February 15, 2017
I remember the lost skirt of Carlton
Nimble and nineteen, perhaps twenty, I saw you;
velvet A-line, satin belt, and my heart dropped open
knowing how you would swathe me in excellence
hang just right, soft as a crop of Labrador’s dark ears.
Student poor, with a world to change, I stood outside,
longing, mental tongue lapping, dressed in thin dream.
Today, girt in husband’s semi-silken wage,
(and the splendid coin of Poesie)
I could command your like be snipped
to the pattern of sweet memory.
But my waist has grown
along with his pay,
so perfect skirt, in time or space,
will always always
Based on a True Incident, this is a very old, but (I think) unpublished poem. It describes a true first world problem, but both Canberra and Melbourne (of which Carlton is a university infested suburb, or just about) are in the first world, so that’s hardly surprising.
Fashion is interesting in that usually only young people look the best in retro or vintage gear; people assume that middle-aged people have been wearing 50s gear since it was new, and just forgot to change over the intervening decades.
Speaking of change, this seems to mark a difference from the usual socio-political cleverness for which this blog is known by some! And hello to you, dear Some.
December 6, 2016
Young dog cups warmth
into her belly —
lots more where that came from
Old dog limps towards the fire
dreams, remembering bones.
We know of the bones to be.
This poem first appeared at the Project 365 + 1 blog for which I wrote a poem a day in June. And yes, I have an old dog and a very vigorous middle aged dog. People always whinge about how quickly their children grow up, but a fourteen year old dog is not an adolescent!
Now I’m off to attempt to write something, and to paint my nails a vivid sparkly green. Christmas demands it.
April 18, 2016
A ‘brilliant young man’ from Sydney
Unfortunately ruptured a kidney —
For his black jeans won’t zip
Round the tenure of hip,
Which perplexed our ‘young’ man from Sydney.
I am the last person in the world to suggest that people should dress in an ‘age-appropriate’ way, which for women seems to mean a sudden desire for demure suits and mousy blonde bobs past the age of forty. Neither am I inclined to judge people by their size.
But when you see a fellow who is sailing into late middle age rigged out in a grungy something that would challenge a very fit twenty-two year old, well it’s not good, my dear. It’s not good approaching, and it’s infinitely worse from behind. Mental vanity can sometimes be expressed in inability to see the body, let alone to mark its changes. Play and pastiche in clothes are one thing, but black skinny jeans are quite another.
Next week I promise a return to my normal politically astute observations of the world. Either that or more dodgy style tips from one who tends to favour Rorscharch blotches in neon colours.
This series is proving great fun and shows no sign of ever ending. This poem was actually the fourth one I have written, but as the first one was also about a woman, I wanted a man to feature as well! And the third is so toxic (and identifiable) that I may keep that for my own amusement.
You can see which other poets are posting on Tuesday by checking out the sidebar here.
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.
‘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.