As stated in my introductory posts about the 2022 24 Hour Poetry Marathon June 25-26 I won’t be posting all of every poem on my website. I’ll post the best few lines or perhaps, 2 to 3 lines that make the most sense out of context. Consider them: pseudohaiku.
(Hour 01) 10.30-11.30pm. IMAGE PROMPT: spiky sculpture in snow
& we’re away. One down (though technically two). The Marathon now offers two official prompts every hour, one text-based & one visual. Being a sucker for punishment & it being early days, this hour (& perhaps this hour only) I’ve written one for each. The visual one was as the title of this post suggests. Here’s the snippet.
being close to a mystery : & not knowing is agony : even if that knowledge : has the express purpose : of obliterating : us
(Hour 02) 11.30-12.30am. VISUAL PROMPT, Man looking round white edge
Managed two again this hour. Again choosing the visual prompt largely because it’s from the other characters POV & I want to mix it up.
not sure what
Ryan thinks he’ll do
now he’s clinging —
to the edge of
one of those things —
(Hour 03) 12.30-01.30am. VISUAL PROMPT, red tree in pink field
The poems keep coming, but I’m already feeling tired. This is too early for this to be happening.
all this red dust in the sky : gets in your eyes : doesn’t irritate or itch : but plays tricks : on what you know is there: but feels like it isn’t : or can’t be
(Hour 04) 01.30-02.30am. BOTH PROMPTS combined: 100 years from now & old piano in the forest
A bit cheeky but I’ve combined both prompts in this one poem. I’m okay with it, cos it gives me a longer break & the two prompts do work together well. Having said that, I know I haven’t quite set the poem 100 years from now, only in Stella’s imagination, but the intention is there.
i came across an old piano
in the forest flaking veneer
like the shoulders of a sunburnt child
(Hour 05) 02.30-03.30am. TEXT PROMPT: write a poem using 5 of the 10 words
I’m glad my story has hallucinogenic drugs in it. Means I can whip off a quick poem, claim the character ingested Dust again & go rest. NB I used all 10 words
so i half-dream : of sunflowers : knitting cheddar : cheese satchels : for their favourite gardeners : to keep seeds in
(Hour 06) 03.30-04.30am. TEXT PROMPT, letter from someone no longer in your life
Bit uninspired by the photo, & I struggled to adapt the text prompt to the verse novel … but I kind of have by using personal stories & pretending they happened to Ryan (there’s always a letter poem in these kind of things NaPoWriMo & Marathon & I’m bit over them TBH).
spending endless hours trying to teach “I love you”
in Russian: Ya lyublyu tebya without success
if only I’d tried Yellow blue tibia I might’ve succeeded
(Hour 07) 04.30-05.30am. VISUAL PROMPT, old couple on bench in silhouette
5am here and very tired. This needs a lot of post-marathon tweaking.
& for the first time — I realise — how quiet
No insects, very few almost hesitant birdcalls
(no song) & no sign of movement on any roads
(Hour 08) 05.30-06.30am. VISUAL PROMPT: Mancala game
wrote poem. needed nap. nap raged long
in tonight’s house : the boy finds : a Mancala set : the rules : are so simple : as I watch : the boy & girl : play : she is rapidly : collecting : all the stones
i try not : to see : the symbolism
(Hour 09) 06.30-07.30am. TEXT PROMPT: kitchen cupboard memory
Take elements of truth. Tweak. Create new truth.
tonight straight from the tin
cold & without buttered toast
— i’m struggling to recall its appeal
(Hour 10) 07.30-08.30am. VISUAL PROMPT: looking up at a couple touching foreheads from below
After initially being singularly stonkered & utterly unimpressed by both prompts, this cute, perhaps clever, & definitely quirky tale presents another side to Ryan’s character … along with providing some much needed humour
so while we are : essentially : all looking skywards : anxious of AI pods : & drones : & god knows what : other death-dealing : monstrosities : he’s doing that too : plus with chins : & pimples : & boofheads : & meaningless arguments : about Disney : blocking much of the view
(Hour 11) 08.30-09.30am. TEXT PROMPT: laughter poem without using laugh words
It’s “funny” how a prompt which initially made me groan, can produce a poem (& a part of the narrative) I would never have conceived of without the initial impetus. So pleased with how things are tracking.
all five of us
holding it in
as best we can
they’re so close
we hear their
near silent hum
(Hour 12) 09.30-10.30am. BOTH PROMPTS: a gathering + photo of several drums
This is a bit too long & a bit too narrativey, but given I didn’t quite know where it was going I’m glad it got where it did in the timeframe I had. As they say in the film biz: I’ll fix it in post hahaha.
soon we had : a wild rhythm : going : including wild roars : hollers : screams : & yelps : as well as a canine chorus : from Milky : delighted he could join in : the chaos
(Hour 13) 10.30-11.30am. TEXT PROMPT: something bad that went right
A short poem’s a good poem, I always say. Especially if it says all it needs to say & fulfils the prompt.
need to find a way to say
that even though it took
the world almost (& maybe still)
(Hour 14) 11.30am-12.30pm. 1.5 PROMPTS: photo of mushrooms by boots + kinda a folk tale with a twist
No setup in this poem (lack of time) but it might actually work depending on the poems around it.
time is more
than standing still
it’s lying on its back
staring at the stars
(Hour 15) 12.30pm-13.30pm. BOTH PROMPTS: lust + delicate leaves
Sometimes everything falls into place with such simplicity: the prompts both word & visual; the idea, the image, the moment in the narrative, the structure, the actual words themselves — that’s when writing truly is …
& i feel as see-through
as the skeletal filaments
of a leaf left too long on the tree
(Hour 16) 12.30pm-13.30pm. TEXT PROMPT: last line question, title the answer
Two pretty uninspiring prompts this & photo of bland sunset mean I’ve taken the last hour easy to recharge for the final run home.
How the bloody hell
did they just obliterate
7 billion people
& countless billion
animals, birds, insects
in a millisecond?
(Hour 17) 14.30pm-15.30pm. PROMPT: mythical monster & silhouetted image 3 figures against blue slit
This one remains a WIP. Too much research too many unknowns, not enough about that section of narrative is locked in. Something to work on …
dam & blast
ahead : a narrow strait : dripping water : darkness : pale blue light : beyond : as if under neath : an endless ocean : forcing down : desiring only : to drown : anyone near : the wall whispers : of : all that water behind
(Hour 18) 15.30pm-16.30pm. TEXT PROMPT: moment of joy
A nice little poem about one character’s moment of joy, made more interesting as seen through another’s eyes.
still : watching Stella : arms to the sun : dancing : is a breath stopping : sight : that bubbles : laughter : in even my : grumpy breast
(Hour 19) 16.30pm-17.30pm. TEXT PROMPT: poem for a city, real or imagined
Sometimes prompts are just perfectly fitted for poems in your head. Yesterday while preparing & planning & re-reading current poems to find where there’s gaps that need filling, an arrival into the big smoke was one of those on the agenda. So tick.
just do it
are the piles of clothing
jeans & shirts & dresses
blown into doorways
handbags & backpacks
dumped on footpaths
(Hour 20) 17.30pm-18.30pm. VISUAL PROMPT: a mattress bed in a flower bed
I’ve said nothing which is enough said.
mattress bed in a flower bed
in my dream : i dream : of trying to sleep : lying on this : oddly placed : day lounge : but i can’t : knowing as i do : that 7 & 1/2 : earth minutes ago : the sun somehow : blinked entirely : out of existence : as if an enormous : intergalactic child : picked it up : like a marble : & popped it in : her pocket : before jumping on Einstein’s : beam of light : & riding away : stopping all the clocks : behind her
*****(Hour 21) 18.30pm-19.30pm. TEXT PROMPT: less than 50 words: must contain umbrella or almond
No more than 50 words. Perfect timing. (Though I did add a little game of my own into the mix)
not for me
you don’t get it
i don’t need an umbrella
want blessed rainfall on my skin
always keeping me clean, safe from harm
away from whatever’s in that alien Agent Orange
eviscerating everything good real & warm into soulless dust
(Hour 22) 19.30pm-20.30pm. TEXT PROMPT: tenderness
Another synergy moment. I need this moment. Tenderness was the perfect framing moment.
I just do. Trust me. I know without knowing
How I gotta approach them like they’re
Skittish colts. Cos they really are.
(Hour 23) 20.30pm-21.30pm. TEXT PROMPT: title of a book(s)
This penultimate poem is not related to the verse novel. It was originally going to be, but I got carried away playing games. 🤣
42 Bookers 2015-21
it might only be
a little life
but it is my life
& i am unwilling
to exit west
to lose everything
under the overstory.
i am a satin island
in a sea of fishermen
born in the year
of the runaways
next to a spool
of blue thread.
sucked hot milk from
the autumn milkman
am all that man is.
am girl, woman, other.
do not say we have
nothing. for we are
his bloody project
a history of wolves.
and i would rather
spend 10 minutes
38 seconds in this
in this mournable body
in the new wilderness
of a real life
than be burnt sugar
for the shadow king
& that is the promise.
for no one is talking
about this bewilderment
and the fortune men
lose in the sellout
to a passage north
to the great circle
of ducks, newburyport.
the long take
of the testaments
reminds us 4321
of lincoln in the bardo
& a brief history
of seven killings:
eileen, elmet, shuggie bain,
washington black, quichotte
as well as an orchestra of
minorities in the mars room.
(Hour 24) 21.30pm-22.30pm. TEXT PROMPT: poem that starts & end with same word (5 options given or choose your own)
Also not from the YA novel. Just want it all to stop hahahahahaha.
5 one-line pomes about: hope, stardust, cheese, sleep, & shoes
hope sleeps in cheese shoes
shoes hop over sleeping stardust
sleep cheesy hope in your stardust shoes
cheese stardust slopes hopewards
stardust chews sleep and shows hope