Tuesday Poem: Cactus

November 6, 2017

Cactus

Spiky camel hump, buried in sand.
Alien artichoke, Martian’s lunch.
I’m told to admire your
‘architectural qualities’. As if
we build houses of needles,
like one of those three little pigs
gone crazy, his brain curling,
dizzy, to match pale gimlet tail.
What huffing
fire-mouthed dragon
could blow you down?
Crooked eyes only, crave cacti.

Yet, every few years, you explode
into a neon gown of Brazilian hues
pulsating, pink or gold, as at Mardi Gras.
When poor become princes,
and thin desert blooms.

PS Cottier

cactus

An ancient poem this one, if ten years qualifies as ancient.  My cactus just bloomed, hence my digging it (the poem) up.

***
I just had two poems published in issue 23 of Failed Haiku, which is a great name for a journal.  It refers to senryu, which are like haiku but quirkier. The home page is definitely worth a visit, for links to information about senryu, and so you can download the issues.  I won’t link to the PDF of issue 23 (November 2017) here, but it is easily accessed at the site. The editor, Mike Rehling, also makes some interesting comments about senryu that particularly caught his eye.

Tuesday poem: On editing

September 11, 2017

awaw2017.jpg

Irma Gold has written a thoughtful piece about writing her story ‘The Line’ that appears in this year’s Award Winning Australian Writing.

My poem in this book, which covers both prose and poetry, is three lines in length, although I did not write it as a ‘real’ haiku. It won a contest for a poem in 50 characters or less, which means that the emphasis was on what was not spoken as much as the words that appeared. Editing and writing become virtually inseparable when the poem is so short.

I took the ‘How Tweet It Is’ title of the Fellowship of Australian Writers’ contest literally and wrote a poem called ‘The Cat’s New Beard’ which is not in the least bird-friendly. It’s about a cat eating a bird. I won’t post it here, as the book just came out, and I can’t really post an extract of a tiny poem. But here’s another short poem about the process of editing a wee poem about a bird.

Plucking words
too many feathers —
bantam or robin?

Now a bantam is bigger than a robin, just as Batman is bigger than the Boy Wonder, so robin is probably the better option.

I am enjoying reading the book, which contains everything from evocative stories (Irma) to dead canaries (me). Why not purchase one? The editor is Pia Gaardboe.

I just had a poem called ‘On Nothing’posted at Right Now: Human Rights in Australia, on the subject of climate change, inspired (if that’s the right word) by Peter Dutton, when he was recorded saying ‘Time doesn’t mean anything when you’re about to … have water lapping at your door.’ This was in reference to people living on small Pacific islands, who are already suffering obvious and dangerous effects of climate change. You can read it here.

This gives me an excuse to post one of my favourite images again.

giant-drink-stream

So you like football (the round ball one)?  So you like poetry?  Well here’s a  publication you might find appealling.  Boots is an anthology of poems about football, edited by Mark Pirie of New Zealand.  I have a couple of football related poems in it, called ‘Passing beauty’ and ‘Side netting’.   The first book was published to coincide with the (men’s) World Cup in 2014, and is out in lots of time for the next one in Russia, in an extended form.

I am entering something of a publication frenzy, having several pieces in that mysterious machine known as ‘the works’, which I’ll link to as they appear.

To celebrate this flurry of forthcoming publications, here’s a new poem about handbags, appearing under a photo of my favourite bag, which was made in Russia.  (A soft Dalek is no Dalek at all.  Discuss.)  There is a football reference in the poem, but to a football of a different shape.

After that appalling segue-ing, I hope you enjoy the poem.  I read somewhere that each blog post should contain one idea; I’ve certainly stuffed that up today, like a bag that has mistaken itself for a wardrobe.

dalek bag

Twenty ways to keep your essentials to hand

Lucite pillbox flaunting small pearls
Shell shape clutch for pocket Venus
Curious net of cunning gold mesh
Eyebending sequins intricately sewn
Art deco black silk organically clasped
Ten thousand beaded fine French paisley
Quaint cigar box rolls lipsticks and tampons
Roomy Mexican holdall hammock wide
Oval pigskin (and it’s not made by Sherrin)
Faux leopard snarls and real pony kicks
Kawaii Japanese anthromorphic bear
Modest exquisite goldchained calf
Ironic grannysquared seventies repro
Tikis barkclothed for quick souvenirs
Crocodiles taught Parisian accents
Poodle pregnant with pompom coinpurse
Felt dubiously coloured and Etsyfied
Blue papoose flaunts fat fleshy handles
Concertina traincase bakelites makeup
Poet’s tote with slant Dickinson quote

PS Cottier

 

 

Not the full Fiat

Pushing up, lying back,
I imagine a Fiat 500
clamped to the end of my toes,
flying into space.
500cc, 500 kilos,
give or take,
that darling wee Italian.
I am at 450kg, so not
the full Fiat, not yet,
but it’s like birthing a bambina.
Or bambino, for weight
doesn’t discriminate.
My knees swell like tyres.

PS Cottier

1968-1972_Fiat_500L

Yes, possibly the boastiest poem ever. I am managing, sometimes, to load 400kg on the leg press and to push it up and back, even if not far enough down to be beautiful.  (The machine itself weighs about 50kgs, without added plates.)

The statement ‘weight doesn’t discriminate’ is a bit iffy, as obviously, most men can move more weight at the gym. Upper body particularly. But the leg press is a bit of an equaliser, I think.  Or could be, as I have to say that most women are less likely to push themselves to the point of vomiting than the current writer, who is just discovering strength at a comparatively advanced age.

I have no idea if this particular 500 is 500 kilos or not, but it looks great, and allows me to include the word Spotto!  Which has to be a good thing.

(Image by TTTNIS Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.)