The Poem That Stops A Nation (*Cough)

We have a horse race in Australia which, allegedly, “stops the nation”. For the past three years, it certainly stops me. Because since 2013 I have played a wee linguistic game (potentially only of interest to me) involving the names of the horses that compete — kind of a found poem with benefits.

Normally, the race runs at 2.30 (my time), I wait for 30-45 minutes or so till the full order listing is posted on the internet, I then furiously try & craft 24 unrelated phrases into some sort of logic … before racing into the city & reading the result (at around this time or earlier) at a monthly poetry gig to the confusion & consternation of many, haha. (Coincidentally, this reading always occurs on the first Tuesday of the month, & the big race is always the first Tuesday of November, which is how the game first started.)

However, last night, owing to an incident of unnecessary & alarmingly over-the-top pettiness (not involving me I hasten to clarify), I chose not to stay at that reading. So only my friend Sarah got to appreciate/was forced to endure me reading it to her as we scoffed our respective dumplings.

I subjected her to a personal reading, because, of the three poems I have created in this fashion, this is the one I feel works best (with the caveat being — ‘works best’ is a very loose description in a situation where one tries to wrangle 24 horses names into a poem … in the order they finished the race … taking a few creative liberties where necessary) & was disappointed not to get the chance to share it last night.

Only today did I realise I could post it on my blog … (well der, just cos I haven’t posted anything since June — doesn’t mean the blog has disappeared. My excuse: The 24 Poetry Marathon obviously took it out of me 🙂 )

So, for those of you interested in such indulgences, I present …

[24 names in order]

the evil Ivan Prince of Penzance
used the Max Dynamite allowed
according to the Criterion
on his terrorist Trip To Paris
& so — the Eiffel Tower disappears
in a Big Orange Gust Of Wind

the CIA agrees it was Excess Knowledge
& a Quest For More that ruined Our Ivan—howe
he got the dynamite & Who Shot Thebarman
Sertorius & whether the two events
are connected, remains a mystery

needless to say, everyone understands
it’s a Fame Game in The United States
but when Agent Hartnell runs along Bondi Beach
chasing Hokko (Brave whistleblower)
while that bastard Senator Almoonqith Kingfisher
(Republican, Texas) through some secret
Preferment is proclaimed Grand Marshal
we know the 1% are winning comfortably

meanwhile, the rogue spy, codenamed
Sky Hunter, drifts through a Snow Sky
searching for the Red gifts
that sadly, failed to arrive



NB for those who wish to check I didn’t cheat. Here’s a link the final results 🙂