle forms together
to spark change and
disrupt the norm
When a Neanderthal rubbed two twigs together,
Did he know what he held in his hands,
Or did he just like the way they chimed?
A prehistoric glockenspiel,
A weapon of mass destruction.
Visions of a parched earth,
The crunchy leaves, the contorted branches, the bone-dry grasslands,
Burnt from the surface skin
Suffocated by the ashes of disaster,
Californian gender reveals,
Bombs in Beirut,
Born from burning sticks.
- Georgia Marsh
We didn’t start the fire.
And yet faced with it all,
We are drawn closer to a collective flame,
a searing change.
We might feel like tiny tea lights,
In our own front rooms, just about there.
By rote we might douse our flame,
But we are drawn to beacons brighter than ourselves.
> > > >
Press Play to Begin.
"I start a fire with matches and joss paper during Hungry Ghost month. To me, in the midst of so many crises all happening at once, to burn has been to grieve and make offerings to acknowledge both personal and collective loss. These are extracts from '1. to hope is to invoke is to say is also to surrender', which is an anaphoric sequence that places poetry into the space of joss paper, also known as ghost or spirit money, which is burnt during the hungry ghost festival as offerings to honour deceased ancestors. This is a tradition performed annually. I am interested in poetry as an endurance of speech, hope, and solidarity, and have been exploring work which investigates communal and radical acts of care as a type of energy. I have included the lines which make reference to fire as this work tries to suggest that in making an equivalence between poetry and offering paper, that poetry might possess the same possibilities for containing kinetic energy and sustaining it once set alight."
START A FIRE?
HOW DO YOU
START A FIRE?
HOW DO YOU
+ unstoppable desperation for a change
+ realisation that the ones we called saviours have always been the cause of fear
+ waves of rage and tears
+ feeling too tiny to make an impact
+ a need for freedom
+ an urge to scream at anyone who doesn't understand
+ frustration that is burning a hole in your head
+ love for the ones who will hold the flames with you
So, um, police, you're supposed to feel safe around them, so like, say if, I stole something or, I, I was trying to harm someone, they should be able to call the police and be like, yo this guy is trying to, like harm me, could you like come and arrest them cause you know that's your job. But instead what your doing is shooting and killing people, specifically black people, for no reason for no reason, and um you're not supposed to do that and its very bad, it's literally taking someones life without like even thinking twice and some police men, not all police men, but a lot, think that they're above the law when your job is literally to make sure that people are following the law so that doesn't make you any better than the guy who's wielding a knife tryna kill people if you're shooting people, and being racist and stuff, yeah. The end.
"I and many others, known and unknown to me, call upon you:
To celebrate our joint power to provide all human beings with the food, clothing and shelter they need to delight in living.
To discover, together with us, what we must do to use mankind's power to create the humanity, the dignity and the joyfulness of each one of us.
To be responsibly aware of your personal ability to express your true feelings and to gather us together in their expression."
Ivan Illich, Celebration of Awareness: A Call for Institutional Revolution.
- Submitted by Ian Roderick
Being on Facebook is like being at a really shit house party
The host has skimped on sustenance
The remaining guests either don't really know him or actively dislike him
The organisers all went to a different venue once they saw where it was heading
Maybe it is really late or maybe it never really got going
As I scroll through the heckles and rousing song
Past the sycophantic chanting of robotic thought
The fun has died with the light of my eyes
If there was ever any dancing it is now
designed out and replaced by adverts
The venue is a market driven dive obsessed with superficiality
The false veneer of a smoke machine generates polarising click bait
The centrifugal force of change might rip us apart
The chance of intimacy is slight
Ready for a fire
Let us burn down this house
Think what could rise from the ashes
When the cloud finally rains
Data free falling, torrential life used to serve us all
Our dopamine no longer stolen could fuel a brighter day
Might concentration and connection emerge
holding mugs of hot drink and a bin bag or two
It is worth arson to find out so raise your lighters to the sky
- Tom Burgess
If there is no heat in your heart
and each breath is brittle
If passion has dwindled
and all causes feel lost
what can I break on the altar of my life?
For there in the gap left behind
lies the first spark to a larger fire
At age 20 I no longer want children.
At age 20 I donate my wages to extinction rebellion.
I reuse the same plastic shopping bag so many times my Sainsbury's own humus falls out the bottom.
I've forgotten the feeling of Primark's cotton on my skin.
At age 20 I spend my days off protesting in the rain
Another day in the life of a an 'over-confident youth'
At age 20 I no longer want children.
A fancy, fairy-tale wedding with a 6 foot tall husband stood by my side,
because who wants a child, another life in this world when life as it is, is ceasing to exist.
A 'myth' you say
A myth yesterday
A reality today.
A tragedy we claim to have under control but is control really a thing
when the planet we call home turns its back on us.
Fed up with us.
At age 20 I pick up my long-forgotten bible and pray for us.
I wake up at night with worry on my mind and no idea why
And then I remember - oh yeah, my life.
My life has become a bubble of worry,
a spiralling, blurry mess of a life with uneducated politicians who won't listen to the earth
To it's people
To its dying heartbeat
It's fiery, forestry
Its steaming, ash-tay sea
Little old me.
I've already lived half of my life.
I'm middle aged.
Because if we do nothing, by the year 2050, life as we know it will no longer be.
I, you, most likely, will no longer be.
So let's do something.
- Natasha Cross