Day 12 – the hell of easter sundays

12 ole-magnus-schei-sunnevag-untitled-76

30 years ago today, Easter Sunday 1990 (April 15 of that year), my fiancé/soulmate & I experienced the first of three miscarriages of our three and half year relationship. We were kids, both 19. 

Back then there was no internet, we didn’t know where to go get support, no easy way of knowing that we were not unique in this. But it happened twice more during the next two & half years. Each time got harder, harder to come back from. Eventually our relationship ended, in no small part due to the stresses & sadnesses of those three losses; although there were other circumstances complicating things too. 

I have never fully recovered from the loss; almost daily wonder what different paths my life would have taken had I become a father way back then. It damaged me in ways I didn’t understand for decades. It took almost 25 years to “process” the grief (even though I still feel it) but eventually my alter-ego wrote & staged a 1-woman play which got much of the pain out of me … & enabled me to find a fragile kind of peace. Naturally, I’ve written countless poems about it. & every Na/GloWriPoMo the poem on April 15 or Easter Sunday is bound to explore it in some way. That’s another little gift: the fact that it has two “anniversaries” which have only aligned once in the last 30 years.

Also helping is the fact that a once young person I taught drama to writes about her miscarriages so honestly, lovingly, & beautifully on facebook (that often trite medium). I believe her words are profoundly positive & healing for me, herself, her partner, friends & family, & no doubt many others. I also love how someone I once taught is now teaching me. Thanks, Alice, for giving me the courage to write this post so openly & reinforcing the serenity to know it’s okay on those days when coping doesn’t seem possible. 


pandemic for one

this disease : infects & reinfects my mind : repeatedly : over decades : every easter : of course : but christmases too : birthdays : facebook posts : of friends celebrating : first days of school : & 21sts : & weddings : & births of grandkids : & just about anything fucking else : can set it off : a time bomb explosion : of regret : anger : what ifs : why mes : & i wonders :

there is no herd immunity : i am the herd : reinfection is frequent : sometimes more virulent : than ever before : the curve has not flattened : the only cure : a wormhole

Day 10 – this I believe to be true

Respect and pray on nature background

As well as writing several poems every day, I’m reading at least one book of poems a day too. A couple of days ago I read little known Portugeuese poet Fernando Pessoa’s Selected Poems. He frequently uses Petrarchan sonnet structure & I was admiring how nicely those poems hung together. When I was trying to work out how to format the initial blurrrgh of ideas spewed out in the first draft, I was surprised to notice I had (apart from 2 lines in the wrong positions) written a miniature one of my own. Sans rhyme. Which is a good reason why poets should read other poets’ poems.

It’s always funny how you start off with an idea of a poem is going to go, only to watch it veer away from you. Funny, but exciting too. This one came pretty quickly … & is perhaps the one I’m happiest with so far this GloPoWriMo.


the fidesvirus

not all pandemics
start in wet markets
or an insect’s sting
or a species-jump

& they don’t spread
by sneezing or particles
left on a hard surface
or in the blood stream

they are created by us
disseminated by us
& they infect only us

& regardless of conviction
— none are protection from
a truly committed pathogen

Day 09 – have trade will travel

ESY-032331823 - © - jc_cards

There’s more verses half written for this poem, but I couldn’t work out where they should go. This is a WIP.


Homo economicus

for over 40 years free trade has been touted
as the solution to all social & economic ailments
— trade is really code for countless uninvited invaders

the Chinese went to Africa for sorghum
brought back camels then used them to establish
one of the greatest invader routes ever — The Silk Road

Columbus traded (if that can be the term)
European disease for New World gold — yet
smallpox, measles & tb killed more than sword or gun

hitchhikers today hijack the best transporters
money can buy — shipping containers which daily import
thousands of animals, insects, microbes & diseases to ecologies

ill-equipped to deal with them — because profit is paramount
& preventing illegal human immigrants is far more pressing

Day 08 – recipe for mourning


I’ve been saving this idea for a day when I was low on energy & creative juices. Sadly I was hoping it would be a little later in the month. That said, it’s tough churning out a poem a day even when 100% healthy: to do so while ill is an added challenge.

It’s definitely an unusual “poem” … a cross between a recipe & a list poem … with, I hope, an unexpected sting in the tail.

recipe for tuna mournay

Part 1:

1. Fish
anchovy, barracuda, grouper, flying fish,
cod, common sea horse, king mackerel,
Spanish mackerel, common sea bream, 
white marlin, grey triggerfish,
blue runner, rainbow runner,
black gemfish, bluefish, red drum,
greater amberjack, black ruff, yellowtail,
named for other things
sailfish, swordfish, lancet fish, puffer fish,
goosefish, porcupine fish, monkfish,
sunfish, pilotfish, dolphin fish, needlefish,
spurdog fish, Cuban dogfish,
longbill spearfish, bigeye cigarfish, stone bass,
Bermuda chub, opah, escolar,
leerfish, tripletail, Murray eel,
pomfret, bigeye thresher, wahoo,
bonito, cassava fish, spotted skate,
manta ray, devil ray, 
bignose, hammerhead, Galapagos,
sandbar, night, sand tiger,
copper, blue, (great) white, mako

2. Reptiles
loggerhead,  leatherback,
green, hawksbill, Kemp’s ridley 

3. Mammals
northern right, pilot, humpback,
beaked, goose-beaked, killer,
sperm, minke, sei, fin,
common, striped, spinner,
Atlantic spotted, bottlenose,
harbor porpoise, 

4. Birds
Atlantic yellow-nosed, black-browed,
northern royal, shy,
yellow-legged, great black-backed,
herring, laughing, Audouin’s,
balearic, great, sooty, Yelkouan,
great-winged, grey, southern fulmar, 

Part 2:

this is
a not-so-quick list
of some of the 145 species
regularly killed & discarded
while “fishing” for tuna
charmingly known
as by-catch

*List taken from Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals

Day 07 – the obsession that’s eating our planet

07 Doutielt3

One of the things I hope to do over this month is come at the theme PANDEMIC from a range of angles. Looking at, if possible, a little like a cubist Picasso painting where we can look at all sides of the subject at once. It’s still a bit stat heavy but this poem really is about the big elephant in the room. (Not it’s not really an elephant.)


plague species 

a mere ten millennia ago when we first
trick tamed cattle from wild aurochs
humans & those critters that would become
our domestic buddies (cows, chickens, pigs, sheep)
represented around 1% of earth’s biomass
wild animals (using the most basic maths)
represented 99% of all living creatures.

now humans & the beasts we own as pets
property or product are somewhere
between 96-98% depending on the study cited.
basically earth has been stolen from free-living
animals for those species we most love to pat
but even more so for those we lust to eat.
the plague has spread — & continues to …

Day 06 – flight (& caffeine)

06 zoom

Visited a place. Disturbing and awe-inspiring in conflicting measure.


From our flying machines

On the outskirts of a calm country village
hiding in plain sight on nondescript dirt
is a testimony to an obsession writ large.
One man’s love of our avian imitation.
A huge game of aeronautical tetris;
wingspans laid across the dimensions
of his shed to determine how best
to accomodate two full size planes;
plus countless parts of engines, frames,
wings, tyres, cockpits, fuselages, noses, gun
turrets, dioramas & much other miscellania
I have no knowledge of.

And. The. Models. So many models.
Glass cabinet. After glass cabinet.
Into an infinity of dusty air.
Some in 1:72 scale. Some in 1:48 scale.
Others in scales my brain did not retain
because it had already overloaded
by this point and spent the rest of the visit
screaming over & over to my past & future selves

what have you done with your life
what have you done with your life
what have you done
                                     with your life 



BONUS POEM: April 6, 2018

A simple pome about an Italian favourite.


Espresso of Sorpresa

three mornings in a row
three separate hostesses
have been surprised
when I request

today I beat her
to the punchline
is only good
to wash

your face


06b caffe

Day 23 – poem about idols

shakespeare_by_lastfirstkiss CROP

Unexpectedly found myself grapepicking for a few hours yesterday. Oddly, it’s not as much fun as I remember it (& I don’t remember it being any fun at all). All of which point to the fact that I was bone-tired & sore when I got home last night, & although the pome had been written, WordPress was as slow & creaky as I was, & so when midnight ticked over I thought, stuff it, I’ll just have a wee nap & post it early in the am (when I invariably wake up & wonder why I’m not sleeping). This did not happen. I slept very well.

Then most of today was spent writing & researching, until I’m now under the pump to get two NaPoWriMo posts up before midnight. Oh irony, your name is Alanis.


everyone thinks
they know you
despite how little
anyone does
just make it up
facts don’t matter
only selling
outrageous lies
books to fuel
the author’s

still no idea
what you’ve
done to me
your name
in my skin
tattooed it
above my heart
the shadow
i am always

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.


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