Sunday, 10 April 2011

Daily Poem #3. What do you mean it's late?

I need to stop writing poems that I can't actually publish. It's great stress relief, but not so good for actually keeping up with poetry months.

Sadly I've been a bit uninspired, otherwise. And by uninspired I mean that my brain feels like a sponge that's been wrung out and wrung out till all the soap is gone and the fabric's coming apart and damnit, now we have to get a new one and there are still so many dishes to wash. That's a bit of a questionable metaphor, but I'll leave it and move on before I forget what my original point was.

Carrie Etter blogged a couple of excellent links to resources for National Poetry Writing Month. They're like soap to my chafing brain. I'm using one right now: #1 on the list here, which involves taking words from the nearest book and building a poem up around them. (Goodness knows why I didn't think of that. When Livejournal wakes up from its latest round of politically-induced death throes, I might run a few searches there for prompt-giving communities.)

Right now, the nearest book was Fever Dream by Preston and Child.

Fever Dream is... well, it was recommended to me as God's gift to fine literature, but I feel like I've been lied to a little. For a taster -- and let your eyes glaze over if I've told you this anecdote three times already -- there's a completely serious scene in which the two main characters are driving through the skeletal wood to a mansion that's all creepy towers and spiked iron railings... and then the building is silhouetted from behind by spectral yellow lightning. Then later in the chapter, they're in one of the towers and it happens again. It's extra spooky!

It goes without saying that I'm enjoying the book immensely.

Anyway, there was supposed to be a poem involved in this post somewhere. Let's get to it: a piece of verse employing seven words from page 29 of Fever Dream by Preston and Child. I'd like to work on it some more, because at the moment it's clumsy as hell, but it can sit as a placeholder until I have time to actually do so.


Romero's Hunting Trophies

The zebra appeared, its mane in a twist,
Whinnying loudly and smelling of rot.
Whoever had killed it was no taxidermist
And probably asked for whatever he got.

Maurice ducked his head, looked down at his gun.
A stuffed buffalo made a great hiding-spot,
But sooner or later he'd just have to run -
He'd brought the thing down with the last of his shot.

He'd fought off a lion! Maurice would be damned
If he could be killed by some glorified horse.
Crack-crack went the hooves, as each of them slammed
The chestnut headboards on the ground with great force.

The moment it came within reach, he leaped -
And swung his gun on a zebra's-headward course.
The animal crumpled and finally slept,
And Maurice stamped on it, his breathing quite hoarse.

He glanced round the room, at carcasses piled:
A dusty hippo, and a rhino, and more.
Still mounted: a tiger's head that slyly smiled.
Next moment, he heard a loud growl at the door.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Daily Poem #2: Writing At Six AM.

This is not the
get up early, productive
productive time.
This is the
why did I stay up this
time, the brains
just aren’t moving through my thought
time. This is the slow
slow time that never moves
slowly enough to be enough.
This is the twelve noon deadline
shit why did I leave it so
late time, the never again,
again time, this is the coffee
and headaches and sick in your stomach
again time, the still not
connecting thoughts
well time. This is also
sadly the everyone knows time,
the hour of I’m the only one
who was ever this

Friday, 1 April 2011

It's National Poetry Month! (Daily Poem #1)

People are writing a poem a day. I think this is the point at which I throw up my hands, drag this blog out of its neglected state and use it as a dumping ground for my own entries. I reserve the right to conflate "poetry" and "flash fiction" like a dirty cheater.

Let's do this thing.


Dusty plates and bowls; cups with sugar scabbing at the bottom; predictably, flies. A line of ants making use of all this crap. A pair of eyes: unpredictably, dry. And a note apologising to the stranger who'll have to clean up.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010


Why haven't I posted any January updates? Because I want to submit a few poems to magazines, and I'm not sure whether I'll be able to do that if those same poems are sitting here for anyone to read. Hold tight while I investigate that.

In the meantime, you know what is awesome? These things are awesome. They're poetry magazines, and they're taking submissions. (This paragraph and the last may potentially be related.)

Magma Poetry
"Contributions are now being accepted for Magma 47, edited by Annie Freud with Roberta James. Poems are accepted on any subject but the editors particularly invite poems on the theme ‘The devil and all his works’. The deadline is 28th February."

Succour Magazine
"Condition 1: All submissions should be written on Saturday February 6th, 2010.
Condition 2: What you write should not be an attempt to execute an idea – for a story, for a poem, etc – that has previously occurred to you. Rather, we would prefer you to write whatever happens to come into your head at that particular time."

Stride Magazine
"The editor, Rupert Loydell, welcomes submissions of 4 or 5 poems, prose poems, reviews or articles."

Poets, you know what you have to do.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Reminder of Life

That crab made of stone
that's watching him from the shoreless desert
probably thinks he's crazy.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009


and whenever you call me I hear a bell,
and whenever you touch me I lose a year,
and whenever you kiss me I see a flame,
and whenever you fuck me I cry a prayer,
and whenever you leave me I break a bone,
and whenever you shun me I leave a scar,
and whenever you need me it starts again,

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Marian's Hobby

Marian held shears in her left hand, and the glass-eyed body of a mallard in her right. The mallard was mournful. Its downy wings were rigid and its stiff beak was open in one silent endless quack.

Marian stood, holding these things, in front of her workbench. Her workbench was very useful. It held a sewing kit with needles and strong thread; a plush, fluffy mallard with a smile on its decapitated face; and a storybook about a duck who was happy all day long.