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.

Abducted

Give in.

That’s all you can do.

It’s like being bundled

in the boot

of a car,

taken by an alien

spacecraft.

You’re abducted, baby.

Whisked away

in the arms

of creativity.

Go with it.

Don’t freak out.

Forget appointments,

routines,

even food.

Work, paint, sing.

Whatever’s yr thing.

You’re abducted.

pic courtesy of The New Yorker

Wish I Could Come Up with Something

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.

I’m desperate.

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?

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?

Seized

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

Life as a Pencil

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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

My First Daft

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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.

Under the Influence

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Under the influence

I wrote copiously

From midnight to morning

Dementedly

 

A devil held my hand

An accomplice flayed my side

My mind had an erection

It could not hide

 

All my past spilled out

From the attic of my mind

My pen swept it up

I was writing blind.

 

Such dark energy

Flowed through me

and out through my fingers

its estuary.

 

* have you ever been driven to write in the middle of the night that took hours?

The Factory

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The factory’s closed, he said.

Closed? As in Closed Down?

No, the security guy chuckled. Closed for repairs, renovations.

I understood.

I had been going there for years, churning out my poetry, those little dispatches from the frontiers of perception. Lately however the software had stopped working, the hardware was getting cranky too.

Someone had noticed.

When will it be re-opened? I asked.

Soon, he said. We’ve got people working on it. You work here or something?

You could say that. Guess I need a break too just as much as the machines. Thanks anyway.

He watched me go as I trudged down the street. I gave him a little wave just before I turned the corner.

 

Too Much

 

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It’s a good day, I said, the sun angling through the red gums hooking our attention.

I don’t know, he said, Friday was pretty impressive too  [referring to the hailstorm]

then he looked at me, knowing I’m a poet, and said, you gunna write about it?

& I said, without thinking, when I get time, Mark, when I get time

& I thought about it afterwards, how you could write about almost anything at all

even the least bit startling — a rock maybe metamorphosing into a frog, the hurtle of creekwater rounding a bend, a screech of cockatoos tearing up the sky

there’d be so many you wouldn’t know where to stop. You’d be writing all day

& the night would hold some surprises too — a spider abseiling down a branch,  a fuchsia sunset or a blood moon, the soft sounds of love —-

everything offering itself into words: there’d be no end to it; in the end you’d have to

avert your eyes, close your mind, do what you were told never to do and NOT listen

to the Muse; only then would you get some peace, the world so ablaze with glory

the problem is not too little but too much.

 

is that the problem with your writing — too much to write about?

or is it writers’ block?

how do you deal with it?