poems

Nightbird

 

a nightbird calls outside my window

I am sick, so sick in the dark

it’s 4.24 on the morning of your funeral

life makes no sense, there is only love

 

you talk to everyone at the party

buy them gifts, exchange views

share laughs, drinks, stories

my only conversation is with you

 

grab my phone to check messages

that remain forever unread

missed your call, I miss you: indelible

a nightbird’s sick joke you’re dead

 

Photo: Sierra Narvaeth on Unsplash

 

 

Onions & Garlic

 

would it be weird to say

we were all in love with each other

a little bit?

the best friendships

pan out that way

I don’t know sometimes

the difference

between a kiss and a good conversation

when I remember how

she held me close

and put her lips on mine

and the way she writes

as faithfully as the moon

I can get melancholy

on Sunday afternoons

holding memories

listening to Nick Drake

or Cave

ignoring the kids

cooking onions

with love pulsing through my life

beat, beat, beat

in time

and what about that day

you made aglio e olio?

we were all so careful

with each other

so quiet

our eyes, cautious

your bathroom’s cold green tiles

because we wouldn’t

acknowledge

who’d slept with who

the night before

 

Photo: mayu ken on Unsplash

 

A dear friend passed away this week. He made chopping onions and garlic a work of art. He was also someone who read and took time to comment on this blog occasionally; as a fellow writer, he understood how wonderful it is to get that kind of validation! This poem was inspired, in part, by our friendship, as well as referencing various other treasured friends. It reminds me that it’s always worth taking a moment to appreciate the love that beats through your life. RIP JAn, my world is poorer without you but richer for having known you. x

Felled

 

Someone ripped out all the trees

between my house and next door

and

although we never did gardening together

or talked horticulture

it must be for you

because

the uprooted mess

of destroyed earth and leaves

is like how my heart feels

it makes no sense

why

won’t we ever talk again?

or laugh about

unsolicited plant-vandalism

there was so much more

I wanted to say

I need your input

on this thing

and what about a new tattoo

of a dead tree with roots akimbo

just won’t be the same

it’s all broken

there’s a hole

in my ground

without you

 

Photo: Claire Doble

 

Unfinished

I’m hoarding hairdye

don’t trust the supply chain

waiting to be

renewed again

it’s on the to-do list

but never

gets

done

 

I think, think, think, think

I can think my way out

of this

I’m wrong

but who’s to say

if the error is me

or the other

one?

 

I use you like an addict

taste it

all the next day

and unfinished sentences

don’t make

you safe, no

not on this

run

 

 

Photo: Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

Nightclubs in Russia – poem published

My new poem Nightclubs in Russia and accompanying spoken-word (also by me) was published this month in the awesome Canada-based Galaxy Brain magazine.

Head over and take a look, as well as my own piece, there’s loads of fantastic content there.

Link to Nightclubs in Russia by Claire Doble

Claire Doble

it’s happening now

sometimes think I’m going to die

I mean, of course

I am going to die

but that’s nebulous and

post-menopause

post-cancer, post-covid, post-relapse, post-deathofparents, post-divorce

post-pleasenothingawfulwiththekids

post-life

I’ll die

and

it’s ok

because

I will have done it all by then

right?

But sometimes

there’s a fizz in my chest

and I think

what if I’m dying now

I mean, of course

I am

 

 

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

unshed

scaggy bits of behind-fences

scan past, scad by

on the side of the train track

and I see the torso of

a dead deer or kangaroo that had

too many ribs too close together

and some of the skin was still there

my unuttered scream

is trapped somewhere in my chest

or at the base of my neck

an anxious vapour, a cloying veil

I am so afraid I can’t cut through

and share the poignancy of the world

beside the railway or

the pink clouds over the ocean

that are the colour of a ribbon for a girl

a pink ribbon that would show a spatter of blood

bright red at first then fading to brown,

rusty like dirt like old wounds like

dusk of the golden hour like

Sunday on the shortest day of the year

as evening closes down like

unshed tears, a stain

somewhere near my heart

a red-brown patch that

will never be washed away

do you know this feeling. Do you? Do you

do you unweep, unscream

and hold that feeling, yes that one

in your body

on a train?

 

Photo by Emile Guillemot on Unsplash

Besides, I have poems to write

 

Evidently the sea

has taken away the sand

leaving rocks where

before it was dunes

 

and my shifting day

stole away an idea

beauty shimmered, lost and

never wrote it down

 

one request got through

(and first thoughts

are not best regarded

– even angels fear to tread on broken beaches)

besides, I have poems to write

 

Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

Writing news – Poem published & novel progressing

Hello! How’s everyone been doing in Covid times?

We’re coming out of lockdown here in Australia and, because I’m not in a big city, things were relatively mild here. I didn’t enjoy homeschooling but I’ve never really taken to the Hausfrau stuff anyway. (I’m sure I’m not alone in that!) I feel lucky that we got off so lightly. But it has been a testing time.

Anyway, to happier news.

This week INVICTUS was published, an online mag dedicated to works produced during lockdown. They were kind enough to include one of my poems (and my recording of it) so please take a look / listen / read here: https://invictus-spark.org/claire-doble-virus/

I’m also racing to the finish line for the first draft of my novel. Wow, this has been a long time coming! It has happened via a six-month Write Your Novel course at the Australian Writers Centre. I don’t know if I would have got there without it (well, I did write a rough draft of this same book in 2016-17). The course has been great because I’ve learnt so much. Possibly the biggest shift has been in my expectations.

When I completed the rough draft of this work back in 2016, I had no idea what to do with it. It started well, I liked the world I created and the characters. But it went badly off-tangent around the three-quarter mark and therefore I thought it was a ‘failed’ attempt at a novel. Yeah, I’m not exactly easy on myself! I’ve spent a bit of time processing that recently. If I’m honest, I felt some real grief and sadness that I didn’t fully appreciate what I’d achieved back then. I thought because it was only 80% ‘there’ that it was not good enough and I discounted the whole thing. Wow. Perfectionism is a bitch.

Now, through this course, I’ve realised that’s pretty normal. Very few people are going to write a 100% killer first-draft. That’s the whole point of a first draft! So I’m back. Slow process. But I feel way more equipped now to see this through. Unfortunately for you though, this is all academic as you won’t get to see or read anything for a while!

But I like to do these semi-regular updates. It helps me to keep track of what I’m doing. For now, I’m feeling pretty good, like I’m on the right path with it all. (Even if still miles to go before I sleep.)

So yeah… watch this space!

 

PS: Totally forgot to say it’s a year since I left Switzerland! That was the other reason to write this!