The other night, me and my man Greg hit up a spoken word event at Shoreditch House. We’re classy like that. It was great, some very talented and under-appreciated bards who went at it for over two hours. Perhaps none more talented than this guy, Sean Mahoney. He performed the poem below on the night too. It was a game-changer.
So just before the interval the emcee, a man called Lionheart, took the stage and grabbed the mic and said, I want to prove to all of you that anyone can write a poem if they try. So I’m going to pick 3 people at random from the audience, and they’re gonna spend the next ten minutes writing whatever comes to their head. Then at the start of the second act, they’ll get up here and read it out to everyone.
Poor fuckers, I thought. Next thing I know Lionheart’s finger was pointing directly at me and I felt an excruciating urge to hit the gents and stay in there til 2056. By the time I’d come back, located a piece of paper and a biro, I had six minutes left.
He asked me if I knew what I wanted to write about. I said yeah. He asked me what he could do to help out. I told him given the amount of pain he’d caused me in the last four minutes, the best way to make the remaining six as painless as possible before social suicide in front of 70 strangers was to leave me alone.
When you have no time at all to write something, editing goes out the window. So it’s pretty much stream of consciousness scribbled onto a page. Lionheart surpassed himself once again, and 43 seconds later called time. I hardly had the chance to read it through before I was reading it out.
But it went okay.
Until one point half way through when after an especially poignant line the whole audience pissed themselves. I stopped, but then realised they were laughing with me. I was killing it. Check out the dude behind me. The three pixels that make up his face say more than words ever could. Something like stunned surprise. And then enraptured admiration. As clear as mountain lakes on crystalline mornings.
Anyway the room seemed to like it and I got some pretty nice applause.
Greg reassured me I hadn’t totally bombed.
The best bit was when Sean Mahoney came up to me at the end, and told me he’d loved what I’d written.
Really? I asked. Yeah, he said. Your poem broke my heart.