Playing with a word I learnt last year and thought might make a good poem title (& hopefully poem).
The homesickness you have when you are still at home.
word & definition coined by Glenn Albrecht Australian philosopher & Professor of Sustainability
that peculiar form of distress that envelopes us in a misty kind of claustrophobic cling wrap when we see our homelands both lived & idealised lands which bring peace simply by being give us tranquility remind us to breath to hope to sit quietly & still & just
when we feel those lands callously destroyed paddocks ploughed under for another subdivision megahardware store or discount supermarket or cut open for coal or fracked set on fire covered in oil torn up by trucks
This is the poem I started writing yesterday till all the might have beens that never weremuscled its way out into the world mid-draft. I’ve gone back to it today & finished it off.
in firing range
despite insane frustration with inept governments : & debilitating rage at arrogant greedybloodhungry multinational corps’ ruthless relentless unabashed pillaging of the planet : part of me knows — i can’t really complain : for since that so long past : never forgotten : sunday : i too have failed to meet targets
failed to reduce emissions (though reducing consumption would be more benefit) : failed in every known dataset that supposedly counts : for something : in life : marriage : career : kids : success : legacy : wealth accumulation : financial security : et cetera : & : ad nauseum
for the longest time : failed to even notice i’d been trapped in a tomb : since the first of those soulharrowing three days : over three decades ago : the stone rolled back on me : unaware : unable to escape my darkness
the difference i suppose is my failure : has destroyed predominantly me : (with deepest apologies to a handful of beautiful people who were caught in the crosshairs of my grief) : whereas it is currently the world : being crucified now : & into the firing range : of the future
NB I'm really hating the new WordPress. It's repeatedly refusing to let me upload photos saying I'm not connected to the internet (even though I am & capable of opening other pages, watching youtube videos, etc. It's highly frustrating & causing the delays in posting.
in the back of memory
monks monophone softly as fish shivers pianoforte glockenspielling my spine
these tingling goldfish kiss
past present & forever
into one molten lovechant calcium dissolving moment
lift me up-in-to you
a been apart too long
old friend reminder
Some days a poem just writes itself. This was one such. From a few notes jotted while I was visiting my gran in her “retirement home”, the tone quickly established itself & made me laugh out loud as the various descriptions presented themselves.
in the quiet blue of my gran’s tiny
room a photo of a long-haired kiss-
curled cow-licked feminine-faced lout;
smug in a purple-striped shirt under
neath an all-white knitted jumper
(as was, I hope, vaguely fashionable
in the Miami Vice trashed late 80’s);
set off with a heart-shaped silver bolo-
tie for fuck’s sake although i recognise
his confident cock-eyed grin, his too-
smooth clean-cut chin, & once-pride&joy
full-but-already-thinning head of fine
wavy hair, my stomach double knots
in grief & pity — for he does not yet
know all he has, nor all he will lose
she makes peace with past tears ;
ignores the radio’s roster of sad songs
background faint which seek to suck
her into sinkholes she’s spent years
climbing out of ; sliding back in
– a triumph just buying milk
he prepares a packet-free meal ;
washes a load sans tissue-in-pocket ;
actually eats the watermelon before
it emulsifies in its clingwrap shroud
– little victories by most parameters
but he’ll take them ; gladly
Last night, dear friend & wonderful poet, Louise Nicholas, launched her first, very beautiful, full-length collection of poems, The List of Last Remaining through 5 Islands Press. It was a fabulous warm funny (mildly drunken) night.
Today, after dipping my way in & out of the collection, I have taken the last line of her poem, “How to scale a fish” & tweaked it to use as the title of today’s poem.
& so it’s come : to that time : of life : to once again : take out the tools of excavation : to dust off : my brooms & tiny brushes : sharpen my trowels : put pads on my ageing knees : & get down in the pit : in the dirt : dig down through the layers : the strata of my happiness : & my grief : to uncover the bones : & broken pottery : & terracotta floors : of true love : lost : of childhood : lost : of embryos : washed down drains : blood on thighs, over tiles, over everything : & to keep digging : until all that’s left to see : is an empty grave : a soul shaped hole : a silver wash : of moon : light : & salt
Watched the 2010 episode of Doctor Who “Vincent and the Doctor”. A strange episode, with a monster that doesn’t really work — but such a lovely character piece that you overlook that (or I did anyway).
It ends with a sentimental, though for me, still deeply moving scene, where a lonely misunderstood Van Gogh (who sold only one painting in his life) is whizzed through time by Amy & the Doctor to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, to see an exhibition of his work & hear a beautiful (if slightly mawkish, so what!) speech by Art Historian disguised as Bill Nighy on his place in the history of art.
who would not : given the chance : like to be whisked : jimmy stewart : wonderful life style : into your future : to see that : your love of strong sunlight : your thick brush strokes : your colour : your colour : your colour : your ability to transform : torment : your understanding : of ecstasy : the swirling double life : of your stars : your need to create : something greater : than yourself : was a masterpiece : despite : your doubts : despite you : not knowing : the sadness : actually : won’t last : forever
Today was always going to be about this topic, given it is 4 months since one of my best mates died. I’ve tried half a dozen times to write about this loss (as well as other recent & ongoing ones) without much success. This comes closest so far …
& so . in a way . we all die young .
younger than we’d like . even if
we live to a hundred and twenty .
younger than our loved ones want
too . too long lost . in that aching
chasm . that distance between
stars that is all that’s left . when
there is nothing of you . left . except
a wisp . a tear . an echo of laughter .
a hair . a sigh . a gasp . a stifled
sob . an aimless wandering from
room to room . trying to remember
where you are . where you went . & why
NOTE: cover is from Tracy K. Smith’s lovely collection, Life on Mars. It is imaginatively titled: ‘Cone Nebula Close Up’ (I think in part because it is a Close Up of the Cone Nebula).
NOTE 2: I know ‘technically’ this poem may not really Ekphrastic in the strictest sense of the word, but is definitely an emotional response to the image.