Wednesday, May 25, 2011
e.e. cummings has been my favourite poet since high school. I carry a 'selected poems' around in my handbag (for emergencies), but it's always interesting to revisit a whole book, rather than just what someone else thought was a 'best of'. You get standout poems that don't make it into other collections, alongside lesser ones. Xaipe (pronounced "Khai-er-ree" to rhyme with 'fiery') means 'rejoice' in Greek, and the collection is often movingly joyous.
Cummings sometimes gets accused of being sentimental, deliberately impossible to read, and even casually racist. I can see how he could be read thus.
But I think his playfulness rescues him from sentimentality (I adore his poems about children):
if a cheerfulest Elephantangelchild should sit
(holding a red candle over his head
by a finger of trunk,and singing out of a red
book)on a proud round cloud in a white high night
where his heartlike ears have flown adorable him
self tail and all(and his tail's red christmas bow)
--and if,when we meet again,little he(having flown
even higher)is sunning his penguinsoul in the glow
of a joy which wasn't and isn't and won't be words
while possibly not(at a guess)quite half way down
to the earth are leapandswooping tinily birds
whose magical gaiety makes your beautiful name--
i feel that(false and true are merely to know)
Love only has ever been,is,and will ever be,So
His impossibility - shredded/recombined words and absurd punctuation litters his poems - suits the way I read poetry. I just read it headlong, straight through the first time, not pausing over words, punctuation or to try think or match up the parentheses. And interestingly when I go back for a second look, the image I've got the first time around usually still stands up. Try it yourself:
the little horse is newlY
Born)he knows nothing,and feels
everything;all around whom is
perfectly a strange
light and of fragrance and of
ing dream:is amazing)
a worlD.and in
this world lies:smoothbeautifuL
thing a gro
Cummings himself responded to the racist controversy (mainly around his line "a kike is the most dangerous") in typically cryptic fashion:
'Cummings' "Good American point," as he told Allen Tate, was "that the kike isn't(helas) a Jew..." (but is an invention of Gentile society).' (quote from the inner flyleaf of Xaipe).
I loved revisiting Xaipe. It's flawed and joyous and sometimes extremely funny:
o to be in finland
now that russia's here)
(pass the freedoms pappy or
uncle shylock not interested
Additionally, when I re-read it, a copy of poem by Gwendolyn Brooks that I had been trying to remember for ages (When You Have Forgotten Sunday: The Love Story) fell out - I'd been using it as a bookmark! Brilliant.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
- Janet Punch
- Peter Punch
- @sorrel_smith’s 3yo (and her 1.5yo sister)
- @spikelynch's three girls
- The Boy
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
(based on suggestions from - deep breath - @realnixwilliams, @facelikethunder, @GretasTARDIS, @TheEndeavour, @PipHaz, @lucyrogue, @pinknantucket, @SeanMElliott,
Dark blue morning opens sharp as a cat’s eye.
Magpies awdle louder than light switches;
gargling day to prayer with broken vase voices.
Whisper kettle towards rhymes, tuck up long feet.
Dim screen pins my arms like Golgotha nails,
evening vodka corrupts. Absolut vodka corrupts absolutly.
Last night’s endeavour leaves no spirited insignia,
blank missions to colour in; crayon may not be enough.
Back of my head houses deep pockets of
words expensive as flowering macadamias.
Squirreled away references to fish fingers,
recipes for lamingtons, the need to go swimming.
Pretend this head is buttered dish, all I need do
is place the cherries triumphant. Not so easy.
Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts
of his aren’t very new at all. Flowers among thistles.
Breathe quietly; small blonde boy wakes soon.
Wriggles free of blankets like a bag of kittens
exclaiming dreams of triangles and how cows go MOO!
Skin smoothed cream as ostrich eggshell
arms wider than the moon is far. His smile
is achievement, tiny ritual of baby teeth
enormity of lit-up eyes at my greasy face.
It is a miracle that our children love us.
Leave in hurried goodbyes, carry home and friends
in our pockets. Snail shells have room for hundreds.
The internet is bigger inside, we find what’s needed
in a flurry of little endings, mouse and monkey tails.
Hashtags cast rubber fishnets, sweep for laughter or rage.
A small white bar asks: ‘what’s happening?’
Fearing tumbleweeds: speak softly to the keypad.
Loved and beloved, we are surprised by the warm chorus.
Today's poem is based on 35 suggestions from 19 peeps:
- @realnixwilliams: “small rituals”
- @facelikethunder: “rage”
- @GretasTARDIS: “The TARDIS! Ostrich egg. Fishing nets. Lamingtons. Fish fingers. Abraham Lincoln. Feet. Triangles. Vodka. Cows. #many”
- @TheEndeavour: “yes. The Endeavour is about to go up. Second last shuttle launch EVER. ME SAD.”
- @PipHaz: “swimming! or small children…Well done on 100. Impressive tally…”
- @lucyrogue: “colouring-in. (I feel sad about this ending) xo”
- @pinknantucket: “Clafouti! Also that feeling you get when you’ve achieved something great.”
- @SeanMElliott: “Calvary"
- @notcharming: “kittens!”
- @ernmalleyscat: “breath”
- @johnnypurple: “well, I always like your cat poems, so how about the best things in the world: cats, books and love.”
- @timsterne: “Magpies. Rhyming. Swimming.”
- @suz_la: “going back home”
- @dogpossum: “squirrels and nuts”
- @_boobook_: “pockets”
- @msmisrule: “broken vases”
- Mark: "Ultramarine negritude"
- Erin: "Endings!"
- Janet: "Goodbyes"
This is officially the most suggestions I've crammed into a poem - I suppose being #100, and the final #poemsbyrequest, it was going to be a big one. I was determined that it not be longer than the four 8-line stanzas, though (perhaps at the expense of density, but poetry is about distillation, but no one wants to read forever).
Appropriately enough, the 100th poem is mostly about the #poemsbyrequest thing as a whole, and the rituals it has created for me around writing a poem each day. For something I started on a late-night whim, I'm somewhat surprised I kept it up for this long.
I'll leave it at that for today, though tomorrow I intend to post some kind of...reflection, I guess, and a thank-you to you all for being so enthusiastic and encouraging.
Because I am very, very grateful.
Monday, May 16, 2011
(based on suggestions from @_boobook_ @skippy_2 @spikelynch @ernmalleyscat @snazzydee @mlledelicieuse @TheEndeavour)
Winter whispers in sharp blades of grass.
Leaves threaten the ground: cool days press harder.
Favourite biro is no heirloom fountain pen
Refill-resistant, found under a chair. Limited ink.
Almost grown past the under-18 solo section
Fills her lungs with music like it’s her last breath.
Morning gold enlightens a ruffled brown river
Nirvana in brief seconds: the sun climbs higher.
Air slips through swimming butterfly fingers
Hovering five inches from waking grounded.
Young hands touch her too anxious and often
She has had many men; he knows he is not the last.
Metal spinning top corkscrews slower
Falls still and sideways in childhood outgrown.
Filled with baby, tight and shiny as eggplant
Soon they will be as far apart as they’ve ever been.
Today's poem (the second-last!) is based on suggestions from seven peeps:
- @_boobook_: “Spinning”
- @skippy_2: “Nirvana. The state of being, not the band.”
- @spikelynch: “Song contests? If that hasn’t been done. Or eggplants”
- @snazzydee: “Have you covered swimming through the air in dreams yet?”
- @ernmalleyscat: “The ultimate pen”
- @mlledelicieuse: “The penultimate of anything. The bittersweet feeling of knowing something will soon come to an end.”
- @TheEndeavour: “autumn leaves”
I've always liked writing poems that are lots of different things gathered up under a common theme (I have poems in a similar vein called 'Ten Best Caresses' and 'Five Pieces of Summer'). It's a bit of a pillow-book urge, I think. I like making lists.
One poem to go...
Sunday, May 15, 2011
(based on suggestions from @realnixwilliams, @mlledelicieuse, @lucyrogue)
Kept them almost all the sweetened year
White and dark and milk, the flavours three
Silver linings, eggy clouds held dear
Brothers scoffed the lot down before tea
Whined for months about her hidden stash
Knew the useless cadence of their plea
Another Easter shone round in a flash
Foil peeled, her prize devoured slow
Toothy crack of shell and gentle smash
Away from siblings, secret pleasures grow
Melted lips and chocolate eyes aglow.
Today’s poem, the third-last, is based on suggestions from three peeps (how appropriate):
- @realnixwilliams: “flavours that come in threes”
- @lucyrogue: “The last Easter eggs”
- @mlledeliciuse: “Write 3 stanzas, trilogy style”
I always kept my Easter chocolate for ages, even as a kid. Even now Paul has dispatched his by lunchtime on Easter Sunday, and mine hangs around in the cupboard almost until the next Easter. It nearly kills him not to eat it. Probably just as well I’m an only child, as this habit would have driven my siblings mad. Or more likely they would have just found my eggs and eaten them.
Today’s poem is a terza rima, a form where the stanzas have three lines with the interlocking rhyme scheme ABA, BCB, CDC etc (you can have any number of stanzas, but @mlledelicieuse requested three). A terza rima usually ends with a couplet that repeats the rhyme of the final stanza’s second line (hence ‘grow’ and ‘aglow’ to rhyme with ‘slow’ in my poem). Terza rima was first used by Dante, and usually is written in iambic pentameter (five feet to a line: da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM). Here endeth today’s lesson in poetic form.
Two poems to go…
Saturday, May 14, 2011
(based on suggestions from @notcharming, @marklawrence, @ernmalleyscat, @_camer0n)
If a blind-hearted stranger in your local
offers a mouse’s tail at cheap rates,
you be wary of such a sight in your life.
Even if you’re seeing double by that hour.
It may well be just a sloughed-off skin rag
like he says, the skirt of a whirling dervish
with no hacked-off legs inside the cotton.
But that cut-price stump might come from
the farmer’s wife, herself.
It might be a fez box with a head inside.
If you find the time to sit out four repeats of
nursery songs read aloud,
could you resist proudly displaying your
carving knife prize to a child?
You want to shutter the rhyme with a cleaver,
reveal the true dark blood?
Walk away from the sale of the dead, sunshine.
There’s no point cutting off your own
tail to spite your arse.
Today's poem is based on suggestions from four peeps:
- @notcharming: “Finding time to sit and read”
- @marklawrence: “Blind as in three blind mice? One of my youngest’s favourite bedtime songs.”
- @ernmalleyscat: “Whirling dervishes and fez boxes”
- @_camer0n: “Blind like blotto?”
Today's poem is quite ugly, I think. I took the theme of the 'three blind mice' nursery rhyme (which is a rather violent ditty, really), and just played around with the idea of taking it home from the gritty bar-room to the clean child's bedroom.
When we were in year 7, we were told in Science only to pick up the mice at the very base of their tails, because if we lifted them from any further up we might peel off their tail-skin in one go. I have no idea if that's true, but it's stuck with me for 19 years.
Three poems to go...
Friday, May 13, 2011
(based on suggestions from @realnixwilliams, @pinknantucket, @slimejam)
Reading back over old photo albums
peels the skin off memory and tastebuds.
Crackle of transparent static across time
squares decades with rounded corners.
Chocolate icecream white t-shirt
early Pollock talents in evidence.
Pale long feet tucked to the ankles
Invisible sharks butt against toes
splitting maul boats in choppy harbours.
The tall mast of the bath boat
gets a real-world wind whipping.
Adults pour Mateus rosé, guitars emerge.
Strains of ‘If I had a hammer’ harmonise
hippie parents and friends at dusk.
‘Gone the rainbow’ up next, my lullaby.
It was probably a carob icecream.
None of this Sarah Lee ultra-chocolate.
I can taste my childhood in natural
peanut butter, brown rice pie-crusts.
Mason Pearson brush smooths
hair towards bedtime. Side part,
never interrupted by wispy fringe or
hid behind heavy
Goldfields summer. Hayfever air
of dry grass staggers to evening.
Flavours of Moosewood Cookbook
fade from Colgate milk teeth.
Turn the page, weaken the taste.
Remember this in the nick of time,
catch events like an early bus.
Polaroid an era in an instant.
Today's poem is based on suggestions from three peeps:
- @realnixwilliams: “tall ships and boats in the bath”
- @pinknantucket: “How about ultra-chocoalte?”
- @slimejam: “Hammerhead sharks. Catching a bus in the nick of time. The difference between a ‘fringe ‘and bangs’ (if there is one)”
There’s a photo of me somewhere, aged about four I think, standing in a paddling pool in our
My years of Baby-Sitters Club reading suggests to me that a ‘fringe’ is messier and less heavy than straight-cut ‘bangs’. But I think at base ‘fringe’ is
Please note: if you start googling different types of hammers, you may get the giggles. Not that I’m immature.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
She writes what she will remember
about swimming and dolls.
Instructions for diving under waves
and conducting wedding ceremonies
for soft toys. Yellow teddy bears
marry small blonde dolls and
pour forth disproportionate babies.
Even stuffed animals divorce.
Baby girl pens serious poetry,
none of the plastic sarcastic ink.
Her first epistle to future daughters
fixes the difficulty in a mother’s eyes.
She notices adult words and turns
over clods of earth as secrets.
Digs up “You don’t say!” into truths
you don’t say. Little pitchers.
The best place to photograph a daughter
is the soft neck curve between earlobe
and collarbone. It is laughter and
causes fits of wriggles. Seven lives
out of nine are giggled along before
she can spell her doll’s name. Catch her
skin quickly before you discover
you’ve kissed a photograph.
- @realnixwilliams: “the seventh life”
- @ernmalleyscat: “Before you reach 100 I’d really like you to do something on this http://twitpic.com/4vu1tq. I’ll tell you the real story then.” (The link is to the photo I've posted here)
- @jellyjellyfish: “Swimming”
- @_camer0n: “ ‘You don’t say!’ ”
I love this photo from @ernmalleyscat. I have no idea what the story behind it is, and at first I thought it was a baby sibling beside her on the step, but I think it's a doll? And I'm not sure what she's doing, but I decided it could be drawing or writing. So I made her a little story from there.
When I was younger my diaries were basically repeats of beach-swimming stories:
"We went to main beach this afternoon. It was quite cold. Leah came too. I dived under a wave."
and tales of what all my dolls and teddies were up to:
"Yvonne married Big Teddy. There was quite the turnout. The bridesmaids wore pink."
These are actual quotes from my 8yr old diary, by the way. Some of my younger diaries demonstrate what children hear, and understand, that we mightn't think they would. Little ears catch big thoughts. I should remember that.
Six poems to go...
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
I fell asleep because when you are three
you just sometimes fall asleep. Mum shed
coconut fur onto buttercream cats and
dotted white bread with tiny bright fairy poo.
I woke in a panic of unlooked-for naps
to find all my guests had arrived.
Unclipped a ribbon of tears and fright that
still visits me on unexpected late wakings.
Brought out a blotchy face that still takes
hours and hours and hours to fade calm.
Only one option in these kinds of emergencies:
Twisties. Inhale crop-dusted handfuls of
orange turds in multiples of lucky numbers.
Eight is fortuitous unless you’re the tail of a snake.
Chain-smoking junk food proved a better balm
than inevitable grazes of helicopter rides.
Powdered cheese saved on musical chairs injuries,
Lurid fingertips produced more winners than
cheating at bobs and statues. It’s always bobs.
Ignore your friends and guard the chips.
My cake loomed creamy and wise as a sphinx.
This modern self looks at edible feline art
and doubts maternal instincts. Constructing the
Women’s Weekly mother of all birthday cakes
is not high on my bucket list of parenting.
Happy baby fists press under my chin and
still-rosy joy is snapped up in the fishbowl
of old cameras. I can see my recovered eyes
but this is feeling the photograph, not the moment.
What I really remember is that terror, on waking.
Today's poem is based on suggestions from three peeps:
- @mlledelicieuse: "Chinese obsession with 8 being a lucky number - 8, 18, 28, 38 etc."
- @notcharming: "childhood birthday parties with fairy bread and 'helicopter' rides"
- @_camer0n: "bucket lists"
I fell asleep shortly before my 3rd birthday party, and when I woke up everyone had already arrived, and I burst into tears. I still do this if I wake up late/unexpectedly. Photo one is me chain-eating Twisties to recover from my fright. Photo two is me, recovered, with my awesome cat cake made by mum. (I kinda love how my parents documented both moments). I don't remember the cake, but I remember the waking in fright.
I have so far outsourced all Luka's birthday cakes to my friend Aimee - I love baking, but doing it the night before a party, and icing the damn things is just not going to happen.
Monday, May 9, 2011
(based on suggestions from @_camer0n, @sushipyjamas, @timsterne)
This is one giant that I can’t style.
Just because he came to my studio
and sat down in the padded seat
with his strength all akimbo doesn’t
mean I can fix that helmet head.
He’s got Samson in his locks
I’ve got Delilah in my veins.
David wasn’t scissor-happy and
never needed to slip Saul a scarf
to cover his flippant skull.
Pretty, pretty curls the giant had.
I’ve overtaken his image across
double hairlines alone and not once
checked my wingnut mirrors.
There is no victory greater than
a bad perm. If we’d frizzed up
that man-eater, even the smallest boy
would have chopped a shot at him.
Guard your coif like you're five foot high.
These shears are on a hair trigger.
Watch out, watch out, tall man.
Today's poem is based on suggestions from three peeps:
- @_camer0n: “Caravaggio’s David with the Head of Goliath”
- @sushipyjamas: “driving when there’s no one else on the road”
- @timsterne: “Stackhat hair! http://www.mobypicture.com/user/timsterne/view/9441176" (You were one classy kid, Tim)
Eight poems to go...
Sunday, May 8, 2011
(based on suggestions from @ernmalleyscat and @realnixwilliams)
Ancient smell of kitchen sponge
and grey microwaved potatoes
creeps in as the light falls cold.
Tiny points of temazepan loom large
they are white in the middle
like the centre of sleep and the
edges of dying. Perchance to
push back waking into a blank.
Four score years and ten
bandied about roughly like Hallmark
calligraphy. Cardboard sentiments
string along caravan venetians.
Close the blinds; they shuffle
like a mortal coil of birthdays
and children and so many forgotten
terrors in the night. Dreams will come.
Bed folds down. Mattress has a
permanent kink, like the cat
who got his tail caught in the screen door.
It fits along the groove of spine.
Tomorrow is a wish and a counter meal;
a child, a grandchild, a side of chips.
Sleep falls like a hammer and
the smell will be gone by morning.
Today’s poem is based on suggestions from two peeps:
- @realnixwilliams: “living in a caravan.”
- @ernmalleyscat: “going to sleep on the night before your 90th birthday.”
Today marks my 90th #poemsbyrequest. That’s rather a lot for as many days.
I’ve decided I’m going to get to 100 and then give it a rest for a while, aside from – you know, special occasions and offers I can’t refuse. So stand warned – you’ve got 10 days left if you want to suggest something.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
(based on suggestions from @GretasTARDIS, @ernmalleyscat, @robcorr, @pinknantucket)
They’ve been on the windowsill since the wedding.
She kept them as a talisman to ward off satin dresses
and ill-advised gin and tonics with cucumber and then
without cucumber. Once the garnish is dispensed with
it’s all over. The wind blew her up the hill and
the evening’s conversations drifted as zephyrs
through the branches in her head. The yeah/no,
the you knows, the yeah I knows, the years of knowing
that these are the same exchanges as last time.
Always the bridesmaid; never the nice dress.
The point of getting married is you choose your outfit.
Her sister had smiled “You can’t have a bridesmaid
who outshines the bride!” Yeah no. Yeah I know.
Once upon a time those flowers would have wilted.
But each stem is rough-ended into a water tube
a bouquet of condoms shoved into her hands.
“That way it’ll last like forever!” chirped the bride.
She eyes the blooms for a week. Gets up.
Grabs those life-preservers in a handful.
Rips them off. No more safe sex for roses.
Let marriage at least outlive their bruised petals.
Today’s poem is based on suggestions from four peeps:
- @GretasTARDIS: “wilted flowers”
- @ernmalleyscat: “yeah no, you know, yeah I know”
- @robcorr: “wind”
- @pinknantucket: “Gin & tonic, preferably Hendricks with a slice of cucumber but this Bombay Sapphire with cumquat is ok too.”
I write a lot of poems about myself and people I know. Today’s is an attempt at fiction, at someone I don’t know and a story that hasn’t been part of my life. Though I do hate those little water-tubes they stick on the ends of flowers.
Friday, May 6, 2011
(based on suggestions from @_camer0n, @Quadelle, @marklawrence)
Accustomed to background chatter
Washes around like warm pub air
Local watering hole wrapped in a
Conversation management system.
If velvet monkey fingers have no
Hamlet to whicker out on the glass
Watch work-crap outbursts and
Let scroll the televised one-liners.
Snooze out goodnights and goodbyes
Odd comforts across time zones.
Wander down to the internet common
Someone’s always up for ice cream.
The cheer is crystal, no translation
from the latin is required. We all know
what #teamjellyjellyfish means.
If we don't, it doesn't even matter.
Today’s poem is based on suggestions from three peeps:
- @camer0n: “ *imagines snoozing* HTML/CMS/BUTTON-MONKEY/WORK-CRAP Maybe not idea just outburst.”
- @Quadelle: “Goodbyes”
- @marklawrence: “Being off Twitter.”
Twitter reminds me a bit of the Junior Common Room at college, while @matchtrick has likened it to a local pub. There’s a conversation going on pretty much all the time, and you can wander in and quickly be brought up to speed: “What are we talking about? Baboon boners? Ok.” Sometimes you miss out on hilarity and wish you’d been awake. Sometimes the conversation gives you the irrits, so you wander off. If you’ve got nothing to say but need some distraction, you can just hover in the background and watch. Sometimes Twitter is a lifesaver. Today, Twitter has been an epic place for friends.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
(based on suggestions from @_camer0n, @ernmalleyscat, @realnixwilliams, @eglantinescake, @jellyjellyfish)
Inside of a sarcophagus, it’s too dark to read.
Sometimes we keep the blinds shut all day
and peer through the slick yellow bulb light
at our computers. It sounds like we’re stuck
on a bus, squinting out at those bright air folk
who stride the footpaths with their certain words.
Outside of a language, a dog is man’s best friend.
Young babies and old cats and medium canines
know exactly how to make their thoughts known.
A thumb and a forefinger, a claw and a stretch
is all they need. It says: “Keep me so closer.”
They say: “We need to touch you for a long time.”
Somewhere between outside and inside
is where you write words like you’re another.
Look back at a slat-blind dream of letters
Rake over your work with commuter eyes
Fear it is over and you have already touched off.
Happened before. It’s not over. Happens again.
Today’s poem is based on suggestions from five peeps:
- @_camer0n: “Outside language, there is no self to express.”
- @ernmalleyscat: “Looking out the passenger window at passengers on a bus”
- @ realnixwilliams: “Peeping through venetian blinds”
- @eglantinescake: “Pincer grip – which Avery has mastered. (Carrying him is like carrying a little crab)”
- @jellyjellyfish: “Something to do with
. Have excursion to the Tutankhamen tomorrow with one million tiny childs. SEND HALP” Egypt
You know how sometimes, very rarely, you write so easily that it’s like transcribing, like taking dictation? It happens so freaking little that you remember it like you found the holy grail. And you know if you could just get back into that mindset, you’d produce the most amazing things.
So you sit down at your computer or page, maybe at an Underwood if you’re lucky (and have kids that sleep really soundly). And the white blank in front of you draws all the blood and fire from your veins and turns it into bland alphabet soup. A couple of hundred words and a couple of hundred hours later and you probably should have cleaned the bathroom instead.
But every now and then (count it in months if you’re lucky, years if you’re normal), you sit down and before you know it you’ve transcribed something easily. It doesn’t happen very often. I choose to believe it will happen again.
As Margaret Atwood says, we can’t whine, because we chose this. No one is making us. We could just get another job, choose another thing to do.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
(based on suggestions from @timsterne, @realnixwilliams and @notcharming)
Cleaves like a V-Slicer
Rips through daisies
And slices mean as a
Papercut with lemon.
Flailing cooked spaghetti
At dwarves won’t pierce
No armour. Chain mail fail.
The blade of banality
Attacks reality tv shows
Sharkjumper dices series five.
Yonder, Dirk Prong carves up
Some excellent character names.
Wibbly wobbly swordy wordy
Overmentions that its scabbard is
Really big on the inside.
Despair, mine enemy, at our
Secret ninja trending skills.
Today’s poem is based on suggestions from three peeps:
- @timsterne: “Dirk Prong”
- @realnixwilliams: “The blade of banality”
- @notcharming: “Cooked spaghetti”
To explain: last night on Twitter @timsterne’s hashtag #crapfantasyswords got trending in
The poem’s also an acrostic, in case you hadn’t noticed.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
(based on suggestions from @_camer0n, @sulphura, @realnixwilliams, @Quadelle)
March sounds like a wet poodle.
It brings out the best in locked room
mysteries. There is no alternative
to clothes when the day turns cool.
All cotton shirts smell like
too many days in the machine.
Stretch on polyester, synthetic
crackle of background outfits.
There is the worst noise in the
back of my frizzy head today.
It stinks of ugly dogs but I'll
get them washed tomorrow.
Today’s poem is based on suggestions from four peeps:
- @_camer0n: “Synthetic background noise”
- @ sulphura: “
as an alternative to crap TV?” Jonathan Creek
- @realnixwilliams: “What autumn smells like”
- @Quadelle: “Best and worst of the day.”
I woke up late today and didn’t have time to write a poem. Then I had to come home from work, and spent most of the day asleep. I wasn’t up for writing one this evening in the slightest. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I have written one anyway. It’s short, because time is short.
Monday, May 2, 2011
(based on suggestions from @greenspace01, @1000yearsago, and @matchtrick)
Not enough music is carried
at shoulder height any more.
We annoy each other politely
with polyps tucked out of phase
Tiny boom-boxes secreted
about our person like
Potter in the broom cupboard,
voice coils and cones replaced
with expanding foam plugs.
Speakers used to manifest as fashion
A parrot for a sound-pirate
blaring like a million fire engines
chasing ten million ambulances
through a war zone. It squawked:
the funk soul brother was coming.
Right about now. Check it out.
It made the empty air bleed.
I’m not saying it was pleasant.
Played at a volume that squeezed
your vagus nerve in a group hug.
Vital fluids braked with a screech,
the bottom dropped out of the world
like a javelin broom handle.
A transient response wrote
beats on the wall of your skin.
It was unapologetic, it had balls.
That’s all I’m saying.
Today's poem is based on suggestions from three peeps:
- @greenspace01: “Boom-boxes, broom cupboards and group hugs”
- @1000yearsago: “expanding foam”
- @matchtrick: “If there’s a chance you could squeeze DM’s take on Fat Boy Slim into a future poem, you’d be doing me a favour.”
Big stereos were awesome. They annoyed people without apology, not in the tinny-music-that-you-pretend-other-people-can't-hear-that-bleeds-out-of-crappy-earbuds.
This is all very 'back in the day' of me. But boom-boxes on shoulders were a statement. They said: "I don't care if you don't like my music. Complain and I'll cut you." Yeah.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
(based on suggestions from @marklawrence, @eglantinescake, @pinknantucket, @_camer0n, @SeanMElliott, @hleighthree and @iFigaro2u)
They sleep in your bed for a reason.
Because their bones are growing,
children always look surprised.
Getting taller helps, it spreads out.
You know it's a sad day when your
child looks at you and asks
'Daddy, are these organic?’
I don’t see teenagers any more:
I see youths. Slumped S shapes
plotting something terrible
like making cider out of blood.
There are two types of wine, essentially.
There’s the one where you drink it and go
‘can we get 8 of those please.’
Then there’s the other one, you know,
the one that turns to Jesus.
This is children’s booze.
All great religions are built on shame.
Why not just have a physical afterlife?
It’s only going to escalate from there,
just come back as a tentacle with a set of lips.
Fruit... it's just God showing off.
Here, have a judge’s bun.
Chocolate bread! I was in
that’s how they start the day.
It’s the kind of place you go to commit
proper, serious pleasure:
smear it all over your face.
The cookery programmes are ridiculous,
it’s not really baking, is it?
Give me one of those chocolate guys,
not twigs fried in honey. Think of a bee.
Do you have any bee-keeping equipment?
Who has the time, though,
who really has the time to dip it in
duck’s tears and anything runnier than bread?
We suck stones for money
in order to attend the party.
The fact is that you’re not an adult at all,
you’re just a tall child holding a beer
having conversations all like,
"Hello. How are you?"
Adults are terribly confused, messed up people.
Children aren't like that,
which is why they look so young.
What a child hears is:
cake is the language of love.
Today’s poem is based on suggestions from seven peeps:
- @marklawrence: “Our young children growing older. Cuddling them. How do we still hold on to them? Literally! Big=gangly=can't fit in arms.”
- @eglantinescake: “making bread.”
- @marklawrence: “Bees. Keeping bees in backyards?”
- @pinknantucket: “fruit buns”
- @_camer0n: “Transubstantiation & "Like hello"”
- @SeanMElliott: “commitments.”
- @hleighthree: “money orders!”
- @iFigaro2u: “time”
We didn’t have any kids, but we did
get a new cat a few years ago.
Can’t be entirely a different tune
we were about to dance to.
How we concluded it was right
must have been the flick of the coin
across a doctoral submission. We were
bored enough with the march of days.
I knew about folate and caffeine
not getting boozed or too stressed.
The last night we went out drinking
I chucked in my handbag in the taxi.
A fine herald to tracking luteal phases
taking temperatures and vitamins
far too much knowledge about mucus
tinny chime of a thermometer in darkness.
Every site clicked out different snippets
of guilt and dodgy web design. These women
weren’t me, hadn’t eaten my history.
I didn’t fit their cycle of acronyms.
Sex was bound to dates, not inclination.
It’s wet weather timetable, folks.
Today we have to stay inside, even if
we’d rather run around in the storm.
I don’t know how many little sticks
I pissed on that came up single-lined.
I had already given her a title
she was named, in all but reality.
Each surprise of dark blood
gushed out tears and dispirited
bottles of wine. I snapped three
tests in half and stabbed the wall.
It is unbearable to suspect
your body is a failure. It feels
like a desecration of evolution
a misconception of simple biology.
When a second pink line glowed
in early morning bathroom light
I didn’t tell you straight away
in case my eyes had failed me too.
Today’s poem is based on suggestions from seven peeps:
- @_camer0n: “in reality, in all but name.”
- @realnixwilliams: “stupidly designed websites”
- @notcharming: “deciding to start trying to have a baby”
- @ernmalleyscat: “stormy day at school stuck inside with the lights on”
- @slimejam: “new cats”
- @SeanMElliott: ‘Finding a title”
- @iFigaro2u: “music”
Deciding to try for a baby was easy (essentially because we had no idea what we were in for). Actually trying for one was a rollercoaster of anticipation, disappointment, anticipation, disappointment, overwhelming amounts of knowledge about fertility charting, anticipation, disappointment, really wanting to get drunk but not being able to, anticipation, and then, because we were lucky: joy.
I ended up knowing far too many acronyms about menstrual cycles, and Paul took on more knowledge about mucus than any man should ever have to. In the months where we didn’t conceive, I felt like a physical failure. Perhaps my body simply wasn’t up to the job? It wasn’t like I had treated it particularly well over the years. The idea of not being able to have children, and it being my own fault, was almost unbearable.
After several months, the baby I was convinced was going to be a girl (he’s not) was conceived. Photo is indeed THE pregnancy test that told me I was pregnant. 10 dpo, almost faint enough to not be true. He held on tight for the next nine months - until he was 10 days overdue, in fact. How disgraceful for a librarian to have an overdue baby.
I can’t imagine trying to conceive for years and years. We were so lucky. I am so grateful.