Voices on the Bridge – The Spring Edition Friday 9th March 2018

Voices-on-the-Bridge March 18

Cardiff born and Cardiff bred”, Bob Walton has lived in Bristol for many years, but the Severn Bridge and the view from Avonmouth to South Wales still nourish his hiraeth. He describes himself as a poet of celebration who looks for light on the dark side of the moon. With a PhD in Creative Writing, he’s an experienced workshop tutor and teaches Creative Writing at Cardiff University. In Bristol he’s a member of The Spoke poetry workshop and performance collective.  His first collection, Workings, won the Welsh Arts Council New Poet Award back in 1978 but there was a 39 year gap before Seren published his second collection, Sax Burglar Blues, last autumn. He loves cats, music, theatre, and the visual arts. He’s an ardent laptop fan of Cardiff City and has been the ruin of several music teachers who tried to help him get better at playing the saxophone.

Clare e potter was Landmark Trust’s poet-in-residence at Llwyn Celyn medieval house and recently Moravian Academy Pennsylvania. October’s Artist in Residence for the Wales Arts Review. clare has translated poems for National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn. Collaborates in community projects. Received Arts Council funding to collaborate with a jazz quintet to create a response to Hurricane Katrina. Second poetry collection on the way thanks to a Literature Wales bursary.

Rhys Milsom is a Writer at Work at Hay Festival, a winner in the TSS International Writers Award and the author of two poetry collections, Amnesia, and Transition, both published by Accent Press. He has been published in magazines and anthologies, and is working in a novel. Rhys has been published in magazines and anthologies worldwide

Nick McGaughey is an actor living in Pontypridd. He has work forthcoming in “Dusk” The Anthology, Poetry Salzburg Review, Blood Puddles, Envoi, Sarasvati and A New Ulster. He will be doing his one man show at Llandeilo Lit in April.

Rhian Elizabeth was born in 1988 in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales, and now lives in Cardiff. Her novel, Six Pounds Eight Ounces (Seren, 2014), was shortlisted for The International Rubery Book Award. She has previously been a winner of The Terry Hetherington Young Writers Award and her poetry was shortlisted for The Bangor Poetry Prize (Northern Ireland). Her debut poetry collection will be published by Parthian in Spring 2018. She is a Hay Festival Writer at Work

Rob Cullen studied at Bristol and Cardiff art colleges and lived in New York and Brighton. Rob was an expert to the criminal and family courts. He retired in 2012. His short story The Choice was published in an anthology in 2015. Rob has written short stories published in Ystrad Stories related to the paintings of Ernie Zobole.  His poems have been published in the online magazine I AM NOT A SILENT POET, and The Learned  Pig. His poems have also been published in the RED POETS magazine. A collection of poetry “Uncertain Times” was published in 2016. He is currently working with a publisher on a novel. www.celfypridd.wordpress.com

Mike Jenkins Retired Comp teacher, lives in Merthyr. Conducts creative writing workshops for children and adults. Co-editor of Red Poets magazine for 22 years. Winner of Wales Book of the Year for short story collection ‘Wanting to Belong'(Seren). Book of poetry ‘Nobody’s Subject’ (BBTS). Latest book is poetry in Merthyr vernacular, Sofa Surfin.( Carreg Gwalch). Mike will  be reading from my latest book ‘Bring the Rising Home!’

Cara is a bilingual musician and writer from South Wales. Her music and poetry explore themes of landscape, folklore and politics.28117351_10215819225692702_1428648779_n

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Who is Liu Xia?

Who is Liu Xia?

 

I live like a plant in the day

With no voice and no human interaction

Or like a corpse at night…

 

I curl into a ball

As somebody knocks at the door

My neck starts to stiffen

But I cannot leave…

 

I speak to myself too solitary

I have not the right to speak, to speak loudly!

I live like a plant

I lie like a corpse!

 

 

Rob Cullen: Apologies for a poor rendition of Liu Xia’s poem.

Voices on the Bridge – 8th January 2018.

Voices-on-the-Bridge Jan 18.jpgVoices on the Bridge welcomes in the New Year! Out of the darkness comes light!

Music, song, spoken word and the tinkling of a piano and much much more! Performers Rob Cullen, The South Wales Uillean Pipers, Heather Pudner, Cara Gwen, Rufus Musafa & Amelia Unity Thomas, Fiona Cullen, Pete AK and Matthew Frederick!

Start 2018  with a jig in your step and some verse to hold onto the light!

Triptych

Triptych

Giulio Regeni Disappeared

 

On 25th January 2016 Giulio Regeni disappeared?

And nine days later as if by magic reappeared.

 

Words like disappeared seem so utterly stupid

as if the torturers and killers didn’t know then and now

who I was, where I was, and what they’d done to me

over those long hours, of those nine days and nights.

 

Now in the silence I will speak about me and them.

Three times you broke my bones, and tore the nails

from my feet, and my hands and please forgive me

I confess I fully lost count of the number of times

you burnt me with cigarettes. Did you forget?

And you punctured my body with stab wounds.

And how could I overlook the sparks and electrodes

on my genitals, after all I was a man among you men

and then you severed my spine with that final blow.

 

And so you took my life. Another of those stupid phrases

but the torturers and executioners have many lives.

So many lives. Far too many for me to describe.

Imagine them with their wives and their children

with all that blood and gore, my blood washed

and cleansed, as they handle their daughters, sons,

mothers too. The intimate way they touch their wives.

How are they clean and free from all that stains them?

How do they forget what it felt like holding me down?

Of the sound of my breathing, of the smell of my sweat

as they strapped me and held me down. Is it forgotten?

 

Let’s agree not to call them monsters and demons.

Shall we? They are brothers, fathers, uncles, sons.

if we make them different, we act and conspire

to make them special, different to the rest of us.

Making them different provides an excuse for us

to say too that we would not do what they did or do,

when in fact they are like us, all of us, me and you.

A sickness has been unleashed on this earth, this world.

Humans look at what you are, and all of what you do.

 

On 25th January 2016 Giulio Regeni disappeared.

The executioner’s reality was – he was in plain view!

 

Paola Deffendi is still waiting.

 

Paola Deffendi is waiting.

Giulio Regeni her son lies buried under a line of cypress trees.

Her son’s gravestone is just a plain marble slab.

Unadorned except for flowers, devotional candles and a small photograph

His face open and earnest.

 

Paola Deffendi is waiting.

‘It’s all over, the happiness of our family was so short.’’

She waits for justice to be done and for truth to be told.

Veritas for Giulio Regeni.

And love will triumph, love for a child will not be out done.

His face open and earnest.

 

Paola Deffendi is waiting.

Nagy said – ‘‘We will just have to wait. Inshallah, something will come of it.’’

And the secrecy of darkness enfolds always playing for time.

Hoping people will forget, and we and the world will stop watching.

And Giulio Regeni lies buried under a line of cypress trees

His gravestone a plain marble slab.

 

Paola Deffendi is waiting.

For the real truth and not the convenient truth to be revealed.

And those at the top who know – have secrets in the darkness of their hearts

Giulio Regini’s broken and violated body was left propped up

Waiting to be found. But they’d found it already

It was in plain view. And they knew, they knew.

 

 

Paola Deffendi is waiting.

A mother honours the child she brought into this world,

The son she loved and watched as any mother would.

A child who grew into manhood with brilliance and compassion

And the intense inquisitiveness that showed his humanity

And now Giulio Regeni lies buried under a line of cypress trees.

 

“But we will not stop until we find an answer. We owe it to his mother.”

 

A love song to Giulio Regini and the disappeared.

 

Your soul is a bright shining flame

A beacon shining through darkness

For those who stand in days brightness.

It will never light those hiding in shame

 

Your spirit is the brightest of stars

That sparkles glowing in the night sky

So bright it shines through the lie

Of those who took you in their cars.

 

Your name and life will be remembered

Poems will be written about you

Love songs will be sung to you

Your name and life will be honoured.

 

This is a love song to Giulio Regini

And to all those who disappeared

Whose lives and memories are dear

For all those taken from the warmth

Of their families and people they loved

This a love song to sing to the stars

This a love song to be sung loud and clear

This is a love song to Giulio Regini.

 

 

©RobCullen2017