Saturday, April 30, 2011

Last day of the wild poeming

I missed yesterday, being away on the island, so here's the kind of unfinished (baby started spinning round screeching) second half of the poem I started. Is it even worth sharing a half written thing? I don't know, but I plan to work on this more, later. It's partly about painting, partly about life.


Vertical aligned with the upright
Elbows at a good L shaped ninety degrees.
Joined with pins. Formally,
this picture is a pair of scales, the kind you hang
from your finger, the kind
that tilt. When it slips
enough to let the yellow in, like the thin
ending of a scream, a tempered one.
The sound one might hear, perhaps,
in a foreign city, out walking
on a dusty summer evening. If a window was open, and
from the shade, you might walk past as
a woman makes supper
in the kitchen, her eldest
child having just left home.

The first part of this poem is today's, and makes - I think - the thirty for this month. It's dedicated to Shanna for being such a fabulous inspiration. Thanks, S!

i )

I would like to give you a painting
I would like it to emanate light.
When you look at it, you should
taste orange ice lollies, the kind
the colour of poppies heads, you know
the crinkled petals still crushed tight
in the good green bud.

But there will be layers, too,
and windows. Keyholes for you
to lean into, sidle through, fold back and emerge
from, ink blue depths to dissolve into, leaving
only salt-rimmed lips and a pair of sandals behind.
Great leaping creatures will dance into the frame,
if you look hard enough, if you squint
into the lengthening rays of the sun.

There may be antlers, or the echoes
of voices singing things
monks ought to sing. Seagulls will wheel.
In this still life, you'll taste the mango
I forgot to bring last time, and the empty
suitcases under the bed will be filled, while
you're away, with unspoken conversations
good poems, better times.

Thanks so much, Shanna! See you next year. Phew!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Top of my head, blown, right off

Wow, only a few days til the end of this poetry marathon. I've absolutely loved it. It's been years since I've dedicated time to writing poems, and to be honest I wish I could/maybe I should do it always. Poems, for me, render life closer, realer, richer, truer. They make me see the world afresh.
I've also been delighted by so many of the prompts, and the sense of community. That's rare.

Anyway, here are today's early crop. I might come back and do a Roundel as per Shanna's prompt, if I get time.


me by the wrist,
I followed,
curious, scenting
treasure. Before I knew it
I was rolled into a tight embrace
from behind, one hand round my throat,
tightening over the pulsebeat
one great dirty fist over my mouth,
smelling of earth and yesterday’s
sunburn, calamine lotion, ragged
fingernails, laments, river pearls, spit,
blood, rust and dandelions,
a voice in my ear
whispering hard and urgent
‘start speaking. Keep
breathing. Don’t

And now one for Patti Smith: 


I went to sleep thinking of Peter,
thrown from his daughter’s horse,
neck snapped like a door slam
to the face, one which would not open
for a year.

Months motionless.
How hospital light
leaks and bounces over
squeaky, scraped-clean floors. If there’s nothing
else, we can look at agitated
air, faces hung in racks, the thin flickering stories
racing across a tv, like waves.

My neighbour, limping home with shattered hips and
a rearing piebald. The woman further north,
paralysed from the neck down. I picture
her splayed on the grass, helmet bumped,
limbs made into a jigsaw puzzle with
missing pieces. Permanently

Yesterday I saw a stallion on the back road,
fluid calligraphy against the green page
of the field.
Suddenly understood the long dark inky poem of a horse,
the neck bent to back braced to legs which are
frozen running flowing to the paintbrush
tail, flicking capricious grace at the sky. It was
a perfect victor, a dancing tableaux, the prettiest
threat I ever saw.

I slept and dreamed, of course
of being on horseback, of riding
into battle, of being carried so high and tall I might even
try to win.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'll give you a clue

It’s a deadly game, but taking part
is not optional, I’m afraid. Your
character may vary, minutely or utterly
day to day. You think you’re Miss

Scarlett, but while you slept, Reverend
Green crept into your body, animated
your soul with his own particular blend
of doubt and mistaken belief. You wake

With white hair, and a sense that the past
is replaying itself, has caught up to you,
overtaken, in fact, the same game, only
this time it’s different players or the same faces

in new combinations. Did you dream
your uncle’s face on the cook’s body,
or was it a trick of the light? Who do you
love, anymore, why does everyone look

like you? Attack someone, smear their make-up
obliterate the grease paint, look underneath. Yes,
the mouth is familiar, it tilts the same way yours does
it’s like looking in a mirror, but you can’t tell

who is holding the gun anymore, nor why
it’s smoking, and whether the hole in your chest
is heart shaped, whether the man with the knife
has just saved your life, or is about to take it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Blacksmith's Daughter

Jesus Christ, it's another sonnet.

The Blacksmith’s Daughter


Married quick silver tongue with filthy iron
feet, grew tall and hard and dirty in the forge.
Learned the latin names for cold formed
steel, gilding metal, pig iron, asbestos, ore.

Escaped the hot, dark dust of the smithy
Ran seawards, drank salt water, cooled
her scorched heels in the brimming, cobalt fishy
filled depths. Became a fast-talking fool,

a pearl fisher, a split-tail, a lover of mercurial men
who sailed hard and loose on whisky coloured waters.
Cut her guts open, stitched the carcass into a scare-gull when
she needed to float a surface decoy to fool her father.

Who’d come looking for his lost metal-made daughter
Wishing she’d follow him back, once he’d caught her.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Jasmine Revolution

Here's what we got from the chain renga yesterday. I loved the process of doing this, a bit frightening but fascinating to see it unfurl. We managed 26 verses, pretty good for an international spread of writers. (We had two verse 25s, so I made an arbitrary decision and used the one that was numbered:)


Jasmine Revolution

They stand, basking in
The sunlight ‘midst the winter
Of their discontent

The bud furled tight, when prodded,
must open to the spring time.

Cold moving storms
Heading east
Dissipate precipitously

Mud clings to boots, leaves footprints
we can’t control our dreams

muddy footprints blur
against the slated path’s shine
smoothing until gone

dandelions, daffodils
vying for my attention

The petals chatter
whirling beating on the wind
the birds perch nearby

Giddy with the warmth of sun,
dappled shadows play with leaves.

Between wingtips buzz
a clouds of gnats dances high
scattering shadow

my face clouds with remembrance
warm Spring days almost now past

Spike-edged leaves picked for salads –
this sharp spring wonder.
Sun licks dressing from your lips

Don’t spare me the lemon juice
Don’t blunt your mouth with white lies

It’s not the lying
That angers me so much as
It’s bald faced nature

Flowers turn their faces
to the fence. A kind of shame.

Rooting down below
to grasp some dirt-bound essence
required skyward.

Tears of sorrow and of joy,
both nourish the thirsty depths.

Dew upon dew falls,
mist lays down in sheets. Enough
times to rise a flood.

the sudden drumming of rain
splatters judgement in this way

leaves, flowers, trees, none
are excused from nature’s court
all rise for the sun

Bailiff’s gavel summons all;
They answer, save the sleeper.

Sleeping ‘neath the soil
Fruit of judgement starts to heave
Its way into view

Brown eye looks up to gold,
Sunflower turns to greet sun.

Somewhere, summer has ended.
The bee doesn’t know.
She hums, singing, to the blue.

Passing flower to flower
Seeding the generations

Who tunes the bees’ hums?
Who loosens the strings of tides,
rolls thunder like dice?

Lightning wakes the hawk and crow
Reaper and black scavenger

How to Tell the Time

Scratch mitts, rattle, spoon

kite string, sparkler, crayon

bangle, ruler, wave

calculator, scissors, cigarette,

keys, mascara wand, polish

gold ring, cup, shake

nivea, stick, thermometer

spade, fountain pen, knife,

camera, paintbrush, hold

photograph, spider plant, armrest

aspirin, pocketwatch, glove

morphine, buttons, open

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bells! I hear bells!

I just got my copy of With This Ring, I Thee Bed, edited by the Very Reverend Alison Tyler! (And as this is an AT production, I'd like you to know that the polish is 'Royal Red' by Jessica, and the scarlet glass beads were a present from boyf - something along the lines of a ring, I suppose.)

Here's a snip from the bouquet:

I saw my sex life flash in front of my eyes, Charlie. Do you understand what I’m saying?’ I know I’m almost shouting.
Is that worse, I wonder? To have ditched Charlie in front of all his family and friends, to have left him awkward and alone at the church, or this. To tell him the truth, what I’ve been darkly afraid of all along. My lurid, cherry-red, heart-throbbing dirty secret.
I don’t know how I can promise never to have another lover. Me, who’s always been quick to get bored, and quicker to discard unsatisfactory bedfellows. Who’s been first to try every practise and position, whose whole life is punctuated by sex – exotic and romantic and thrilling and brief and heartbreaking. Yes, I love Charlie, and yes, I love fucking him. But will I really be able to sacrifice every other man in the world – every other possible man?
I think about how Charlie is and try and match it against the invisible future. I know it’s wrong, but I’m trying to measure him. Testing, to see how I love him, how much and how far.
Yes, I love how his eyelids kind of slide down a few degrees, so he’s giving me a snake’s gaze, one that slips over my body in a prelude to his touch. I love how his mouth goes tight. How his fingers travel, how he takes mouthfuls of me.
And this. Yes, I’d forgotten how much I love this.
‘Shut up.’
How he is silent. How he pulls me to him and works his way from my wrist to my shoulders. Charlie is gentle. Most of the time.  

Excerpt from 'Now or Forever', by Nikki Magennis

Congratulations to Alison and all the authors. I'm packing the book as my honeymoon reading. 

Daily poem catch-up

Yikes, I missed a couple of days. But two poems on Friday and the one I didn't get to post yesterday -

I am watching you learn
to walk on your own. Blossom
falls like summer snow

(an old recycled pram haiku) makes up the total, I think!

Today we're doing a chain renga - hoorah. The prompt is the Jasmine Revolution, and here's stanza 4. I'm not sure how far we'll get but I'm finding this inordinately exciting!

Mud clings to boots, leaves footprints
we can’t control our dreams

Come along and join in if the spirit moves you. 

Happy Oster!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Game review

Lately when I get time, I’ve been indulging myself playing this new video game – the graphics are flawless. You can zoom down and zoom in and in and in and never see the joins – because there are none. The rendering is incredible. You can see every crumb of dirt, every fingerprint, every pockmark and wrinkle and imperfection.
The characters are incredibly realistic. There are infinite levels. Some fiendishly difficult problems that made me curse and nearly give up! There are more story lines than you could ever explore. 

Downsides? You only get one life. It’s in real time. Everyone dies. 

# something in a series of occasional 100 word flash

Picky eater

Writing a daily poem feels like doing a parachute jump daily. I don't have time to craft these, so they're coming out raw and possibly ridiculous. Something about that is probably good for one's constitution. At the same time, I'm having the most vivid and rich dreams, perhaps informed by the process of poetic writing so regularly.

I offered a poem to boyf the other day, saying 'it's about mother love'. 'Your poems are all about motherlove,' he said. So, apologies if I'm exhausting the theme but it's obviously quite an overwhelming experience and pervades the poetry part of my brain at the moment! Here's another baby related poem:

Picky eater

Once you’ve become
a breeder, you’ll find yourself
also a feeder.
at least - erstwhile

The boy lives on fresh air
and peekaboo, a wind-up
kid running on empty,
one hundred rpm - meanwhile

I make him custard
as smooth as his the plump
silky skin of his inner arm,
eggsoft and velveteen

and ignored. He dashes
from mewl to shriek
and back again, I think
vegetables - carotene

might fill him, ply
him with a plate painted
with strawberry juice,
a veritable masterpiece

of decorative edibles.
He agrees, uses it to prettify
the walls. I offer
a bottle of champagne

spiked with helium, which
goes down well, or
up, oops.
At last, surrender.

I feed him
attention, wrigglehugs, fart
noises, tongue-biting, sugar voice,
sleep hours, my genetic coding, protection,
resentment, worry, pink liquid paracetamol, the rest of my life and
anything else he might ask for.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


today I stood like a pylon
hollow and undefeatable
marching without moving
coding messages in semaphore
sending them east
with my fluttering skirts.
crack was the noise
my heart made, in B flat
four four time

I pinned this emotion down,
pegged it to a wire
launched it, passed it on, recorded
the co-ordinates. Bleached
my soul clean. Here’s a lick
of shame, a gram of horror
swirled in shock and drawn
in pity coloured ink. Yes
I withdraw empathy, like a
professional blood
letter, yes,
I am lying. Yes
it feels good, to you too, admit it

we scratch each other’s itch
til it bleeds.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A 100000 W bulb

The darkened room with the river running through it
I woke, the bed adrift, the pillow scented

with somebody else’s perfume. Cast off
I built my own boat, found my hands

covered with paint the colour of orangeade,
striped like the ginger cat, my figurehead,

tail curled round my ankles as I dropped
anchor somewhere four hundred feet

skywards. Discovered stars in daylight, the moon
in a glass of water. Unbuilt my studio, unpainted

every picture I’d ever made. Went underground.
Lost hope. Until that desperate night when some stranger

smiled and I realised it could be for me. I could kiss
anyone I pleased. I did. Until my mouth

got tired. This time the boat was bigger, and I was afraid.
Eventually I found the horizon balanced

me and not-me. It made a grim peace.
I fell over you. I said yes. I said yes, I said

Yes, and the sun came up all night. 

Christ, writing poems with a fractious toddler hanging off your leg is not fun. No time and no energy today, though I loved the idea of a string of light bulbs. Best I could do. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kite flying

We chase the big gust
hold loose in your careless hands
our one winged peacock

Sunday, April 17, 2011


First, pluck at your hairline, pull
the skin up, away and back like a surgeon performing a face lift.
Remove your face.
Lay it on the ground in a pile, look back at your features: your plummy mouth; good cheekbones;
deep eyes –still that particular shade of dishwater, like what’s left after washing cold food from chipped china; your nose with its particular angle,
the one you always hated, although now, as it lies
pointing up at you, it seems so achingly familiar,
kind of endearing, in fact, you may even regret the loss of it.
Watch your lips relax as your last words go dry on your tongue, dissolve like swallowed smoke.

Unjoint your hands and take them off. Those blunted, scarred, dry and bone-bent
instruments, leave them crossed below the face. Touching only each other now, only the tips of their symmetrical pointed echoes, unringed, unvarnished, holding onto nothing at all, as if praying.
Now, your spine, the curl of it like a dragon’s tail, a miracle
of skeletal puzzle pieces.
Tear it down and let it coil into place beside the other body parts.
Note how they arrange themselves, grotesque but still
reassuring, related to each other even when
dismembered. It might be like watching a baby fall asleep – how the face, the limbs soften, how everything fades in the bliss of forgetting, tension dissipates, as does

Your feet – step out of them. Leave them there neatly beside each other, pointing inwards, perhaps, pigeon-toed, a little ingrown, buffed
and battered, clinging to the earth.

Last your heart – unzip your chest and take it out.
No picture-book pretty pink Valentine, this, but an old,
tired, steady vessel, rocking itself onwards, grasping the blood and pulling
pulling, pushing and pulling, kneading life.

Feel the oxygen enter your lungs like a whistle and
having nowhere to go, fill you and keep on filling you, so that you
or whatever is left
expands beyond the fields, the trees, the snow-smeared peak of Earl’s Seat, the pale,
blank, luminous sky.

Now turn. Walk away. Don’t look back.

Saturday, April 16, 2011



I love today's prompt. Aram Saroyam blew me away when I discovered his work, so it's lovely to actually attempt a 'pwoemrd'. I'm playing with a few, this one is a bit soppy but eh, so am I. Sorry about the formatting. I did a special font for the poem, and it seems to be contagious.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Daily poem

Daily, fall in love
Every night, kill your darlings
erase every word.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


No time for anything today, deep in edits. A short burst of a poem as I look out the window:

Black ash buds
acid yellow on the willow
forces colour to the surface

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Hmm, fiendish prompt. Writing without any adjectives is very difficult. Especially to such a striking image. Here is the poem stripped of adjectives - I think, I may have missed one or two:


My spoils surround me. I have created
a trove, ranged the necklet beside the raven

‘Where did you find this?’ His
Paws close over the hilt of the blow-pipe
I wrenched from the claw of a fighter
left in the mud. I lift his hand

Remind him: ‘No prize won,
son, if you didn’t risk everything you had
getting it. Now stand, yes, hold.
Don’t flinch.’

I ready myself to shoot.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Recovering, at last. I loved today's prompt - so nice to be reminded of the sensual possibilities of poetry. And life.


Bliss is too easy.
If all it took was the soap fresh tang
of coriander, a long view across the Carse
to where the landscape’s daily opus
plays out on the fells, and somewhere

the knowledge of you

if it was really that simple,
then why
would I have ever buried my head
in dust and tar and the wrong
laps, spent acres of wasted time

desperately begging life
to be bigger

when this inch of afternoon, too
run down to work, too tired
to argue, too pushed to care,

I surrendered, fell across
the unmade bed, mouth open
hair spilling, arm
stuck under my sleeping son, and woke
to find happiness
stuck all over my pins-and-needles numb hand, like glitter.

If all it takes is that long view, I’ll get
up and keep walking,
my soundtrack the memory of a song
dancing crooked around my head:

Sweet Jane
Sweet Jane
Sweet Jane

Monday, April 11, 2011

I am a terrible liar

Squeak. I can't eat much at the moment and I'm full to the gills of pills, so things are a bit haphazard. I have lost my scribbled notes, here is the remnants of what I remember:


My fascination with ugly women
stems from vanity,
runs more than skin deep.

I throw equanimity about
like confetti at a wedding - the bride
is jealousy, the groom regret.

I can hardly stop myself
from turning this wide, stooped,
futile back on beauty

Even though I know apologies
are raincoats
in the face of a tsunami, and worse -
I'm a terrible liar. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Now Let

Oh, I'm not doing so well! Writing from a sick bed in someone else's house with someone else's computer - excuse the sloppinesses. Again, I couldn't really face working with a prompt today, so I've gone instead with a poem that was supposed to be about acceptance and titled 'Negative Ease'. Of course, it's about something else and it's titled 'Now Let', which is not such a good title but I can't think of a better one right now.

Now Let

‘This will be your place.
A handful of sunlight,
on a good day.
The windows are blurred, yes,
old glass slides towards the cill.

But the view’s still
promising, don’t forget –
cloudy days are good
for reflection, or those of us who like
to draw rain.
And at night, well,
the world’s a different place at night, isn’t it?
Sleep crawls into your face
and fascinates your mistakes’

I think that’s what she said. Anyway, she nodded,
turned away
before I saw her face, and I am
occupied with my geraniums, the boxes
of books, how to shift
the household appliances, the great slippery
engines that make so much
noise, shake the walls, work
tirelessly, humming
as they polish tomorrow’s glasses in
busy, cavernous guts.

So clean they’ll sparkle, and if you flick
with your finger, they’ll ping,
a round clear note, almost
loud enough to fill the room
now empty of her dull, quiet song.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Spring Tide

Still sick, so today's prompt didn't sink in as much as I tried to understand it. The haze of painkillers just wouldn't let me grasp the difference between metaphor and metonym - I'll come back to it!

Just a shortie, an image from the harbour today:

Spring Tide

Red crane lifted boat
in cradle-slung beak, turned,
but the sea hung back.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Vanishing Point

Euch, sick and aching today. Still, the first lines of this poem buzzed round my head all day as I lay in bed, and I've hacked out something to follow them.

Vanishing point

Perhaps it’s fitting
I put my faith in small things
having so little:

the bars of my cell
phone, calling to tell
you I’m far from home
and floating
into the telescopic future

where the sky threatens to fall,
and every story ends with a brick wall.
in the face. Still, we can shrink
to the size of dust motes, sink
to a dreaming size, drift as
invisible atoms, swarm into chambers.

disembodied voices tell me
we can split
clean in half
without breaking
god’s heart.

I doubt it, yet I’m willing
to follow my two year old
son, as he tips, and trips
over his own feet, not watching
where he’s going, fixed only
on the brightest thing
in his immediate surrounds.

There he goes
again, face
in the dirt, and me chasing him,
forever, pinning
on his open mouth and crossing
my fingers the last trip
lands softly

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Art of Forgetting

Well, fuck knows. I think I need a holiday.

I loved the prompt, and I'd like to work more on this at some point, but for now I'm abandoning it to try and work on some of the other things that were spinning round my head all night.

The art of forgetting

It’s not just a question of burying the bodies
with your own bare hands, in clay-thick soil.

You must rake until your fingernails are bloody
then tamp the earth, turn the grave invisible.

Flatten it perfect. Excellent. Now, sow it with doubt.
Scatter questions, be awkward, give an unexpected


When shoots appear, lick them, like a bitch
cleans her puppies. You’re a dog now. Yes,

Shape-shifting is essential. Anyway, which
stage we at? Growth. Well, this is the best

part, the waiting, and also the hardest bit. Sit.
For years. Then a few more. Don’t do, just let

The stalks turn to stems, branch and then stick
close by the leaves, watch them thicken. Undress

from your dog suit, be ready with flesh, to split
in two, become a parasol, a raincloud, a less

realistic scarecrow than the last time. Be sure to shit
in the right place, spill plenty blood-and-bone, lest

the plant be starved. You’re a gardener, rich
with superstition, lost in prayer. Rest.

Sleep all you can.

Next, breathe in and summon the bees.
Some will warn you against it, but hold fast, stay loyal

to your calling. Stings heal. Let them come, let them feast
share the blossom, the perfect, worm-riddled fruit of your whole life’s toil.

The grave you dug was your own.
The fruit you ate was your own flesh and blood.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


With a slight hangover, I read Alana Noel Voth's beautiful and heartbreaking column, then looked at Bill Noble's beautiful photographs of irises, tried to write something about mothers, and instead seem to have made something about erotic love. But maybe it's the sensuality and intimacy of motherhood that I've arrived at. Maybe all love is about cherishing and maybe all love has that quality of fragility. So, here we are, I suppose really it's just a love poem.

'They're all love stories' - Jonathan Safran Foer - I think I'm quoting it right, from 'Everything is Illuminated'.


Hold out your hands.
Yes, like that.
I would like to place there, in the cup
of your patience, this
exotic, tender-skinned, blue
veined gift.
See how it curls against
the heat of your palm? Feel
how it shivers
to all six points of the compass.
How delicate
fireworks in daylight,
how slight
my desire to reach you
as a wave of scent.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Zero Sum

Today, god help me, I decided to try a sonnet. I am working with about a third of Jeremy Edwards' prompt as inspiration - my internet connection is erratic and I can't seem to download more than the top part of the image.

Zero sum

The more I see of your face the less
I know of my own. My fingers knead
your strange curves, run over the crease
in the centre of your brow. I read

the stories in your not-green, not-grey eyes
but I mouth them with my own lips
not yours, so render them – if not quite
outright lies, at least far enough slipped

from the truth to know them uniqely
deluded dreams, our shared myth,
if you will, the things we hear obliquely
or say without speaking, divine from the hiss

of static between us, the blur
of who we are and what we once, perhaps, were.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Shut in the rain

I took today's prompt and fudged it a bit. I chose W.S Graham's Selected Poems, and the words 'us', 'our' and 'listen'. And the poem today is more a note to myself than a work of anything poetic. I'm uncertain about it, but I'm half convinced that uncertainty should be part of this poem, anyway. I don't want it to settle flat, I want it to rock a little like a boat with a bit of a leak:

Do not follow the dogs whose teeth
promise to save us from bloodletting.
Do not lie down, broadsided, clutching each
of our many mistakes like a brilliant-cut ring.

Sit where you are and keep breathing
listen to the music of your spine and how
your lungs bellow air, unevenly, alas -

To take oxygen and give back a clear smile
works okay.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Sunday poem

I have about ten minutes today before I go out visiting, and a wee one banging a biscuit tin on my foot, so I’m going to have to veer away from the prompt. I’ll just use the word ‘slant’ as title and look at that wonderful photo:


Please treat me kindly
today, show me your hidden
heart, one rich with blood.

Mp. Not very happy with that. If I find more time later, I’ll try again. Or rewrite it on the car journey …

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Taboo and more lines of poetry

If you have a minute, please skip over to Oh Get a Grip, where I am guest blogging today with a post about taboos. I'm delighted to be on the blog, but sad that on Thursday Mike Kimera announced his departure from the world of erotica. Wishing him goodbye and all the best.

And here is today's poem, following the prompt (albeit probably in a slightly obstinate direction) from poet Christopher Luna.

One continuous, unbroken line

Daughter, I would show you
where the real beauty lies. Under
rain-heavy, cloud-heavy, aching skies, blue
with the want of a breeze. If you wonder

how you could make your way
in the world, I would paint it for you
or better yet, paint the soles of your cradle
-soft feet the colour of roads, the colour of dew

that clings to the thin, deep grass.
I would write you a bible, girl,
all the secrets written backwards
over pages stretched between you and the tumbling world.

I would show you where
to find the last sweet drop
of courage, how to share
the invisible, how to stop.

I'm not very comfortable with rhyme, but that's partly why I've written this. Working within a form makes me a bit huffy and I tend to think it's a restriction that hampers the images and sounds in a poem - why limit oneself? But still, it's all about stretching this month, right? Even if the rhymes are a little clunky.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Not Without Poetry

Starts today.

I’m working with Sage Cohen’s wonderful prompt as a starting point. I have a fractious, restless baby sleeping fitfully next door, so I guess anything between ten minutes and two hours to work on this. Also, I don't want to keep going on about it, but this is fucking terrifying. I haven't written much poetry since years ago and I feel like I'm standing here with no clothes on. 

Right. Here goes mooning the world:

The night

This room, this square room, fills
with the crackle of burning
paper as you suck a cigarette.
two blue screens reflect in your glazed eyes, bouncing endless static buzz
back and forth. Spilt
ashtray, dirty carpet absorbs voice, mops it up like so much sour milk.
I wear a raincoat over my pyjamas. I hold the lighter in my lap. I am
barefoot. Silent. Counting. In and out. In and out.

A moment’s silence appears. Big enough to leap.
rushes up a thin metal ladder, swarms to dizzy heights, takes a high dive –
overtaken by the scrabble of a key forced into a lock, the shiver and scrape of metal on metal,
a breath from the lungs, focus
to this hand, this minute hand, this second hand, the
as the door opens and night air floods the room.
Stairs fall away one by one to ground level. Dominoes topple. 
Gratefully, I sink into the black like a seabird 
sinks into an oilslick. 

There's the baby. That will have to do for today!