Liv Barnes: Escape Artist


The Mic Bytes poetry slam at The Art of Tea was one of the highlights of the Festival this year. Those taking part were asked to come up with a poem that responded to the Festival's theme Inbetween Places. Liv Barnes, a 19 year old spoken word artist, beat out some stiff competition to be crowned the champion on the night, walking away with a £50 cash prize. Her winning poem, Escape Artist, is included below.


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Escape Artist by Liv Barnes

I will always encompass a certain amount of space
no matter where the compass points or geological place
my matter takes this form of legs arms body face
in a way, we're all trapped in jail cells
wanting to get away

I'm not talking about a building, more the compilation of your body cells
people escape in different ways, because we've got different brains and shells
we each uniquely shed our skin when our inner voice threatens to yell
we carry out our unique escape plans and momentarily forget ourselves.

Whats the key to your escape?

For some the only release from their bars is at one
hear the lock unlock at the clink of the glass
then move onto the other one.
Gradually chains breakaway,
as chins lift, head body mind lighter
gives you that dutch courage
to look your demons in the eye and shout 'I'll fight ya!'

Other runaway to another place
with trainers on running in the rain
eliminating pain when they push body limits to the strain
kind of strange,
but for them playing sports and getting gains
is how they became,
This type of exercise exorcises their demons for longer.

But with me,
I breakdown my own bars when I write down some new bars
if you broke down my bars you'd probably see where Im bent and scarred.
But also how I apply my very own plasters
just trying to make myself stronger like I'm laying brick and plaster
When I choose the words, pick the lock
I haven't quite got it mastered
but I'm starting to become a pretty good escape artist.

And yeah, sometimes I wish I could get away faster
sometimes I cant drown out the sound of my demons laughter
try and shake them off my shoulders
pushing my arm harder
my mental handcuffs snap
when I make these words and verses larger.
I escape through the vents when I vent with these pens
escaping the pen I'm trapped everyday in
heres a tip when you feel locked in a jail
write poems you can feel, get them down in braille.

I see other people here with the same survival tactics
get the worst down in words, get on stage to re-enact it.
When we start to feel shit
We get up here and others really feel our shit
I'm another level of moved when I start hearing what these poets spit.
You move me like when I watch 3D movies
I feel like I was really there
through the 4th wall screen
its starts to show through when you join me
we're finding our way with words
when we speak them to a beat.

Just like my heavy notebooks, I've got a weight of words
Just like talking myself out of trouble at school, I usually got a way with words
I'll take a ride when I sit down a write, as the the outside starts to swirl
lines of the page map the arrows to my own little world.

I know that us lot, we don't share cells,
But I'll reach out to you between these bars
right now on this stage we've escaped to that place,
and tonight,
we are all at large.

Sarah Butler: Walking the Edge


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Friday, 14 June 2024

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