Live And Kicking

I know, I know I should blog about Thursday’s sell-out show at Live Theatre, but I think I may still be processing it! There’s nothing quite like the intense fear that arrives just before performing to a packed room. I was afraid of – forgetting the words, getting blinded by the spotlight and falling off my stool and/or walking off the edge of the stage, people not being able to see me in the bits where I crouch down, people not being able to hear me because fear shrinks my voice, my mouth going dry, some people I know seeing me perform for the first time…

It went fine 🙂 (Thanks to my director talking me through my warm-up with the calm, patient air of a man who has seen divas in meltdown a thousand times before)

But I did want to share one of the erasure-and-response poems that came out of the workshop I ran prior to the show, because it seemed to pluck a truth out of thin air and say something that could be applied to me, why I came back, why I wrote the show…I am using this picture of the back of the Taj Mahal, because I walked the length of it heel-to-toe, barefoot, as a meditation just before I took this shot. I can remember very vividly how that felt, and something about the following poem reminds me of that moment.


tomorrow / everyone / will return / dipping in and out

probably nothing / can imagine / the hand of God

What will have changed about them? It is sometimes not obvious. But this day is always sacred. Always tense. We prepare in silence – conversations peter out, into the length of their journey, their time distant. But this is why they come back – to measure themselves against our reactions. But not only this – they return because it is impossible to always be somewhere else.

My thanks to Alex Lockwood for letting me reproduce this, and for writing it out for me on a print-out boarding pass to Chicago – very appropriate!


About Kirsten Luckins

Poet and performer. North East Programme Co-ordinator for Apples and Snakes. First collection, The Trouble With Compassion, launched March 2016 and available from Burning Eye Books. First solo show, The Moon Cannot Be Stolen, voted second in Saboteur Awards 2014. Second show currently under construction. Poet-in-Residence at the Heroism & Heartbreak project, Hartlepool Community Archive, looking at WW1 maritime stories.
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