But is it poetry, John?

But is it poetry, John?

You mean, is it like Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’

you know the one, ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’

or ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’?

Probably not.

Well, How about Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost?

Come on, we’re talking 2020 here.

Then what?

A little bit of Billy Collins, I say, and Billy Connelly,

a sort of mad mix, the demotic and demonic.

We let our dirty laundry hang out. moon the pious,

but always in an Aussie accent. Your country first.

Does it have to rhyme? you ask. Probably not.

It’s not like Aussie Rules. There are no rules.

Though it’s a game anyone can play.

Just let it rattle off the tongue, roll off the mind,

Ignore the referees.

Have fun.

I Like Graphic Novels

I like graphic novels.

I always have.

I like the illustrations.

It’s the little kid in me.

I always wanted to be an illustrator

but I never got past

little stick men, sorry, people.

I like that they can tell a novel-size story

in 64 pages or less

when some writers – I am thinking Pasolini here —

can push it up to 900 pages.

Come on!! as Lleyton Hewitt would say.

I have my little list of favourites:

‘Wilson’ by Daniel Clowes and ‘A Taste of Chlorine’

by that French author

and ‘Maus’, of course, the classic by Art Spiegel.

I remember the excitement when I purchased

‘The Dark Knight Returns’ by Frank Miller when it first came out.

It was like when I bought the just released “Revolver’ by the Beatles

and ran down the ramp of the Adelaide Railway Station to catch

the train home so I could play it on the turntable

only to come a cropper at the end.

It was that kind of excitement.

When in doubt, choose a graphic novel, I say.

Forever Outsiders

Is this you in the photograph? Big, hulking, alone among others, a little menacing?

Writing is an hermetic act. Only other writers understand this. It can be seen as purely selfish . “You are wrapped in yourself,” I have been told more than once. “Bloated with your own self-importance.” Non-writers feel cut off, shut out, alone, forever outsiders. I do not know the answer to this, except to share what we write with our loved ones and hope they do not get envious or jealous of our special gift. Or perhaps it is better not to share, to beat others over the head with our little creations.

Perhaps it is better for writers to pair up with writers, like Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath though we all know what a disaster that turned out to be though I am sure there have been happy unions.

*what do you think?

* this post was inspired by Carolyn Cordon’s most recent post

* photo by alex plesovskich on Unsplash

What I Would Really Like to Do Now

“But what I would really like to do now is write children’s book.”

“Like ‘Pollyanna’?” I suggested. “Or ‘Possum Magic?”

“A bit more edgy,” she said, “Like ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, like the poems of Shel Silverstein.”

“I see.”

“What drove you to this.”

“The kids books in doctor’s waiting rooms. I want to throw them in the fish tank. I reckon I could write better than that. I’ve started one already.”

“You have? What’s it about”.

“A lizard. A Gilbert’s Dragon. I’ve called it ‘Gilbert Goes to Hollywood’.I’ve already written the first paragraph. Would you like to hear it?”

“Sure.”

” ‘Gilbert had always wanted to go to Hollywood. Ever since he sat on Julian’s lap and watched ‘Godzilla’ on TV. He wanted to be a star. An animal star. The Tom Cruise of lizards.’ “

  • have you ever wanted to write a children’s book?
  • Have you started one? how does it begin?
  • what’s your favourite children’s book? favourite children’s author?

Parable of the Tea Towel

I was halfway through the dishes when a call of nature distracted me.

When I resumed I could not find the tea towel anywhere. Where’s it gone? I said.

It’s on your shoulder, my partner laughed & there is was, dangling like a limp flag.

Made me think of that line from ‘Hey Jude’ , ‘the movement you need is in your shoulders’

& I thought, that’s it! that’s the answer: not carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders like Atlas

but shouldering your way through difficulties, so they part before you like the Red Sea did for Moses.

The Reader

There’s only one way to live in the world —and that’s to stay alert, interested.

So I couldn’t help but notice the reader in the pub sitting at ‘our table’, vigorously engaged in his book. He was dipping into it with his biro, busily marking passages, totally oblivious to his surroundings, And he never had a drink in front of him.

I went over to him.

Hello, I said, I’m a fellow reader. I just have to ask what book it is that’s got you so enthralled?

Ah, he said. Let me allay your curiosity.

And then he showed me.

Christ, I said, it’s a bit crumpled. Like it’s fallen in water.

It’s a well worn book, helaughed. And Christ is right. Look at the title.

I did but I could barely read it. Can I take a shot? I say, to show my mate in the wheelchair.

Of course, he said.

Is it fiction? I asked.

No, it’s factual,well researched, about the devilish goings on in the Papacy and in the clergy in general. Terrible things went on. When my friends bring up religion I whip out my book and quote passages from it.

But it’s condition?

Ahh, he said, I read it in the bath and sometimes it’s fallen in. And sometimes it’s been left in the rain and I have read it a few times. It’s an old book. It was battered when I bought it. Would you like to borrow it when I finish?

Awfully nice of you, I said, but I might give it a miss. Too much else on my plate. Are you by any chance an old Catholic boy?

Yes, he said. How did you know?

It takes one to know one, I said. Happy reading.

Five Seconds

We were speaking about the disproportionate

use of force by the Allies

during World War Two

esp the fire bombing of Dresden

when he brought it up

to the present

& personal:

when after an eighteen years’ cold case the police

finally caught up with him

& he was sentenced:

just think, he said, shaking his head,

fifteen years

for five seconds of madness

Courage

Sometimes I put up a post and no one visits.

No  ‘likes’.

No ‘comments’.

There is a terrible silence.

I’m like the wallflower at the dance.

The cheese that stands alone.

.I shrink. I shrivel.

I want to run, hide.

I’m the cowardly lion.

I panic.

I take the post down. I ditch it.

You must have noticed..

But once in a while, like my ‘Desecration’ post on Big Blue Mouth,

I leave it.

I stand by it.

I stand up for it.

Damn it all! It’s good, I say

Sometimes I have courage. Sometimes I don’t.

Accent

I don’t mind her reading passages from ‘The Secret Garden’ before breakfast each morning , if only she didn’t go around the house the rest of the day speaking with a Yorkshire accent

*have you read ‘The Secret Garden’ or seen the film?

*when’s the last time someone read to you?

*what’s the most difficult accent you’ve had to contend with?

66 Days

It took 66 days for Bobby Sands to starve himself to death.

It took me many years to starve my mind of the fear of public speaking

& though I have come a long way & people praise my confidence

it is still a work-in-progress

  • what fears have you overcome either partially or fully?
  • mural in Belfast courtesy of Wiki Commons