About Stefanie Elrick

I'm a professional artist, writer, events organiser and wedding planner with a background in theatre and performance.

Submission #16 David Driver

Homeless People

Human beings. Human beings are very strange creatures indeed. They are born, grow up, have children, have grandchildren and then die. But the strangest aspect about them is the things they get up to, to make themselves feel better.

Charities and churches are probably two of the best examples of daily cycles which relax and give a sense of well-being to the humans. The daily monotony of collecting unwanted coinage lazily lurking inside deep pockets, whilst gold and platinum plastic cards take pride of place in designer wallets, continues through the night as gimmick, plastic pots sit on the counters of takeaways across the UK.

Celebrities, millionaire business people and entrepreneurs all self-indulge when they “launch” their new projects that will put an end to poverty and make all equal. Badges, stickers, flyers and pamphlets explaining ways to pay, flood the cities from Scotland to Cornwall.

The middle classes abandon their semis in the suburbs in order to hand out leaflets to the homeless, telling of The Lord. “There`s always room in his house,” they say. “There`s never an empty church or stomach,” they joyously recite. “So come and eat with us, come and pray, come and sing to The Almighty. Let your voice be heard.”

Let your voice be heard? I wish my voice had been heard. But you wouldn`t listen, you wouldn`t listen in the church. You greeted with your false smiles, talked amongst yourselves, believed that you were doing good as you buttered the 17pence a loaf and served up a chipped bowl filled with soup from a massive can of soup bought from a second division supermarket. The wooden seats were cold and hard on my arse, just like the concrete slabs I had to sit on. But if the sun shone, I could hold my hand up to the stained glass and watch it change colour as I moved it from side to side whilst the gathering got over excited about dancing wherever you may be.

I didn`t feel like dancing whether I was here or out on the street, or in a box, or in a park and I was certainly never heard. You see, I was one of the homeless. I lived the everyday cycle of the homeless. But I looked on the bright side of life, at least I wasn`t one of the missing. They have the worst of all life`s cycles. They end up with their faces on lampposts and telegraph poles. They end up with the words “Missing Person” spread under their mug shot along with a “special” number to call. Some get a little airing on TV and then there`s always another who`ll post something on Facebook about them.

They’re plenty of us homeless people in every city or town up and down the country. How do we “arrive”? Who knows? We just are. A cardboard box, a doorway, a park bench for a bed; odd size shoes or boots and an oversized army coat to keep you warm.

Everyday people go about their everyday lives, carrying out their everyday routines; young, old, black, white, it doesn`t matter. Nattering away on their expensive mobiles phones, slurping coffees from brand name cups costing more than a jar itself, they have no spare change. A few may have a 1p, 2p or 5p, some may be daring and throw in a 10p or 20p, a well dressed man, who works out at the gym, might throw in a whole 50p to impress his new, doll like girl friend. But few, if any, throw in the gold nugget, the big one, the £1 coin.

This is special to the human beings daily routine, as it brings comfort and security. The obvious notes are tucked away safely of course, along with the plastic. But when it comes to change, there`s a pecking order.

You can add your meaningless, worthless coins to a £1 coin and buy something nice, or hop onto public transport and again make up the difference of fare to travel the short distance to a friend`s flat in the city.

But the real “magic” of the £1 coin is the fact that you can walk into Poundland and buy things for a pound! You`re not “breaking into” a note, or spending on the plastic, you can actually buy food, drink, books, car and garden gadgets or just that something you thought you`d never be able to buy for a pound.

I normally received a whole £1 coin at least twice a week; normally from human beings who had that look which said, “Don`t spend it all at once” or, “I`ve given you quite a lot of money and I think you owe me now.” What a lovely treat! And for this, I could indulge in the wonderful cycle of the homeless. I too could purchase something from Poundland. I normally bought a big jar of coffee. The young girl in the record store let me have endless hot water, so I could fill up my cup all day.

I made my cup from one of those gimmick, plastic collection pots. It used to sit on the counter in the local Indian, but someone nicked it, stole the money and left the pot in the road. I managed to chop of its head and seal of the bottom with a bit of super glue I found.

On Wednesdays, I didn`t get any hot water because it was the girl in the record shop day off and the guy in the bookies didn`t like me. He thought I put off his customers. That`s a joke coming from a man that would take money from anyone ranging from a solicitor to debt ridden potential suicide.

All those lovely people marching in with bravado and storming out with the weight of the world on their shoulders when they`d lost; eyes quickly glanced and looked away as the ticket was discarded into the gutter. They didn`t engage with words, not with me. But inside they said “Yes, what do you want? Money no doubt. No chance mate, do you know how much I`ve just lost on that dead cert? Got to get back to the wife and kids. Anyway, Christmas is coming up, do you know how much that costs?”

Christmas time, how much does it cost? I knew the cost of Christmas along with the rest of the homeless people. Christmas costs lives. It was the worst time of year within our cycle. It was when the cold came a calling and claiming. You tended to huddle up somewhere as warm as you could get and hold out. We tended to go into hibernation if you like and come out in the Spring; a quick head count soon told who`d made it or not.

Christmas was also when the middle classes were at their most active; dishing out their “good books” and words of “He died for me and you,” or “He suffered for me and you.” I suffered on a daily basis.

Anyway, I received two “good books” one particular year and they both served me well. One filled the holes in my shoes when I divided it down the middle and the other assisted with a more personal function.

I had to smile as I thought of Moses parting the sea just as I parted the cheeks of my arse and quickly turned one out into a carrier bag. The pages were my very own Andrex; but the only dog in the scene was a large oily German shepherd, whose owner looked like Freddie Kruger`s lovechild. He muttered something and walked off with his carrier bag of wine.

The New Year called once more to end another year for the homeless and when the fireworks started and the celebrations erupted, another new cycle began; but it was my last year in the homeless cycle.

I went out in style though and with a little bang of my own. They came blowing towards me like two angles some might say and I laughed insanely as I snatched them up from the frosty tarmac; two £50 notes.

Now the chances of this happening were a million to one, even for a non homeless person. I guessed they came from one of those super rich, cool people who`d been in the city all night celebrating. They hadn`t a clue what they were doing, what they were spending or what they were spending it on; but I guess it was just their cycle to spend endlessly the money they hadn`t earned, only been given by their parents.

I enjoyed three cheeseburgers from McDonalds, bought a bottle of merlot from Tesco and enjoyed it along with a cigar from the Tobacconist on the corner. I bought a small box of fireworks and let them off in the park.

Now you probably think you`ve guessed the end to my homeless cycle. You`re thinking he jumped into the boating lake or fell into the river. He got stabbed or was run over by a drunk driver. It`s obvious! He overdosed on drugs; surely every homeless person takes drugs or knows a druggie. The poor man just couldn`t take anymore and he gave the rest of his cash to a horrible bloke outside a pub, took himself away with his New Year candy and did the deed in a lonely place only he knew. No, you`re all wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

You see, I`m still alive, I`m just not a human being anymore. Humans have faith, belief, “good books”, stories of miracles at Christmas and gods; and gods really do exist, I have seen them and they have performed miracles.

He came to me on the very edge of the park where no one else could see and at first I thought it must be the wine. I watched his shadow dance across the sky. Clouds slowly parted, leaving a full moon to illuminate his magnificent frame. Wings beat effortlessly, bringing him inches above the ground. His eyes locked with mine. Intelligence, kindness and anger burnt within them. His face was that of an eagle, a falcon, a hawk; all the mighty birds of prey lived within him. As his feet touched the ground, his face became more human in appearance and powerful talons took the form of strong hands.

These hands reached out and gently touched my face as he stood in front of me. His voice was commanding, but loving. “This will be your last night of pain,” he said. “When the sun rises, a new cycle of life will begin and you will neither beg nor go hungry no more.”

Trembling, I could not reply. But all the suffering and pain left my body and I began to cry. He placed a finger upon my lips and smiled. This god of the creatures of flight turned his head to the left as he heard a noise from the woods in the distance to which my ears had not registered.

A lithe, beautiful vulpine creature appeared between two of the oaks. Intoxicating green eyes stared at both of us and it was plain to see that my god knew exactly who this guest was. He smiled and I watched as this newcomer stood on its back legs and grew in height.

A female form was taken. She was beautiful, mesmerising, perfect; able to hypnotise any mortal man and bend him to do her will. Great power, along with forgiveness flowed throughout her. “Come,” she said, “We have work to do.”

He cast me one last glance and then took flight. Once more he was a god and she ran beneath him through the woods a goddess herself.

As the dawn broke, I began a new cycle. Taking flight, I flew over the park and wood, over the streets and buildings below. Looking down, I could see people scurrying about. Cars were driven here and there and the world certainly looked a different place.

I came to rest with the others and was instantly accepted. People, both young and old, pointed at me and smiled. Food was thrown and I ate until my belly was full. At night we all huddled together, safe and warm high up on the rooftops.

xxx

It`s exactly a year ago today since I stopped my daily routine as a homeless person and I`ve no complaints at all. I`m more than well fed every day, warm and safe at night and I`m also a father of four. Humans actually want to sit and watch me, they actually pay over £2 for a small bag of food and feed me.

I`ve become a bit of a celebrity and my picture is all over the social media sites. You see, twice a day I “do a little dance” along the wall by the fountains. The humans love it, they can`t get enough of it.

I`ve also made some new friends from France and been there twice myself. My best friend though is a falcon, who often visits and tells some really wild stories.

He`s been around for centuries and was one of the first to start a new cycle of life when our god visited him. “Those were the glory days,” he often tells me, “When you became a King yourself.”

But just as the cycle of time never ends, the human population continues to grow, towns and cities become more and therefore the number of homeless people multiplies. I suppose as this happens even the gods and goddesses have to offer a package deal.

“The gang” gets together once a month. We meet at a secret location. I suppose humans would think it very strange if they saw a falcon, two barn owls, a starling, three woodpeckers, a magpie and me all chatting away `till the early hours; talking about our old, daily routines as homeless humans. We laugh at the fact that we still have the human voice. Some of the “egg born” don`t mix with the “god made”; we laugh at that too as we consider it a human quality.

The Deadline for KAIROS Submissions is Drawing Near!

Huge thanks to everyone who has submitted to the KAIROS project thus far, this piece of living art is nothing without your voices and experiences.

For anyone else wishing to submit the deadline for writing is 11:59pm 31st December 2014, just before 2014 slips seamlessly in 2015.

After that we look forward to seeing you all at the live event at Cornerhouse, Manchester on the 31st January, entry is free so all you need to bring is your own curiosity.

Keep checking back for pictures of the 10foot wheel’s construction throughout January.

x

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Submission #15 Miranda White

Feet

I first emerged into the moors and woodland.

It is there that I found words and uses for my limbs, among rolling hills and patchwork fields,

Lush, beneath a somewhat dingy grey.

My feet grow. They tread further.

Soaking, they stand beneath turbulent skies, waves crashing against rocky shorelines.

Cobbled streets become familiar beneath their soles.

Drenched socks cling and chafe.

Forlornly, footsteps retreat back.

Back to hedgerows of buzzing and darting

Occasional rays of bright, dazzling sun over bucolic horizons.

But feet must walk.

Into the cold they go, losing themselves beneath heavy snow falls.

Gliding across ice that has never felt the warmth of the sun’s rays.

They tingle back to life in front of crackling fires each evening,

Only to be numbed again when twilight dawns.

Frost-bitten but alive, footsteps retreat back.

Back to pinked skies as night descends,

Rocky outcrops littered with the leaves of autumn, blustering in the wind.

But feet must walk.

Scorched land turned to dust, oranges their soles.

Far beneath, water flows shyly.

It’s secret only revealed by the hummingbird and spider.

Sand gives too easily beneath each footfall.

Tracking waterways, they trail into a sticky heat,

To the scent of thick, damp life.

Mud parts uneasily between toes and lingers longer.

Spattered and scarred, footsteps retreat back.

Back to bubbling brooks dashing through shaded forests,

Wild garlic permeating the fresh, spring air.

But feet must walk.

Hot tarmac sizzles under noisy, choked skies

Howls and hoots torment, confusing direction.

Roots miss the earth, even as they tread along ancient stonework.

Released, footsteps retreat back.

Back to lazy rivers passing through tired hillsides.

Grazing sheep and walls that hold themselves.

But feet must walk.

And now they stand, chilled, between snow-topped goliaths.

Awed and delighted to challenge them,

Ripped free and embracing the sky.

But when they tire, the grassy stretches of Yorkshire will beckon,

And footsteps will retreat back.

Submission #14 Karen Little

Chasing it’s Tail

Waves roll in from the island,

Rocking our gentle boat.

It strains at the rope

As channels appear,

Fast track for shells and debris.

I turn over bottle fragements,

Sea smoothed after violent firing.

Nature grips discarded plastic,

Sprouts parasitic charms

Over the hull of the boat.

When a winkle looks my way,

I wonder which way

I would like to face.

Pointing upwards seems a tiring journey

And hard to maintain.

If life is a creature

With young legs at the front

And old legs at the back,

is it happy to chase

it’s tail in circles?

Submission #13 Oz Hardwick

Life Cycle

We swim in silver, streaming, blooming

in winter light, shedding shells,

green and gold, breathing hard

through root and branch, cold air

gently buoying pollen to flowers,

cells dividing to slow maturity,

surfacing, gulping rain, born

of water, climbing through cares,

hands grasping, wings beating,

speaking with clumsy tongues,

facing the sun, fast and fertile,

young hearts racing away,

released, running, ripe and ready,

restlessly growing, forgetting home

as we fly, warm, moist and pulsing

into true forms, straight and strong,

swarming in cycles, dipping and dripping

with spent days, unchanging, but

decaying until we fall, flaming,

two thousand years and counting,

seeds scattering, breaking the surface,

diving deep, green and gold,

buoyed on hard, cold breath,

streaming, blooming, swimming in silver.

Submission #12 Rob Lanyon

You
You were the one so entwined by your fate,
So bound by the errors of your ways.
So feed fears emotion with mindless devotion in your faith.

You were the one so pious and intent,
to scale the perpetual without relent.
So why can’t you face, this moment of grace,
Under the veil of the ethereal consciousness.

You were the one so illuminated,
Yet blind within the knowledge you praise.
This stoic vibration holds the key to revelation in time.

So now you,
Bathe within the aura so profound,
The singularity holds no bounds.
Its a conscious choice that gives you a voice,
To speak out loud the words ‘I Am’.

Submission #11 Darren Butler

I channel my energy into beating drums
The nerves wash away
A magical force within me
Free, floating free, I’m focused
I try to relax and on occasion I do
But not for long, got to keep time
For now, I’m a clock tick tocking, tapping, knocking
Smashing whilst thrashing until, we stop.

We haven’t really stopped
We’re hurtling through space on a giant rock
Well not giant, it could be as small as a speck of dust
Even smaller
Such is the vastness of space

Keep traveling and unraveling your dreams
Find yourself
Love yourself
Be yourself

Time feels so at Home.

Submission # 10 David Driver

The Cycle of Life

The leaves are falling, falling to the wastelands; orange, yellow, red and brown line the paths and trails. The winds are getting stronger, fiercer; howling through the canyons, they wildly scatter the discarded leaves of the deciduous across the land further than the eye can see.

We have made our sacks from the animal skins, it is time to collect the leaves. They will make good pillows and bedding; but some will be used for another task, a much darker deed.

Fresh water snails must also be gathered and placed in the clay pots along with a little of the water; this is vital. One cannot survive without the other and both are part of the same cycle.

Smaller pots carry the seeds. We have collected the seeds earlier and they must be planted.

The fire tools are ready. These are sacred. Only Fire Master is allowed to touch them.
Icy winds are looming. The land is not growing, it is dying. Snow and ice will come with the winds; covering all, it will freeze, break and kill. Nothing survives, it is time to go below.
Cave Seeker returns, she has found a good one. Clan Chief stands on the speaking stone and tells us it is time to go. Some of us are happy, some are afraid and some are unsure.
We all carry something to the mouth of the cave and in the chosen order, we enter. Magician is the last one to enter after he has performed his magic around the entrance of our new home.

Our clan does not go far, it is not safe. The trackers talk for a while and then move deeper into the dark caverns alone; we sit and wait. They return after two days and tell us it is safe for all of us to venture forward.

The trackers lead the way once more, but this time they are joined by our bravest warriors. Some warriors carry the long poles with the leaf bags tied to the ends and others carry the giant shells.

Deeper and deeper we go. A shattering explosion is heard behind us. The water poured around the cave entrance has frozen, it has expanded and broken the rocks, sealing us in; the magic has worked.

We hear the sound of the giant shells as they are blown, the giant rock worms have been found. Fire Master lights the leaf bags and the smoke plumes down the tunnel. The worms are on the move; they do not like the loud noise and the smoke irritates them. They must keep moving down the tunnel, they must not be allowed to turn around or we will all be crushed.

The warriors know what they are doing and keep the giant worms moving. The second entrance nears and soon they are driven out into the cold. The three worms will keep moving in fear, but the freezing temperature will kill them.

Once more the water magic is performed around the entrance. Magician has to be quick or he will die too, but he is wrapped in many furs. The magic doesn`t take long to work again and our clan is now sealed in.

The water from the clay pots is poured into the rocks pools of the cave. The water starts to glow a bright blue or a bright green. The snails are poured into the water and their shells start to glow the same colours. The older clan members take the snails and stick them on the roof of the cave. The children clap their hands, laugh and join in. This will be our light.
Parts of the cave floor are covered with the leaves and pillows are put on top; these will be the sleeping quarters. Some of the older clan are tired and want to sleep now. Fire Master lights the piles of wood to keep us warm. Cooking pots are placed over some of the flames and soon we will eat a good meal to celebrate our time underground. The seeds are planted in the soil of the caves. They will grow quickly with the help of the blue and green light. The food will keep us alive.

Clan members start to search the cave. They return after a while, they have found the roots of the giant oaks; these will make good fire wood to keep us warm when the trees die above. It is a good cave. It will be a good home.

xxx

Clan Chief watches, he has been watching for days. He stands and looks up at the Great Eye of Ice. Clan Chief closes his eyes and speaks with the gods, water drips on his forehead. He speaks the sacred words again and again. It is time to live above once more.
All the clan are happy. We smile, laugh, clap our hands and kiss each other. Some are chosen to stand with Clan Chief and feel the water drip onto their forehead.

The Great Eye of Ice has transformed into a waterfall. The death is draining away from above and once more we will be allowed to live on the surface. Some of the clan point at the tiny rock worms swimming in the water, they are no bigger than their fingers. The cycle continues as it was meant to be; we drive the giant rock worms out in order to survive and the Great Ice Eye allows us safe passage back out and the young rock worms in. Our gods will be pleased.

Ropes have been made from some of the roots. Bone has been sharpened and shaped into hooks. We begin the long climb out.

The fresh air is good as we near the surface. We can see the sky. When the last of our clan stands on the surface again, Clan Chief speaks. We are reassured once more that our gods have not left us, they just take different forms. The Great Eye of Ice watched over us as we lived underground and then became a waterfall to allow us to walk on the surface once more. He now watches over us as a bright red ball of fire, keeping us warm. Clan Chief tells us that the gods are pleased, the gods watch over us as always.
Young warriors return, they have found the giant rock worm we drove out of the cave. Everyone is happy and we all follow the warriors to see for ourselves.

Our knives of bone begin to carve them up. They are still fresh, they will be a good meal. Their fat is collected in pots and soon we will light the fires.

We begin the journey to the copper fire pots. The ice does not kill them and they still stand tall and strong. Everyone is excited and soon we will thank the gods with our own fire. Chosen clan members will be able to join the gods in the skies.

The meal is good and the fires burn high into the sky. White lights are seen in the sky. It is the gods. Gifts have been prepared for them.

Bone has been carved into knives and other tools; necklaces have also been made. Buckets of snails have been saved, they still glow blue or green. We have also decorated some of our clay pots.

We watch as the whit lights get nearer. They are silver and shaped like the Great Ice Eye. We can see the gods inside them. They stop moving and the gods come to see us. The gods smile and touch our hands. They give us god gifts in exchange for our own; tools made from the metal of the gods, small ice eyes of our own and the magic reflection sheets of ice which do not melt or vanish like in the water when we move our hands quickly.

The children are always taken by the gods, they always take the children. But the children are happy and will be safe with the gods; they will become gods themselves Clan Chief tells us.

Clan Chief is happy because the gods have given him many of the small circles of metal with the gods` heads carved into them. We are all happy now because Clan Chief will share them and all the clan will wear the god jewellery we make from them. Now we can walk to the city and buy food and clothes. We can buy the seeds from the city. We need the seeds to plant when we return and have to live down in the caves once more

Submission #9 Miranda White

I relish the autumnal demise.

Fruiting labourers shed their sweating brows;

their limbs no longer aching beneath the weight of productivity.

Ripe, suckling offspring have had their fill;

Now, holed away for brighter times.

Final leaves curl, cracking away as the world takes its ease.

Breathing slows, satisfied.

A cold, cosy blanket draws over,

Waiting, waiting… resting,

until the earth cracks and life revives.

Submission #8 Marina Gratrix

“If I am I because you are you, and you are you because I am I, then I am not I and you are not you. But if I am because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you”

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

“Once upon a time I dreamed I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of following my fancies as a butterfly, and was unconscious of my individuality as a man. Suddenly I woke, and there I lay, myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man”

Chuang-Tse – 3rd Century BC