Tuesday poem: Better than a facelift

January 19, 2015

Better than a facelift

(Inspired by the rejection of a prose work I wrote about poetry for possibly supporting the view that poetry is an ‘adolescent’ activity.)

Damn those adolescents,
with their playful texts
their unruly emotions
and their weird conceits.
The world is as it seems.
Damn them for their quirky fashions
and their belief in signs and dreams.
Settle down, you freaky teens,
and develop a CV.
It is never too early to be half-dead!
There is nothing like
advanced middle age
for teaching what one should see,
and how to take things solemnly
like the sensible me-he
who patrols this moat, and keeps it pure;
ejecting the splashy-squeaky.
Exeunt, stage right, and take
your selfies with you,
and those peculiar devices. Go!
And pick up those rappers!
I like things neat as a plastic lawn,
without a single blush of flamingo,
where no emoji dares to grin
and poetry conjures forth
a proper sense of dread.

P.S. Cottier

World's Oldest Adolescent

World’s Oldest Adolescent

‘Nuff said, really. Except that when one is my age, being called potentially adolescent causes an undeniable frisson.

Of course, a view that the ‘adolescent’ is a thing to be avoided reinforces the belief that poetry is a very dated interest. Ironic that, given that some poets of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries tended to act like adolescents are reputed to act. Shelley (PB) for example, would now just about qualify for the modern category of ‘adolescent’; if one is oddly interested in such uneccessary categories.

There is a view, of course, that seriousness equates with solemnity. That is, like totes sad. (Rising inflection, please. For am I not an honorary adolescent?)

It did make me think though, that rejection, and swear that I would continue writing what I want. Which sometimes tends toward the playful and humorous, like this cathartic little slap of a poem. Being light, or stompingly satiric, has its place, in both prose and poetry.

I have some more poetry to write, and must break out the shocking puns and the unlikely meatphors*. I promise not to mention flamingos again for a while, as I realise that they are becoming a trope in my writing. A pink trope, which isn’t only adolescent, but ‘feminine’ as well. Shudder. That’s so flippant it’s an ornithological handbag.

*A genuine typo, but let’s let it stand.

If you would like more poetry, defying all easy categorisation, press this link.

8 Responses to “Tuesday poem: Better than a facelift”

  1. Michele Seminara said

    It would be sad to see you ‘grow up’ and start writing like everybody else. Long live pink flamingoes and flamboyant poems!

  2. I think a Pink Flamingo anthology is in order.



    one legged

    dancer on my heart



    one legged

    lover never part

    from …

    Okay maybe not. In any case I wish more people felt free to write and were rewarded with publication of less serious poetry.

    I have been mulling over the Cordite review of Best Australian Poems 2014 (which I am finding engaging and accessible). It was criticized fairly heavily for being an example of traditional craft by the reviewer. He used big words so I may have to read it again, but I got the distinct impression that he thought it was a bit of a turd both economically( i believe op-shop was mentioned) and technically ie too traditional.

    I thought to myself, if this is the sort of thinking applied to poetry in this country no wonder it’s hobby of a shrinking minority.

    I want to generally, be moved by poetry, to laugh or cry or think. I don’t want to have to have a degree in in the French Symbolists so that I can see where someone is being clever nor to suffer endless avant-garde experiments.

    Which is really just me, in a long winded fashion saying, “Penelope. Don’t you dare change.”

    • pscottier said

      My brain blushed
      flamingo pink
      on the plastic lawn
      of my suburban soul…
      The gnomes, the toxic gnomes
      cement my pain.

      That follows on from your flamingo poem, Sean…I may call my next collection Astroturfing the Flamingo.

      I will go and read the Cordite review of BAP forthwith.

      My own view is that there is room for the deeply clever and the distinctly moving, and that these can run into each other…Byron would insert toxic criticism of other poets and political figures into works that contained beautiful descriptive passages.

      I hate the idea of ‘purity’, as if politics or play or ideas somehow pollute poetry (or that *fun* will destroy thought, when it comes to criticism) whereas they can give it its energy and even life…like a you-know-what that gets its distinctive colour from krill: you can’t draw a line between ‘environment’ and ‘ideas’ ‘society’ and ‘beauty’ and ‘play’. And there is a place for experiment, which asks the reader to work for meaning, or to put off the acquisition of meaning as words are carved up, or where sentences refuse to work as they are supposed to.

      There is one type of ‘confessional’ poem which I find quite tedious, which appears time and again. It tends to write from the Poet to the environment, but not to allow space for ideas, or the detail of living in society. I don’t like that; it’s a quintessence of selfishness with the poet as a kind of late-capitalist consumer of a strange, unproblematic Nature that makes no demands, but which is moistly compliant in his (and I mean the pronoun for this poet) explorations. It’s as if the world exists purely for the benefit of the poet.

      I tend to write outside rhyming forms, and sometimes to experiment with forms that come from other types of writing (I write recipe poems, for example) but there is room for all-sorts.

      (Puts on bad French accent)… What is wrong with French symbolism, hm? Next you will be speaking of an Australian cuisine…

      Thanks for the comment, and excuse me for taking a near Wordsworthian ramble, observing the poetic fauna.

      I am David Attenborough
      come from the dead…
      I fear those flamingos
      will not sing for me.

      • I agree there’s room for every kind of poetry indeed I always saw the Best ofs as more of a sampling of what working poets were actually doing.

        With any best of for any genre you are at the editors mercy in terms of bias, though I do think each of the editors have been fairly circumspect and up front about their selection.

        And as for French Symbolism or any for that matter ( i do have some fondness for John Shaw Neilson) I was just picking that out of a hat.

        I get the feeling and this might be because of my relative inexperience, that the are greater barriers to poetry reading/writing in this country than need be and that a lot of reviews are tailored toward other experienced and educated poets – but then I suppose not too many neophyte poets or poets in waiting are going to stumble across a two page cordite review. So maybe in that context my observation is not entirely relevant.

        so much depends

        a pink



  3. pscottier said

    (-: Stumbling across cordite sounds downright painful.

    ‘Come on chaps, let’s do it for Queen and Country!’

    ‘But the cordite! It burns…’

    ‘What are you Jones, a bloody flamingo? Get up and face it like a man. One leg is more than enough.’

    Jones is shot, just in time for Australia Day. Damned convenient, what? ‘We shall never see his beak again.’

    Yes, I just had wine with lunch. Conflating different national ‘celebrations’/commemorations.

  4. Settle down, you freaky teens, and develop a CV — love that!
    Fun poem — and commentary, and shudder.

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