Perfect words

Sometimes they reach out
caress with syllable fingers —
egregious is my long term love
half egret feathers with the jus
noise saucing the end,
despite the meaning
or because it’s such a better way
to say doubleplusbad.

Gnarly enchants, with that
drowning g, wiping out
in the endless surf of the ee.
What wetsuit could protect,
what board shorts deserve
the sweet yet egregious sea,
with the tincture of shark grin
and the promise of release?

P.S. Cottier

grandville-hospital

That illustration is most egregiously gnarly, and not AMA approved.

***

Here’s a photo in a different key, of Susan Hawthorne and Lizz Murphy who were participants in a discussion on The Poetics of Politics which was part of The Canberra Writers Festival.  I moderated the session on Saturday, and it went well, I think. We covered quite a lot of ground, and read several poems.  Later I thought about the event, and I realised that all the speakers and questioners had been women, which was a first, in my experience, at a mixed gender event.

Here are Lizz and Susan at Tilley’s après the panel.  They both ate.  I drank, and had a quiet evening watching horrendous Swedish murders being solved Nordically.

Lizz and Susan

And here’s another one before the wine at the end of the event itself; thank you Gina Dow.

CWfest1

A short wander through the head of a poet

‘I am finding a lot of this poeting business is learning how to hack your own thinking.’ (SB Wright)

Axing myself near every day
with nouns like blades
or is that the verbs,
sneaking and executing
behind my weary back?
Adverbs are the worst,
obviously, and I try
to expel them from thought.
Does a bear? Does a bear?
It doesn’t work, naturally.
My head is a jungle
of the old Tarzan sort,
and even a cunning machete
won’t clear a way,
despite avid hacking,
and the sticky tape I use
to reattach feckless fingers.

I will staple a handy volume
to my brow, perhaps
one that tells how
to write truth slant,
like Dickinson E,
and to be picaresque,
and appropriately Byronic.
A coupling that, of itself,
will cause sparks to leap
as if one were to jump start
an elderly ute gone bad.
Now, where are my cables?
Is this an Allen key
I see before me?
Statbadgers of the world unite!
Pick up your tongues like sticks,
and lick the befuddlement of brains
from cracked and gnarly windows.

P.S. Cottier

howling

SB Wright is a poet who, this year, is detailing the process of writing and learning more about poetry at his blog.   It is well worth a look.  He is far more honest about the struggle involved in writing than many of us, particularly when it comes to how he manages a ‘real job’ (my words) while trying to write. He posts actual numbers, written by helpful Statbadgers for those who like that type of thing.

Occasionally he also posts one of the results of these struggles, aka a poem, and he frequently directs you to poems by others, or books and talks about poetics. (Poetics is like choreography, but involves people who are a lot more clumsy.)

SB Wright is not plagued by adverbs in his poetry, incidentally.  That was poetic licence.

Greyhounds release

Let them run —
but run as they would
chasing the wind or their mate
not a screeching curl-tailed baton
flung round the track
in a circular curse.

And let them live —
just as long as greyhounds live
not dispatched for slowness
and spaded into the bush
in a quotidian slaughter
nose to tail, tail to nose.

P.S. Cottier

 

greyhound

So weird to find myself agreeing with a Liberal government…But the Baird Government is right in banning greyhound racing.  (As is the Labor — with a sprinkling of Green — ACT government.)  No decision is ever totally pure, but this ‘sport’ is undeniably cruel, and the sooner it is abolished, the better.

To all those whinging about the attack on the working man (and it is usually categorised in that gender specific way) that the ban represents; note that there is something incredibly insulting in this thinking.  Working class does not mean cruel and unthinking, and unable to act ethically. Most people with pet dogs would shudder to think of them being treated in the way this industry has treated greyhounds (and other animals used as live bait) for years.

My PhD on images of animals in the works of Charles Dickens touched on the history of the RSPCA, and around the time it was created, there were people mounting exactly the same arguments against bans on cock-fighting and the like, categorising such activities as important recreations for the working man.  Implying that the ‘working man’ is necessarily a brutal moron.

The NSW Labor Party, in defending the greyhound racing industry, is showing that it is pathetically out of touch with anything progressive.

The ban, which comes into effect 1 July next year, does open up thinking about how we treat other animals, and that has to be a positive development.  Go, you good thing!

(I know there probably should be an apostrophe in the title, but it looked so bad I removed it.  Fussy.)

UPDATE: October 2016

The Baird NSW Government has changed its mind and decided not to ban this cruel and outdated ‘sport’. Weak and very sad.

Oppressing the gnomes

The garden gnomes are downing tools
all over Australia, and whimsy is plummeting.
No more riding snails and pushing barrows,
or fishing for strangely ecstatic cod,
who gape for hooks in a pornography of cute.
The gnomes are turning nasty, attacking
the flamingos who continue to strut —
elegant pink scabs over the quirky lawns.
Gnomes piss on succulents and smear
foul gnome shit on the guinea pigs.
What do we want? they ask the air.
But they don’t know what to chant back —
their dissatisfaction is merely existential.
Even their industrial action raises a laugh,
with their crooked green caps slipping,
and their endless pipes twixt ruddy lips.
Their signs are egregiously misspelt.
Nome’s R Us is at least legible,
but the kerning is much worse than that,
and the punctuation speaks volumes.
Get back to it, gnomes, I say, imperiously.
Ply those forks, and play that accordion.
I bask in my elevation to exploiter,
swaying in a complacent hammock.
Surly yet amusing, the wee green men obey.
The ringleader rides a frog to the pond,
and casts in his line like a sigh.

P.S. Cottier

ringleader

This is probably a weird commentary on the zeitgeist.  Either that or the gnomes have been putting things in my tea.

Walking out of the bar
(Seventh in a long series of nasty little poems)

There is a place that humour goes to die
like superannuated elephants.
The three part joke:
first this
than that
then punchline.
No final mild tingle
can ever atone
for the violence done to the ear
the appalling cringe of taking time
and parking a huge lump of
premeditation there.
People, mostly men,
dump these jokes like turds
to mark the boundaries of thought.
This is a funny! It moves like a funny!
So it must be funny!

You never shed boredom, m’dear.
You just packed it into a new shape;
a triangle of sludge, which you call
a joke. There is no jazz
to such a thing; no quip.
You play your lardy triangle
with a tardy limping tongue.
I listen for inadvertent puns,
or simply walk away.
Far better rude than bored,
says the woman in the beret,
unbearably self assured.
She’s walking out of the bar.

P.S. Cottier

bigstock-Sad-Theater-Mask--Arts-enter-7956480

Over at Project 365 + 1, I just posted a poem about the gym which I like quite a lot.  It has the optimistic name ‘Four times a week’.  Aspirational, one might say.  This was poem number twenty for that project, so I will do another ten days.  It makes the gym seem easy, I must say.