Friday, 18 September 2020

I RAKED THROUGH THE ASH

 

This is another poem that turned up unexpected and wrote itself over the course of a couple of days.

I always find it interesting when that happens. This time I was lying in bed, Sunday morning, when the first line appeared. I got up and jotted it down as it arrived.

MAPS


On wet days, before he truly went blind,

my father in half moon spectacles,

would get down his maps,

unfold them on the kitchen table,

his fat finger tracing familiar trails,

he would one day take,

over this mountain, across that moor.

He talked the big picture but noted the details,

as I lost myself in the creases,

in the crevasses of the folds

I dreamt my own dreams.


The end they said, was a cigarette,

of course I arrived too late,

after the fire, those all consuming flames

that ate my father and all his rooms.

The day after I raked through the ash,

not expecting to find anything

and I did not.


These days I use a phone screen,

content for an algorithm to dictate my route,

which takes no note of altitude or contour,

battle site henge or tumuli.


I am not sure I believe the relationship between the narrator and his father. Much, I think, is unsaid. I shall share it with the Secret Poets and see what they make of it.

When a poem wants to be written you have to write it even if you do not understand it. Hopefully that comes over time.

I have a soft spot for Catalan pop. Here's Sau from 1991. 

And here's Sau playing their other hit, El Tren de Mitjanit.


Until next time.

Friday, 11 September 2020

ON THE TONGUES OF STORY TELLERS

I have been working on this post's poem for some time and I am still not sure it works. The basic premise is that a character in a story can live forever in the minds of those that read their tale. 

I had been thinking of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the world's oldest recorded story. Of how the hero, Gilgamesh, lived first in the mouths of the story tellers then in the heads of those who read of his life.

Epic


After the sacking, the final fall,

abandoned in Nineveh's library

there had been a time of nothingness,

not quite pitch black, unfeeling for sure.

Stasis, he later learned while lodged in a head

rubbing shoulders with new concepts.


It was all so different from being on the lips,

in the thoughts, on the tongues of story tellers

his tale, his epic spoken of and retold

all across the then known world.

He had lived in their minds

each time his legend was told,

recreated in each consciousness

for the length of time they listened,

appreciated his dilemmas.


Then he had not realised those clay tablets,

patiently pressed cuneiform

would bestow the immorality he craved,

would convey him into the future

this everlasting now he lives in

each time someone reads his history.


I think I need to work on the poem some more. What do you think?

Yesterday a friend sent me a video of The Boxtops singing The Letter, splendid music

Until next time.

Friday, 4 September 2020

THE HANGING MAN


I have been polishing the poem for this post all week. This is unusual. I tend to write them and leave them alone for a time. This one demanded attention. Possibly because the narrative thread needed to be very clear.

the hanging man


the wallpaper will not hang today

reprieved beauty unseen

as it has been these past two Saturdays


it is the hangman, the handyman

who can turn his hand to all the things I cannot

whose future dangles by a thread


his disbelieving wife

long his sternest critic

has finally had enough


he stands in what is now her hallway

stuffing thirty years of life

into black plastic bags


I think that the narrative is clear. The breakdown of a relationship, wallpaper that is not put on the wall, the handyman packing his life into bags. Your thoughts, as always, welcome.

Here are Palooka 5 being splendid.

Until next time.

Friday, 28 August 2020

REAL TIME PROWLS

 

A couple of poems I started on a recent trip to London. 

the room offered two time zones

10:04 and 08:32

he stands in the centre

an hour rests on each open palm


outside

relentless

non-negotiable

real time prowls

waits to skewer you 


Yes, the room did have two digital clocks, each showing a different time.

There was a heat wave going on that week and it sort of contributed to this.

whatever, the furnaces are fed


it is only nine o’clock

and already the room is too warm


unbidden the hot wind from the sahara

brings the words of his mother


days like this there’s no talking to him

too much in his head for him to ever hear you


the sun shall brick bake the air

his voices will yell the louder

Pretty bleak eh? 

It was one of those poems that wrote itself, coming from somewhere deep inside. 

Here's an accurate poster. I am glad I am not the only one upset by the antics of the shameless and apparently Teflon coated advisor to what is laughingly referred to as the prime minister...

Here's someone of quality, which is more than can be said of the poltroons in the cabinet, the majestic Ben Webster from 1964.

Until next time.

Friday, 21 August 2020

THIS IS GROWING OLD

I wrote a poem about Tinnitus a long time ago, twelve years in fact, you can read it here.

I have revisited the topic recently and this is the result.

Tinnitus 2


This is growing old:

in my left ear three notes

played on a piano accordion,

stuck on repeat, plenty of sustain.

The right as in the last poem

carries the sound of the sea,

an older tune than human time.


In the night, when I awake

the street lamp patterns

leaf shadows on the blinds,

ancient music in my ears.


I think it is self explanatory. I wrote it one morning after lying in bed catalouguing the sounds in my head.

Here is a rewrite, courtesy once again, of The Secret Poets. You can read the original here

scintilla


as the buses turn the corner

they catch the sun and bounce the light

straight into our sitting room


as the driver turns the wheel

patterns of leaves stroke the walls

move and then are gone


in silence this morning

I await the next illumination


Only two words have been removed from the middle stanza. Sometimes that is all it takes.

Here's Cosmo Sheldrake.

Until next time.

Friday, 14 August 2020

THE WATER CYCLE

I opened another of the stash of prompts I have from #iamallstories yesterday. It consisted of five words: And the rain fell up. 

My initial idea was to run the sentence on to the next line [that's enjambment in technical poetry talk] something along the lines of "on to the heads of the people..." Not very good, or I felt, in the spirit of the prompt. Having no clear idea I let the sentence roll around my mind for a time.

In the evening I wrote this:

the water cycle


on his drawing the rain fell up

he did not give a fuck

for the teacher’s laboured explanation

or his laborious chalked illustration

they were forced copy

he simply had a need to see

the world as a place of wonder

where water could soar skywards


It is based on a couple of memories of junior school, though to be honest I was far too dull to have wanted the rain to fall upwards.

This next poem was written on a bus as the drivers changed over and it is what it is.

oh the bus drives sense of relief

as he hands the keys over to the next driver

all those souls no longer his responsibility

two free days before him

the night is warm, heavy with promise

adventure beckons

Here's Procol Harum with A Salty Dog from 1970.


Until next time.

Friday, 7 August 2020

SOME LIVE THEIR WHOLE LIVES LIKE THIS


Some short poems that have been around for a while waiting.
The first is about Brexit and how those that voted for it still do not realise the true cost.

Brexit


how easily we gave up our birth right

we were not even truly hungry

but we swallowed what we were told

only later did we come to regret it

when the true cost caused us

to look at what we had bought

with clear eyes


I am not sure where this next poem came from. I found it nearly fully formed in a notebook. I have no recollection of writing it.

this morning I discover

I am missing a layer of skin

clothing itches

every step informs me

my shoes are just that bit too loose


to the mirror I present the same image as yesterday

unflayed but sensitive

some people you tell me

spend their whole lives like this

I am silent waiting for tomorrow


Lastly a poem about forgetting your lunch.

halfway down the motorway

the image of his lunch

immobile

on the kitchen top

popped into his head

the distance between it

and his stomach widening

it was going to be one of those days

Here's Boo Hewerdine.

Until next time.