I like to read the crazed calligraphy of car tyres
on roads, the angry black swathes of rubber
on bitumen from burn-outs and donuts. What are we
to make of such marks, the road their canvas?
Do we elevate it to ‘outsider art’; Do we call them,
‘hoons’ or ‘street artists’? Do they love the smell
of burnt rubber in the morning as they furiously apply
the high octane brush of machismo? Do they,
I wonder, gloat over their works in the days & weeks
that follow, as if they were pictures hanging on a wall ?
- pic courtesy of pixabay by Jan-Mollander
“What’s the worst thing?” I was asked in my zoom workshop.
“The worst thing? What a writer can do? Let’s see.” I said. “The worst thing is being staid”.
I had to spell the word to make sure they got the right meaning.
“You know what ‘staid’ is?” I asked.
:Yes,” Tamara answered. “Unadventurous. Dull.”
“Correct. And you know where the word ‘staid’ comes from?”
There was silence.
“It’s the adjectival use for the past tense of ‘stay’ which is ‘stayed’ so the worst sin of a writer is being rigid, unadventurous, unchanging, unwilling to take risks, staying the same.”
I let that sink in.
“Living things evolve,” I said. “Let your writing evolve. Take risks. Don’t worry if some don’t take off. Others will hit their mark. But you don’t know if you don’t try.”
We took a short break … and we all came back a little different.
- do you agree? what do think the worst sin a writer can commit?
Don’t throw away your old stuff.
You will never have enough
new material to work with;
writing can be tough.
Put away your frail and flaccid.
put it in a book.
And in an idle moment, open it,
lighten up, have a look.
Give it iron, backbone,
a new voice, beat
find it a new form.
Let the old be reborn.
Everything will have its place.
Everything its time
the giddy, garrulous, the gruff.
Don’t throw away your old stuff..
This is Max.
The birthday boy.
He was 10 years old the other day.
Say happy birthday to Max.
He’s my grand-daughter’s dog.
A lovely, well behaved Labrador.
But recently Max did a Houdini.
Somehow he got out and went for a wander.
When my grand-daughter got home she looked everywhere and began to get anxious. Max has ID on his collar but their house abuts an 80 k zone.
Then a woman phoned.
Your dog is in my backyard, she said. He’s fine.
When she picked Max up he had a great big grin on his face.
What you been up to, Max? she asked.
But Max kept mum.
It must have been good because Max slept very soundly that night and that great big grin was still on his face.
Stephen King wrote a lot.
If God were as busy as Stephen King
He would not have rested on that seventh day.
Stephen King wrote as many books almost
as God put up stars
but not all of them were good.
None of them were duds
but only a few shine — you know them:
‘The Shining’, for instance, ‘Misery’,
the first third of ‘It’, the novella ‘Stand by Me’.
Maybe that’s all we can hope for —-
in a long and busy life only a few of our works
*have I left any good ones out?
*what’s your favourite King book?
*which have you read over and over?
Do you like this hi-neck sweater? she says. I’d like to buy it for you for Xmas. But you’ve got to keep it a secret.
I don’t know, he says. I prefer V-necks. Will you buy me a V-neck instead?
What have you got against hi-necks anyway?
You can’t whip your iPhone out or wallet from your top pocket at a moment’s notice, he says.
You’re not Walter Mitty? are you she says. You’re not a gunslinger.
But, but ….
And your top pockets are not holsters, are they? And this is West Lakes Shopping Centre NOT the Wild West!!
Can’t a guy dream? I smile
- do you know who Walter Mitty is?
- do you sometimes fantasize about being someone else?
- do the clothes you wear create fantasies or do you buy certain clothes because they ‘feed’ a fantasy?
D,H, Moore wrote
that his thoughts buzzed around
but I like to think
Wordsworth & his sister Dorothy
as a cloud
through the fields
& being seized
by the vision
of the ‘host of golden daffodils’.
my distractions sit
plentiful & constant
sooner or later one settles
like a hummingbird
on a flower
pic courtesy of Wiki Commons
Locked between his headphones
the scraggly haired beachcomber
scours the beach with his detector
its one perfectly round ear
listening to talk-back from the sand
music to his ears :
dollar coins , gold ear rings
or bottle tops , tin cans —
relics of summers empire .
On and on he goes
in his hand a miniature spade
and a blue bucket of hope
- pic by senila ilinykn from Unsplash
I used to like my poems neatly wrapped.
I thought of them as artifacts.
Pristine, well presented, spruce
But now I like them ramshackle, loose,
keen to slouch in seedy places,
tie undone, inquisitive with loose shoe laces.
I thought I’d sit down with it
Knock back a few beers
Chew the cud of all those years
But I couldn’t get into it
I couldn’t be bothered
I just wanted to get out
No tears, no recriminations,
Start a new life
Go on perhaps my last adventure
A modest one but still.
The blossoms were out
And so was I.
I wasn’t over the hill
When people down the track
Ask me, how was it?
I’ll say, read this poem.
This is how it was.