On 26th October 2023, RADE hosted a public reading to share the creative writing of RADE participants with the community.
Participants chose and read extracts from the writing that they had created over the course of an eight week long Creative Writing Workshop led by published author, Karl Parkinson. A good number of friends of RADE showed up to enjoy an afternoon of moving and entertaining readings. We are thankful to everyone who shared their writings and appreciate the courage it takes to stand up and share their stories. Thank you to everyone who joined us for this event. We hope to see you and many more of our friends in the future.
Here is a selection of some of the work produced in the workshop
NOTHING EVER CHANGES A poem by Will B
A timeless refrain,
In the halls of power, they play the same game.
Politicians cascade, making promises of gold,
While their bank balances soar, the secrets untold.
But deep in the shadows, I find my abode,
Down on the breadline, where my dreams erode.
Homeless, yet hopeful, in this world’s grim haze,
Lonely, Institutionalized, navigating life’s maze.
Hostels like buses, they come and they go,
I hop on, hop off, with the ebb and flow.
The only change I see, with each passing day,
Is me, my outlook, and the games that I play.
Once I saw only darkness and despair,
A life of drudgery, too heavy to bear.
Not wanting to try, to face my own plight,
Numbing the pain with drugs night by night.
Decades went by, exhaustion’s slow spin,
Till the numbness consumed my soul from within.
But change crept upon me, as slow as the tide,
Taking those baby steps, I could no longer hide.
With each new sunrise, positivity seeps in,
Self-esteem’s building blocks, I let them begin.
Is it possible that I’m worth the fight?
Could there be hope, a future so bright?
For if there’s hope for me, a chance to renew,
Then surely, my country, there’s hope for you too.
In change, we find strength, together we’ll thrive,
My transformation, a testament that we will
The Prison Rave Story (super short) by Jack Hurley ©2023
…And so, what was possibly the weirdest rave I ever attended, took place.
Everyone one on the landing and many prisoners much further a field that night were havin’ it large; all together, dancing and screaming like banshees, and banging on the doors every time a really good tune came on, but in the solitary of our cells with only a small radio each as a sound system. But twenty prisoners in each landing on a wing with hundreds of prisoners, many of which were high as fuck, all playing the same station at the same time can still kick up quite a racket. The screws would have seen clearly what was happening, but there’s another rule; Once the door is locked, it stays locked, unless there’s an emergency. And half the wing off their tits on speed and hash, dancing like lunatics alone in their cells like they were there, until the early hours, just didn’t breach that threshold.
So we danced and sang and took what life was available from the ether and eventually around 5am the noise quietened, with any late screamers being loudly told what to do by everyone else who was coming down. 7.30am rolled around. I had not slept and was short most of my belongings, having used them as currency to cover the expense of the night before. I was yet again ushered through the reception into a transport. When we got to the courthouse I was placed into a cell with all the others, spitting and smoking and using and waiting. My name was called first. I stood before the judge. He was reading silently from a large folder. This went on for several long minutes in which time The Argument started to shout. I was losing control and my solicitor could see it. He motioned to a screw, who came over to me and whispered kindly, and urgently, “Keep it together, you’re nearly there…”
After a conversation between the public prosecutor, my solicitor and the judge, which they didn’t feel any need to make me part of, the judge simply announced “You can go. Report to probation services sometime within the next forty eight hours” and that was it. I was free.
A Lesson in the Park by William McKenna
He was finally back to his favourite bench in Merrion Square. His little flying friends were already gathering by his feet, cooing and adjusting for position.
Well, I’ve been in Liverpool for the past two weeks so you must be starving he thought. He took a bag of crushed digestive biscuit crumbs from his jacket pocket and began spreading them amongst the eager flock. Pigeons have no manners, unlike my robin friends, he said lightly to himself. Peering through the hazy sunshine he could hear voices getting louder in the quiet surroundings. It was two young boys approaching. I hope they don’t disturb the birds’ dinnertime he thought.
“Sorry auld lad, you wouldn’t have a light on ye?”, the slightly taller boy asked.
“No, sorry, I don’t smoke anymore”, the old man replied, “and neither should you two young men.”
“What would ye know auldie?”, the short boy chimed in.
“Well, I just returned from Liverpool after burying my best friend. The bestest friend I had in my whole life.”
“Sorry to hear that man”, they both said in unison.
“He was two years younger than myself, but he was a smoker to the bitter end.”
“Sounds like he was coolaboola”, the tall one sniggered, now putting the cigarette back in its box.
“If you think that taking over four years to die of lung cancer and being in intensive care for weeks on end is anything got to do with being cool, then go ahead, smoke yourself to death. I don’t care,” the old man said sternly.
The biscuit bag was almost empty now as the two boys stood still in silence. “That’s all we had in the end”, continued the old man, “silence.”
“Were youse not talking no more?”, the young one asked timidly.
“He couldn’t talk no more lads. He was a great singer back in the day, ye know. The girls used to go crazy for him, made me mad jealous.”
“Smoking is good for my voice, he would say.” The old man now visibly upset.
“Lads, the cancer had spread to his throat and after the operation he was a left with a hole right here, said the old man pointing to his neck. Didn’t stop the stubborn eejit from smoking through it though.”
“Jaysus wha?” Screamed the tall boy as his friend was already bent over gagging.
“Not a pretty site I can tell ya boys. Do yourselves a favour continued the old man, don’t smoke and you will have plenty of years to thank me later.”
“Yeah, grand, sound, no bother,” said the tall one. “So, see you around, so.”
“See ye around fellas and good luck”, the old man said while shaking their hands. He watched them both leave as they walked then along the gravel path.
“Right Stevo”, he could hear the tall one say. “Your Dad’s a bollix. So we’ll give him these and then get one of them vape yokes like what Sarah smokes.”
“Yeh, deadly whacker, she’ll be mad into you know.”
The old man gave out a wee chuckle as the boys voices faded out into the distance.
“You see”, he said looking down at the last remaining pigeon, “Bad habits are just as bad to kick as bad manners.”
Hands by Mark Gillan
Hands on, hands off, can I give you a hand, I need a hand, can you hand us a tenner please, give the person a big hand. They’re handy with their hands, but there is a time and a place for that. If you’re too handy in the wrong manner, your hands will be placed in cuffs. Handcuffs impede the very reason you have hands, like Malcom McClaren once said, ‘You need hands’, and I tend to agree for the most part.
It’s the people without hands that I most admire. For whatever reason having no hands, some people have overcome this condition with spectacular results; take Christy Brown for example. I’ve seen some of the most gifted foot or mouth artists create such beauty without any palms or ten digits. Me, I’m incredibly grateful for my pair of hands because by right, I should have only one. That’s why I am also grateful to the surgeon’s hands who saved mine.
So, take the time to reflect how lucky you are and how much you take for granted your hands and picture in everyday life the multitude of uses hands play. Holding, waving, shaking, slapping, pointing, rubbing. If I’m not getting my point across, think about the next time you’re wiping your arse.
To Those We Miss by Noreen Flood
We were a young family coming here from England. My mother had been told she had breast cancer, as my father had already taken two massive heart attacks.
We arrived with nothing but a few suitcases mom dad and seven children.
We were split up.
My older sisters stayed with my mother’s sisters and never moved into our new home in Finglas. New is a word I wouldn’t use.
We were a very young family losing both parents. My oldest sister was 21. Jean looked after us the best she could but she fell pregnant and her partner wanted her to move in with him.
We all moved into town from Finglas as my mom’s family was all we knew. My sister Jackie was second oldest she was the mother hen of us. Not only to us, to everyone. She was overweight and this was her only downfall. She would dress us for the holidays the only way she knew, shoplifting. Jackie would have loved Evan’s Shop. Opened a few years after her death.
Jackie had an eye for fashion. Even though she couldn’t wear nice little dresses. She would dress all of us up. She would show the slim girls the clothes to wear.
I always remember her being called Alison Moyet because she had a big soft heart and loved all and only tried her best for everyone. She never let her size stop her from going to discos. How she loved to dance, and Jackie could move. Jackie would always say we only have each other so don’t let each other down, she was my Hero.
We had our children the same day. And Jackie had her third and me my first. Jackie had her baby two hours later. She is down back in the delivery room with me. She done everything for me and my son. Even getting her partner to go to Pennrey’s to buy me underwear, etc.
Jackie was a earth angel taken by a drunk driver. She died talking about her three babies aged 3, 2 and 1. How cruel is life. She was so beautiful, yet she made everyone close to her look beautiful. She had a way even with make-up.
God, she didn’t know just how much she was loved because she never believed in any fairytales.
She even seen her death, always saying I won’t see Gemma her three-year-old make her first communion and she didn’t.
Not a day goes by Jackie that I don’t think of all that you did for us and anyone who needed a good friend. My sister Jackie was the best. Gone, but never forgotten.