Monday, 27 April 2015

2015.24 - Logbook

Today in the Allographic workshop (Finding the Narrative, with Matt MacDonald), we put together twelve words/ phrases between us with which to make a poem. They were: sand, running, floculant (thanks, Emma!), it, 2001, Caribbean, the sensation of cat's fur under fingertips, Justine, green, teeth, winnowing,  bloody.

I cheated slightly (you're supposed to work all the words in explicitly), but hey...


Your footsteps are already fading,
The sand winnows into plumes,
Ash-breathed, kiting westward.


We have said nothing,
Loud enough to break glass.
I suck silence from between my teeth,
Start to make lists.


I still run, hunting calf-burn,
Celebrate heat in the clang of
Ambitiously green liquids in
Frictionless bottles.


I coo between gritted teeth,
Inch, bark-bellied, as you advise from below,
Summon the sensation of cat fur
To reaching fingertips, clench thighs against
The trembling.


A blue-and-white summons:
Justine has friended you.
Gape at the warmth of shallow waters,
The sudden fan of creases
I will never feel beneath my thumb.
Find myself on the driveway,
Stale cigarette smoke tugged into my lungs.


My kitchen is a haven of strange scents,
Abruptly, I am someone with a steamer,
And buckwheat tea.
You dab dots of jerk seasoning,
Suck your finger, grin.
The steamer falls, to be attended later.


"Wow, where did you learn that?!"
I lie with a nameless book.
'Floculant' is your word - a nest of
Tiny morning dreads.


I emerge into cotton mouth,
Iron filing dregs like sweet penance.
A half-known ache pulling me to my right,
Your comma shape a gravity well.


He packs the bloody space with cotton wool,
I breathe the bitterness of
Doing the right thing.


You are salt water on my chest,
A shuddering warmth calling my arms,
A coiling strike upwards at my throat,
A tsunami in slow motion.


I click, gaze, scroll west,
Ease shoulders into unfelt heat.
It's good to see you made it, after all.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

2015.23 - Shifting Gear

Birds experiment -
The time has come to challenge,
Ring in new changes.

Neighbour is hammering -
The time has come to peg out
New territory.

Candidates tell us:
"The time has come to fix things!"
Recycling mounts.

2015.22 - Sea and Mountain Call

Home is where the heart is, so
I'm trapped in a limbo,
Rhapsodising on (at least) two themes,
Absent on a wing of thought,
Eddying in an echo of regret,
Tied with loving bonds,
Hand and foot and throat.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

2015.21 - Gloriana

She has seen the past
And she wants no part in it,
Glimpses the smallness
That she rejects with every breath
In the relentlessness of
Other people's pessimism.

She does not know what she wants,
Only what she doesn't -
Dullness, the fading of
Her name and face.

She was born for glory,
To be a sharp outline against
The backdrop of the rest of them,
And she thinks she's ready
To be literally monumental.

And she finds it does not stop,
That being good enough is never
Good enough,
And that a warrior must learn
To trade and craft
And train, and be placating.
And that sometimes best means
Finding someone better.

But she wages war on the mundane,
Battles bland,
Grabs for grand,
And stands, alone,
The way she always meant to,
Burning, and learning
To take the pain of light.


I was reading about Hatshepsut, the longest-reigning female Pharoah. It's fascinating, especially the way she managed her own legend, but she was also genuinely brilliant, and did an amazing number of things that changed Egypt's fortunes for the better…

Friday, 24 April 2015

2015.19 - Half-day, April

Zephyrs seem to bless me;
Dress-down Friday
Flings me, beribboned into
My kind of sunshine.

There is nothing to fight.
Scents are gentle;
Sounds of city bustle
Blend together.

Everything's adventuring -
Crows and footballs,
Ants and bare arms,
Blossom, grass, guitars.

There's a holiday haze
To the town's fumes,
I'm being lured to lay my head,
Rest on this bench, regretless.

Junk is jaunty,
Garbage is art,
It's all part of the
Wide day's pattern.

We are flattered by
Wary, warm light,
The flight of cut grass,
And the season's first ice cream.

2015.20 - Red: Take Action

Shall I compare you to the winds that howl?
To downpours that make every step a chore?
I’d illustrate the thunderstorms that prowl,
And twisters flinging dust around and more.

When held against the misery you bring
The metaphor of weather’s pretty tame
There’s no umbrella of which we could sing
To stop you putting avalanche to shame

They say that no disaster’s truly done
Until the aftermath is all put right
Our clean-up, mate, has only just begun
To undo all your damage done last night.

I will not speak your name, or see your face
You cannot ever get back my good grace.


Every year in April I do a new sonnet, building up (wearing down?) my resistance a poem at a time...

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

2015.18 - Ask Me Tomorrow

Another one from #PoetryToGo, this time a one-word challenge: “`Happiness´. Can you write something from that?”

“Well, yes, but it could head off in all sorts of directions, so: what does happiness mean to you?”

“People leaving me alone.”

“Er, I can take a hint, if…”

“I suppose that´s quite rude, but I didn´t mean you…” and she went on to rhapsodise on what I can only describe as the serenity of solitude, the peace to think about past and future rather than present, requested a 10-ish line free verse poem, manually typed on green card:


Walk me into light.
This silence sings,
And brings me into a
Core of peace.

Release the busy clutter,
The bright bustle of polyphony,
The drowning questions,
The apologetic constants.

Here I can hum
The one note of me
Suspended in the grace
Of continuity.