Slick to Swallow

Child, your mother’s hair unwashed for a week

tangles limply on the pillow.

Flattened by overuse, you prop her up, she slips back down.

There is no justice.

You bring in dandelions she has no puff to blow.

She swallows watery gruel and superlatives

with equal indifference,

Spooned out at intervals,

when you remember she is human too.

There is no medicine

if oil tars feathers

and causes the family to mat and separate.

 

Erasure Poetry

Time for a little more poetic experimentation. I read Canadian writer Alain Farah’s Ravenscrag recently and loved some of the passages enough to attempt erasure poetry with them. There is a strange logic to these type of poems which makes you wonder just how much of our language is essential…

Black marble tycoon content with conformist little books:

his merchant fleet takes pleasure in being neutralised

at the Montreal governor’s estate; those pastime books

spin floridly through thirty-six rooms –

not sinking into the mind

not speaking to dark grief

but breeding ravens.

The ballrooms may be mentally ill

yet it’s always the others who

bake cakes and play ping-pong.

The dwarf stumbles down to cavernous Cameroon

and disciples of La Sape

make books with no night.

View from Mont Royal, Montreal
View from Mont Royal, Montreal

Have you ever attempted erasure poetry and discovered that each person will choose different words which resonate with them? That our subconscious will pick those words which best describe our current state?

Media Circus: A Poem

I’ve written before about my distaste for a life lived online or even in front of a TV screen. Of course, I do both, but only when my friends and family are not around. I much prefer genuine conversation. Except sometimes, it has to be said, the more interesting and honest conversation does take place online, when we dare not voice our real thoughts or interests to those around us. The emphasis, however, is on the term conversation, rather than shouting over each other, jeering, trolling. I lived long enough in my childhood in a place where I was told what to think and saw the darker side of herd mentality. I now want to listen to all points of view and engage in informed, considerate debate, like proper grown-ups, instead of a media circus.

Bojangles hums but brazen sky

Listens to others and shuts him down

Next, please, next!

Rainbow juggling, brilliant flash,

Tongue-twisted fire-eaters swallow their words

A pack of blood trolls swoop and snarl

Dribble slogans like so much stray mud

Follow the leader

Lost in the crush

Chirping and tumbling

Booked for daring to face life

Raw, unrevised, with no updates

How you snap those fingers,

Bojangles the merry,

And the lighter side of like

Turns to toasty concern,

So easy to warm on demand.

From celebuzz.com

I am not a political poet, but…

Fair is Fair

I cannot stomach another appraisal in the garb of friendly chat
upstairs at Starbucks
dissecting goals and stretching targets
just beyond the realm of fairytale achievement.

Business drivers and objectives, abstract terms and jargon
jostle for dominion
while a plague falls upon both your houses, tiled with greed.
Slurp your coffee in a bowl of soup,
enough calories to feed a family of four.

Check your privilege like a raincoat at the door.
Please isolate one or two areas for improvement –
oh, I don’t know, pay taxes maybe?
Fairtrade jazz too bland and quiet to offend
as I sip my hot beverage
and bemoan the drop in my shares.

REUTERS/Will Burgess
REUTERS/Will Burgess

Poetry Link-Up: Content Inside

She’s forgotten the hot shiver
of a new hand
stroking her hair

Her skin stretched and soft
like blotting paper
no longer absorbs
the ink bruise of lovebites.

Crooning a broken record of a lovesong
she tangles her hair
for the few seconds
her body convulses

And feels the power she once had given
to the nook of broad shoulders on men.

Image courtesy of favim.com
Image courtesy of favim.com

I’ve been submitting quite a few poems to literary magazines lately, so I’ve been using this blog only to post very rough first drafts or discarded poems or poems which require substantial reworking. Apologies for that! I’m still cheekily linking this up to dVerse Poets Open Link Night, which starts later on today, because I always enjoy going there for a visit. Join me if you can!

The Meaning of the Colour Purple

Purple stands for royalty, nobility, ambition, luxury and power.

purple
Ambition pure in purple rays
squirted by sea creatures in precious gusts.
Noblemen captured it in togas and cloaks,
now paled to inoffensive and little girls.
The rinse of predilection for ladies just over the hill or
tip to toe for Barbie’s dream.
I no longer believe in what the spirit moves.
You smell of her and yet you mock
my small-minded flinching
and bruises.
We’re all just bodies,
veins and sinews,
muscle ache and porous bones,
with long seasons on repeat.
Never the dagger thrust into compliance and flesh.

I am linking this to my beloved dVerse Poets Pub. Although I am no longer behind the bar, I do enjoy popping in every now and then for a visit. Come and join me for some fun poetry and discussions! It will be Open Link Night tonight.

Greasepaint and Stage Fright

Two lines in Act Two, that’s all I get…

She treats us like five-year-olds and…

how can you remember all those steps

or carry high notes?

In the film they look cool but we are too giggly.

There’s no way I’ll learn that

when I’m not even in it!

So the squeaks and squeals thrill on…

Teenage acne and tantrum

hidden by make-up and costume measurements.

Toothless smiles and furtive chortles.

Each one the greatest star of the stage

in parents’ brimful eyes.

Image courtesy of Simply Theatre, Geneva.
Image courtesy of Simply Theatre, Geneva.