Tuesday poem: Sequential menu

November 10, 2014

sequential menu

methane farts
too many cows
thick beefy skies

thick beefy skies
drive for takeout
taste that plastic

taste that plastic
(onion rings)

gutter wrapper
sea junk flourishes

sea junk flourishes
macturtles sup
second hand meat

second hand meat
too many cows
thick beefy skies

P.S. Cottier

but not so charmingly rural

but not so charmingly rural

I like this one; parts of it were originally written for a science haiku competition, but it grew and grew like cattle in feedlots.


Currently I am co-ordinating an on-line course on writing speculative poetry for Australian Poetry, which has nothing to do with cows. I just set an exercise, and, in case anyone out there is interested, here it is:


Imagine you meet a supernatural or alien creature. In a poem, describe this being, which could be from another planet, another dimension, or another time. It, or he or she, could also be a fairy tale character, or a character from mythology.

Try and avoid cliché. For example, if you have chosen a vampire, don’t use bat or crypt imagery. Don’t put your ghost in a graveyard!

Imagine meeting it in a common situation, such as your house, walking the dog (is that actually a dog?) or at a supermarket.

How does the creature sound? Smell? These senses are just as important as how it looks. Try and be specific in description rather than using abstract terms. (For example, don’t say ‘its alien hands’, say ‘its caterpillar tentacles, slug soft yet avid’.)

Tone can be humorous, terrifying, matter-of-fact.

Any form. A haiku can say as much as a ballad. But don’t let rhyme become the main reason for the poem!

Enjoy yourselves.

Now New Zealand has weird creatures, including the flightless poet. One of them just dropped this feather onto my screen. Click it and read her or his poetry:
Tuesday Poem

Okay, the feathers have disappeared, ruining all my amusing references used for years on this blog. Please excuse! Our feathers now are ended…

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!