April 27, 2013
I was thinking about the different ways of being in groups as I went to Conflux today; how some people plunge into things like, say, the Australian swimming team at the Olympics, whereas some of us are always at the side, looking on. Are we just frightened of being hurt? Of drowning? Or of attempting the social butterfly, and performing the dog-paddle?
I like a chat, but choke on gossip;
threads of conversation become barbed wire
glutted inside fairy floss.
Sometimes I despise my comparative lack of conviviality, despite my ability to make excellent small talk:
Small talk so fine
that the Higgs Bosun
can’t find a trace
And yet, you can look on things and still feel engaged; exchange truly well-meant pleasantries. Sometimes reticence is no bad thing, but another way of saying that the other person matters. I’m having a great time, but more in my own head than anywhere else.
So, just a quieter time than some. Here’s that picture of the hat again; I think the Victorian expression should be noted. All I need is my embroidery, or its modern equivalent, the smartphone.
July 2, 2012
December 19, 2011
Thirteen reasons for burning her
One irrevocable stutter from left-handed mouth,
forever failing to birth ovate words.
Seven skin tags, crooked nipples of flesh,
sprouting from her sordid shoulders.
(For the Devil to suck from behind
for his greater convenience. Many teated sow.)
Three companions inside her cottage:
wrinkly goat, grey cat (black in smoked disguise), inexplicable toad.
Fluency with rare herbs, no flustered stutter there.
And a bovate of best land, just beside the river.
Other (hopefully more bewitching and seasonally appropriate) poems can be found at the Tuesday poem hub.
Little Nell’s death scene from The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens, ‘improved’ into a happy ending by an alien’s tool.
November 14, 2011
It’s been a good week for my fiction writing, which I generally see as a secondary function to poetry. I sometimes sneak prose poems into story competitions, and hope that the judges will accept the lack of plot and character development! My first small collection of ‘real’ stories, A Quiet Day, was published in 2009 by Ginninderra Press, and was just highly commended in the 2011 Society of Women Writers Awards in Sydney. The judge was Susanne Gervay, who is an established and prolific young adult and children’s fiction writer. (Here’s a link to her blog.) This was very gratifying for me. Susanne told me that there was a poetic element to my stories; I didn’t mention that this element is always threatening to eat the plot!
This week I am going down to Melbourne because my flash fiction ‘A Writing Unexpected’ won the Big West Festival Competition and I’ll be reading it at one of the events. That’s if the airport is open, as a certain President Obama is visiting Canberra this week. The only other problem with the awards being in Melbourne is that I come back to Canberra missing that city too much. I am still having withdrawal symptoms from Sydney last week.
My very silly story ‘Little Nell’s death scene from The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens, ’improved’ into a happy ending by an alien’s tool’ was recently highly commended in a humorous story competition. You can read it here if you feel like something quite ridiculous, along with the other prize-winners. There was a special prize for the funniest title, and I thought I would win that!
I am such a pessimist that I focus on one typo I left in the story when I read it. Perhaps you will find it if you go there. There is no prize, dear reader, if you are a pedant too!
Speaking of US Presidents, I just read Stephen King’s new novel about the Kennedy assassination. There’s a real storyteller, like Mr Dickens was before him. I have spent many night with these writers over the years, running through the hours in a readerly marathon, totally absorbed. I just don’t have that narrative urge, but prefer the sound of words. They left plot off my mental Swiss Army knife, and put on extra tools for wordplay.
Which is why I’m mostly a poet, who dabbles, however seriously, in fiction. Here’s the link to my skimpy story again.
May 19, 2011
Death and the missus
Death is a doughnut; we lick his sprinkles every day.
We feel their shadows on our lips after they have buried
into our own grave of stomach. Burps are their ghosts,
rattling sonic chains. Perhaps we are the doughnuts,
dunked in Death’s ever morning coffee, as he chats
with Mrs Death. Mrs Death is a knitter, has been working
on the same cardigan these twice two million years,
needles clicking like clocks before there ever were clocks.
It’s a domestic thing, after all. One minute you’re watching
The Bill (you poor sad sod) and the next, you’re gardening
from below, totally rooted, rooted as. And Death sighs,
and has a little break at Donuts R Us, hands trembling
as he cups that endless drink. He gloves himself in sugar.
And then he gets back to it; the icing and the holes.
First published in The Mozzie, Queensland.