Another linked poem, this time published in on-line journal Umbel & Panicle.  I had to look both those words up, and they deal with the way flowers are arranged on plants.

The journal concerns itself with poetry on botanic themes, which change with every issue.  The theme that attracted me was ‘Nightshade’.  My speculative poem is concerned with werewolves and goji berries, and has a very naughty last line.  Hope you enjoy it! 

Take the time to read some of the other poetry too; I’m really pleased to see my humorous poem amongst some pieces of a totally different tone.  A very beautiful journal to look at too. I was tossing up whether to go with a botanical or wolfy picture, and the lupine won out.

howl-wolves

‘…Transient creatures that swarm and multiply…’

Galaxies expanding —
every grass patch blinks
with five hundred petalled suns.
Bees travel between them
mining pollen from stars.
Aliens hover amongst us,
just like us in gold lust
and frantic accumulation.
For us, though,
it’s always spring,
exempt from rumours
of compromising change.
Our ears are buzzing
with far less than bees.
The canals are Martian,
quite epically empty.

P.S. Cottier

daisies

The quotation in the title is from The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. The quote refers to microscopic creatures, but we shall not quibble. The canals on Mars, exploited in the poem for a pun, turned out to be mere features of topography (Here I must insert a green alien saying ‘That’s what you think!’ followed by a sinister laugh. It’s compulsory.)

Mining anything from stars would be a tad difficult, I know, but I’ll flourish my poetic licence on that one, to any cruising and literal minded traffic cops of the blogosphere.

There’s a great tradition of books about creating a breathable atmosphere on Mars, and I’m also harnessing that to a poem partly about our rabid experimentation with earth’s climate.

It’s amazing where a patch of daisies can lead you!

UPDATE: So the gutless NSW Premier has changed his mind on banning greyhound racing. Cruelty 1, Compassion 0. I’ll be interested to see what the ACT government does in response.

Here’s the cover of my new book, Quick bright things: Poems of fantasy and myth.  It features an excellent illustration by Paul Summerfield, based on the poem ‘The Laws of Cricket rewritten for the Fairy World’ inside the book.  It’s a chapbook, with 28 pages packed full of striking gnomes, somewhat sporty fairies, unpleasant elves, skiving but environmentally responsible goddesses, underachieving ghosts, paisley pitbulls, and similar oddnesses.

I particularly like the see through paper after the front cover (and before the back cover) but you can’t see that here.  (A kind of parchment, I think.)  It feels great, and adds an appropriate air of mystery to the chapbook. I am celebrating its arrival with a coffee in this photo.

coffee-cover

The title, by the way, comes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where Lysander says:

And ere a man hath power to say “Behold!”
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.

The book is available from Ginninderra Press in the Picaro Press imprint.  It costs $5 plus postage.  Or buy it direct from me if you are in Canberra.  I’m thinking about a wee launch for this wee book, although I’ll certainly be selling it at readings before any such potential extravaganza.  (The ISBN is 9781760412197, by the way.)

Note that this is not a book intended for really little children, as some of the fantasy creatures are fairly awful.  This is my first collection of purely speculative poetry, if we ignore The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry, which I edited with Tim Jones.  And that is full of Other People’s Poems.  Here is the cover in greater detail:

 

quick-cover-copy-front-only

Overseas (or local) buyers can also contact me via the contact form.  This is the best option if you’d like to arrange a signed copy.

 

He wouldn’t know a poem…

…if it had a business card that said A. Poem
(‘read me and weep’) which it presented to him
while waving a bright purple beret under his nose
(which organ is unable to detect the whiff of poesy)
while reciting itself, excitedly or coolly,
while pouring itself a sixth large glass of wine
(which would be hard, because of clutched beret and card case,
except that it would first return the beret to its poeting head,
at such an interesting angle, and would put the card case back
in a voluminous tote bag, full of its brother and sister poems
gathered into slim books which are now remaindered)
while squatting and shitting lines of the purest gold.
He just wouldn’t know it,
for what it seems to be.

P.S. Cottier

furtive beret

Talk to the beret

Now I could have the heading ‘nasty little poem’ for that but I’ve become a tad bored with that self-generated meme.

***

I’m been working on a little manuscript of fantasy poems at the moment; more about that anon. Speaking of that type of thing, there’s a nice competition on at the moment, run by the Science Fiction Poetry Association in the US, for poems of all lengths written in a speculative genre (fantasy, horror, science fiction etc.).   If you write such things, why not have a go?  It is only $2 (that’s the ‘somewhat more valuable than the Australian $ at the moment, but we’ll see after their election, American $’) to enter.  You don’t have to be a member of the SFPA to enter (I am a member), and it would be lovely to have more Antipodean entries.

It closes at the end of the month, and entries can be lodged on-line.

Tuesday poem: Turn away

August 2, 2016

Turn away from the night.
Too much freedom is implied.
Trap stars in flags, pin them down,
render them national, bordered,
an angular abacus to figure normality.
Adorn children’s essays with thin
gold paper star stickers.
Wonder is juvenilia that we must
grow to despise, jettison
like milk teeth swapped for coin.
Yet those million suns, flickering
light sirens, keep calling, ululating.
Day demands in clear clipped diction
that we make work’s timed rituals
the sum of all equations. From such
abbreviation, each star whispers
turn away, turn to me,
turn to me, and turn away.

P.S. Cottier

bigstock_snowflakes_and_stars_descendin_15991001

I can’t remember if this has been published before; it’s not on my List, so probably not.  There’s going to be a lot of flag waving soon at the Olympics (and, of course, in the final grim push to the US elections) so it seemed appropriate.

cover AWAW

My poem ‘Criminals who are no longer criminals’ has been included in this year’s Award Winning Australian Writing, which included poems and prose that have previously been awarded first place in a literary competition (as you can probably read on the cover).  The annual is published by Melbourne Books, and I’ll be going down for the launch late this month and reading the poem, which will be fun.

The poem qualified as it was placed first in the Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Writing, organised by the New England Writers Centre, and it is concerned with the definition of crime changing over time. It also has a speculative element, as there are ghosts involved.

I believe that the current Thunderbolt Prize is still open for entries: check out the rules and categories here.