April 15, 2014
Alice looks back
Since furniture regained its proper size
and animals ceased to speak;
since teapots evicted rodents
and the Queen became so very nice
I find myself looking back
more and more and more.
Everything now is normaler and normaler,
and normalcy has its limitations.
I play patience, play it out,
wishing that the cards would rise
and assume that manic thinness,
that monarchy would lose itself
in ordering the loss of heads
for no known reason at all.
But we have assumed the robes,
the tight beige robes of logic.
Mathematics begets statistics,
measuring the mundane.
One day we’ll hear again
of these parallel places,
rabbit holes or worm-holes,
and falls into other worlds.
For now, I corset myself in common-sense,
and stuff memory into quotidian hats.
This poem was first published in Eureka Street, and then in my book The Cancellation of Clouds.
Alice in Wonderland is a perfect book; one that can be dipped into again and again. It makes us all flamingos; turning pink as we sup on its immortal shrimp. And if that’s not the worst metaphor you read today, I will eat my quotidian hat.
This feather was dropped by a rare New Zealand flamingo, known for its total lack of defence, unique accent, and inability to fly. Click it to discover more poetry:
Apparently, poetry is the WordPress theme/prompt/challenge for the week. I wrote this before knowing that, but given poetry is my life-long challenge, I’ll sneak in a link anyway.
April 9, 2014
Off to the printers -
the most beautiful four words
proofing is ended
Well, they are the most beautiful four words to an editor, anyway.
We’re finalising launch details for The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry, edited by Tim Jones and me. There will be a launch in Melbourne, and one in Canberra, both in June. Poets will read poems from their own copies of the book! One editor will probably drink too much! Details to follow. Of the time and venue, not of the drunk editor’s proclivities.
For more sensible entries, I suggest you tap the following feather. Feather-tapping is a thing now.
April 1, 2014
Yes, Tuesday Poem is four years old today, and a what a rambunctious lass she is. Born in New Zealand, she simultaneously exists in Paris, Canberra (and lesser parts of Australia), England and even bits of the United States.
Every Tuesday you can read wonderful poetry at the hub site and the members’ sites. Click this feather and go to New Zealand, for a far more comprehensive explanation of the birth of Tuesday Poem, and a poem (nay, four poems) on a food theme, broadly interpreted.
We all contributed a food related sentence, which have all been stewed together, by clever chef Michelle Elvy (TP Hub sub-editor) along with Mary McCallum and Claire Beynon. It’s all rather like this extract from Dickens:
“‘It’s a stew of tripe,’ said the landlord smacking his lips, ‘and cow-heel,’ smacking them again, ‘and bacon,’ smacking them once more, ‘and steak,’ smacking them for the fourth time, ‘and peas, cauliflowers, new potatoes, and sparrow-grass, all working up together in one delicious gravy.’ Having come to the climax, he smacked his lips a great many times, and taking a long hearty sniff of the fragrance that was hovering about, put on the cover again with the air of one whose toils on earth were over.”
The Old Curiosity Shop Chapter 18
Regular readers of this blog can probably spot the sentence (or part thereof) contributed by this poet. Think quirk. Think juxtaposition. Think ‘yuck!’.
Enjoy your dinner.
March 25, 2014
The Coming of Age
Knock knock at the door:
Quiet and insistent.
Not Dickinson’s courtly Death,
taking me for a ride.
No, this is another visitor,
who doesn’t wait for me to answer.
But she leaves three calling cards:
sensible shoes, false teeth,
and a Zimmer frame,
subtle as the Harbour Bridge.
Still young enough, I chase Age
down the curvy street.
I throw the flat shoes at her.
I bite her with the plastic teeth
(puppeted in my hand, please note).
And the Zimmer frame?
It holds up my climbing rose.
How long, though, before
I cling, and shuffle, oh so slow,
with carefully engineered stride?
I’ve been writing a few poems about age recently. This one was first published in The Mozzie, Queensland.
Age doesn’t worry me that much, really. So long as it affects me in no way whatsoever…
The Tuesday Poets have discovered the secret of eternal yoof. Press this feather and so will you. (Note: no promises will be fulfilled. But there will be poems.)
March 17, 2014
The changing soundscape of public space
throttled by library snakes
now emboldened chat stretches —
bites the sluggish ears
of those who want purer air
in my day, we mumble
in my day we sat straight
whispering sweet infractions —
wrapped in official silence
muffled with a quieter wool.
That poem was just commended in the Yass Show Poetry Competition (not the bush poetry division) on Sunday. I’m afraid I piked on attending the event, as I was exhausted. I had performed poetically the night before with a delightfully accented Texan, a poet who removed his skirt rather like the female members of Abba in their glittery prime, and a number of strangely assertive, neigh, militant horses.* So I had a good excuse. It was a wonderful night at the Word Co-op.
You could look at some photos here. I am the least cool person.
*That wordplay is totally Roshelle Fong’s. She performed an hilarious and thoughful piece enacting various questions of animal rights, wearing costume horse-heads. Delightfully accented Texans sometimes perform under the name of Good Ghost Bill, and Ma Ya Ga Ng Re Ne’s soundscape explored the schlongier aspects of gender.
For further poetry, please touch this feather:
By the way, however exhausted I am, the organisers of this festival (called You Are Here) are far more tired. I hope to post a photographic essay illustrating the ageing of some of them. Here, for example, is a photo of one of them that I took last night: