Second Place 2023 Poetry Slam Winner – Mark Cook-Long

Second Place 2023 Poetry Slam Winner – Mark Cook-Long

Adult ADD
by Mark Cook-Long

(2023 Poetry Slam Competition 2nd Place Winner)

Adult ADD (provisionally, diagnosed by GP)*

I’m Sitting alone, although  not lonely right now
(Not if lonely means sad aloneness anyway)

Not sad like am when my dysthymia kicks in
And my psyche, like a kamikaze pilot, emboldened by imperialist ideology and dreams of personal glory (or the promise of a katana sword to the neck and his head in the bin if he was to fail) dives straight into the deepest hole in my sub-conscious, there to crash his Mitsubishi zero into a pile gently dreaming, (or silently screaming!), and supremely vulnerable emotions, feelings, and not easily-enough repressed memories, so that, in the fear-fuelled explosions of an encumbered and reawakened consciousness, they come screaming to life in the knowledge that in the event of their failure to manage themselves, they will be managed by the waking giant of Id, Super-Ego, and Ego.

I wonder if there are any towns whereby these triune Titans of metaphoric Freudian Psycho terror, and the concomitant and princely priced. PsychoTherapeutic Milieu are celebrated,….. by giant concrete and steel, timber, chickenwire and plaster, or poorly drawn and painted canvases, showing larger than life but smaller and far less significant than my actual shame- representations of aforementioned and greatly outdated constructs.

dysthymic…conflicted by some internalised, identity politic.
Dysphoric…feeling like I want to fuel up the zero,
Dysmorphic? Here’s looking’ at you, kid!
Dysfunctional? 30 day warranty and full refund if you’re not completely dissatisfied…
Dystopian? Not in the gated community of frontal cortex…

I have come to realise how words, either written, spoken, or just thought, have tremendous power to change consciousness, to pilot the meandering rant of the ideological shit stream of conscientiousness. I have done just this, and I am a God! (Although Ozymandias calls to me from across vast oceans of sand and broken rubble and I am again, made humble)…yes language, has the power to change consciousness, can impact on social conscience, can thus reshape humanity. Sad that it is being effected by the meta-cognitively dissonant talking heads of right-wing media.

Come in Spinner! Come in Spinner!
Undiagnosed mood disorder with dysregulation event horizon.Underestimated mood disaster to follow!

This is your captain speaking:
More At five.
We return you to your regular in/flight programming…

Thinking of Poly Styrene from x-Ray Spex singing
“ when you look in the mirror, do you see yourself?
Do you see yourself? Does it make you scream?

Wondering what it means?
What is my identity? Who am I? What am I?
Am I my name? Am I my gender? Ami i my mental wellness or illness? Am I my personality? Am I my personality disorder? Am I my diagnosis? Am I the golem of some older wit, wisdom and knowledge that I’ve attained and accrued, or mimicked, mocked and misappropriated in a lifetime of not wanting more recognition than some discarded 1960s Myers mannequin, chipped plaster, missing digits and, if I’m lucky, skintone paint job with pink lips and made up eyes. All part of the learning disorder learning disorder, the mood disorder, the personality disorder. Executive Dysfunction. Cognitive Malfunction. Misfiring synapses.

Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.

End transmission…


First Place 2023 Poetry Slam Winner – Bronte Geitz

First Place 2023 Poetry Slam Winner – Bronte Geitz

The Body
by Bronte Geitz

(2023 Poetry Slam Competition 1st Place Winner)


I am not a metaphor, but there is a place in my heart which holds the memory of my first scream.
There is one in yours too, a small indentation which frames the moment your heart became a house, where one room became many, and built itself from wound sink breath.
My heart is an echo chamber of screaming, darkly framed, as each reverberation teaches my veins a conversation of wanting.
I take up capillary space in my own mistake of thinking I could love you.

I am not a metaphor, but my stomach is a sarcophagus to all the things I have desired and have weighed me down.
It is a pot belly, spare tire, well-padded, spanx caress, gutful that I cannot, ironically, stomach.
But I have always loved yours.
I digest this wanting, a symptomatic echo rumbled into hunger to think that your love could save my belly from its hatred.

I am not a metaphor, but my thighs have summoned storms and when they slap it is a warning to sailors.
Have you ever tried to silence thunder? To capture cellulite gladness in a jar, or to prevent the spilling over of a dance?
These thighs are the bubbles of a soda poured too quickly, breaking forth against a denim cup.
I thought your lips could teach them kindness.

I am not a metaphor, but my skin is a paragraph carved with new beginnings.
A scar is not a loss, but proof of new formations found, designed by being present in the pain.
I wanted to know the stories written on you.

I am not a metaphor, but my lungs have stretched for love and sighed like poetry escaped into a sacrament.
A mumbled prayer converting words to flesh ignite, teaching life to rhythm out each breath, measuring my capacity to hold.
These lungs have stopped at the sight of you.

I am not a metaphor, but I once wrote that if love is just a ghost how will he teach me his haunting?
You taught me this.
I am a body which feels eloquence enough in being part of the madness of living, limber blessed and beating.

That I am a body, unloved and adored in turn, and I do not need your love to bless me.

My body loved you.
But that is just a metaphor.