Day 14 – Second New Game, still learning the rules

Being a new week (after second Poet in Residence session yesterday), means I start a new game (actually I’ll be playing a couple this week).

This one I’m still kinda making up as I go along (it’s a test run for next week) & it harks back to the Title Poem of week one, I’m calling it Gossip: which means – Choosing a book, opening it randomly several times, picking out phrases, words, images, ideas … then assembling them to make a poem. I have chosen a phrase from: the first & last pages (1 & 378), every 50 pages (50, 150, 200, 250, 300, 350), & 5 random pages (55, 173, 221, 292 & 292, yes I opened it to the same page twice)

I’ve done a couple of test runs today & it’s certainly easier than Title Poem was. More fun too, cos there’s more choice & you can choose ‘clues’ to help give the book away. Can you guess the identity of the book? Today’s is, admittedly, pretty easy …

shirley of verdant verandahs

it was a terrible temptation
an irresistible temptation
so much superfluous flesh

the dark secrets of pool
& cascade soft mingling
of fireshine & shadow

the sunshine fell down
the sunshine of a 100 summers
through the misty blue air

but my ambition in life
is to go down the shore road
beyond the bend in the road

beyond the wind & stars & fireflies
till i can forget all about you
your drinking of raspberry cordial

& how one of your roses fell
out of your hair which i
picked up & put in my pocket

Verdant CLOSEUP

Note: the order the lines appear in are pages: 173, 200, 55, 1, 292, 100, 292, 350, 300, 50, 378, 221, 150, 250

 

 

 

thinking of a friend on their birthday

This is a bit unusual.  Two updates in 2 days (& it’s not even NaPoWrMo!).  But thinking of a friend on their birthday led to this.  It’s not the sort of thing I usually write, but I guess always writing the same thing can get boring.

Two verses came easily standing at the sink. Two were tougher (if I’d known how tough, I might not have persevered.)  Thanks to Aristotle for letting me pinch his phrase for my title.

NB despite my best tweaking I can’t get the display image (below) to stop appearing slightly pixelated. If you click on it though, it will be crystal clear.

*****

slow ripening fruit

fruits of a lazy sunday

Despite the catchy title of this post, I actually got quite a bit done yesterday.

I wrote drafts of, edited or tweaked at least half a dozen poems. Not to mention read, took the dog for a wild weather beach walk, & lost several hours in the perennial pleasure of tidying & rearranging books on their shelves.

I even spent a few minutes thinking about doing the dishes. (Sure a pedant will point out they didn’t actually get done, but you have to start somewhere.)

So here’s the first draft of one of the new poems. (It actually had a verse revised late in the evening, so technically I guess it’s draft #1.5.)

*****

essence of sunday afternoon
all week

i’ve been looking forward
to the thought of writing
a poem which captures the
essence of sunday afternoon

after a decadent sleep-in
i read in bed for a little
get up, toast crumpets
drown them in butter

make a fresh black coffee
stretch, sit at my desk
stare out my window
scribble over neat notes

realise i need to think
more deeply on the subject
lie on sunwarmed couch
— wake three hours later

job done

*****

rainbow hammock

 

NB this is not a photo of me in my hammock hee hee

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.

banal
romantic
hyperbolic
tosh

not all great artists suffer

*****

 2014-04-28 23.51.50

April 19 – Day Nineteen: the theme continues

Still at country retreat. Same Word Press issue.

This came in a white hot rush & has barely been touched.  It’s almost Day 18: part 2. Or draft two. Or whatever. It’s a better poem than yesterday’s, that’s for sure. Was posted on fb 11 hours before midnight!!! I was impressed.

On at least one level the inspiration for today’s poem should be obvious.

Tomb

Buried. In darkness. Alone.
Wake surrounded. By the scent of aloes.
& bitter perfumes. All is dark, cold. Every
atom aches. Every muscle. Wine soaked.
Sinew & bone. I am sore. To my core.

The air smells. Mushrooms. Liquorice,
Damp smouldering wood. Eat the aloe.
Make myself sick. Eject the poison.
Wounded. In dark places I dwell. Alone
In a cave. Just me. & my angels.

*****

2014-04-24 09.53.56-8

April 18 – Day Eighteen: Easter ghosts

I saved a bunch of articles I was planning to use/explore in poetic form during NaPoWriMo. Yet almost every day, something more “personal” gets in the way.  Good Friday (the day this was written, was one of them.)  This poem was written in the car on the drive between Adelaide & my parents’ farm.

When I re-read the poem for the first time since posting it on fb almost a week ago, the irony is, the poem itself has a huge hole. The one thing I always think about at Easter is not including, other than through indirect allusions.  Maybe it works, maybe it needs to be addressed in May, when NaPoWriMo is over & the editing process can begin on all these half begun, half completed poetical sketches.  I want to tweak it even now, but will save that for later & repost as first put onto fb.


What I think of when I think of Easter

Looking over the litany of Easters past
I recall very few moments of chocolates & egg hunts 
Haunted by decades of bright eyed moons

Floating down houseboat rivers, discovering cunnilingus
Climbing cliffs, faking falls, tomato sauce for blood
Church surfing with fish laughing at services
Glorious joyous days before he finally died
Driving overnight interstate thinking I was driving to true love
Some lost at the bottom of a bottle
Crashing cars in suburban streets
Several lazy long weekends at the farm
Amusing my nieces, annoying the rest
Walking with a black dog, before meeting my souldog

Tonight the moon’s a ruddy oblong egg
Low, ghosting the hills, as I drive north
What is life but a succession of wounds
Public crucifixions, little deaths, lying in darkness
Trapped beyond stone, & eventually rising to do it all again

What pains me are the holes
Years I can’t remember – when I’m the only constant
No other person or thing to act as yardstick
& the holes

Lovers lost, friends forgotten, children never held

*****

blood_moon_by_darkriderdlmc-d4rzhrg

Image: Dark Moon by darkriderdlmc @ deviantart.com

April 17 – Day Seventeen: dreams of you

Well yesterday’s experiment didn’t quite get the response I was hoping for.  Hahaha, oh well.  (There’s still time to go back & play if you want to.  Read Day 16 & comment at the end for a chance to win a special prize – it has to be on my blog, fb & twitter comments don’t count.)

Maybe that’s why writing today was tough. I was a bit down. Tried a few things. Messaged a friend in the states just as he’d woken from a bad dream (it was 3am in Maryland).  We talk a bit about bad dreams. I never have them (though I have woken myself up from laughing in my dreams & in my body at the same – glorious sensation – although I think it’s how the dali lama must feel). Tried to write about that, meh! Tried to write about my friend’s scary dream of being left alone, meh.

Then this came out. Of nowhere. Not sure I understand it. Pretty sure I like it.

Shades

Half-woken scraps of you swirl round
the half sunrisen gloom of my room
through tannin-thick wetpaper-thin skull

Like souls of men recently killed
on a battlefield, afraid to leave

We have not spoken in two weeks
keep eyes closed as long as I can
these torments all I have of you

A herd of cats claw my legs
tripping me, demanding to be fed

For while I only half-remember
the dreams, I’m reluctant
to relinquish what little I have

So I leave the black shroud cloth
covering my eyes & drift

It is a prism refracting weak light
each intersection of weft & weave
it’s own rainbow link to another world

Opaque, shiny as an insect’s eye
Then. I. Don’t. Care.

*****

 hidden_eyes_beauty_2_by_bayhor-d5k5p14 copy