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 12 — geology & non-standard measuring system

Trying to capture the claustrophobia of going underground.


i don’t know how far i’ve come
no idea how far to go
only know
the path seems to be thinner
the path narrower
the way darker
the stones heavier above me

try not to think
of the weight
of all that earth 
& rock
& mud & shale & clay
& gravel & scree & boulder & slate
& soil, sod, clod, loam, silt, dirt, turf & dust


Day 12 – TIL about pandas & dairy

buttergrams & buttermetres

A newborn giant panda 
is about the size 
of a stick of        butter.

Since when did butter
become a socially approved
measurement unit?

In which case (for context):

I weighed 31.23 sticks of butter
& was 10.23 buttersticks long
at my birth!

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

Day 08 — wedding day goat song + title tartling tartan-style

Today’s volume of poetry was one of Bukowski’s I’d recently bought second hand but never read. Diving into him was like jumping into a lovely warm jacuzzi (where the water had just been freshly added & mine was the only body to have been immersed so it was all quite clean & hygienic thank you very much) — soothing, comfortable, relaxing, delightful, & I wondered why I don’t remember to read/reread my fave poets more often.

With that in mind, I set out to write a Big O poem in B style. I gave myself the added task of just stream of consciousing & not editing it (that can come later).


wedding day goat song

why’d the god-damned 
fool girl go & step
in a snake nest
for anyway
it’s the stupidest
damn thing 
i’ve ever heard
& i’ve been hearing
stupid damn things
all my damn life

& now the wedding guests
are gone home 
& my amphora
is empty 
but i’m still full 
so i step outside
to take a piss
come back in
pick up the amphora
realise it’s empty
still empty
swear at the
fucking gods for
their sick son-of-a-bitch
senses of humour

look about 
for my lyre
till i remember 
i smashed it
after i found
her dead (my 
second best lyre
obviously i’m not
quite so stupid 
as to smash Hecate)

decide i’m no where near
drunk enough
so set out to visit
Calais & see if
i can drown myself
in his ample cellar

Day 6 – TIL the Scots can deal with forgetfulness

title tartling tartan-style

so the Scots have a word 
for that brief panicked pause 
experienced while you 
temporarily un-remember 
someone’s name as
you rummage through
the haggis-baggage 
of your overworked,
irrelevant fact-clutching,
bewilderbeasted brain

all well & good 

tartle is not that terrible

after all — the name’s known
you’re simply having trouble
accessing the correct
datapoint in the outdated
software system 
of your cerebral substance

but do these paragons 
of polite protocol
these pontificating 
have a word to personify
that bowel-clenching juncture
when you realise 
you’ve already forgotten
the name of the person 
introduced to you
mere microseconds ago

Day 7 – The Tartatus List + a lollipop lesson

Today’s prompt was to write a poem that plays with the idea of a list. The example poem was a list that isn’t – it never gets beyond the first entry. I somehow mangled this with a challenge from a couple of days earlier write a poem in which laughter comes at what might otherwise seem an inappropriate moment – or one that the poem invites the reader to think of as inappropriate.

Just for today (given I don’t think it fits tonally with the other poems I’ve written) I’m including the whole thing.


The Tartatus List

trying to prepare 
for my assault on Hades
torches to scare away 
   the damned darkness ;
my life-restoring lute ; 
an obol for the ferryman ;
three bones for the guard dog
   in case Herakles’ trick
   doesn’t work a second time

— but it’s impossible 
                                  to focus
given all i hear 
                       is my mother’s 
carping on at me to 
          my cape cos
she’s certain            it will be
COLD!  down.  there…
   &  she knows   what
i’m like … when the

Day 7 – TIL something strange about a lollipop

sweet stuck on a stick

Chupa Chups are Spanish
(the name means something 
close to Sucky Sucks
& were designed so they didn’t 
melt in Iberian summer heat. 
They originally cost 
a single peseta each. 

But none of these
are the poetic factoid
that blew me away.
Their logo of brand 
name inside brightly 
coloured daisy
was designed by
— Salvador freaking Dalí 

Aside: he also once sent Harpo 
Marx a supremely surreal Xmas gift 
— a harp with barbed-wire strings