Docupoetry is a mix of documentary and poetry, coined to express the idea of poetry based on real life events. It has developed over recent years as I've overheard conversations or witnessed scenes which have interested me enough to want to recount them in this format.
Having just read Paul Auster's The Red Notebook I was working on a post on non-fiction writing, which reminded me of being attentive to events around me, past and present. This in turn led to me writing a list of memories, then to writing a short piece and then on the train from Canary Wharf made me pay attention to the laughter of the women in the train carriage in front of me and take note.
Docupoetry takes what is heard and seen and presents an interpretation of the elements which made up the scene. Descriptions of where and when the event took place, and who were involved and what they said will be described accurately but after that everything else is is conjecture. With any reporting of an observation there will be observer bias and in docupoetry it takes the form of poetic licence.
The following is a scene I noted, involving three black women on a train, riding the light rail over London's West India Quay. I knew the area was built on money from the slave trade and tried to capture the links with past and present while trying to leave some of the past behind where it belonged.
'Buried in a plain box' she said
With a West Indian lilt and smile
Across the aisle of the train
To the other woman
Striped scarf wrapped round her head
Silver threads caught in the light
Bauble earrings dangling
To meet a red wrap
Like a rug with a fringe
Held with crossed arms
To keep warm
Words float off on Caribbean
Seas of laughter
Moving with the tide of interest
Thoughts appearing as sound waves
Back and forth like the tide
Carried forward through time
Leaving the past behind
On the tracks
Like crumbs to find the way
To the future where
Trains of thought
Trail like comet tails
In darkness as
Rails ride the sky
Through West India Quay
On Easter Sunday evening
When the past is only resurrected
Easter Sunday Evening, London, England, 2015