Friday, 14 January 2022

CONJURE A MAGPIE

As you can no doubt imagine from the title of this blog I have a love of magpies. I don't usually do list poems as I think they have been done to death, however, just to contradict myself here is a list poem.

Bird Building

he artfully deployed his vocabulary


beak

nape

breast

pinion

quill

wing tip

talon

hop

perch

black 

white 

blue

to conjure a magpie

I had to research the list as my knowledge of birds is pretty rudimentary. I may try it out at a reading, when they happen again.

this year I’ll be carving the Christmas tree   so it will fit in the car (safely)   as there’s no kerbside collection for bedraggled symbols that have outstayed their welcome

then as it drizzles   I drive to the municipal car park collection point and the tree mumbles the best years of my life and for what?    I pretend not to hear

by the time I have swept the boot of accusing pine needles    the once ten foot tree is sawdust

Just a piece of reportage, slightly tongue in cheek. The Christmas tree was supposed to be eight feet tall but as I bought it the man said he thought it was nearer ten foot. thankfully the ceilings of our house are taller.

I bought Phoebe Bridgers Copycat Killer ep the other day on spec. Thankfully it turned out to be wondrous.

Until next time.

Friday, 7 January 2022

THE CLATTER OF CUTLERY

I wanted to have a space poem this post to go with the video but alas I have none to hand. It's rather like the mismatch between image and word that always occurs. Anyway on to the poem.

Here is a redrafted version, thanks go to the Secrets, once again, for their perception and their support.

ball and chained to that one event


road blocked not even a pavement


I imagine him staring out at the world through a letterbox

set in the stout locked door of a big house

and trying to conduct a conversation with the world

such is the event echo in which he lives 


what ever I say nothing budges


I listen to him fill my ears with the clatter

of a canteen of cutlery poured onto quarry tiles

In this earlier version there is a dialogue between the narrator and the person he attempts to help. The Secrets felt that the metaphors confused the narrative. I leave it in for you to decide for yourself.

ball and chained to that one event


road blocked not even a pavement


he explains it thus


imagine staring out at the world through a letterbox

set in the stout locked door of a big house

and trying to conduct a conversation with the world

this is the event echo he lives in


I reach for a metaphor

consider a lock pick

false papers

or the power to walk through walls


my mouth makes a handbrake

just press the button and lower the lever

it is really that simple


nothing budges


and my ears fill with the clatter

of a canteen of cutlery poured onto quarry tiles

The original idea came into being from the word roadblocked which led me to think about pavements and how some people are unable to continue in the aftermath of a traumatic event. This then led to other metaphors and the form the poem has taken.

Metaphors are useful to convey big ideas succinctly. They enable you to get the gist across quickly. I think this poem is not in its final draft, but I am happy enough to share it.

Annabelle Chvostek has just released a video for her song Black Hole [it's on the Be The Media album, you can buy it here]. The video was thought up and made by Ximena Griscti. 

Until next time.

Friday, 31 December 2021

INSUBSTANTIAL

I began this poem was on the shortest day. The time, I like to believe, that held a significance for our Neolithic Ancestors, the reason they raised stone circles and the other enigmatic structures. I have no proof of this, it just feels right to me. I am drawn to celebrate the shortest day as the beginning of the new solar cycle. But  enough of my beliefs.

insubstantial


even as you seek

the memory

has gone


so you stare at the ceiling


in the darkness

the shortest day calls to you


later


you will sight that dream fragment

as you turn the steering wheel


too preoccupied

to give it attention


so it flees


is content to taunt your sleep another night

The poem records events as they happened. A tantalising echo on waking and another glimpse as I drove to the beach hut to watch the sunrise. I wrote the first draft after breakfast, literally jotting down a word sketch. The sparseness appealed.

Thanks to bandcamp for this video. I was taken by its beauty, how the music and image combine to offer a different vision. Thanks to Jeff Parker. His album is excellent.

Until next time.

Friday, 24 December 2021

RUNNING ON EMPTY

 

Here's a surreal little poem that presented itself as an idea but had to be coaxed into becoming a poem. Many thanks to the Secrets for their perceptive comments and assistance. 

Running on Empty


halfway


down


the page


his words


ran out


and the poem


not even captured


just sentences


in need of scaffolding


he checked his dictionary


empty


blank pages


awaiting a refill


he did not bother the thesaurus

it tutted at him

in that annoying didactic way


he could call out the page side recovery service

but the wait would be an hour or more

besides last time they told him

you need a whole new vocabulary mate

and look at them metaphors

worn away to thin things they are!


perhaps if he made a cup of tea

it might rally the other letters

I liked the idea of words running out like a car runs out of petrol. The idea of a page side recovery service followed on from the breakdown idea. I had difficulty finding an ending. I also liked the idea of the thesaurus being too proud to help. In reality the thesaurus was my life saver.

I think the poem is complete. It shall be put to one side for a while as usual.

Here are The Mountain Goats. Their new live recordings are amazing, you can listen to them here.

Until next time.

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

MEADFOOT 21.12.21

 

Since moving to Torquay four years ago I have not seen the sunrise on the shortest day, this has been partially due to bad weather. Traditionally I would drive to Avebury to celebrate the New Year, but these days it is too far. 

Having a beach hut on Meadfoot Beach is the next best thing. We went down and watched the sun hide behind the clouds. It was high tide and there was quite a swell.

Here's to a better year ahead. Peace, love and unity to you all.

Friday, 17 December 2021

ISOSCELES VIEW

 

Here's a poem about a memory. I did glimpse on the horizon the sea framed between two hills. Actually the last time I was there the weather was too wet to get a photograph!

every morning

term time, early 80s

I looked to the sea

on the horizon

framed by hills

an unequal triangle

grey and distant

so very different

from the Mersey

that I had lived by


after thirty years

of life lived in the lowlands

I again live by the sea

and once in a while

I’ll drive for an hour

and reacquaint myself

with the lopsided symmetry

of that isosceles view

The poem is pretty straight forward and I think it is complete.

It is one of those ones that require to be written down and nothing more. Here is The Lovin' Spoonful, the drummer forgets what song they are supposed to open with!

Until next time.

Friday, 10 December 2021

STEAL AWAY YOUR WORDS

 I have said on more than one occasion that political poems do not stand the test of time. People's memories are too short, events fade, new outrages occur. Here is a poem I have been working on for some time. Thanks must go to the Secrets for their assistance in finally bringing it to the page.

post midnight

predawn


I am the unsleeping opposite of wakeful

jaundiced under the petrol station sodium lights


the empty newspaper bins wait

it’s too early for the news


but I know what they will say-

thirty one bodies fished out of the Channel

It concerns the tragic deaths of 31 people attempting to reach this country who drowned in the Channel. We need to sort out a process for accepting refugees and migrants that removes people smugglers and their miserable trade from the equation. My heart goes out to the families of all those who have died. It is a tragedy that the British government is such a heartless propaganda machine which puts placating its new voters above human life.

Now a poem on a lighter subject. An event at the university where I work. 

Just Another Day at Marjons

and we have been tasked with the making of a video

a parody of a parody filmed on a phone in the rain

the wind will steal away your words only to replace them

with the sound of the sea in a shell held to your ear 

I think it explains itself. It did have this second stanza but I think it is unnecessary.

we go inside

shoot scenes in the public rooms

no one stares

stuff like this happen all the time

Here's Lana Del Ray with Chemtrails over the Country Club. 

Until next time.