Publications and sloth

April 18, 2015

No, I am afraid you won’t get a picture of a sloth engaging in upside down cuteness on these austere pages. But here is one of some dogs. One of them is even upside down, and some say she is a cross between a dog and a sloth.
mango and scupper asleep

I have been at the beach for a week or so, and relatively slothful, aided by very dodgy internet access. Although I did enter the best poetry competition, whereby a list of ten words is provided and the entrant/masochist must write a poem containing each of the words. In 48 hours. There are, it seems, very few sloths in Canada. That festival of energetic composition is organised by Contemporary Verse 2. For some poets, this contest would seem overly prescriptive, but I quite like the challenge of using the ten words without them screaming ‘We were given, not found’. It keeps you on your poetic toes.

If you would like to read a poem I wrote which did not derive from a competition, please press this link. The poem deals with space and jazz, and is called ‘Miles and Beyond’. It was just published at Eye to the Telescope, which is the online journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, based in the United States, a nation to the south of Canada, also bereft of sloths. Diane Severson edited this issue, which is made up of speculative poetry about music.

Now, to drag sloths into a blog is terribly out of date; a bit like a parent trying to speak to a teenage child and speaking of ‘Instantgram’ and ‘Readit’. (Tragedy often wears a cardigan.)

In fact, including sloths here might be described as slothful.

The issue of Midnight Echo I mentioned in my previous post is now available for purchase. It is currently only in PDF, but will soon be available in different formats. I wrote a column about poetry and an actual poem for that issue, edited by Kaaron Warren.


Midnight Echo is now also in epub and mobi.

Roll up! Leap through!

Outside, beyond the neon tights, the paisley
sequinned flares of the artistes, tracing
such rococo knots in the canvas sky,
waits a lion called Frank, the last of his kind.
Tastes have changed, and lion-taming,
with such clear-cut rules of whip and chair,
has become passé, so yesterday.
The sententious prescripts of the pure —
that modern hygiene of the mind —
sweep scuddy sawdust aside like lice,
and draw a line through bear and lion.
So Frank, mane beige and moulting, lives
a most solitary life, a stuck record repeating
the rank smells of piss and popcorn,
the hooplah! and the swish of knives,
carving the air like a Sunday roast
around the tasty ribs of Madam Frisson.
She is just as bored and trapped as he
as she awaits her husband’s swinging arm,
as sensitive as a brass metronome.
Soon Frank will be too shabby, even for this
ring of superannuated fantasy.
No scrubby savannah of reconciliation,
no release for a circus-bred beast,
into a sudden pride of compliance.
Just the screams from the audience
at the trapeze and the squirt-flowery gambit
of painted clown. His dreams are smeared
with a thin imagined relish of gazelle,
as he bobs and bobs that shameful mane.
Soon, though, the final bob; the final doze.
He’ll leap, ungoaded, through the hoop of death
onto who knows what plains, what deer-rich grass?

P.S. Cottier

This is another poem written in response to a prompt, or in this case, ten prompts. The Canadian journal Contemporary Verse 2 has a yearly competition where they post a list of ten words, and the poets (who must have enrolled previously) have 48 hours to create a poem which must contain each of those words. Loads of fun, and some of the successful works are terrific. Hop over to Canada for a look. I just noticed that they used a little snippet of my poem on the introductory page for the competition. Which is nice to see.

I didn’t win however; hence the posting, but I quite like the poem.

(I had a slightly bigger cat in mind than the overly cute thing in the photo, by the way…)

Click this feather and fly to New Zealand, after your return from Canada, to read more poetry:
Tuesday Poem

Incidentally, Janis Freegard is featuring another poem by me about a creature that sometimes bites: the smiley emoticon. Here’s the link. Thanks Janis!