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Write On! Features: Echo Chamber by Gertcha Cowson

by Gertcha Cowson

Gertcha Cowson, AKA Gertcha The Disabled Poet, is a working class Barking-based poet who belongs to no one genre, yet has a hand in all!

Originally using his scribbles as a self-therapeutic exercise, Gertcha has written over a hundred poems and pieces of prose and is finally ready to share them with the hoi polloi and all and sundry.

Echo Chamber gives us a snapshot insight into his writing process; the lens coloured by courage, mental illness, living with physical disabilities, constant pain and, ultimately, a rainbow of hope.

Echo Chamber

I sit there!

The walls are closing in on me, yet there are no walls.

I can feel the pressure of all four sides crushing me, giving me a sense of claustrophobia, though I sit in an emptiness full of space and air.

And I sit there!

The noise bouncing of the walls is deafening, yet all is crisp and silent.

There should be a zone of serene irie in my personal environment, where all is harmony and peace, where I can connect with all my positivity and creativity networks.


Howls of thoughts, ideas and paranoid possibilities keep up a constant tuneless dissonance, all crossing swords to be the prime sonancy, though all around me is tranquil stillness.

I am in what should be an open quiet place where all is meant to be cool and nice, yet all is chaos.

And I sit there!

There is no noise or visual stimuli to distract me from the internal tumultuous commotion. So I am forced to deal with it when I’d rather shut it away in a mind closet and admire the flow of the uncut grass being ruffled by the breeze.

A mishmash of lyrics, poetical lines and rhythms are swirling and chopping about like a group of shipwrecked souls on a makeshift raft during an ocean tempest. All souls are crying out in the hope of being heard over the others but, because of all the chaotic hubbub, all is heard as a single melee of bewildered incertitude.

And I sit there!

I try to scream over the screams that are all screaming their screamiest internally. Screaming for the screams to stop screaming so I can hear my screams; my screams that are begging to be heard over all the other internal screams. But alas, those screams keep screaming, so my internal screams are lost within the screams that eternally keep screaming internally.

The words I plan to write are multitudinous and diverse, yet not one word will hit paper.

  • Lines of rhymes
  • Lines of eccentric ideas
  • Lines of strange stories to be told
  • Lines and lines about the lines

All whirling around haphazardly, trying to form a coherent line to partner a previous line I have not yet thought up, to go with that other line that hasn’t yet been written.

And I sit there!

There are enough poems and stories circulating around this empty space to fill a thousand libraries. Poems and stories about all manner of things, poems and stories for all seasons, poems and stories about politics-environment-love-discrimination-Mother and so much more, all bouncing off each other; binding into a confluence of confusion.

And I sit there!

Fishing for the thoughts and/or ideas I feel I must work on otherwise I fear I will explode and/or implode, such is the driving force of this inaccessible imagination that is desperate to form into complete and coherent pieces of artistic works.

But these manic half-cooked notions that are racing each other to be the pack leader just merge into a big ball of commotion.

And so, I sit there!

I look at a carte blanch where I put my name to nothing. Every time my cup runneth over with words that I need to put sense to, they are pouring out of the confluence and over into a waterfall. They drop into a seemingly bottomless chasm before they can find the stream that flows towards the estuary of creativity,  just to meet a dam.

Thoughts ‘n’ notions are suppressed by other thoughts ‘n’ notions, that then get suppressed by notions ‘n’ thoughts. The thoughts ‘n’ notions battle hard against the notions ‘n’ thoughts and both thoughts ‘n’ notions and notions ‘n’ thoughts entrench themselves deep and stubborn, meaning the only rhymes ‘n’ rhythms are a clash of out-of-beat cymbals and an out-of-tune rhythm section. Leaving me with a filled noisy void.

And I sit there!

All feelings are over-sensitised; so much so, that I shirk at the merest vibration. This causes me to shudder with a great vehemence. Though in truth, I am actually numb.

And I sit there:

  • My mind may be full but it feels nullified
  • My spirit is flying but acts like it’s chained
  • My dreams are vivid but are vivid with mundanity
  • My hopes are…

And I sit there:

  • All noise is one noise
  • All space is no space
  • All colours of my abstract visions are walls of whitewash
  • My hopes are…

Trying to remember where the doors and windows are in this room of whiteness. The whiteness is so loud it blinds and deafens my senses, the more I try to look for a way out, the more blinding and deafening the whiteness becomes.

I close my eyes and put my fingers in my ears to counteract the whiteness, but its strength shines through my eyelids and, as with the deafening noise of the whiteness, I cannot block out the noise that is already in my head!

And I sit there:

  • There are no blinds to open so I can let in life’s colours!
  • There are no windows to open to allow in life’s music!
  • There is no door to open for me to go out and take in the world and all life’s doing!
  • There are no hopes to…

I am folding inwards upon myself, falling into an acceptance of this void. A surreal feeling of vertigo as I have the sense of diving into the deep void head-first.

Although, of course, I am just sitting there!

And indeed I sit there:

  • I stop looking for the colours
  • I stop listening out for the music
  • I stop searching for doors which lead me to both reality and imagination
  • I stop hoping for…

And I sit there; numb!

And, just like the televisions of old, I watch the screen fade away to a small dot. The colours of levity and creative influence spiral into a maelstrom, with me getting sucked into the centre of that small dot  – forever to never be seen again.

And I sit there!

And I sit there!

And I sit there some more!

But then I study the dot.

The dot does not actually fade into nothingness like it did on them old TV screens.

I blink!

And realise it’s not a dot I study but a small fine crack in the whiteness!

I blink!

It’s the smallest of all cracks but what shines through the crack startles me:

A rainbow!

I blink and I blink again!

It is a rainbow!

I rub my eyes, thinking the stress and strain of the nothingness has affected my vision.

So I blink yet again.

Yes. It is definitely a rainbow!

Iris has blessed my muse.

A rainbow is a bridge of many rainbows and songs on the horizon, spanning the gulf between the White Room and the free-flowing rivers and streams of creativity, where all my thoughts and notions can find their currents and where some may forge a canal of their own making, or some may mingle with other currents to create a diverse storyline or idea.

But Irides Et Ponte Carmina for now is still on the horizon.

And I sit here.

I sit here in the White Room with all its confusions of noise and whiteness that blinds me from vita variorum colorum et carmina and I trundle on and bite my teeth from all this echo chamber can throw at me. As long as I can see that small crack showing me where all my rainbows and songs are waiting for me, I can sit here in the White Room knowing there is hope and escape.


Gertcha’s debut Rocks In A Spin Dryer is available on Amazon and through other good retailers.

You can connect with Gertcha on X: @cowson_gertcha and on Instagram: @gertchathedisabledpoet



You can read issue 20 online here and find it in libraries and other outlets. Previous editions of our magazines can be found here.

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The walls are closing in on me, yet there are no walls.