Day 15 – Variation of a Previous Game

Was working on a couple of things today (Friday as it was, only posting this on Saturday) & none of them really panned out. I might revisit one of the others tomorrow or later.

Today’s task is inspired by the announcement of the Man Booker International Prize 2016 Shortlist. 6 books, 5 great titles & one which doesn’t go very well with the rest. So, feeling lazy, that “hard-to-fit-with-the-other-5-books” title, became the “doesn’t-really-make-sense” title of today’s poem. Given more time, or energy, or creative juice – maybe I coulda made it fit.

As it is, you have 4 versions of the same poem. No extra words added.

the vegetarian
(in four repeating acts)

a strangeness in my mind
the story of the lost child
the four books, a whole life
a general theory of oblivion

a general theory of oblivion
the four books, a whole life
the story of the lost child
a strangeness in my mind

the story of the lost child
a strangeness in my mind
a general theory of oblivion
a whole life, the four books

a whole life, the four books
a strangeness in my mind
a general theory of oblivion
the story of the lost child


Note: As a way of apologising to Han Kang, I am using a detail from an edition of The Vegetarian.

Note 2: Late posting is due to slowed down internet/difficulty uploading images. Apparently multinational telcos like you pay their bills regularly…

Day 3 – from Other Poets’ Poems

NOTE: so the lesson learnt from late last night is: remember to press the publish button, not the preview one. 

Today’s title poem comes from a different source than the first two. Friendly Street Poets had a session at the Payneham library & I went to listen to/support friends (I didn’t read given I’ll be yabbering on enough this month). While I was there

While I was there I recorded as many of the titles of the poems read out as I could (some poets don’t speak very audibly & some poets in the audience vague out from time to time). Then when I got home (after a quick diversion to a public house to discuss important issues like how many hands a clock has & our views on cats on the continent of Australia) I typed up the list of titles (those I could decipher given my scrawl) & from that subset drew my list of phrases.

Out of 71 possible titles I used 44, I probably could have got more in but I felt I was already ‘losing control’ of the draft as it was. It definitely would be better shorter, but that’s not the exercise this month.

Thanks & apologies in advance to any poets who are horrified that I have appropriated parts of their masterpieces for this Frankenpoem. If you are really upset, just remember — it’d be a better poem, if you gave me better titles hahaha…


scraping the (sleepless) nights

toward evening’s
moment of departure
you in your rocking chair

love your collection of axioms
poetry is dead
time is a hound
it’s best to be sure
love is a no through road
there’s no wonder in an open door
red in the morning
death by stoning’s too good, etc

your leftover questions
why are people so cruel
who can know the mind of the sea

your opinions
on the philosophy of cut flowers
on the 6.04pm platform 8 to osborne
on poetry as an alternative to oxygen masks

your admission
when aunty was dying
that night she said
she was living in a draft
of a new life

i ache to find
the ink trail lost
between words

the crux of trust
the genesis of hope

otherwise it’s just
the losing of wisdom

but you pack
your twilight years
up in neat little boxes
snuggle down
into your multi
coloured dream coat
your face turned
toward the garden
& the cold autumn wind





Day 1 – from the TO READ PILE (fiction room)

Today’s poem was generated by the game Title Poem. It’s pretty easy, you simply use the titles of books as the basis for your poem. Boom!

I’ve played this game before as part of NaPoWrMo 2014 I think … then I was ruthless, only allowing myself exact titles. It made for slightly stilted verse, but which was great inspiration for rewriting in the months afterwards. This time, I’m cutting a little slack & allowing myself to add words here & there, or maybe change or drop a ‘the’ from titles to allow the poem a chance to have slightly more sense/meaning.

That said, though, they are still strange dreamlike things (I’ve written two so far, one each day, I just didn’t get around to posting yesterday), which go places I wouldn’t normally —but given I only have a limited palette to draw upon, am sort of ‘forced’ to. Kinda like when rhymers choose a word just because it fits the pattern, rather than cos it’s the right word. Hopefully though, these won’t be quite so clunky as that.

In my fiction room, I have a chair to read in. Next to this, is a small bookcase topped with towering piles of books; books I’m kinda interested in reading next, if the mood takes me (it is one of about 4 such stacks around my house). For this exercise all titles are taken from that stack.

[NOTE: Roman font are words from the titles; italics are my additions.]



this house of sky
fades, a perfect

bluethroat morning
by silver blade cut

from the chains
of heaven

we great apes keep hush
about our scarlet necropolis

feign resilience
to the troubles

as the bone clocks
play the angel’s game

a quantum thief
steals my vintage summer

and although i am
a married man

i wish someone were waiting
for me somewhere

perhaps down by the ocean
at the end of the lane