Don’t be in a hurry, the buds tell me.
Open when you’re ready.
What does it matter if others blossom
Remember the gulls
how they fly in loose formation over the sea
how there’d always be some bringing up the rear,
It’s not a race as our Prime Minister said.
They get there in their own sweet time.
Like my teachers said of me, you may be slow, John,
but you get there in the end,
It’s okay to be a straggler.
I’m on my back doing yoga when I notice how dusty the floor is
and I think about writing a poem to sweep it up before
the cleaner gets here but I’ve already written that ; perhaps then
a poem, a funny one, about ants doing yoga when I realize
I’ve written about that too; Tanya’s poem about
‘sorrow and joy being ‘two strokes of life’s art’ set me thinking
about Joy and Sorrow both having wings, which I’d already covered
in ‘The Green Gazebo’ which my followers have sat in too many times..
Physios, podiatrists, personal trainers. Tick. Tick. Tick.
That’s the trouble with being prolific: you’re left with nowhere to go.
Twenty cat poems, a handful of haiku on gnats, dragonflies and dogs,
one about mirrors I’ll never better. A quiver of poems about Cupid’s arrows,
the mayhem and mischief they cause. Enough parables to fill a book.
Whatever Life throws at me and doesn’t kill me, I can write about.
There must be something new coming down the pike.
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.
That’s all you can do.
It’s like being bundled
in the boot
of a car,
taken by an alien
You’re abducted, baby.
in the arms
Go with it.
Don’t freak out.
Work, paint, sing.
Whatever’s yr thing.
pic courtesy of The New Yorker
I wish I could come up with something,
I really do.
I mean how long can it take for inspiration to strike?
Do I have to stand outside in an electrical storm under the tallest Norfolk pine to be struck?
Metaphorically speaking, of course.
I know slouching around doesn’t help or reading Beth’s poem on Cheetos and working up an appetite for snack foods won’t do it either.
Maybe if I played with my Rubik’s Cube like Maro does might do it — loosen up a few brain cells.
Perhaps if I go outside and wail beneath the full moon like uncle did before they took him away.
God, there must be something.
They still do ECT, don’t they?
That’s what happened to uncle. He saw God, angels, the whole shebang then settled down among the fairies at the bottom of the garden.
But he found something. He wasn’t wracked anymore. He found quiescence. If you got that, you don’t need anything else.
Shit, did I just write all that?
“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.”
“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?”
” ‘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?
You went after that photo like it was prey, she said. You were a fox, a panther, ferocious, determined.
You make it sound heroic.
It was also stupid, she snapped. There was no place to stop. You could have been hit by a car, that blue sedan in the photo, for instance, that beeped you to get off the road,
There was no other way, I said.
You could have let it go.
Never, When you are seized, you have no choice. You go after it like Amy Winehouse goes after the chorus of ‘Valerie’ or Eric Clapton the elation chords of ‘Layla’. There is total surrender to the feeling.The pursuit is everything.
The photo isn’t even that good, she said.
I got what I wanted. The sign. I would have climbed a precipice to get it
Sometimes I don’t understand you, she said.
Come on, I said, grabbing her hand, as we hopped back in the car and continued our journey, that sign disappearing in the rear-view
I have always wanted to work in a pencil factory
like Henry David Thoreau.
I could draw inspiration from my work each day,
pencil in appointments with imaginary friends
during coffee breaks or smokos.
Do they still have smokos by the way?
‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ but what about
the pencil? & which one?
2B or not 2B? Hamlet famously dithered just after
he had asked Ophelia [ in an earlier draft of the play ]
to come and look at his etchings and she had refused.
I may not be the sharpest pencil in the box but I still
want to make my mark upon the world.
can you think of other lines for this poem?
have you ever written an object poem? The opening lines are so important; would you like to share a few lines — or the whole poem — with us here?
pic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
I always call it ‘my first daft’ because I let the ideas roll recklessly out of my mind onto the page. No censoring, no editing. That comes later. That comes at the draft stage. For the moment what you have before you, were you to read it, is ‘daffy’, it makes little or no sense. It is amorphous writing. This little piece began amorphously, no punctuation, grammar awry, phrases all jumbled like a Rubik’s Cube before it is solved. If you’re in a hurry, if the ideas are rushing past, then daft writing is the way to go.