May 18, 2015
Which hands sewed these hands?
The girl’s flapping exclamations,
two arched pink dolphins beached
framing that Tim Burton waif face.
Blank panic screams to eloquent air.
Thin spaghetti legs show bruises —
a manic teacher worked her too hard
at the barre of a ballet sweat shop.
Her hair a nest of vermicelli.
Blue eyes stare past sense —
blue eyes gape despair.
This is why I sometimes love online shopping almost as much as op shops. In this case I bought these two puppets from the Salvation Army’s online store, combining two favourite shopping destinations. (Well Anglicare’s op shop in Queanbeyan is my favourite; you get a nicer class of second hand stuff, in general…)
The above is really notes towards a longer poem. I have yet to tackle the other puppet, complete with his magic cape of jewels.
I may use these puppets in a future reading. You have been warned.
Last Friday I was lucky enough to attend a reading by Stuart Cooke and Michael Farrell at Manning Clark House in Canberra. (Stuart is on the left of this photo.)
I have been reading Michael’s poetry and was delighted to hear him read his allusive and intellectually tantalising works in person. It was a small but enthusiastic audience.
The poets read a couple of poems in turn rather than dividing the time into two discrete blocks. I was particularly happy to hear ‘A lyrebird’, previously featured as a Tuesday Poem (posted by Jennifer Compton, with her comments) here. Stuart’s poem about Durras sticks in my mind: I was driving there the next day, escaping the desperate need for beanies and coats and bus stop conversations about how ‘chilly’ it’s getting, for a single warmish day. Minus 4 is not ‘chilly’, peeps. It’s appalling.
I found myself searching ‘ug boots’ on eBay the other day, which is slightly tragic. Particularly for sheep. That direct segue between fleece and foot enacted in a boot…where does puppet end and clothing begin?
May 8, 2015
That sounds like a new game that rather old-fashioned children might play in the schoolground if Instagram suddenly crashed. But no, it’s an excuse to publish a photograph.
I took this last night at the launch of Janette Pieloor’s poetry collection ripples under the skin (Walleah Press). Janette is one the right, standing with Sarah Rice, another poet. You can tell that winter is really just around the corner in Canberra, skulking and kicking. (I refuse to say Winter is coming. That now has the coolness — !— of saying ‘How about this heat? or ‘Cold enough for you? Starkly uncool.)
And the paper? Well the launch was held in Paperchain Books in Manuka. One of the few independent bookstores left in Canberra.
I have dipped into the collection and found some very disconcerting poems, which is always a good thing.
Stronger than coffee,
the memory of the mandarin
segments the air with tang.
Smell is better than taste
(no pips to spit and
punctuate the saucer…)
Orange air flips a finger
as I sip staid warm brown.
Perhaps I should write a book of poems entirely set in a café, called First World Beverages or somesuch. I just wrote a prose piece, soon to be published, about how annoyed I get with poetry that seems to reject all the world except for the poet and his or her feelings, as if feelings have no connection to the society in which they are felt. Mmm, I must order another coffee and have a think about that…That is my world, I suppose, but there is the occasional idea as well, floating around like the smell of mandarins. (They are healthier than madeleines, too.)
I do quite like the pips as ellipses though, and the hint of concrete poetry as the brackets form a saucer. Poésie porcèlaine sounds so much nicer than concrète, don’t you agree?
I must contact the Trademarks Office.
Lastly, my pocket book Paths Into Inner Canberra (Ginninderra Press) is now being stocked by Book Lore in Wattle Street, Lyneham (that’s in Canberra). It is on the front counter, so go in and buy one for $4. Keep this deserving woman in coffee!
Book Lore is a fantastic second-hand bookstore, located between two cafés. In one of these establishments, a poem about mandarins and coffee was written, just today. The photo in the helmet was taken outside the second of these places, by a Mr G. Dunn, after wine was had, and is one of several in the wee pamphlet. The pocket book can also be ordered on the publisher’s site using Paypal. (I am number 3, she said, mysteriously.)
For one doesn’t live on coffee alone, and even mandarins may fade.
April 26, 2015
This is a poem, not a listicle.
1. It tastes like leather. Hold the stick tight.
2. If you listen you will soon note that it speaks bad French.
3. It has never been to France, except in fairly standard dreams.
4. It bought cheap steroids in Bali, but is yet to bulge.
5. It would like to contain the word ‘roseate’, but can’t.
6. It read itself out loud just last week and was well received.
7. It just watched the film The Brain from Planet Arous.
8. It keeps reciting ‘After I’m gone, your earth will be free to live out its miserable span of existence, as one of my satellites, and that’s how it’s going to be…’
9. It can’t translate that into French, even French of the worst sort.
10. This is a poem, not a listicle.
Yes, this poet (and not just that poem) just watched The Brain from Planet Arous, in which a nasty alien brain inhabits the cranium of a scientist, and a nicer alien brain inhabits the head of the scientist’s girlfriend’s dog.
Only to be watched when drunk. There are seemingly endless scenes of people tiptoeing through caves, and the woman who owns the dog never stops serving the men food. The direct speech in the poem is made by the nasty brain, who does do a mad scientist chuckle quite frequently.
I am interested in how flat the language in a poem can be before it ceases to be a poem. Also, the word listicle caught my imagination. So like popsicle, but often so disappointingly flat AND chunky.
Other poets may be playing with form, if not risking brain damage by watching dreadful 50s science fiction films. Read the works of the other Tuesday Poets around the world by pressing here.