Sailing

In the old days — I’m talking ’95 — I did drafts.

My notebooks don’t lie, Thirteen sometimes of the one poem

and it still turned out crap. There’s something to be said

for inspiration, how it comes light and easy like a breeze,

and if you catch it, you’re sailing.

The Loves of My Life


 
I love
Peroni pint glasses
Ohio
Blue Tip Matches
& the waifs of light
the sky at sunset snatches
 
I love a cutting comment
but not at my expense
I love Jabberwocky
though it doesn’t make
much sense
 
I love the nonchalance
of cats
who’ve mastered
the art
of just getting on with it
& not giving a fart
 
I love the lilt & lift
of ‘a brown-eyed girl’,
the ballet of a kite
& how we enter
the world
in a rush of light.
 
*what things do you love?

Mole

You say

I am a mole

when I write

burrowing

down

to my tunnel

with the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign

on the door;

but I say

I know

no other way

that when I’m done

I emerge

into the light

tiny eyes

blinking

  • pic courtesy of Wikimedia

If you go looking for me

If you go looking for me sometime after dark

I’m out with my flashlight, hunting for a snark,

a perfect metaphor for an imperfect poem

so I can bag it briskly and bring it home,

a perfect metaphor, so rare and so apt

that captures the mood, the Magnificat

of the vision splendid I hope to impart,

the perfect, perfect metaphor somewhere in the dark.

On Covers

This song comes on the radio.

It’s one I know but they’ve done something to it

it’s softer, whiter, drained of passion and angst, its southern origins.

It’s a cover of Lodi, the Creedence song.

They’re singing the lyrics but they’re not singing the song.

The chunky guitars are gone and it has a clarinet and acoustic guitar backing..

Come on.

There are good covers.

Think Ry Cooder’s cover of Elvis’s ‘Little Sister’,

the Soup Dragons cover of the Stones’ ‘I’m Free’

Amy Winehouse’s cover of the Zutons ‘Valerie’

but this cover’s a travesty.

Look what they’ve done to my song, mama.

Why would anyone bother?

This guy’s stuck in Lodi. He’s desperate but he’s given up.

He’s drained. It’s like the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’,

Billy Joel’s Piano Man but you wouldn’t know it

hearing this pallid, weasel kneed version.

I know I shouldn’t get worked up. Hey, it’s only a song

but I’ve loved songs all my life; it’s my passion, more than poetry

but Hey! a good song is poetry

so I’m playing Creedence’s ‘Lodi’ to get me out of this funk.





*what are some of your favourite covers?

pic courtesy of Pinterest

Showers

Showers acupuncture skin , pummel

angry muscles

into submission ;

like coffee they

kick-start us into action ,

the quick fix , the jab for our frenetic times but

they are ill suited

to contemplation or insight —

Archimedes

would have discovered nothing under a shower ;

nor are they

conducive to knowledge ; you cannot

read under showers nor

can you write unless it is wet verse ;

moreover showers only cater

for one side at a time — leaving  the

other blue with cold ;

in this

baths are more inclusive immersing us

like icebergs with only

the head above water ;

showers have

much to learn ;

young upstarts , they lack the noble

ancestry of baths yet

arrogantly tower above them  ; their heads

must constantly be lowered

* which do you prefer: showers or baths?
* if you were asked to write a bath poem what would your opening lines be?

Biros

I started to think about biros again, how mine was long and thin like a matchstick but it had no heft.

A biro should have heft if it is to write anything of import.

Mine is fine for writing light verse, things of flippancy and quirk.

But for something darker, more adventurous, a biro with girth is required.

Yes, I decided, for Father’s Day I’m going to request a biro with a stubby stem, a bit like its inventor Lazlo Biro

photo of Lazlo Biro courtesy of Wikipedia 

Cliffs I Have Known

Unstable Cliffs, the sign reads. Stay Clear.

And I think of the unstable Cliffs I have known:

The deputy that has a meltdown whenever I call in sick:

my cousin’s boyfriend who punches holes in the wall

when he is denied,

and the glue-sniffing Cliff I taught in Year 11 who fell asleep

on the tracks coming home from a party and was run over by a train.

They should have come with warnings too. 

Moments in Literary History 1

In the late Spring of 1891, Greenbough Smith, the newly appointed literary editor of

‘The Strand’ received a submission of two handwritten manuscripts.

Forty years later he described how he reacted on that day—“I at once realized here was the greatest short story writer

since Edgar Allan Poe, I remember rushing into Mr. Noames [publisher ] room and thrusting the stories before his eyes ….

Here was a new and gifted story writer; there was no mistaking the ingenuity of the plot, the limpid clearness of the style,

the perfect art of telling a story.”

The two stories that excited Smith’s interest were ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’ and ‘The Red-Headed League’

You Looking at Me ?

Those rocks deflect you

from the red-backs

in your mind that crawled off your brush

onto the canvas that morning:

those Ned Kelly heads

staring at me

from the foot of the quarry:

you looking at me, I say.

You looking at me?

I’m the only one here.

Then I come and get you

and those stolid blocks of stone

with eye slits

wallop your imagination.

the ones you’re committing

to canvas so people can stare at them from the walls

of a gallery.