NaPoWriMo 2015

NaPoWriMo #14 – What If God Was One Of Us?

So, this poem came about from trying to write about my depression. I’m not sure at what point God became involved but it seemed like a fitting connection to make. While I used to be quite the anti-theist, I’ve sort of mellowed out a little so this poem isn’t intended as an attack on theists, however, the interpretation is no longer in my hands.


If I was God, I would cry myself to sleep each night.
Silent sobs, that shudder through my body,
because no-one should hear me weep.
The sun would never rise and I
would cloak myself in night,
hide between the darkest colours I
could think up and unmake the stars.

Do not look for me in photographs,
I am not there, you’ll never find
the face I hate nor
the image I am made in.

My name would be unknown,
you’re so much easier to ignore that way
and whilst I’m twisting language,
I’d turn pleasure
into a dirty word,
thinking it would make the guilt drip out,
like poison from the serpent’s mouth –
see how it spreads.

If you tried to build a temple,
I would tear it down.
Kill the ones who love me most and
leave the rest to wonder
what went wrong.


By Cameron Holleran - Poet, Facilitator and Performer

I only started to get into poetry in Sixth Form where I had some wonderful teachers who put me onto Tony Harrison and John Agard – they were two poets that just stuck in my head as people using the language that they spoke to create poetry. With Harrison, we'd looked at V and it wasn't the swearing that resonated with me, it was the fact he'd used the word 'mam'.

Between that a lifelong love of music, I just really loved using words in different ways and having fun with language. I felt brave enough after a few months of writing to try giving performing ago, so started doing open mics around Manchester (I'm from Salford) in 2009 and won some local slams.

When I moved to London in 2011, my mental health took a bit of a dive and I couldn't deal with performing again. In 2014, I'd got talking to a friend on my degree course (who was and remains an amazing and accomplished poet) and showed her some of my writing – she encouraged me to apply for the Barbican Young Poets and I got on and was part of the programme from 2014 to 2016. BYP was an incredible experience and remains one of the happiest periods of my life and I made lots of new friends and came on a lot as a poet, thanks to the support and mentoring of Jacob Sam-La Rose, Kayo Chinonyi, Jasmine Cooray, and Rachel Long

In that time, I performed at a lot of venues in addition to the Barbican Centre, including the Southbank Centre, People's Palace, Rich Mix and Tate Modern, as well as a number of festivals such as Curious Festival (where I wrote a poem in Anglo-Saxon which was backed by a jazz quartet), the Barbican Weekender, Walthamstow Garden Party. I was part of the team responsible for curating National Poetry Day 2014 at the Southbank Centre, performed at Inua Ellams RAP Party, and worked with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on a commission which formed part of the the BBC's Centenary commemorations.

I've been published in a few places such as the Barbican anthologies, Watermarks anthology and Marble Poetry, longlisted for the erbacce prize, and nominated for the first Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship.

I am the current poet-in-residence for the Institute for Global Prosperity at UCL. My work here is used to highlight and complement the research that is being done by the institute, providing a different way for people to interact with their work.

Other things that are important to know about me are that I'm non-binary (they/them/their pronouns), I love cats and Pepsi, and I like to box.

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