poems

Storm damage

when I look around

really look

there’s a plastic bag of cig butts

skidding along the side path

that makes me think

teenagers were trying to break in

and a board against the back fence

like a skate ramp

were they…

while

my front teeth are growing like a rodent’s

who hasn’t gnawed enough carrot

and my guts roil and play

menacing, an active volcano

then I realise the butts were his stash

blown askew by the wind

forgotten, while death floated so close

and a fern has fallen

cracked its pot

in the morning light

I hope my teeth are all right

because

more damage has been done and

I’m more broken

than I thought

Long gone

there’s a place I don’t go

where the rocks grind smooth

a place where dancing cockatoos

sing glitter tunes in hot pubs with

sticky carpet and the clunk of

boulles outside in a warm

pink evening

I don’t abide there anymore

in a beer-soaked fug of joy

the urgent oration

knowing words were

so important

ephemeral

and you

looked at me across the bar

flying on sequin wings

back to the room of my four-poster bed

yet another place I no longer dwell

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.

Shush owls

where the rocks crash

where the shush owls

turn the lights off

swoop, frothover calls

 

throaty and distraught

no starboard lighthouse

green glass and sheet metal

black box never found

 

where the waves grind

behind old bedposts

ancient lamps move

inexorable warmth, breath

 

This poem was inspired by a beautiful and strange poem my good friend Joh from Milk and Motherhood sent me on a postcard once.

I also finally had the chance to use the “shush owls” phrase I was so taken by in one of the NaPoWriMo poems by Kevin J O’Conner

Thankyou both

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Woof

I’d like to get a brown and white dog
a dog-dog
with a pointy nose, not too sharp
triangle ears. No, floppy ears
like a spaniel
or terrier
maybe a black and white dog
not too shaggy
or a smooth-toffee Weimaraner
but you pay an arm and a
leg for those
a short-hair mutt
good with children
likes to run
not too energetic
must enjoy lazy afternoons
watching How To Train Your Dragon
medium-sized
a smart dog who
only barks happily
jumping in the waves
or defensively
when the situation is grave
and if the kids fall in a hole
“What’s that Skip? The old quarry? I’ll be right away!”
OK
that was a kangaroo.
A handsome dog. A nice dog
not Lassie, or Timmy or The Littlest Hobo or Flipper… oh
that was a dolphin.
The right dog
a dog-dog. A dog…
woof

 

Today’s prompt: write a poem about an animal

Photo: Photo by Catherine Heath on Unsplash

I turn my camera on

Look without words
simply observe
click
it’s not perfect
take five shots, one hundred
lucky
it’s not drinks
my eyes become
photo scouts, seeing
colours and depth of field where
before
it was merely
the world

 

Today’s challenge was to write a poem that engages with another art form. I have been getting back into photography lately and really enjoying it! The poem title is stolen from the awesome song of the same name by Spoon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94IMfEvXtl0

Photo: Claire Doble

Lost summer

Never been so sad to smell the blossoms of spring

and I ache as the blue-white light of morning gapes across the sky

stretching, yawning, already weary and soft-boiled eggshell cracked

thinking of long hot days to come, the fatigue of grass

that steam of green in the stalks and the buzz

the singing, ringing zing of high season and deepest cornflower blue horizons

my cheeks cool in the 7am, useless, yearning for the summer I’ll miss

a loss, pre-thought onslaught of grief, mess of relief

hard to believe those blooms will burst and shine and shrivel

music washing, bright splashes sloshing of chlorine, kids scream

not me, I won’t be here this time, my life splintering

and the perfect pale of latent April air swirls round

faint scent of airline fuel inches consciousness to stay

promise me, please – desperate bargain I’ll betray

dreams stillborn, nascent, can’t beg more time, it’s racing

sands have slipped beneath and the sun will snap and break

my heart, my heart, what depths of sorrow exist in bright never-tomorrows

shimmer perfect, absent-death preserves a chimera of not to be

 

Today’s GloPoWriMo prompt to write an elegy, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail. 

Recording: https://soundcloud.com/user-808707280/lost-summer

Memory Car

when you drive it, memories come out

memories

of the memory car

the memory car has got a switch that can turn it on and off

do you know what it can go?

very fast!

there also is a backseat

for you

it’s so big

for you to get in

you can’t open the door

if you want to get in

because there is no door

we have to jump into the memory car

do you know what the memory car is?

it’s so long

do you know what it’s got?

a fire top

do you know where the memories all go?

out the roof

and like a pink one lands in my hand

can you drive it?

 

This was the Day 13 prompt (yesterday) to write about something that is mysterious and spooky in a bad way (like a witch), or mysterious and spooky in a good way (possibly also like a witch? It depends on the witch, I guess!) Or just the everyday, mysterious, spooky quality of being alive. This was a “found poem” taken mostly verbatim from something my four-year-old was telling me.

Clippers

It is not a dull thing

but a sharp thing

a handy little tool

if mundane

did you know

people used to burn

fingernail parings and hair

from a brush or comb

because they had fires

and to prevent witchcraft

being done

we don’t have open grates now

nor such fear of spells

you might still want to prevent, say, Google

from getting your DNA on file, oh

they probably have it already

and the name of your first pet

but prior to this poem

they didn’t know

I had these

at home

 

Today’s prompt was to write a poem about a dull thing that you own, and why (and how) you love it. Not sure if I covered the love bit – but I use my nail clippers a lot! 🙂  I skipped a couple of days due to extreme busyness but I’m back.

Photo: Claire Doble

Mangrove

There is a heart-place

Of mangroves and oyster rocks

Sei Shonagon, Megan Willcox

Soft, quiet hollows of sand, like the scoops of a hip

A headland, like Scotland

All green and black

Where the sea rushes in

And sucks right back

Is a Beowulf Boudicca

Lurking deep

Below slimy kelp

dry salt smell in the heat

I’m afraid

If I go…

It might…

Disappear

Will it flip, mind twisting, turning, running, burning

Tunnel clear

Back here?

A forest path

Gravel and soft brown

Pineneedles where a

Russian scarf

Drapes, disintegrating down

A secret house

Forest sprites,

Where?

Do they come out at night?

Another heart-place for me

On the other side, through the trees

Today’s prompt/challenge was to write a Sei Shonagon-style list of “things.” What things? Well, that’s for you to decide! I remembered a work colleague and how we were so into Sei Shonagon for a while. Then I thought of faraway places in the heart that make it beat faster. The place I often thought of as a refuge/ happy place is where I’m soon going to be moving to. So I’m wondering if I’ll have to invert that once I get there, and imagine myself back in Switzerland instead!

Photo: Claire Doble