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.

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.

Tuesday poem: (haiku)

July 4, 2016

Blue eye of the sea
flutters white eyelashes —
wet sand flirts

P.S Cottier

study

The poet vows that she will be nastier next time after an unaccountably pretty haiku

 

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.

The poet contemplates the inescapable nature of the class system

A Richter moment of tectonic rock came
when I heard the voice of smug middle class
speaking through me. A mythic, conceited Volvo
blonde used me as her blank-eyed dummy,
stuck lovely manicure up me and made me say
‘The guinea pigs don’t like asparagus!’.
My ears could not believe my mouth’s betrayal,
the change marked by that simple recipe.
The seesaw tipped, sudden rodeo bucking,
swung away from student furniture of bricks,
stray cushions and ideas, towards clogging
superannuation of risotto and good red.
Class catches us like butterflies, or half-frozen slugs,
which we pick, so carefully, from our organic greens.

P.S. Cottier

No telling who that poet might be, but I used to have guinea pigs…And how’s that for a catchy title, by the way?

Muffet cc licence 2.0 (Wiki Commons)