March 26, 2012
Answered by reptile
So the knives are getting
too sharply attractive,
your interest in wrist as whetstone
perhaps a little too keen.
Not even puns will save you,
those tight little refuges of spin.
So you get on your bike and go,
two wheels set towards infinity.
You even try this new cycle of prayer
as you sit beside the muddy pond.
but asking for strength is too clichéd.
Christ, it seems, has heard too much,
and won’t suffer that sort of shit,
(at least from the middle classes).
You look up, and see a tortoise,
neck out, a hyphen joining shell to air.
He suns himself on log island,
quiet, content; most of him tucked away
like a whispered promise.
And you know, that for today,
you will no more think to
carve a manic smile in wrist
than shuck him from his shell
and leave him wriggling on ground,
a discarded lively gob of snot.
His grey oval is an iris, glancing
at you, from pond’s centre;
winking you back into light.
This poem is dedicated to anyone who has ever felt suicidal. Not just down with a hangover, or upset when they split up with a lover, or lost a job, but really suicidal. (And no, that’s not me.) May you find your own tortoise!
If you click this feather, you will go to New Zealand, where they may or may not have tortoises, turtles or inferior snakes, but where poems can certainly be found. Start with the middle poem, and then check out the bits on the side. Or read it however you want, you anarchist you.
January 30, 2012
Depression is not
It is not a dark Baskervillean hound.
For me a black dog is a plump,
peaceful stealer of sandwiches.
Hardly an entrée to self-murder.
It is not a boiling cloud, conjuring
a thunderous storm, energetic
Frankenstein forks spearing brain.
That has a bright explosive tang.
The thoughts lie aborted, disjointed.
Synapses refuse to pass on interest.
Joy, love and pleasure ring no bells;
Esmeralda vanished, cathedral burned.
Taste dulled into pap, gagged by lack
of living buds; music rhythmless noise.
And touch a kind of necrophilia with
the living body corpsed. Visitation
of a mute frigid deafness. No dog’s wet
questing nose implicated, no sharp bite.
But every day a dullard rock to roll uphill,
and Penelope weaving holes, every night.
This is from my first poetry collection, The Glass Violin. One of the worst things about having been depressed is that is deprives you of the simple, snarly joy of being in a really bad mood. You begin to think you’re sliding back into depression, which is, in itself, quite depressing. If, however you start checking that you have enough pills to knock yourself off if you do slide back into depression, then you probably are going that way. If pain persists, please see your doctor.
If, on the other hand (and don’t we all have more hands than Kali?) people being ‘nice’ to you because they know you have had depression makes you want to say really, really inappropriate things to them, then you’re probably just in a foul mood. Enjoy it! Even normal people have moods. And they end, usually within a couple of days. Before you know it you’ll be finding things (such as the Indian cricket team’s recent performances, for example) amusing again.
For more Tuesday poems, some sadly bereft of helpful medical tips, click on the quill above the poem.
I realise for the past month or so, I’ve only been posting on Tuesdays, for the Tuesday poem. Must break out of summer slackness, and enter into an orgy of posting, now that the cricket and tennis are over. If only I could find something worth saying…
December 15, 2011
Tim Jones, New Zealand poet and author, who seemingly never sleeps, just interviewed me on his blog. In the interview we talk about chess boxing, The Cancellation of Clouds, our ignorance of Australian poetry (Tim), our ignorance of New Zealand poetry (Penelope), depression, life choices, poetry, prose, my name and lots of other good stuff.
But not cricket. Not after what New Zealand just did to Australia in Tasmania. Not cricket at all.