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Undertow

my sands are shifting

and the tides

always the same but

look at the minutiae

different every time

so how

do you justify or feel safe

always, it vibrates

buzzing with life or at

mechanical pace

like the train rattles by my place

at night, dark speedthought tangles trace

catch and drag

that undertow when sleep

is lying backwards

underwater and

looking up at the light

nowhere else to hide

and no place to return to

do, do, do, do

ideas massed like kelp piles, stinking high

how do I…

where is, why,

just write.

Bookend

It was like a soft night in Melbourne

Or like trains or distant trumpets

Up early to hear birds sooth

A gentle grey sky that sounded blue

I thought about the mountains in my heart-window

How that bright cloud flowed down the saddle

Of the Jungfrau, the real Jungfrau of one thousand poems

Cumulus sitting white and low and lit

Like a lazy dragon’s exhale

I won’t forget

The cow-flavoured, blacksmith-woodfire scent

Noise of building-works nearby

And an early morning’s nostalgic lament

Farewell

Larkspur

There’s all these

small purple flowers

in the forest and the bowers

of neglected front gardens

behind bins and mowers

and I feel like I never saw them before

they probably don’t last long

brave little shoots

growing away insouciant

are they larkspur?

symbol of love, ardent

Life

Goes

On

Leaves

What will I do

with the view from my window

my own slice of building-behinds

and trees, the Catholic church spire

in the distance like a giant watch

on a pin

and the way the air shakes

every quarter-hour

vibrates

from the Reformation church nextdoor, out of shot

my white room

my tower, not ivory but

maybe sometimes I feel like

I’m in a precious high-up spot,

far from the world

like the empress in Neverending story

flying through space

with warm lights on and

Give me a name, Bastian!

so my domain is remade

I’m really here with dusty piles

of books that may be read

notepads filled with ink

spilled through with words,

lists, oh they just keep flowing

no matter how afraid or sad I get

I have built my life anew

and when I look out at

those trees and backs of flats

the kindergarten playground

where the foxes live

must remember that

it’s all mine, all mine, not owned

just like I carry the Pool of London

turbulent, tea-coloured Thames

strong, with still a whiff

of Elizabethan sweat and

Dickensian toil

the thriving grime of unwashed success

grit of an ancestor locked in

a prison hulk perhaps

so too, this Swiss scene is kept

inside

and yesterday, the trees so green

the fresh young leaves of spring

and did my heart ache with sadness

desolate, or was it merely glad to see

that once again

 

Photo: Claire Doble

Jargonmeister

My professional competencies

Easily stretch to jargon

And going forward

I’m glad you reached out

There’s some latency

In the system

We’re aiming to exploit the synergies

In 104-word sentences like:

In turn, this should translate into, on the one hand, increased value of the physical assets which are being developed or redeveloped – measured as actual increase of house/office prices and rents and of investment in the area – and, on the other hand, into increased competitiveness and inclusiveness of the area, measured as an increase in the number of people willing to move in and visit, in the duration of their permanence, but also, not less importantly, in their diversity (including in terms of economic background and educational levels) and in the number and performances of high-value businesses and service providers located in the area.

Best, warm, kind, sincere regards

Claire Doble

Liquid

Liquid

in a bottle or pooled

in the sink

limpid

wet eyes

drink the sight

of vast lakes and

muddy puddles

curl of an ocean wave

jaunty froth

a spill of lace

jabot at the throat of a Victorian gent

dried red creek bed

and electric green ferns

tiny glints

water winks

guarded carefully by leaves of sword

fishtank in a bar

with a shark

there’s protests

unheeded, pouring wine

into bodies

getting tanked

watching creatures swim

become one with fluid

gasp for more

return to primal states

float in ultraviolet bubbles

while lodged in our collective hippocampi are

ancient memories

of drinking air for the very first time

Photo: https://unsplash.com/@sharonmccutcheon

2019 goals – writing and otherwise

It was with some trepidation that I looked back on my “writing goals for 2018” post this week to see if I’d achieved what I set out to. I somehow remembered that I’d been too ambitious and I really hate and fear failure. But I was pleasantly surprised to see I’d known from the start that this year was all about finding paid work and that would mean my own writing would suffer.

I guess it’s fair to say, I’m pleased to have achieved what I set out to do – get a job. But I’m also sad that this meant, as predicted, way less creative writing for me. However, despite saying I wouldn’t manage it, I did end up doing most of GloPoWriMo2018 global poetry month in April, so that was a bonus. I did submit a few poems, short stories and creative non-fiction but all were rejected and I didn’t have time or the jive to revisit/rework them and keep submitting. Rejection stings. Then some family issues mid-year, combined with starting work really diverted all my energy to survival-mode.

I’ve been on somewhat of a journey this year (forever). My birthday falls in January and 2018 was a significant one that made me reassess a lot of my ideas and habits. It’s a process that is ongoing but I’d also like to acknowledge here the hard work I’ve done throughout the past 12+ months that’s along the lines of trying to be my “Best self”. This has involved mental and physical undertakings.

I’ve been trying really hard to shed some outdated beliefs / habits / addictions and insecurities. I’m not 100% there (is anyone, ever?) but I think I’ve made progress. And it’s part of the journey to take a moment to congratulate myself. It has not always been easy or enjoyable, although sometimes it has! Well done, Claire.

A big part of this year has been my running, too. It’s funny, when we moved to Zurich five years ago a friend here mentioned “there’s great running trails here,” as a selling point at the time. To which I scoffed dismissively “not interested, that is NOT my thing. At all. Ever! ” Well never say never.  In 2018 I clocked up more than 1,000km of running. I’m stupidly proud of this. Not just because it’s a big number but because it means I was consistent. In rain, hail, snow, sun, heat, blahblah I kept on jogging all year. I went for runs in Zurich, Rome, Sydney, Porto, Perth, Ocean Shores, Dübendorf and Venice and I completed my first-ever Half-Marathon. And, to tie it back to my previous point: running has hugely helped my mental health.

It’s been an interesting year. When I look at my blog stats, they’re way down on 2017, which was a wonderfully flourishing period for my writing AND I did the 26Cantons52Weeks to boot. I wrote some decent stuff in 2018. I was going to say the quality had suffered, but I just read everything and… well… I like it! But I also know the difference it makes to write regularly, as I was doing in 2017. So I hope to get back to that in 2019. However, I am going to err on the side of sensible because I don’t want to set myself up to fail. So what are some reasonable goals…

  • Short stories: I’d like to focus on short stories a bit more. I had some success in placing those in 2017 when I was really working at it, and I think it’s a good way to go. If I can write or hone 4x short stories I’m happy enough with to attempt to place them in 2019, that will be a good outcome. (Actually I already have one on the boil)
  • THE NOVEL: I keep saying how I must get back to this. Maybe 2019 will be the year! I think if I can dedicate a few months of evenings / weekends to focus on it, it could happen. Maybe another NaNoWriMo?
  • Running: I would love to run another half-marathon this year. Maybe even two – one in Spring and one in Autumn. I don’t have the bandwidth to train for a full mara. That’s a goal for 2020!
  • Poetry: don’t think I need to put goals around my poems anymore. They can just come and go as they please.

 

Happy (almost) new year! What are your goals for 2019?

 

Photo: a wicked angel my son made at school

what was that again

all the white horses were spooked today

under a cloud-scudded mackerel sky

cows sat down in the odd warm wind

waiting for autumn to arrive

knowing nothing more

than studded stones and asphalt smooth

step, step, stepping stubborness

running blind in forest-dark groves

could not remember

as boots pulled up to knees

back to summer, and a paper-bag skirt

what

how

who

I’d decided to be

Glimmers

keep getting glimmers

of the before feelings

I can

double take

recall

somethinglike

the way

it was going to be and I thought

thoughttried triedthought so hard

didn’t I

I guess that moonflower

still exists because

look

they’re still reaching for it

The meat of time

I’m threading chunks of time on a string

bloody purplish gristly cubes

they slip sinewy and slick on my fingers and

stain the sheets

spatters of strawberry red

give off the sexy-filthy intimate smell of beach coves away from the wind

where it’s warm and protected and the ocean’s sweat lazes in postcoital gentleness

while the sound of the breakers booms a satisfying distance above, beyond

seagulls cry and tease the ragged exciting air up there

but we’re safe here

except for

those grisly bits of meat, the bits of time I want to eat

stick in my teeth

and taste of

juniper berries and suncream and peanut butter and aged reisling today

tomorrow it’s salted caramel, meat pies, prosecco and lonelieness

so beautiful that

I want to spew them back up and taste them fresh, yet

on each regurgitation they’re more grey and flavourless

senseless time, and time rotting on my plate

Skipping ahead to day 26: a poem that includes images that engage all five senses.