Paul Butterfield Jnr is 33 years old and a published poet and a columnist for the International Times magazine in London.

The BBC published his first short story Moving On when he was 19 years old, and The Playhouse in Derry screened his first film Escapism.


Trigger Warning

Dear G

You’ve asked me what makes a poet
And I can only answer with what I know
The truth

You are either a poet
Or you are not

Most poets come from turmoil
And really deep sadness
But that doesn’t mean you can’t be more

There are two paths to choose from

One path has a very bright light
Most people will choose this one
Because there is happiness and health and wealth

The other path is a dark one
Only a few like me will walk this one
This path offers freedom and creativity
And surprisingly love

There are all forms and styles for a poet

Of course sadness is your go to in order to start
There is also philosophy
There will eventually be comedy
And at the end of your road there will be a message

The readers are looking for entertainment
And they are looking for truth
If you can be brave and walk the dark path
You will be able to contribute this

You will be a god laughing at idiots
Who think they are geniuses
But we know for certainty
There is no such thing

Only a trier looking for the right word
To tell the right truth
So he or she doesn’t die with shame
Because they missed out on telling it

It is your life they are looking for
So don’t let them miss out on that
Your life in its whole is what they want
And you must be up for killing yourself to do that

It is a selfless sacrifice
Like a flower dying in the winter
And it will not and has not
Got any better than that ever

Everything you will write
Or have written if you’ve started
Will come true
Before your very eyes

It will be like your very own ghost haunting you

When you write your poetry
Don’t be careful what you write
Curse away and be as obscene as possible
Like a virgin being penetrated for the first time

Every day you are a poet
Every week you are
Every month you are
And every year you are still it

It will fucking hurt your body
It will hurt your mind
It will take chunks out of your soul
Your god will also get fed up with you

But once again
It is a selfless sacrifice
Like the never-ending sun
And the never-ending moon

You will have to live it
You will have to piss it
You will have to breathe it
You will have to shit it

All those books to read
All those records to listen to
All those classic films to watch
All those performers to observe

You will have to talk about all of your experiences
You cannot be shy about that
And people will follow your hurt
And people will un-follow your controversy

But make no mistake that your god will guide you
The angels will also piss on you
The devil will taunt you
And your demons will continue to make fun of you

But your word is your bond and it won’t get any better than that
Like a handshake sealing the deal
Or a first kiss creating a deeper love
Or a hug comforting someones hurt in a graveyard

So drink your coffees like killing each demon
Smoke those fags like you were inhaling the devils soul
Eat your food like the angels served it to you
And write every word with your god’s voice beside you

Let your poetry leave all of your life behind
So your death never conquers your loved ones minds

All that matters in poetry is the last line
That’s what they are all looking for
And whatever bit of life you get to achieve
Take it all up with your poetry

Believe me
The end of your life is nothing to fear
They only thing to fear
Is losing out on every truth you could have written down

Look G tell everyone this
Be a poet’s poet and die with the glory
Of pursuing the truth of love and life and art and death
So goodnight for now from the only honest poet you know on this fucked up earth

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