napowrimo

Look ahead

I am giving myself this gift

every day,

think back

sit in memories

as a child

bright dreamer with

quick perceptions

different ideas

the girl who held

secret worlds

in her head

rich and strange

anticipate

could not explain

or share

only a mother would

tamp them down with care

fear

from love,

to protect

a small one’s delicate

intellect

in a bigbadwolf, uncaring world

just

realised

one day

do not have

to listen

to all they say

some things are merely

manifestations

of their afraid

and not for ears

to hear

oh

I should reach for the stars

Anyway

so maybe

a soothing

a rebellion

a way to live apart

became

a river, turned to flood

when it’s gone, and drained away

left varnish cracked

after years of wear

and hot breath

stripped back

raw

dead skin, was thick with dread

protect / pierce

to show

the gleam instead

of all those forgotten worlds

revealed

thoughts, light, streams,

ahead

 

This is a long, rambly poem that is a casualty of not enough time and too much in my head today! The prompt was: to write a poem of gifts and joy. What would you give yourself, if you could have anything? What would you give someone else? Oddly, this is quite appropriate to most of my activities today. Too busy “doing” not enough time for “poeming” – that is probably a good thing sometimes though.

I loved this photo I took this morning. By me!

Wired silence

 

I’m wired for sound

reading books from a supplier named for the rainforest we’re destroying, a queasy joke like

enjoy the silence

 

these days I read mostly e-books (same supplier, same quease) and my music is stored

elsewhere, while shelves sit full of dusting jewel cases, oh! that sounds more precious than MP3s

I’m wired for sound

 

can’t listen when I’m writing, so many hours of

words falling quiet through my fingers, thudding soft into keyboard squares; sometimes my thoughts pause –

enjoy the silence

 

composing lines in my head on the morning tram, smells aggressively of RedBull and cigarettes

produced by twitchy men I protect myself from with cheap headphones, thank goodness

I’m wired for sound

 

sometimes when I can’t fall asleep from stress, I try the meditation app,

she says soothingly ‘simply notice sounds around you’ but it’s 22.47 in Zurich, Oerlikon

enjoy the silence

 

I run away from my life, I run into my life, I run into the forest

and there is my life waiting for me underneath my legs my two feet keep going, one in front of the other, and it’s music I’ve found

I’m wired for sound

to enjoy the silence

 

 

 

Today’s GloPoWriMo Day 5 challenge was a difficult one. But I love the challenges! To write a poem that incorporates at least one of the following: (1) the villanelle form, (2) lines taken from an outside text, and/or (3) phrases that oppose each other in some way. If you can use two elements, great – and if you can do all three, wow!

I managed this using “Wired for Sound” (originally Cliff Richard but I’m thinking of the Bi(f)tek version) and “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode.

I have to give an extra shout-out to Napowrimo for putting me on to this incredible mashup by poet Kyle Dargan of the Lord’s Prayer with Grandmaster Flash’s “the Message” – wow!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjzaGqGqkMY

Photo by Sai Kiran Anagani on Unsplash

 

Anima / Animus

 

what could have been

an invisible line

between our eyes

never enough time

 

no private spaces

or empty lands

our dance in plain view

never touch hands

 

in our minds

that curl of yearning,

keening, never knowing

what were we learning?

 

I’m late today with posting. I wrote it this morning but forgot my notebook and it’s been such a busy day. Argh. This is not good, feel like I’m falling behind already!!  The prompt was: to write a poem that resists closure by ending on a question, inviting the reader to continue the process of reading (and, in some ways, writing) the poem even after the poem ends.

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

The runner

Just when you get started

is

have I got a tissue?

did I bring lip balm

or forget keys

the good socks! Ah

better not

go back

the message is

not the medium

but

things’ll be dire

if I turn, must

run this track

so go, go go,

and put those

fickle-fuckle thoughts aside

of props

all you really need

is two feet, running

and

the vital missive

survive!

bright and clear

like wings, like hope

held fast (so fast, don’t stop) and

carried safe, in mind

 

 

It’s poetry month again! Yay!! I am so excited to participate again this year. Lots of changes afoot for me, which I’m sure you’ll hear about through the month, so it’s nice to do something familiar. Today I followed the early-bird prompt:  write a poetic self-portrait. And specifically, we’d like you to write a poem in which you portray yourself in the guise of a historical or mythical figure. Does that sound a bit strange? Well, take a look at this poem by Mary-Kim Arnold, “Self Portrait as Semiramis,” or Tarfia Farzullah’s, “Self-Portrait as Artemis,” and perhaps you’ll get a sense of the possibilities. I started looking up cool goddesses, like Hel and Hathor, but nothing quite clicked. In the end I went for that nameless first “Marathon” runner who saved his people with an heroic effort. I guess I’m feeling pretty noble about my quest! Also a good ‘beginning’ poem, I feel. Plus, as I may have mentioned, I have become a runner and it’s helped me survive some difficult times. OK, enough about me!

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

Swagman

The Swagman’s Rest by Pro Hart

Touch my hand

bones splinter in the dirt

think of the wind over the sea

and places bandicoots skitter in the eve

I was once a good man

with shining rope, glinting gun and a plan

although the map’s not one you can see

and my words came smooth, debonair, like lies

 

My final shouts rang true though

if anyone cared to hear them

and I washed myself in the sound

‘Oh Nell, my love, I wronged her.’

the drink has taken stronger men

and left better women stranded

but I broke her heart and stole her wine

the child we’d made, abandoned

 

When it came time for him to die

alone he was, in bracken

the river was so loud that night

she felt the baby quicken

perhaps he called aloud those words

Nell, she didn’t hear him

upon his head she put a curse

and found him in the morning

 

To free his twist in memory’s embrace

we left a blank and humble cross in place

lost now to all but she:

Sandy Dan the Swagman, we

tied ropes across his grave

of bleached bloodwood, as dead as he

and while mountains rise against the sun

no more a-roving will he see

 

Day 18. I enjoyed this prompt: First, find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with). Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem. It might not be a finished draft, but hopefully it at least contains the seeds of one.

I used “The Swagman’s Rest” by Banjo Patterson. It ended up with an odd, off-kilter rhyme sequence but I like it

Jetsamina

Image result for arrietty the borrowers

draw the hook up

and catch the spinning load

of fluttering flotsam

drain-smelling of rotting things

peer closer though

it is the diminuative sink-sprite, Jetsamina!

her gossamer wings of silvery vagina-slime

and an evil dark-brown-black dress, mucky with hairballs

cat-breath of pilchard surprise

“I will grant you a single wish”

she gurgles in a voice of soap scum

her demesne: the smelly underworld of sewers and stormwater drains

so

I snap on clammy rubber gloves

make my request

a Borrower’s behest

make me like Arrietty (and Spiller)

tiny, special and deft

we’ll ride the effluent together

Damn the rest!

The Day 8 Glo-Napowrimo prompt was to write poems in which mysterious and magical things occur. I kinda like the idea of mixing the magical with the mundane, even disgusting. I get an odd satisfaction from gross jobs like cleaning the greasetraps in the drains… so I was struck by the idea of a local spirit who might live in there. And I adored Mary Norton’s Borrowers books as a child.

Pic: still from Studio Ghibli’s anime film “The Secret World of Arrietty” sourced from https://lesamantsreguliers.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/arietty-mon-amour-arietty-the-borrower/

Definitions of Power

Woman/ powerful

from: Girl/ vulnerable

White/ powerful (but guilty)

also: Australian/ troubled2nd-classBrit “oh your accent’s not that strong” and I rarely demur

and Gothic/ powerful but a “chosen minority” – remembered hatred from smallminded folk still stings but I enjoy(ed) the provocation

Middle class/ welcome if undeserved

Affluent/ lucky

Intelligent/ powerful because it’s in the accepted way. I’ve come to see there’s so many forms of unrecognised intelligence, it pisses me off this narrow view, I don’t actually think stupidity exists, but ignorance does

(And so very few goths are not white, middle class, intelligent – so)

Tall/ vulnerable but powerful

University educated/ never enough

Mother/ vulnerable – is it necessarily bad?

Londoner/ knowing something

White (again)/ easy

Sister/ love

Friend/ means almost everything

Lover/ undercover

Unworking/ vulnerable; the worst of all

Day 7 prompt: write out a list of all of your different layers of identity. Now divide all of those things into lists of what makes you feel powerful and what makes you feel vulnerable. And make a poem… (edited as I saw fit!)

Gold, Fools

today I saw old scars and heard

new stories about them

gaps in teeth winking like small sequins

while words trickled through that glistened with meaning I tried to catch

like gold panning

they say the precious dust settles to the bottom because it’s heavy

like truth can be a burden and

hard to see among shifting sands and gravel

and maybe if you eat the whole beach and keep on licking the shore that way

seeking truth

your teeth will grind away and your stomach will ache because

there’s a lot to swallow and a body can’t always tell what’s heavy metal or which parts of what you’ve ingested are the righteous words and concepts in the flock

mistakes can be made at cellular level, muddles, cancer is the body attacking itself or growing too fast in one direction like gold fever can kill

(a lie: that truth always sets us free)

it’s as complicated as a whole ocean of shells

and I’m so busy Living in The Moment

I can’t even remember who I was

or wanted to be — don’t ask me for definitive answers — my garbled utterances are the muddy water in the pan and those flecks and facets of shiny stuff could be any damn thing

I think this is probably yesterday’s prompt: (Naprwrimo day 6) to play with line lengths. I’m running a bit behind schedule but hope to catch up soon

Photo: Pineapple Supple Co @Unsplash

Neural pathways

As I slope up that bone-colour concrete path

sticks and gumleaves and sand

the scent of the bush – lemon eucalpypt and banksia

alone for the first time in days

home but not home

that smell in my eyes maybe because they fill with tears

or I’m thinking of him trapped inside delerium

grey-green and olive green and agapanthus green and black-burnt trunks with

small explosions of scarlet tongues and creamed-butter ragged tulle blossoms

following paths I’ve never run before

the warm air holds me safe and not too hot

thinking of how I heard he quietly saved his son once from a precipice

the way you do with family, unhesitating, sure as a heatbeat

those old trees stand tall, smooth barked and guarding

not over me, their roots luxuriate in more ancient soil

can you ever reconcile

a life, a mind, a body, a soul

or illness

or just keep jogging on

 

Day 4 prompt was: to write a poem that is about something abstract – perhaps an ideal like “beauty” or “justice,” but which discusses or describes that abstraction in the form of relentlessly concrete nouns. I found the example poem by Amy Tudor in this piece so moving I guess I tried to mimic the style, I think it worked well to focus on trees and flowers etc.  

I might not be able to link to the prompts each day as I´m mostly working via smartphone at the moment so cutting and pasting and link making is a bit of a faff… but you can always check in to http://www.napowrimo.net

Band names

Matchbox Scrubland

Out of the Tree

The Hab Spaß

In the Dark

Unicorn of the Apocalypse

Year Nine

Suitcases

Lollipop Bears

Umbrella Mustard

First to be Free

The Undoing

The Wealthy

Pink Meridian

Googlefathers

Make pay while the sun shines

The Take Aways

Lazy Nachmittag

Prunetoast

Missing Skin

He’s right, you could go on forever…. Today’s prompt was inspired by the GloPoWriMo interview with poet Peter Davis. As he indicates there, his latest book is rooted in endlessly writing ideas for band names. Today, the challenge was to try this out yourself by writing a list poem in which all the items are made-up names.