Thursday, March 31, 2011


(based on suggestions from @sorrell_smith, @eglantinescake, @margolanagan, @_boobook_, @ernmalleyscat, @skippy_2 and @GretasTARDIS)

Skin is an unexpected enemy.

Gloss of green hums like wasps,

shines as if a loofah had sloughed

off the roughness off a tree.

Five tastes dull the senses. One taste -

a quick rush of spit, familiar and I

outrun nausea upstairs.

Emerald razors roar up the flume

broken apple glass slices

soft pink throat, whispers unfair.

The world burns and strobes pulse

vision doesn’t run to the edges

zooms in circle transition.

Five colours blind the eye, five

fingers racing and hunting to buttons

shake the maddening mind until

even autocorrect doesn’t undertand.

Preservation overtakes

to lie down a hot face on the floor.

Confusion is a necklace of buttons:

driving, Bundoora, toilet-training, poetry,

playgrounds, wine, eggplant, worry, friends,

Kirsty, Dawn, Claudia, Mallory, Jessie, Stacey

and the other one. Appointments, tremors.

I agree with you about ninety-eight percent

But the other two percent scares me

half to death. We’re talking about two things

as different as day and night.

When breath beats staccato spasms

there are ten seconds to get low.

Twitching hands tick away to silence.

Disco lights circle at carpet level

withdraw their stingers, return to linear.

Overheard conversations about

Neighbours return to Ramsey Street.

Why do people think so little of death?

It’s not an art, even if you do it

exceptionally well. Someone got up

off the floor shaking and alive.

I hope to hell it was me.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from six peeps:

  • @sorrel_smith: “Baby-sitters Club”
  • @margolanagan: “Include a flume, please”
  • @_boobook_: “Buttons. Humming.”
  • @ernmalleyscat: “Lao Tzu and Zooey Glass”
  • @realnixwilliams: “hearing the neighbour’s conversations”
  • @eglantinescake: “Fainting and vomiting #writewhatyouknow #gladyouareok”
  • @skippy_2: “Skin polished with a loofah”
  • @GretasTARDIS: “broken glass”

Ever thrown up an apple? Really painful. It's the skin. Slicey. Ow. I went all vomity and fainty at work yesterday (must have been something I ate - oh, the irony). I'm a bit of a seasoned fainter (never go with me to give blood, it's messy). I am always irrationally surprised to hear that some people have never fainted. So this poem is kind of about what it feels like for me - I get really hot and everything goes black around the edges, like tunnel vision. What I can see starts to pulse, and my breath turns to little short puffs that I can't control. My hands start to jerk and can't hold on to things, and at that point I know I've got a few moments to lie down before I keel over. Then it's a bit like that point where you're almost awake from a dream, and random images just whirl around in confusion. Then, like sleep-walking, I start to realise where I am (the floor) and what's actually going on, am somewhat embarrassed and feel sick. Fun!

Regarding @ernmalley's cats suggestions - lines 5, bits of 14-16 and 36 are from Lao Tzu/Laozi. I apparently wrote an essay on Laozi for a Chinese Philsophy exam once. I have absolutely no memory of it. Most exams are a bit like that. Lines 25-28 and the final line are quotes from Zooey Glass from Salinger's Franny and Zooey.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pigs might

(based on suggestions from @SeanMElliott, @matchtrick, @GretasTARDIS and @msmisrule)

When chocolate mouse got wings

sugar pig was lonely. But

he floated down in his patty pan

and ogled the wonder of the view

The pretty raindrops! A near miss

for our sweet pig becomes a

metaphor for anyone made of

sugar. Look out, sucrose folk.

If sugar pig could float out now

He’d envy that drop in the well of

his piglethood, see his

cupcake wrapper wilt into a

floppy fringe. His bacon would

be chopped up into Hamlets

His sugar would glow with

radioactivity instead of open-chains.

When chocolate mouse became a bat

polypoid pig had to wait

on the shelf. They tell stories, sing songs

Sometimes they are you and me.

Our pink friend should go out in a grunter

rustle up some feathers

wing himself out of ornamental status

find out if sugar pigs might fly.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from four peeps:

  • @seanmelliott: "(singing) You and me and radioactivity..."
  • @seanmelliott: "polypoid"
  • @matchtrick: "Near misses. Wells. Wonders. Floppy fringes. Envy."
  • @GretasTARDIS: "candy in the shape of pigs!"
  • @msmisrule: "hamlet"

When I was little I loved Irina Hale's 'The Chocolate Mouse and the Sugar Pig, and How They Ran Away to Escape Being Eaten'. But I always felt it was unfair that the sugar pig had to stay on the shelf and wait for the chocolate mouse to visit each year. Why shouldn't he be allowed to be an Emily Rodda style pig instead?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


(based on suggestions from @GretasTARDIS, @realnixwilliams, @lucyrogue and @notcharming)

The first step is always

double the cheese or

double the chocolate.

Double my heartbeat to eat it.

I am not fond of recipes

that say ‘meanwhile’ when

you’ve already whipped the

first part to soft peaks

and tipped a farmyard of

of egg yolks down the drain.

‘Keep warm’ is not very specific.

In the oven? In my armpit?

Hover the lamb backstrap

next to my cigarette?

A lesson in gourmet weasel words

I’ll film my own Posh Nosh:

pompadour the lemons

flat-top the tomatoes

and mohawk the lettuce.

Quiff salad pour deux.

‘Cool on wire racks’ is all very

well if you can get the bugger

out of the pan. I greased the tin

but forgot to grease my patience.

If I plant a trail of sticky snacks

to my front door like Hansel

I figure I’ll eat the nearest oftenest.

Surviving on one piece of toast

is hardly the reef and beef or

surf and turf rock of Calpe.

My favourite instructions

are missing all the numbers.

Scribbled down from a Greek

grandmother, proportions for

a family of ten. Freedom in food

handed down through men and

women allows my mind some

space to bake. Make it mine.

Pass on my love of ginger

Deliver parmesan portions

Name myself: melted, satiated,

calm and delicious.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from four peeps:

  • @GretasTARDIS: “Quiffs! Cigarettes! Surf rock!”
  • @realnixwilliams: “following and not following recipes”
  • @lucyrogue: “Oftenest nearest. (this is something I learnt today about planting the foods you use the most closest to the door)”
  • @notcharming: “surviving!”

I am a great non-follower of recipes. That's not enough cheese! That's far too much chicken! What the hell is cilantro? Etc. I also love handed down/passed on recipes - I have a great one for biscuits from a Greek grandmother where you have to quarter the proportions to bring it back to a minimum 50 biscuits. Also my recipe for Jon's Magic Ginger Cake orders "Bake in the oven until cooked" (no temperature, no time. Best.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cradle song

(based on suggestions from @GretasTARDIS, @pinknantucket, @sushipyjamas, @VayaPashos, @sulphura, @ernmalleyscat, @TheEndeavour, @sorrel_smith, and @matchtrick)

Weeding new-curled peas

sleeping pods grab us

jerk back, striped like tigers.

Tendrils stick like velcro fingers

of a kid picked up from daycare.

Go see Nanna? Nanna’s not here.

Pig go noik noik

Elephant go woooooooo

Luka funny sausage.

Tardis go vroom tardis blue

and there’s nothing I can do

to solve the days I make you cry.

Google your ancestors, find galaxies

of bastard brothers and sisters.

Keyword search my baby's words:

“Bisley chicks, chisley bicks.”

No results. “Did you mean: Chisley bikes?”

Search for myself: find an only child.

I was brought here as star people.

See, I have a chicken hat. This is my

other brother from another planet.

Make him welcome. Sing cradle songs,

tell my boy all this static and interference

is not his inheritance, not his fault.

I muted his soprano

Attacca like absence at high pitch.

So angry; full of sliced-up fire.

My fairyfloss boy sang alone

while four hundred years ago

a baby went to sleep.

I can see their faces in my eyes

All blood runs down my blue lines

into the earth my bedroom. The warmth

is lovely, only it is such a long time ago.

Once upon a moment we all sang

softly at the same time. Now, and so long ago.


Today’s poem is based on suggestions from nine peeps (another record!):

  • @GretasTARDIS: “South Dakota! Galaxies! Bedrooms!” (I can see their faces in my eyes is a line from South Dakota Morning, just in case you thought I left it out.)
  • @pinknantucket: “How about being on a spaceship?”
  • @sushipyjamas: ” Yeah! Planet Earth is blue, and there's nothing I can do.”
  • @VayaPashos: “The 2 yr old thing! Yes!”
  • @sulphura: “see, this is a great idea. I vote stuff my 2 yr old said.”
  • @ernmalleyscat: “bisley chicks and chisley bicks”
  • @ernmalleyscat: “apparently something I said when 2yo” (when I enquired “Is that even a thing?”)
  • @TheEndeavour: “interference”
  • @sorrel_smith: ” while picking green beans, the hairy, 'sticky' leaves grabbing the skin like Velcro, leaving a prickly rash.”
  • @matchtrick: “Siblings! Imaginary or other people's, in surfeits and dearths, adoptive or foster, from another mista/mutha, and in absence.”

I am feeling somewhat like a crap mum at the moment. Luka is 2, and doing all the endearing and infuriating stuff that 2-year-olds do, and I feel like all I do is get horrendously impatient, shout at him and make him cry. Or avoid him so that I won’t end up shouting at him. My self-loathing, let me show you it.

The last two stanzas of this poem contain references to my favourite passage in my favourite book ‘The Children of Green Knowe’ (which I will now quote at you in full), where past and present sing together in one moment:

" As they rested there, tired and dreamy and content, he thought he heard the rocking-horse gently moving, but the sound came from Mrs Oldknow's room, which opened out of the music room. A woman’s voice began to sing very softly a cradle song that Tolly had learnt and dearly loved:

Lully Lulla, Thou tiny little child
By by, Lully Lullay
O sisters too, how may we do
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling
For whom we sing
By by, Lully Lullay

'Who is it?' he whispered.
'It's the grandmother rocking the cradle,' said Mrs Oldknow, and her eyes were full of tears.
'Why are you crying, Granny? It's lovely.'
'It is lovely, only it is such a long time ago. I don't know why that should be sad, but sometimes it seems so.'
The singing began again.
'Granny,' whispered Tolly again with his arm through hers, 'whose cradle is it? Linnet is as big as I am.'
'My darling, this voice is much older than that. I hardly know whose it is. I heard it once before at Christmas.'
It was queer to hear the baby's sleepy whimper only in the next room, now, and so long ago. 'Come, we'll sing it too,' said Mrs Oldknow, going to the spinet. She played, but it was Tolly who sang alone, while, four hundred years ago, a baby went to sleep."

I think todayI will sing yesterday to sleep, instead of shouting at it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Er, no, freedom actually...

(based on a suggestion from @slimejam)

There's no pleasing some people,

that’s just what the Romans said.

I've got one or two things to say

otherwise there'd be a lot of them.

Apart from sanitation, medicine, education,

wine, public order, irrigation, roads,

the fresh water system and public health,

we are all different. Excluding those ex-lepers,

we are life’s brackets; end brackets.

You're chewing on life's gristle

it’s not meant to be taken literally;

at least it gets you out into the open air.

Nothing that fathers put there is crucifixion,

freedom, or actually out of the door.

What I was thinking

(just the night before, about eight o'clock)

can really make you mad.

Next minute your livelihood’s gone.

I’m not my own admiration, don’t grumble.

The middle of the week is

a slow, horrible death symbolic of

third person plural present indicative:

they go, work it out for yourselves.

There shall be a great confusion as

to where things really are.

We are not, in fact, the rescue committee.

Not the dative, not the Messiah.

You’ve had a hard time, and 16 years behind

a veil doesn’t sound very wise.

Some things in life are bad,

one cross each, line on the left.

It’s the meek who are the problem and proud of it.

What have the old and bent ever done for us?

My ears are grizzled, and yes

It’s a bit lame, but give a whistle:

this’ll help things turn out for the best.

You come from nothing, you're going back to nothing.

But otherwise, we're solid.

What have you lost to your struggle against reality?

It’s nobody’s fault when life's a laugh and

death's a joke that makes you swear and curse.

They only hung me the right way up yesterday.

When you look for five years, it lasts hours.

You know, what you’re doing.

It’s not done by sunrise.


Today’s poem is based on a suggestion from Chris:

@slimejam: “Crucifixion? Crucifixion? Freedom.”

As this refers to Monty Python’s Life of Brian, I thought I’d make a poem out of quotes from the film (because the Batman one was really fun to make). No words of my own added, just lots chopped about. I very maturely resisted the temptation to make it an acrostic spelling “Biggus Dickus” down the side.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Reasons to

(based on suggestions from @quadelle, @realnixwilliams, @facelikethunder, @ernmalleyscat, @sarahhazelton, @jellyjellyfish, @pinknantucket and @spikelynch)

Dawn is a sharp blue pencil

drawing veins on the outside.

Cat claws pierce embarrassment

I lash out with pink fury.

Butcherbirds cleave dreams

into portions. They note down

grey cuts of consciousness.

The clock says I can stay here.

I have nothing to draw me this day,

my three small loves are quiet.

By my bed, trains trace on paper.

Travel along coloured lines to

memories of my future. On Monday

voices will chirp from the next room;

there will be so many pyjamas.

I’ll trade polar fleece for coffee and

hope to walk small dogs. Maybe even make

the primary parade sans flannel by nine.

There are children to bring forwards.

Little chapter books, they stumble

over new words. I write them upwards,

calm their question marks. Help turn

the page to their own next episodes.


Today’s poem is based on suggestions from eight peeps (a record!):

  • @quadelle: “Kids.”
  • @realnixwilliams: “chilly air and a blue sky!”
  • @facelikethunder: “As a teacher I feel like each day is the next chapter; I'd hate to miss out on what happens.”
  • @ernmalleyscat: ” This chap is what often wakes me up in the morning. So you have to include Cracticus torquatus in y” (grey butcherbird)
  • @sarahhazelton: “coffee. And hope. In that order. also: the knowledge that smalldog needs walking. in conclusion: #literalmind
  • @jellyjellyfish: “have a Tube map stuck next to bed. when 'friends & family' doesn't work, remembering that I want to go back to London helps.”
  • @pinknantucket: “My cat poking me with his claws out.”
  • @spikelynch: having no appointments on a Saturday. I have three kids, and tomorrow is the first empty Saturday since Christmas.

Last night I asked for reasons to get out of bed in the morning. (Reasons other than ‘habit’!) Sometimes it’s good to hear reasons to live said out loud.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Big Fish

(based on suggestions from @jellyjellyfish, @cochineal, @quadelle, @johnnypurple, @pinknantucket and @pcblues)

If we had written her toes

they would have stabbed her author

We would make him walk on knives

if she suffers all of you suffers.

Princess mermaid fattens up

on a jelly prince, teases with servants

the most precious dress of beetle wings

to shine her comfortable shoes.

If we had written her mouth

It would have been round and loud

as an orange, swung open on a door hinge

deafening the royal line with salt words.

The workers struck mute line up

drones buzz a dress round her in satellite

Never led away from water as cattle like

a dumb beast on her spikes.

If we had written her longing

it would have been for a double.

A fishy thrilling doppelganger,

herself mirrored in the ocean’s glass

not immortal or split or dissolved

to worthless in the foam. True love at last.

She wouldn’t have damaged herself

for what she thought she wanted.


Today’s poem is based on suggestions from six peeps:

  • @jellyjellyfish: the little mermaid
  • @cochineal: bees please
  • @quadelle: being alone
  • @johnnypurple: making out with yourself/your double/your clone! (it was in my head & in my Doctor Who & in my X-Files this week!) Mulder/Mulder, Amy Pond/Amy Pond - as the Doctor said, true love at last!
  • @pinknantucket: How about a dress made out of beetle wings?
  • @pcblues: the next challenge for you is to write a poem that contains rhymes of satellite and orange

Like many people, I have issues with the original Hans Christian Anderson story of The Little Mermaid. In his original tale, in exchange for becoming human, her tongue is cut out (no wifty-wafty Disney-style voice extraction), she is split painfully up the middle to create her legs (and genitals, you'd imagine) and every step that she takes feels like she’s walking on knives.

“You must put up with a good deal to keep up appearances”, says her grandmother at one point.

There’s more to the deal – if the prince she’s given up her tail and tongue for doesn’t fall in love with her and marries someone else, she will gain no immortal soul and will turn to foam upon the sea.

"But if you take my voice," said the little mermaid, "what will be left to me?"
"Your lovely form," the witch told her, "your gliding movements, and your eloquent eyes. With these you can easily enchant a human heart.”

It’s the old story – woman holds her tongue, knowing silence [and her body] will speak for her. What a load of rotting seaweed.

Anyway, the prince mistakes someone else for his saviour (when it was really the little mermaid), marries the other girl, and when the little mermaid is given a chance to save herself by killing him, of course she doesn't do it. Off she goes, turns to foam, and then there’s a really odd, tacked on ending where ‘daughters of the air’ suddenly appear, take her up to heaven after all, and warn the kiddies to behave themselves or others will suffer.

Nice story, huh? Let’s learn from that one.

(There is another feminist interpretation that says the story can be read as a warning against enduring abuse for the sake of love, but I don't buy it. Especially given the odd ending.)

Ok. Rant over. That was my poem for the little mermaid, and what I want for her. And anyone like her.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


(based on suggestions from @eglantinescake, Allysha, @jellyjellyfish, @matchtrick and Mark)

There is our boy! He left for a while

Is he gone to another school style?

Missed a file that couldn’t attach him

Shorty said he looks like Chaplin

The boot and booty combine. That’s fine

Extra points for including a trunk

Running to Bunnings, bring the pine funk

No one can escape if we follow your track

Extra defense against dark arts, we tweet your back.

It’s easier than weaning a teen off

Social media, speedier than stitching tacks

Backs and fronts put together, frakkin elephants

Ack, it’s irrelevant, unless it makes you laugh

Clings to a poem draft with the new raft of

Kickarse words, it’s no easy trick to play in the Blackbirds

We’ll sing us along with herds of swords

End up with new chords for broken wings

Mind-sharks follow us into the dark, like/unlike/love

I never let us vanish without a push to shove

Send it above with full best wishes

Samples of winning dishes, provisions for

Endless trips to our homepage below

Don’t ever think there’s valid reason to go.

Yes, we’re all a minority of one. Still making fun of each

Other, we’re schools of fishes pooling our faith in pictures

Underpinned puns against bed-time chimes; kept alive in rhymes.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from five peeps:

  • @eglantinescake: "Write a poem about teenagers and social media."
  • Allysha: "Kurt singing Blackbird on Glee"
  • @jellyjellyfish: "Sharks"
  • @matchtrick: "If your poem could help me with my possibly dreamt #trunkbummingelephant too, I'd be appreciative."
  • Mark: "because I am not in a minority, I can't make fun of anyone."

Today's poem is for friends who disappear, and then come back to us. And if they don't come back quickly, rest assured we will hound them like a pack of hounds. They are missed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Night walks

(based on suggestions from @matchtrick, @realnixwilliams, @notcharming, @ernmalleyscat, @iFigaro2u and Mark)

My mis-slept youth, dreamsled pulled

me quietly room to room.

An occasional parent tailed.

Unaware of architecture or

dubstep rain on corregated roof.

I beat a path. Frogs wobbled bass from

flowing garage gutters. I pulled shapes.

Flew on private wings,

Zhuangzi’s transformation danced

my 2-step dream on grimy kid toes.

I spoke of crows that hopped and flapped,

come morning I found a black feather

nestled on bedroom carpet, and

would not be convinced.

These days, my somnolent ambulance

correlates hysterically tired

or historically boozed.

Get dressed, get undressed,

wander half-naked for water.

Bemuse my housemates with

sudden displays of skin.

When he was newborn I awoke

by his cot at three. I had assembled

to express my love. He slept on.

My dream doppelganger

acts on my behalf. What would I

do if I could license her? Vacuuming?

They say never to wake us.

Stood outside my dream house

took possession from a fat Cheshire

estate agent, said goodbye

(or words to that effect)

to those smiling suits forever.

Awoke at my rented front door,

clutching my keys. Waving.

Moments evolve to real under my fingers,

truth is tasted on the tongue.

Disguised as myself, limbo between

sleep and world in strange horror.

Slow knowledge: the moment a bull

gathers itself to charge.

It is beyond my apprehension.

Awareness trashed; a rockstar suite.

Things thrown out the window,

stolen tea and coffee-making facilities.

A woman dreaming she is a man

dreaming he is a butterfly.

When you book a room in someone’s head,

don't steal the bath towels.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from six peeps:

  • @notcharming: "real estate agents and how i bought a house so i didnt have to deal with them anymore :)"
  • @realnixwilliams: "booking accommodation"
  • @ernmalleyscat: "the drum & bass of rain on the roof & frogs in the gutters"
  • @iFigaro2u: "dreams"
  • @matchtrick: "Somnambulism. A bull. What would you do with a doppelganger? Keys. Also disguises. Thankyou for your time."
  • Mark: "request for poem: misspelt youth: poetry by malapropism."
All the verses in this poem are true (yep). I am a seasoned sleepwalker. As a kid I did it very often, my parents sometimes followed me around. I usually just did routine things like going into the bathroom and cleaning my teeth, though if a door was shut that was normally open I would walk smack into it (blood noses). Mum tells me that once I had a dream that there was a crow "hopping and flapping" in my room, and when I found a black feather the next day I wouldn't believe it was a dream. I still don't believe it, actually.

As an adult I usually only sleep-walk when I am really overtired or really drunk (or both). I've gone to bed in pyjamas and woken up naked, and vice versa. In my uni years I surprised my housemate with occasional half-naked ventures into the kitchen (I won't tell you which half) while still asleep. When Luka was a newborn I would find my sleep-deprived self in his bedroom checking on him while I was still asleep. And yes, I once assembled the breast pump from scratch in the kitchen, carried it into his room, and was on the point of waking him (for some reason) when I woke up.

I have also dreamed of owning a house, and woken up at my front door, clutching my keys possessively. I'm glad I haven't ever gone outside, yet. I wonder where would I go?

It's a very strange thing to wake up from sleepwalking. For me it's not sudden at all, it's a really gradual process, a bit like waking up slowly from a normal dream, except I'm doing something. For a while I am completely in my dream still, and then second by second the world hardens under my hands, and I realise I'm standing at my bookshelf trying to organise all my novels by height at 3am. It's quite an odd shock, no matter how many times I find myself awake in somewhere I don't understand.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Enough of today I have already had

(based on suggestions from @tiggyjohnson, @mlledelicieuse, @quadelle, @GretasTARDIS, @lucyrogue and @greenspace01)

Jack of this crap I am.

Flailing along a wet regatta,

cox-less hessian bag at the

bottom of a straight boat.

Tired of writing for rowers.

At snail laptop fuming I wait.

Tea tastes like sharp jaguars,

crack my hands off doorways

like they were trampolines.

Nothing mysterious it is.

Like driving to Ireland from Africa.

The friends you lose and cherish

round the clock as tickertape

parades herald your new verse.

Not allowed into a choir we are.

Men sing with men, women

sing hot biscuits from the oven.

Culture-jam on toast, screw it,

lid off, no great joy is buttered.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from six peeps:

  • @GretasTARDIS: "gay romance! Clocks! Ireland!"
  • @quadelle: "Cookies. Snails. Trampolines. Yes?"
  • @lucyrogue: "choir."
  • @greenspace01: "cherishing, mysterious, and doorways"
  • @mlledelicieuse: "I'd like one written in yoda speech pls: object-subject-verb" (I did the first line of each stanza for you.)
  • @tiggyjohnson: "Can I make a suggestion/request for tomorrow's #poemsbyrequest that you write about being sick of writing"
I was having a bad morning, so today's poem is a bit tired and sad and pissed-off. Which seemed to be a lot of us, this morning. I reckon tomorrow will be better.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ancestry in sepia

Old shoes shine themselves.

Black ties for boys, white ribbon for girls.

Grey bones kept in the closet.

Shoe-brush scrapes a sharpie scrawl

across flesh. Polished expectations.

The pony steps one back leg forwards.

From an angle, three front hooves align.

Tripod of nerves and promises.

Draw the bride churchwards

on coconut shell feet.

Trouser legs up the anti to ankles.

Disestablish the moment – an aria

sung by a country girl. Chauvinism

beats down like sunburn

sings vinyl in the red throats of farmers.

The horse carries his bones past

weddings into anniversaries into

mornings run out of jam

Bluebirds fly over winter children

rainbow hat flaps tied down in the chill.

Black film reels itself into glory

Accentuates the negative

I carry my history at all times

for safekeeping. Scan them into

the brick in my pocket. Let them glow.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from five peeps. All the suggestions are in there somewhere, you just have to find them:

  • @msmisrule: “I am scanning family photos from the 1920s. Can you work that in? (You should see the SHOES!)”
  • @msmisrule: “Or else Judy Garland on vinyl.”
  • @sushipyjamas: “Sunburn and tree roots”
  • @facelikethunder: “The middle voice”
  • @matchtrick: “Skellingtons! Throat singing! Those little skin tags on your fingernail that you can use to flay your hand! Hats with flaps! Antidisestablishmentarianism. And a pony. With three legs. Three legs. On the front.”
  • @GretasTARDIS: “running out of jam. old shoes. ribbon”

Despite all the disparate suggestions to weave in, 'the middle voice' was the hardest part of this. Active and passive voice I understand. When the subject 'does' the action, the verb is active (eg. in the sentence 'The poet kicked your arse', the subject is 'the poet' and verb 'kicked' is active.) When the subject has something 'done to it', the verb is passive (In the sentence 'Your arse was kicked by the poet', the subject is 'your arse' and the verb is passive.)

I looked up what middle voice was and read "This is a set of inflections or constructions which is to some extent different from both the active and passive voices. The middle voice is said to be in the middle between the active and the passive voices because the subject often cannot be categorized as either agent or patient but may have elements of both."

Um, what? My knowledge of grammatical terms is not great, to be honest. So trying to wrap my head around a concept without a back catalogue of ancient greek to refer to was a bit of a brainfry. Still, I came across a sentence that made sense to me: "The subject acts on or for itself, eg: 'The boy washes himself'" Doing the whole poem in middle voice wouldn't have allowed me to tell a story properly, so I have just done the first line of each stanza in it (I think I have, anyway). I want to read more about the grammatical voices of other languages. Apparently Classic Mongolian has five voices: active, passive, causative, reciprocal and cooperative. That is brilliant. I wonder what the reciprocal voice entails? Perhaps it's like call and response at hip hop gigs? "When I say pump that y'all say] shit up], pump that! [shit up] pump that! [shit up]"


Today's poem is written after seeing @msmisrule's old family wedding photographs. How awesome are the black shoes/white shoes, the too-short pants and the Split-Enz hair?

Sunday, March 20, 2011


(*Swears warning* Based on suggestions from @matchtrick, @realnixwilliams, @timsterne and Mark)

Sharp tattoo along with lunch

deserves a double n with Aryan punch

Fushigi yuugi, narwhal sushi

Shorty is ace of abased, with muesli

Nothing to add or ever replace it:

fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, I quit.

Bring it on fast like a whale on a moped

Fling it on past like a meal to a dopehead

Teenage dreams too hard to beat

strings out sweet collect the street

drive your knee in neat to fiddle

corset laces tight in the middle

heave it tight try not to meddle.

Careful backwards peddle of interviews –

morning spews erupt in stations,

beckon and breed their own creations; cretins.

Volunteer for the upgrade programme

heft a helical tusk in a log jam

already donated to Oxfam, yes ma’am.

Prick up your dog years

smooth your dog-eared pages

how long’s it take to validate your wages?

Ages. I saw dasein and it opened up

a being in time today

Bring on the monodontidae:

see the water’s surface --

the new day.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from four peeps (but 6 suggestions overall as @matchtrick made 3):

  • @matchtrick: “Narwhals! Things with horns! Like mopeds! A narwhal on a moped! Wheee!"
  • @matchtrick: “What rhymes with narwhal? Feargal? Could you slip a Feargal Sharkey reference in please?” (see 3rd line of second stanza)
  • @realnixwiliams: “corsetry”
  • @timsterne: “Ace of base” (not strictly a suggestion, but I couldn’t resist. Also his last job is great poem fodder.)
  • Mark: "Can I please request that your next poem includes a punn on your nname although the difference is only one 'n'. An Aryan Punch."
And it's a hip hop poem, because I got another awesome mixtape recently, and I was listening to it as I wrote this. There may be a few Doctor Who references in there somewhere. Narwhals are monodontidae. And @TheEndeavour has hefted one of their tusks!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The hero Gotham deserves

(based on suggestions from @sorrell_smith, @jellyjellyfish and @tysonarmstrong)

That's one trouble with dual identities:

dual responsibilities. Another youth on the road

to a brighter tomorrow. Live long enough to see yourself

become the villain - madness, as you know, is like gravity:

all it takes is a little politics. Issues confuse people.

Lie. Like I lied. Owe your life to dental hygiene,

now I'm always smiling. I turned out all right.

Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like

white potato and corn protectors;

steady nerves and a good ear.

Some men sacrifice safety for speed,

watch the world burn.

If you're good at something, never do it for free.

I assure you, your money is a child

playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine.

What are you going to do?

Consume nectars and ambrosia, not hot dogs?

Whatever doesn’t kill you, simply makes you

destined to do this forever.

Wanna know how I got these scars?

Just something: a little stranger

with a face, guiding our destiny.

I’m not afraid of scum like you.

Why should I hide? I am sacred to the

Sun God, Hymeopolos.

And I promise you, the dawn is coming.


This poem is based on suggestions from 3 peeps:

  • @sorrell_smith: "Money"
  • @jellyjellyfish: "Batman"
  • @tysonarmstrong: "A bowl of corn husks"

Today's poem is entirely constructed from quotes from The Dark Knight, and the 60s Batman tv series starring Adam West (mostly quotes from this site). I haven't added a single word, just chopped quotes and punctuation about. It was really, really fun. Including a 'bowl of corn husks' suggestion was the hardest. I searched for hours! I had to leave out the 'bowl' part in the end and fudge it with 'corn protectors'. Apparently no one says anything related to crockery on Batman, ever. Hmph.

This poem is also based on this lolpic, which @matchtrick has appropriately hashtagged #batgeezer. Best ever.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fever tea

(based on suggestions from @GretasTARDIS, @mindlessmunkey, @skippy_2, @iFigaro2u, @ernmalleyscat and @realnixwilliams)

Morning is dark in silhouette

mug shot of tea, side-on.

Ribbon of red and brown

scoops curved tears

in a length of satin

colour of dropped leaves.

Autumn stews and curls

in a dusty summer cup.

Noise and language

raging voices shout

out yellow and black

90s video clips. Turn it off

I can’t deal with big pants

and rap breaks this early.

Snap it shut and listen:

there’s breathing in.

Hear warmth blister,

dry crusts revolve wet heat

evolve boiling oceans

like salamander’s new feet

find new hot steps.

Brew uncommon worlds

with incredible sadness

new feet in damp sand.

Mouth sharp as a coin

Sucked iron and dried

out last night’s wine.

Sure as maybe: press notes,

sing hot milk fevers

warm cups instead of newborns.

Bare porcelain hands

can cradle space


Today’s poem is based on suggestions from six peeps:

  • @GretasTARDIS: “dusty cups!” (No prizes for guessing what you're watching, Squeak.)
  • @mindlessmunkey: “Evolution”
  • @skippy_2: “The incredible sadness of sand.”
  • @iFigaro2u: “autumn & clouds”
  • @ernmalleyscat: “mug shots”
  • @realnixwiliams: “90s music videos”

Written while listening to Fever Dream by Iron & Wine on repeat.

It is strange when your children don’t need your body to survive any more. I never felt my body was so useful as when I was breastfeeding. All that milk and fumbling and sleeplessness seems like a fevered dream. I am awake at 5am, just like when my boy was a tiny mass of misplaced instincts. But he is asleep, and will ask me in his own voice for Weetbix and Vegemite toast (and possibly "cake!") when he wakes up.

Instead of a tiny warm head, I hold my teacup in the morning dark.