Day 20 — Frankenpoem + poetry derived from academic papers

This poem was created using a technique I call Frankenpoeming. It’s where I take a few lines or a phrases or an image from the poems I’ve been reading each day & then crunch them all together — reconfiguring metaphors, smashing words against each other, juxtaposing ideas I wouldn’t have necessary considered, & just generally using them as jumping off points into something of my own. 

Then I leave it for a few hours, before going over it again & editing tweaking polishing, extending weird things into things that more (or less) sense. Sometime extracting the really crazy stuff altogether — or just leaving it.


darkness treks

for fifteen months 
been unsuccessfully
screaming you home

daily flinging myself 
at the feral ferryman’s feet
heart full of terrorlove

every note forlorn forever
can no longer tell 
bat from man, from moth

seven forgotten stars
stare straight in my eye 
singing swift desolation

endless walks deep down 
permanently passing
leading from nowhere 

to somewhere worse

Day 20 – TIL that in 1974, the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis published a paper titled “The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of a Case of Writer’s Block.” It contained a total of zero words.

With this in mind, I’d like to write a poem based on the paper.


The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of a Case of Writer’s Block
(a poetic interpretation)

Day 19 — Poem AId + ReAlIty TV

A different kind of day today as I played with form/function/generation a little. There is something which links all 4 of these poems (almost everything on this page in fact). I’m wondering if anyone can work it out.

Sonnet 1
Of Orpheus’ lyre, the ancient bards did sing,
Whose melodies could charm the savage beast,
And make the rivers dance and trees take wing,
While all creation listened to his feast.

With golden chords he wove a magic spell,
And drew the shades of Hades to his side,
To rescue his beloved from the depths of hell,
And bring her back to earth, his blushing bride.

But fate was cruel, and jealous gods did frown,
For mortal love was not for them to bless,
And so they tore his love away, to drown,
In the eternal night of loneliness.

Yet still he played, his music pure and true,
And all who heard were moved, and loved anew.

Limerick 1
There once was a man named Orpheus
Whose music could calm any ruckus
     He played with such skill
     The trees would be still
And rivers would cease their loud gushes.

Limerick 2
Orpheus played the lyre with grace
His music could slow any chase
     He sang with such skill
     His voice could even still
The ferocity of a wildcat’s race.

Sestina 1
Orpheus, the bard with lyre in hand,
played music that made the gods weep.
His voice was like the sweetest bird,
and all around him would gather to hear
as he sang of love and tragedy,
of loss and hope, of life and death.

His love, Eurydice, met an early death,
and grief consumed Orpheus like a brand.
He journeyed to the underworld, full of tragedy,
to plead with Hades, and make him weep.
The god was moved by Orpheus’ voice, so dear,
and allowed him to bring back his beloved bird.

But Orpheus, in his haste, lost his bird,
and his love was returned to eternal death.
Heartbroken, he sang a mournful song, so dear,
and played his lyre with a trembling hand.
His music made the underworld weep,
as they listened to his tale of tragedy.

Orpheus’ life was marked by tragedy,
as he mourned his love and lost his bird.
His songs made even the gods weep,
and his voice was as mournful as death.
But he continued to play, with steady hand,
singing of the past, present, and what he held dear.

Orpheus’ lyre was his most dear,
as it spoke his heart’s deepest tragedy.
He played with a steady, sure hand,
telling the story of his lost bird.
His music echoed with the voice of death,
as he made even the underworld weep.

His voice, like the sweetest bird, made them weep,
as he sang of the things that he held dear,
of love and loss, of life and death.
Orpheus’ life was a tale of tragedy,
but his music, like his lost bird,
lives on, guided by his steady hand.

Day 19 – TIL about my relationship with Reality TV

True Man 

Truman syndrome 
is a mental condition 
some people suffer 
where they believe 
they’re the star 
of an imaginary 
reality tv show.

You’ve got to feel
sorry for those people
living their sad fantasy worlds
given i long ago realised 
that i was & am the centre
the focus of attention 
of millions & millions 
of adoring fans worldwide  
— my family & everyone 
i know merely actors in a charade 
which makes me the rightful
focus of the world’s attention.*

That being said — you’d think 
they’d have gotten better 
actors to play some of the parts 

*paraphrasing words actually said by someone who suffers from Truman syndrome

Day 18 — a whispered love letter + piles of books

Pretty self-explanatory: a pseudo-letterpome.


dearest love : though : you : cannot hear me : nor feel me neither : (i fear) : i’m only a little : behind you : close enough to reach : out : to clasp your hand : if i could : (if i was allowed) : if the sensation : of my white hand : passing through yours : did not eerie me out : so i silently : wait : stepping softly : behind you : (waiting, hoping ) : for day light : to appear : (perhaps) : for you : not to despair

Day 18 – TIL about my relationship with books


the joyful gleeful wonderful
act of acquiring books 
& not reading them

           … yet …

i’m a tsundoku sensei
believing there’s always tomorrow
& failing that — next life

Day 17 — Orpheus’s last song + Grandmother Fact #1

The poetry volume I read today had several Mirror Cinquains in it. This is a mix of a standard Cinquain & a Reverse Cinquain. So, using the usual syllable counting convention, a mirror cinquain = 2,4,6,8,2 blank line 2,8,6,4,2 syllables. I’m not usually a big fan of form poems, they feel too forced unless you’ve got a lot of time to tweak them (which you don’t get in a NaPoWriMo when you’re working). Nonetheless I thought I’d give it a bash. There are lines I wish I could alter (ignore the scansion) which might happen in a future version.

Orpheus’s last song

sad bobbing head
song sung sans vocal chords
always singing his beloved’s name

death could not prevent him from it
despite decapitation
sings as it floats
to sea

Day 17 – TIR my gran

It’s the anniversary of my gran’s birthday today. To remember her, I looked for some Facts About Grandmothers & found a variety of sites ranging from dry statistics “78% read the newspaper” type thing to wildly subjective. However the one I have chosen appeared on several pages & is without doubt, true. (I have not chosen the most obvious fact: No love is as special as grandmother’s: it truly is unconditional.)

Grandmother Fact #1: 
they cook the best food

christmas lunches
tuna mournays
corned beef swimming 
   in white sauce
thick pea & ham soup
egg sandwiches, taken 
   from the freezer, then toasted
even just Continental Hearty Beef soup 
   straight outta the packet tasted 
   ambrosial from her kitchen

what would this vego grandson give
for the chance of one more meal
with his gran

Day 16 — nightingale + a trilogy of flamingo fun facts

Just playing round with a passage from Book IV of Virgil’s The Georgics where he describes an incident surrounding the Big O following his failed attempt to restore Eurydice to life (he claims he that O lamented for seven whole months).


a nightingale nightly cries
amongst the shadowy poplars

lamenting the loss of her chicks
stolen as i saw by some hard-

hearted ploughman (what need 
has he of three featherless chicks

callously snatched from their nest).
the mourning songstress weeps 

her song throughout the night
all night, every night, repeating 

her miserable notes relentlessly
pierces all peace with her pain

wails all night, fills air all around 
with melancholy protestations.

unlike Orpheus, she has not forgotten 
how to sing

Day 16 – TIL a lot of flamingo related fun facts. (In point of fact I have lots & lots of bird facts, that I almost put a dozen of them into one megapoem, but this flamingo triptych seems to work quite well…)

flamingo triptych

there are more fake flamingos 
on Earth than real ones

flamingos pair for life
some stay mated
for 50 years or more

nice that flamingos
are 12.5x better at 
partnering than i am 

you probably know 
a crowd of crows is called 
   a murder

& an assembly of owls
  is a parliament 
  (or wisdom, or study)

but life gets really joyful
the day you discover a flock of flamingoes
   is a flamboyance

Day 14 — double loss

For someone who loves this myth, I’m really struggling for quality content. Wondering if I should abandon it for something different for last half of the month. The Poetic Factoids, however, remain a treat to create.

lost with, out haven

since : losing, you twice : in, two worlds : one green, light : one shadow, mist : find myself : lost : always, wandering : looking for a, home : that, never approaches : heart : out, of land : out of, hope : out, of, tune : every moment : miss you : more, than human heart : should : or can : this side, madness

Day 14 – TIL how deeply brain & body are connected


when your “inner voice” 
whispers wisdom deep within
the wetness of your brain
tiny muscle motions 
trigger in your larynx

no wonder i suffer
so many sore throats
after my multiple personalities
have had their say on
every conceivable topic

the muscular cacophony 
leaves my chords, exhausted

Day 13 – shadows & the probability of lightning births

I’m really struggling to find Big O’s voice in this project. I’ve tried not writing in first person but it comes off very cold (which I suppose could be good thing) but I always end up flipping it back again. Worse, the words which are coming out are far more banal than the ideas which sound in my head. Frustrating, yes. Unusual, no. 

the shadow of today

one long year ago
i was abruptly evicted
from your world 
for no good reason

no reason at all

after foolishly

trying to rescue you
& failing

which i suppose was all
just a half-cocked
attempt to save 
from insanity’s solitude 

now i am worse 
than i was before

having forgotten 
how to sing

or even — 
why i once did

Day 13 – TIL I learnt about birth & lightning but not maths

the odds of 
— giving birth 
    to a baby 
       at 12:01am
          on January 1 
            are around 
               1 in 526,000*

which is 
     roughly the same 
        as getting struck 
           by lightning

the odds of 
— giving birth 
    to a baby 
       at 12:01am
          on January 1 
              while getting struck 
                 by lightning

— knowledge of 
      maths way way 
         above my pay grade 

like 276, 676, 000, 000 
   times above it

*less so if you’re a male

Day 11 — losing a muse + losing mobility

A fragment of a song & a in-depth look at a very real phenomena for older Australians.


i’ve lost my voice
worse i’ve nothing worth saying
the songs cannot be sung
the notes no longer sound
the words will not form
the world is hoarse
with my grief 

Day 11 – TIL about a highly triggering word


Ackwards is (allegedly)
an old English dialect 
word describing a creature 
lying on its back 
that can’t get up.

I’d just like to say:

1. I’ll have you know 
I’m choosing not to get up,
So, thank you very much

2. Get your damn camera 
Out of my room before
I call the cops big time.

3. It’s a bit awkward that
The only reference I can find
To this on the whole internets
is one. solitary. tweet.*

Now there’s a creature on its back 
that can no longer get up …

Day 10 – The Ferryman + buggy love buzz

Played with a couple of Charon-related poems today. Big O pleading with Charon (& then from C’s POV). The one I found myself finishing was Dialogue poem as he connives a way to cross the Styx.

This excerpt is the last lines of the poem.

The Ferryman

You will not take my coin?

You cannot cross, coin or no.
This is not a place for mortals.

Herakles crossed.

Herakles is a brute. He beat me up.
I know you’re not like that.

No, I’m not.
I start to sing.

I’m even more brutal.

Day 10 – TIL about cicadaian mating calls

buggy love buzz

over-aroused (if a trifle confused)
female cicadas sometimes mistake
roaring power tools for mating 
calls, occasionally even 
swarming sweaty men 
machoistically mowing lawns

— oh well, there’s one thing 
i’ll be safe from at least

Day 09 — underground again + birdiewatching

A simple poem for Day 1 of the Festival of Grief; the second day of my annual wallowversary not till next weekend. Trying to combine my usual subject matter for this day with The Big O. It works okay. My Poetic Factoid has the potential to include words from other languages but I don’t really have the motivation to make it bigger today.


underground again 
spent the day underground again as i do every day since losing you shouting across the river till my voice is hoarse but no one ever comes its against the rules been broken for me once already they cant be broken again no matter how great the agony how much i plead for mercy from the gods for once no creature listens to me the losing is worse than never having had you at all torture to have been so close to sunlight only to see you swirling dissolving disappearing down the sewer i will never sing again

Day 9 – TIL about taking photographs of Victorians


where we say “cheese”
as a prompt to make us grin 

Victorians said “prunes”
despite preferring to keep things in

i think that explains
just about                  everything