Guest Blog #6: Word on the Street writing group

Since 2015, State Library of Queensland has partnered with Upbeat Arts (formerly School of Hard Knocks) to host the Word on the Street creative writing program. The group meets weekly at The Edge Mezzanine. Word on the Street is a creative writing course that helps participants find their voice on the page. Upbeat Arts delivers tailored arts and cultural programs, for artists and educators to work with marginalised communities, promoting social inclusion, positive mental health and overall well-being.

Meet the participants – Chris Bannah

Woman standing at lecturn reading from notes
Chris Bannah

Chris Says… I can’t say much about myself because I haven’t met me yet! People may say that I’m a dreamer- but I’m not the only one. Despite living through a mirror of pain fed by endless glass, I am just a hollow facade. Unfortunately. I sometimes have cerebral dysentery that implodes in my mind. Other times I can hear the whispers in people’s eyes.

Before I met ‘Word On The Street’, I was drifting through my sadness. Susan found me & I could finally see a light at the end of the railway tunnel. The train only stopped by on & off over a few short seasons. Having lived through the futility of trying to save the world – I was saved from myself. I gained deep understanding of Upbeat Arts students & difficulties they faced daily – they inspired me!

I treasure the memory of people that related to my story telling. The Edge provided an atmosphere to write & Word on The Street gave me a platform, to realise- illusions are merely fascinations.

The Man from Persia

Dance, chance, swim to our shores.
Dance, glance, with a whim your speech is heard – and all the people stared!
Dance, trance, sharp as a sword.
Dance, romance, words are just words – no one really cared.
The hours passed, Green Hell had spoken, our golden shores was your freedom taken.
Tears you cried could fill an ocean.
Your chair sits silently – without motion – the man is no more.

Empty Seats

The bell sounded all too familiar and loud! Like a school bell heralding the shuffling feet at the end of class.
I look around to see all the peering eyes trying to guess who was disembarking next.
It’s hard to relax or nod off to sleep with the shunting of brakes and fellow passengers tripping over my feet as they manoeuvre the isle like they were avoiding stepping on land mines.
Advertisements and people’s complaints constantly remind me – never to catch the bus again – but I do!
I detest the smell of tobacco and urine ingrained in the upholstery on the seats.
But I still line up and follow the transport army on board.
As we are conditioned into society, we are imprisoned to follow the regime – and some – like me have learnt to drink our tears.