The ineffable boredom of Polonius

Hamlet had a go; stabbing him behind the arras,
which does not mean what you may think it means
if you didn’t do Shakespeare in your degree.
But he never dies, this Polonius. He pops up as
Scoutmaster, Deputy Principal, minor MP, Mayor,
spouting cliché through his immortal mouth;

To your own self be true

he tells graduating students, some of whom
have read of him being stabbed behind the arras
and have suffered quite enough already thank you.

Youth are the future of Australia, he adds,

and I’m sure there are American and Indian and
Kyrgyzstani Poloniuses, for he has bred, you know,
splitting in two in each grave; coming up each morn
at fifty-five years. They go on cruises, Polonii,
and spend their ineffable boredom in other places
dripping like middle-aged piss for

Travel broadens the mind

which, in this case, it clearly doesn’t.

Never put off until tomorrow, he exhorts.

I feel that there must be a way to kill off his breed.
And I will work and work to find a way to eliminate
every smear of Polonius from discourse public or private.

Make hay while the sun shines,

and I am forming daggers from papier-mâché
made from the most tedious editorials still written,

in real print newspapers

crapping on about the

sacrifice of previous generations

and the inevitable

need for fiscal constraint

and I will sneak up on him, like Hamlet, but less hosey,
and force a cliché dagger down his moth-eaten throat,
though I fear he will just regurgitate the dagger,

waste not want not

he will say or

Violence is the last resort of the unintelligent and never a solution

and it is, Polonius, oh yes it is,
and may you choke on your sayings
and die, smearing the arras, wall, or whatever
in horrible, tedious wisdom, like the worlds greyest
graffiti, little vombits of save and safe and think and

look before you leap

and it will be too late, and nobody, no nobody will weep

for the death of the boring uncle, with his inexplicable fetish
for hiding behind arrases, which is the only interesting thing
that the mouldy old sententious prick ever did.

And may flights of silverfish sing him to his rest.

P.S. Cottier
man-reading-mail
 

Now this is not a Very Nice Poem at all, but sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of a rave.

Read the works of the other Tuesday Poets around the world by pressing here. That includes New Zealand, where they are quite good at cricket.

FrankenFriday the first

March 20, 2015

As we move towards 2016, and the 200th anniversary of the night when Mary Shelley came up with the story of Frankenstein, I intend to blog from time to time about the author, her circle, and her creation. Friday will be my posting day, as you may gather from the header.

Mary Shelley’s Cookbook

Bind this book
in the skin of man.
Keep your place marked
with fingers,
or tongues to taste
the lineaments.
Take kidneys, lights and liver
and animate the contents
with diseased and wandering imagination.
Forget your sex.
Just write.

‘Diseased and wandering imagination’ is from an early review of Frankenstein in The British Critic. Possibly the first reviewer to realise that the author was female, the writer criticised Shelley for ‘forgetting the gentleness of her sex’. I think, somehow, that ‘The British Critic’ was most often a white man…I stand to be corrected.
liver

Here I am playing with what was seen as a proper interest for middle class women, in at least overseeing a household’s consumption of food, and contrasting it with Shelley’s recipe for creating a novel in which a man was scientifically constructed.

As with cooking, he was made of various ingredients, and heated…at least in some filmic versions of the tale. In the novel itself, lightning is not used as the means to vivify the creature, although the phenomenon does appear in the book, almost as a character in its own right. The Modern Prometheus is the book’s subtitle, and Prometheus was tortured by the Gods for giving people the secret of fire.

A bird ate his liver, again and again.

Poet assassin for hire

The poet is armed and kicks.
Sometimes that even hurts.
Then she legs it, all enjambe
ment and blisters.
A regular mule with the metaphors,
she similes like a snake on butter,
and can tell voltas from mere electrics.
She chucks haiku
and knows better than counting
syllables like coins.
She put the eco in ecopoetry
and swoops like a precarious bird
onto the blank pages of logs.
Knuckledusters swell
on the ends of her fingers
like real toads waxing
in totes imaginary salons.
She stashes bullets
in well-worn culottes.
She will absolutely murder
for a few couplets more.

I, too, dislike her.

P.S. Cottier

(Many apologies to Marianne Moore.)

Wistful and vicious

Wistful and vicious

Sometimes it is good to have fun, ‘because fun is good’, as Dr Seuss wrote. Did you spot the ‘haiku’ embedded in the poem? Sorry, there is no prize.

I know at least three people that a poem written purely for fun will annoy, as they disapprove of play. I hear that Poet Assassin does not care. She is beyond shame. But obsessed by spelling; and I hear that she chose enjambement over enjambment for some obscure reason of poetics. Question that decision and die…

Read the works of the other Tuesday Poets around the world by pressing here.
***

On a very different note, there is a great new opportunity for poets who would like to write a speculative poem. A competition, organised by Joanne (Jo) Mills, will award $1000 (that’s the plucky Aussie $) to the best poem written in the science fiction, fantasy, horror or any related field. Entry is $12 (again, in the magic coin of Oz). Online entry? Yes.

Here are the details:
https://interstellaraward.wordpress.com/interstellar-award-for-speculative-poetry/

I am chuffed that the contest was partly inspired by the book The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry edited by Tim Jones and myself last year. Ms Mills had a poem called ‘Folds’ selected for the anthology by the incredibly talented and gorgeous editors, who are only slightly inclined to exaggeration in one case.
bigstock-Comet-in-the-sky-15028232

Thiel Grant Shortlist

March 11, 2015

https://teacherintherye.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/thiel-grant-shortlist

Who is the only shortlisted person to use words in capitals in their application title…THAT WOULD BE ME!

Yes, I am shortlisted for Philip Thiel’s grant for on-line writing. My suggestion is to look forward to the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley creating the story of Frankenstein, and to blog about the book, the author, her times and the science. Also, I would consider the use of Frankenstein in culture generally, and how the book seems even more vital today. Gender, genius and monsters; literature, film, science and ethics. A big stack of of material there! Eight feet high like the creature himself.

I must say that it is an honour to be shortlisted with such a great list of on-line writers.

The winner will be announced next week, and receives $5000 to blog for a year on the short-listed topic.

A celebratory tipple

A celebratory tipple

UPDATE 18/3/15:
https://teacherintherye.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/thiel-grant-winner/
Congratulations to Patrick Lenton who won the grant. I look forward to following his blog.

I think I’ll still be writing about Mary Shelley here, but perhaps a little less intensively than if I had won.

A timely monster

And if I could drink youth in
through my eyes — a vampire
of glance, lapping it from
perfect blush of skin —
would it be possible not to
drink and rise, leaving years
like a phone lost in cushions?
And yet, and yet…
before my eyes suck, remember
the self-consciousness,
the rash redness of life
before it wrapped itself in time?
To take, and lose a burden,
is to lift another,
cutting into hands or mind,
like an overloaded bag.
So let them pass, and let me yearn
and learn to stop, just here.
I’ll sit, and plait kind memory
through this smoked nostalgia of hair.

P.S. Cottier

bat

Very traditional matter there, about the passing of time, given a sprinkle of Polidori. I like ‘my eyes suck’. Certainly not over-poetic! Monday was a public holiday in Canberra, so I did a little revision of this poem, and decided to post it.

More and more I find myself unable to wait the months that some journals take to say yes or no to a piece. I pity the editors, but I value my own work more! This blog now has many readers (hello to you all, from France to India to the Americas to Binalong) so why not self-publish?

Of course, I am foregoing the huge piles of pelf that poetry usually attracts, and there are some journals and anthologies that I really want to be part of, but I do like the immediacy of this medium. Particularly when I can find such cool pictures for free at Old Book Illustrations!

Other poets enjoy that too, whether they are posting their own poems, or those of others. Read the works of the other Tuesday Poets. They are definitely worth the clicks.

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