Tomorrow and Ever After

Tomorrow I will sit demurely
just wrestle words to the ground
with a flicker of my lashes
flash of sopweed from the Bard.

Tomorrow my characters will come alive,
fight each other, bicker, woo.
Plotholes will hang their grimey faces,
poems stop barking at the moon.

Tomorrow I’ll use post-its in coloured gradations,
fill spreadsheets and schedules, submit with method.
Each sapling of wisdom, each stray pun I will corral
till the day after arrives with a thud.

Portrait of a Poet, by Palma Vecchio. From Google Art Project.

Untethered or Not – Writing Poetry in Class

In one of the poetry workshops I attended at the Geneva Writers Conference, we were encouraged to allow our minds to amble aimlessly like a camel, to allow words to come to us. Here is my result (on a topic which is obviously becoming a bit of an obsession with me). I am linking it to dVerse Poets’ much-loved and always interesting Open Link Night, which should be starting this evening (European time).

The straitjackets of corporates I seek to embellish

with jewel-coloured scarves.

The coffin-planks of business jargon I scrape on emery boards

to soften with a smile.

Within the gnarl of strategic progression I untangle

a few words that buzz

– raw and angry – Swiss army knives shredding my pocket

they clamour for rebirth

shimmering Morganas, outside and beside their utilitarian desert.

I undress them

watch them shiver

hear them groan and misbehave.

Done with coaxing I am cruel.

Beseech no more I point the way.

Take no prisoners, gloves are off.

Photo credit: Newsjournal/Kelly Jordan
Photo credit: Newsjournal/Kelly Jordan

Yet their world of cloned rabbits have leeched me out of colour.

Discipline is my undoing.

My words jump through endless monochrome hoops

how they conform

how they confirm

docility is taking over the circus.

Those Words Again

Words have rusted in fingers and mouth

I rub their red roughness, they crumble and cling

to print-whorls

but lustre eludes and taste sharpens to metallic.

www.pipegripes.com
http://www.pipegripes.com

How can I restart the alchemical process?

Where can I find new words, fresh fords,

currencies not yet devalued?

Coins not rub-worn by collective wonder or greed?

I linger in surface,

afraid to leave skimming.

But dive you must to dig out pained treasure

in all its green-gold mottling

the metal out of its element now dried out to brittle snapping.

I’ve played too long with rhymes and prefixes

supped and sipped                   fêted and fated

but still I fail to breathe them back to life.

Then              when I forget to look

words ripen

thumb-grown, tendrils tumbling

from mouths in cascade of green.

Shoots spring forth

and I gape in amazement

surprise caught and filled

the wonder           the shame.

 

 

For Days Now, Mr. Bowie

Space Oddity Album Cover 1.
Space Oddity Album Cover 1.

For days now Mr. Bowie

has withered my poetic vine.

He absorbs all thought, each molecule

of passion.

So dreams turn monotonal

and pastel-grey wins mornings.

Twelve labours turn to twenty,

each step backbreaking toil.

Ears hum with his songs, not mine.

(So easy to find solace

when others say it better.)

Tempted – oh, yes! – to stop searching

for the word forever lost, crooked, faulty…

For just one minute I stopped upon a rock

with Sisyphus

lost in contemplation

of the melody of life.

Hunky Dory Album Cover
Hunky Dory Album Cover

But tell me, Mr. Bowie,

you who have known sorrow

– and great joy too, no doubt –

what do you know of my heart?

How can you show in my place

where fear fell  away,

out glistened unfettered soul beneath?

You cannot speak for me

so haunt no more my mind and senses.

Leave me to find my own laborious words.

 

Despite the pictures and the name-dropping, this poem is not really about David Bowie at all, although you know that I am a fan.  It’s about writing, finding words to describe your experiences, finding your own voice, inspiration: all the bees that are currently flying around in my bonnet.  Buzz over to the dVerse Poets Pub today, where they have Open Link Night.

Precision Forever Eludes Us

When I swerve to pounce

I know! I am sure! I trap it with a single clasp!

Harvest-full  my hands are, with precious, rarest cargo.

Yet when I open them, they dangle

bereft and bare.

 

When I nail it on the board for spread-eagled scrutiny,

its beating heart flutters elsewhere.

Missing the target, pinpricks will render

Superficial shrills into confetti thrills.

No capture, falling,  F

all

ing

Quick shake-off –

nothing but dust –

back in ring to entice and encircle

voluptuous forevers and nevers,

untamed, unbowed, unrepentant.

 

I always fail.

Is there valour in trying?

Defeat feels anything but…

 

Next time –

always next time –

the vision will be luminous.

Sounds will surge forth, perfectly aligned.

Until then…

 

Here’s to the missing.

goliathus.cz

It is Open Link Night over at dVerse Poets Pub – and have they got something to celebrate! An anthology of some of the best works of the pub regulars is now available on Kindle and in paperback. Much drinking, merry-making and reciting of poetry will be involved, so do join us there!

Words Not My Own

I’m struggling a little to find my words right now.  6 months of corporate speak, constant travelling and consummate professionalism have taken their toll.  Writing and I have never been further apart – or so it seems.

But the good news is that the holidays have started now.  I’m taking all of July and August off.  July will be dedicated to the family, but August is mine, to read, review, blog, read your blogs and … finally nail that novel.  If only the words start flowing again.

Here are some quotes from women poets and writers which currently guide and inspire me:

The joy of writing.

The power of preserving.

Revenge of a mortal hand.  (Wisława Szymborska)

I’m not mad. It just seems that way
because I stagger and get a bit irritable.
There are wonderful holes in my brain
through which ideas from outside can travel
at top speed and through which voices,
sometimes whole people, speak to me
about the universe.  (Jo Shapcott)

For it would seem …  that we write, not with the fingers, but with the whole person. (Virginia Woolf)

Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.  (Adrienne Rich)

 

The Death of Poetry

I’m poet-ed out.

 

My words, once so deft

at finding me,

now stand chastened

like moon-faced schoolboys

caught truant once again.

They’ve let me down,

skived off when most needed.

They’ve left in a scramble of deafening noise.

 

I tripple, weary, through mock-landscapes of meaning,

I gush and jargon with the best,

as, achingly, I long for sparseness,

hard-won meander, richness to digress.

Ideal conduct of desire,

harbinger of eloquence,

I snatch at shadows

flitting just outside my vision.

 

There is no rhyme

there is just reason

in my life and on my page.