Day 02 – lessons from Constellations 

My housemate & I saw the play Constellations tonight. It was his choice because as the program states: Payne’s script presents a series of vignettes centring on two characters across various parallel universes — the same setting & conversation, but different outcomes each time. This unconventional love story set in the quantum multiverse has us asking: What if there are infinite versions of you & I?  And what if there are multiple universes pulling our lives in a myriad of different directions? — & he has been toying with similar themes in a play he said he wants to call the final last night of our lives. (I think it’s a great title & might even pinch it if he doesn’t produce something soon. Fair warning given!)

Tonight’s play was interesting without being awe-inspiring. But given it explored themes of love in occasionally unusual ways, there was some useful material that had me both thinking during the play & on the drive home. With that in mind here’s a pome-in-progress; structural inspired by the play — ie, in vignette form & using rhythm, repetition & some images from the play.

lessons from Constellations 
(vignettes about love)

love is knife edge sharp
love is knife edge hard
love is a knife
i am knifed
Et tu

the dangerous act
of loving someone 
leaves you alone
with your fragility 

perhaps even frail, guilty
for there is always 
one other who comes 
between us & our egos

we remain perpetually 
lost among the great 
mechanical quantumness 
of love forevers

we blithely step through
those ever sliding doors 
some into happy afters
some into miseries unending
some into sunlight
some into death
supernova bright 

we still try

night ships
titanic dinghies
missing their chance
thieving time
as they crash 
into everything 
but the ice

always peeking 
doors of death 
despite the possible multiplicities
& symmetry of circles 

there is no formula for love 
all we have are 
our imperfect hearts
& fireflies brief lives

(Hour 21) 6.30-7.30pm — #30 “Dirty Gertie”

Incomplete, more drafting necessary; but no time available. A shower & clean teeth helped, but already the steam is fading.


16 feet of very nude female
bronze ; on her toeballs ;
arching on her own ball of earth
sword aloft ; a colossus in V ;
grand scale commemorative art ;
celebrating war ; shouting victory ;
triumph ; black silhouettes the sky
somehow towering above
the surrounding scrapers.

locals have a colloquial ;
as Dubliners do for
“the Floozy in the Jacuzzi”
& “the prick with the stick”.

hence the symbol of German
defeat, Paris’s protection ;
becomes “the Wicked Woman” ;
& “Dirty Gertie” ;
all stemming from a time
when bus passengers asked
to disembark at the stop
next to “the Naked Lady”
when buying tickets …


#74. Oh dear.

Day 20 – image games

The story of this poem tells itself within the poem. Makes life easier.


misplaced lake

one of my favourite travel stories
concerns a photograph of holy water

taken after my european sojourn
framed with precise pre-digital care

a vivid purple, a pool of venal blood
the top dam at twilight, my first night back

when showing it, i told my parents it was
a lake in france — for 3 days they believed

until i caught dad looking closely
it’s not really france is it?

no, i admitted, it’s your own country
the heart of everything 



Day 28 – April Twenty Eight: over the top obits

Some months ago, one of the finest actors of our/any generation died after an incident with drugs went wrong.  At the time there was much speculation about what caused it. There was also an abundance of slightly sickly, sentimentalising of “the soul of the tortured artist”.  

Back then, I PDFed a few of the finer examples I read. Today I tweaked & played with some of the more sick & sycophantic phrases, shaping them into a homage to suffering. (I have not acknowledged my sources, for fear of embarrassing them.)

I ran out of time to finish it, but there’s something there I like.

Beautiful Helplessness

addiction haunts every artist
barely disciplined helplessness
we’re all familiar with darknesses force
if we keep the poison away, the elixir is lost
if we had everything there would be love, no desire
art mends what life shatters, so escape into our creations
torment & talent are inseparable

all the d words appear
drugs, done in a dark places in despair?
artists who’ve done deals with their demons
or rather rock star hubris, deliberately courting death
an arrogant doubtlessness they’re above the rules, above odds

the Faustian pact where only utter self-annihilation suffices

hostage possession obsession carnage

the price of prodigious creative vitality is premature & public mortality
fleeing from pain, transfigurance enables endurance of suffering
solitude & uncertainty are part & parcel of artistic expression.


not all great artists suffer


 2014-04-28 23.51.50

April 20 – Day Twenty: scottish inspiration

The following text is what I posted on fb that day.  Just realised I haven’t posted Day 20 – NaPoWriMo here. Came onto fb over an hour ago & got sucked into a quagmire of Easter posts, funny cat vids, ghost cars & a Guardian article “Top 10 Easter scenes in literature” which lead to several other Guardian articles I read until POEM OF THE WEEK Monday 7 October 2013.

The picture accompanying this online poem led me to write my own poem on a similar theme to Butlin (but less eloquently) & abandon the poem I had been thinking about/working on for much of the day.

Princes Street
(Holding its cup out to “Nicolson Square” by Ron Butlin)

Frozen on the silvermirrored ground
& in diamond focused digital clarity
Behind us the steeples stepladdering souls
to heaven are fuzzy & drizzlefaded
Hands buried in jacket pockets
Or, better, gloved
Under the brolley, from beneath the hood, or beret
We all look without looking, from the corner of our hearts

We know she’s there, but if we pretend she’s not
We can continue our golden walk to work, unencumbered

She, huddling in her shrugged shrunken hug
has one red glove on her lap
Perhaps to better emphasise bare finger tips
holding the paper cup
Her eyeshadow sockets stare off
somewhere at knee height but at no-one’s knees
However, the detail I’m most drawn to is,
that, the edge of her dirtybrown blanket is wet


The city and the city … a woman begs on Princes Street in Edinburgh.

Image: Princes St.  Source Page: The Guardian, Poem of the Week: Ron Butlin.

April 4 – Day Four: ruminations on passion (& an “easter egg”)

Today I saw a friend perform in a musical version of Christ’s Passion.  It was an amateur production, with all the accompanying issues.  (As an actor he makes a great poet: I only hope he’s not upset by today’s offering…)  It was the second time I’ve seen it.  He is my friend & I want to support him, even if I don’t share his convictions.  But the darkness of the theatre, & the ample moments of downtime, allowed for many chances to reflect, to think, to meditate, to nap.)  

& I chose to think about perhaps my favourite disciple — after Thomas, who I rightly slag off in today’s poem — the one I believe has been most maligned, misunderstood, & misportrayed.  That is of course, the Kissing Disciple, Judas.  

Sadly I feel this is my least successful effort of the month to date.  But the idea of NaPoWriMo is to challenge oneself & create work one might not normally attempt.  Maybe it’ll look better in a week or two, with some distance behind it.

Your “easter egg” is not one you have to search too hard for – it’s just at the bottom of this post … as a second bonus poem.  (Does this give me a credit for tomorrow?)


Two Versions of The Cross



The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved

“It were better for him never to have been born”

the thing most Christians miss is Judas had the hardest job
they lavish love on that snivelling denier, Peter so-called Rock
or poor Thomas & his doubts (understandable, but inexcusable)
leaving the red-haired BFF to swing forever weighted by silver.

it’s easy to paint Jesus White & Judas Black, crudely simplifying
perhaps the most complex decision ever made by man: betray
or believe in the impossible — in return from death. who among
us can act correctly not knowing the consequences of choice?

the argument: Peter didn’t know the plan, but what if Judas
did — if the motivation was to accomplish Christ’s mission
then Judas is the catalyst for the event which (allegedly) saves
humanity — by sacrificing the man that clothed eternal life.

the truth then, or at least this one possible version of it
is your, my, our salvation (real, wishful or delusional)
is built upon one man’s not actually a betrayal. a man
who may, have been the truest bravest disciple of all





Image:  Copy_of_el_beso_de_Judas



A Review in Free Verse of a Musical Version of Christ’s Passion

From a practitioner’s perspective, it was hard to appreciate:

The multiple missed lighting spots.
Stilted movements. Stilted frozen tableaus
Strange forced perspective flats of the room
where the last (Escher-esque) supper was held.
Repeated use of downstage hands to mask faces
wildly gesticulating arms & finger pointing
as the only way to communicate emotion.
Stepping forward to deliver a line,
then returning with a snap to their ranks.
The pristinely clean costume shop clothes
(Pilate’s crushed velvet robes were a cack).
The perfectly timed too quick sound cues
(the impatient cock had already crowed
before Peter had denied three times).
Corny dialogue, poorly delivered.
Corny lyrics, not poorly delivered
surprisingly sang with a strange naive beauty
by far the most emotive element of the show.
Over-produced synthesiser-rich faux-pop score
Although lines like: He’s no messiah. He’s a lunatic, a liar &
Jesus remember me when you come (come) ((come)) into your kingdom
are memorable for the wrong reasons.
Thankfully though Mary Mag was a hottie
(as she should be), although some colour blind
casting might have helped. Poor Asian Judas
& Asian Pilate opposite a dull whitebread Aryan Jesus
who he seemed to spend almost as long
up on the cross as he did 2000 years ago.

One can’t fault the cast’s earnestness,
nor their conviction, nor even their faith
none of which I share. All seemed pleased
& the audience full of school children bussed in
from religious schools, all seemed impressed.

the thing that sticks with me the most:
is the primary school boy who said in a whisper
to his mate: his heart’s still beating




Wrestling in Front of Escher’s Supper Room.   image: moi

April 2 – Day Two: merging worlds

MMORPG. It begins simply. You download, log in, choose a game name for yourself, pick a race, learn the rules.  Grow your city, your army, build might. Be attacked, lose troops, learn. Consider giving up. Be invited into an alliance.  Meet others. Talk laugh learn about people from all over the world. Grow … as a person.  Have fun.  Perhaps even escape the pain of the real world for a little while.

This wasn’t the poem I was planning to write today, but what happened in my “game” life affected my “real” life so deeply, I had to try expressing it…


The_Hunter’s Hearts

with love, for Odinson


like millions of others, i escape (insert own idiosyncratic ailment here)

that the heaviness the universe has lain across my lonely heart

by assuming an imagined identity & logging into a fictional world


there with thousands of other digital dwarves, pixeled pixies &

hairy footed short people (whose name can’t be used for legal reasons)

to play a harmless hobby that helps maintain sanity on the sadder days


yet somewhere in this electronic utopia  someone sadder than i, sadder

than most, sadder, & sadly, madder too.  for seemingly this man’s sole

delight is tormenting a grieving 11 year old boy about the recent death


of his mother.  what heartlessness, what emptiness of soul makes

a grown man believe such behaviour is acceptable in any reality

virtual, or flesh & blood. but i won’t dwell on him. he’s not worth it.


rather i’ll acknowledge the spontaneous beauty which took place in GC

(Global Chat to the uninitiated) as frenemies from dozens of alliances

rose up with one voice to silence Dubz, drive him into submission, away


his annoying pest like behaviour finally crossed a line, when he created

an alt (a character not his usual) of unrepeatable cruelty.  at that moment

although we’re spread across continents, in every timezone, babel’s babble


we all were hunter’s hearts, as one choir, protecting him from the ramblings

of a deranged & damaged mind. till his sister burst in roaring, a beautiful wild

lioness protecting her cub: a true ball buster; a twister carrying him home from oz.


if it’s possible, odinson, odiwan kenobi, my young sensai, my regular rap across

my knuckles because i don’t  farm or fight enough (any) battles; because my TK

count is not OK, & i just like to hug my might, hug, hug it throughout the night


if it’s possible, forget that sad pathetic broken heart who seeks to hurt you

think only of the 100’s of hearts around you; around the world, who love, care for

& want to you to grow up to be the very best Hunter we know you will be






Elven Archer by Pickyme

Image from: