Sunday, January 27, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Michael Winner

Despite the weather, our movie
Evening went ahead. Michael Winner,
As it happened, died
This week so we watched a film of
His to remind ourselves of his
Work. There were guns, big guns, bigger guns;
Insane punks in a New York
So over the top that post-apocalyptic
Hellholes look down on it.

There were also explosions, traps and some boobs.
His direction was workmanlike
Really, just clearly showing
Everyone get on with crime and vigilantism until the
Ending sequence destroyed the villains.

Number 20 details some of the things that happened on movie night.

365 Poems in 365 Days: Nonsense

To amuse myself while cleaning the bathroom
I get up and loom
And impersonate Dr Doom

Number 19 is just stuff.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Swears and New Year

Number 18. This is based on the creative writing class assignment for this week, but not the piece I intend to hand in. It's about Fresh Starts and New Beginnings, which I'd think was pretty lazy for the New Year if I didn't know the tutor had been sick for the last month and is on fairly heavy duty painkillers. Some of my previous thoughts on this topic can be found here.So with a certain level of irony, here's a poem written as part of a new year's resolution complaining about having to write something on the topic of fresh starts and new beginnings.

This week the assignment from my writing class
Is to write a piece on New Beginnings and Fresh Starts.
I want to write "fuck you" really big and then glare
But I'm not sure how this class responds to swears
And it won't improve my writing even if it is from the heart
Put an X on the page and 
Make a

365 Poems in 365 Days: Stone

There are white veins throughout this slate grey stone
In my hand, heavier than any brick
This description is not a zen koan
Though I may have lifted hints to be slick

In my hand, heavier than any brick
It feels like some highly polished bone
Though I may have lifted hints to be slick
The rock itself can't be taken on loan

It feels like highly polished bone
Words slide over it, all refusing to stick
The rock itself can't be taken on loan
Unlike a poem, which might just be the trick

Words slide over it all refusing to stick
This description is not a zen koan
Unlike a poem, which might be the trick
There are white veins throughout this slate grey stone.

17 of 365. I'm not greatly enamoured of this pantun; it was supposed to be pretty clever, juxtaposing the solidity of the stone and the flightiness of words. The last verse is fair, but the rest needs reworking, and frankly the likely results from another draft or two don't seem worth it. This is as close to a failiure as I've posted so far, in my opinion.

365 Poems in 365 Days: Dealing With The Undead

Number 16. So far behind! Maybe I should write some short ones[1].

When the priest found out why he was dead
He put bread in his mouth and cut off his head

Vampires make an appearance in this project, and not for the last time.

[1] Short ones have no room to conceal dodgy bits, so take surprisingly long to polish.

Monday, January 21, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Snow Joke

My friend's snow machine
May not be responsible
But then it may be

A haiku for number 15. I'm not actually snowed in!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Tour de Memory

Number 14 which is about the bizarreness that is Armstrong's disqualification from races that were run over a decade ago, and then leaving the top spot blank. I mean, it would be pretty strange at this late date for some of these guys to suddenly be the winner, but if Armstrong had been disqualified after the race on 23 or 24 or 30 July 2000, Ullrich would definitely have been the winner. Or are there more drug revelations to come, and by revelations I mean, oh god, the time I spent actually following a sport was meaningless, and all I have to show for it is disjointed memories of sweating guys inching up mountainsides, followed by them swooping down at high speed, inches from cliff edges, breakaways in the hot sun, the peloton having an easy country bike ride until the last kilometre followed by a crazy sprint...

Anyway, my point is: I have a sad.

Do you remember in 2000
the race between Armstrong
And Jan Ullrich
Which was really tense
And exciting?

I do. But now Armstrong
12 years later
is disqualified
And Ullrich is still number two
With no number one

With Armstrong disqualified
There is a void
On top of the leaderboard
And in my memory

Friday, January 18, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Cooking Fat

Oh man, so far behind I lost track of which poem this is. May have to number them. This is 13 and goes like this:

This here is my mat on which I am sat
I hear your complaints about this and that
Your theories of ownership are old hat
I'm not listening because I'm a cat

Monday, January 14, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Leverage

The inspiration is TV today, in this that I call:

The Rhyme and Meter Job

This is Mrs Ellie Maude
A victim of insurance fraud
She had no clue of what to do
Til she got a call from the Leverage crew

Sophie distracted them with a smile
And Parker broke in and stole the files
Hardison listened in on bugs
While Eliot went out and punched some thugs

But then everything went wrong
The villain knew them all along
So Nate sobered up and used plan M
The bad guys came to a sticky end

The moral is, I'm glad to say
Drink tomorrow, con today

Sunday, January 13, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Thunderbirds Are Go!

Delayed! Which is why it's 365 poems in 365 days rather than a year of a poem a day. I haven't failed until New Year!  Bonus. This obliquely came out of movie night.

One and a half measures of gin and an egg white
Four dashes of grenadine, ice, shake with all your might.
Strain and pour in a glass; garnish with a cherry.
This drink, for Lady Penelope, Pink Lady.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Green Eyes

Inspiration can come from anywhere! In this case from staring in the mirror.

I have green eyes, not green like grass
Or jade - although perhaps the light
picks out a glint like stone or glass - 
But like a stagnant pond that might

Conceal something (Shakespeare
Thought it might be jealousy and
It could be hidden there I fear)
So look away. I understand.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: The Perils of Mispelling

This is pretty silly.

Tahini is made of sesame seeds and is a brown paste
Tahiti has black sand beaches deep in the South Pacific
I just realised that all my tropical stuff is a waste
I had thought this Tahiti voucher strangely unspecific

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Fighting Robots

This poem is heavily inspired by a poem one of my fellow students on the creative writing course wrote. Hers was better, obviously (it was about the Greek root of words and Philadelphia; mine is below and is concerned with other things), but as she hadn't had time to make copies, I only heard it in class and so do not have the words. In which case why not write my own.

Fighting Robots

You might think this is a relationship poem, but it's not.

This is a poem about fighting robots.

It looks like I've written about all the disagreement and
How you forgot what my favourite song was and then had a band
Play some jollyed up Joy Division on my birthday, but it's not.

This is a poem about fighting robots.

I could talk about that trip away, our first holiday as
A couple; you were excited to show me, as it was
A place you knew well, but things went wrong and now Amsterdam sucks
And it's all my fault and not you eating that undercooked duck
After I mentioned the blood coming out to you, but I'm not.

Instead I'm talking about fighting robots.

(With thanks, and apologies, to Laura and her poem This Is Not A Relationship Poem)

Monday, January 07, 2013

365 Poems in 365: First Draft

Writing poems on the train
Tapping out the meter on my fingers
The words in my brain
Looking innumerate, glances at me linger

This describes one of my poetry writing methods. But not the one used for this poem, which is a first draft where I haven't fixed the meter or re-written from scratch, my two usual methods.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Salt

Almost a puzzle rhyme for this one. Not quite obscure enough, although it might work for kids.

Crystalline whiteness, a whiff of the brine
Made from sea and sun or dug from a mine
Food preserver and flavour enhancer
Stops ice on the roads from causing disaster

Saturday, January 05, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Babies

For various reasons this is probably not the last time new born babies will make an appearance in these 365 poems.
Two new babies in my Facebook newsfeed.
Were they born on the same day? I don't need
To know so urgently as to contact
New parents - first time parents - with my search for facts.

Friday, January 04, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Shopping

After yesterday's flight of fantasy, now a poem of that most prosaic of activities: Shopping

Once upon a time there were goblin markets
With objects wonderful and magical
Potions, gems, instruments and exotic pets
(Taken home they turned out to be awful)

Later, so the stories go*, appearing
Shops would sell the same for bargain prices
Then vanish; their dusty stock once seeming
Good, when purchased, the lustre melts like ice

Now pop-up shops fill vacant high streets but
I am too wise in the ways and the wares.
Although the decorations have been cut
In price. I might just go and buy a pair

So gentle reader, don't be offended
The age of wonders is not ended.

* I recommend Bazaar of the Bizarre by Fritz Leiber.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Superheroics

This is an extended version of the origin story I declaim when people are standing around in awe and wonder at my superhuman eating abilities. I call it:

Man of Steel, Avenger


I was born
A stone's throw
From the largest steelworks in Europe

(Assuming that, like me, you can throw a stone
a mile and a half)

At that very moment
The accident changed me
My stomach is cast iron
My liver and kidneys stainless steel
My heart is a titanium alloy
And cannot be broken


I have, of course,
Sworn revenge on those responsible
For the accident that killed my parents,
Grandparents, sisters, uncle, aunts, cousins;
The doctors, nurses and other workers
And the patients in the hospital;
My father's comrades at the works
Everyone who lived in the town
And some who were just passing through that day

Whether it was greed
Lack of foresight
Or all or none of these
By the owners, the engineers, the regulators
The whole tangled mess
I will bring them to justice


And then on to my true enemy
Behind all this and more
Without whom there would be no accidents
The dark shadow behind misery and death

I will defeat my foe
And turn this world to iron

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: New Year Blues

For the 2nd of January I present this poem I wrote on 1st of January[1], which I make clear as it has relative time references and is a true story, slightly adjusted because of rhyme and meter concerns.

1 January 2013

What happened: I missed my friend last night.
Noone's fault. Still, it makes me feel sad.
A communication error that might
Be in a sitcom. Not funny, just bad.

[1] Which has just inspired the title.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Go!

Considering my history of New Year and Other Time Resolutions, this will fall apart in about three weeks. But until then, it's write 365 poems in 365 days. This one is called:

New Year

One year ends as another one starts
No time passes between one and the next
A moment to mark in winter's dark heart
Midnight; the moment; everyone expects

No time passes between one and the next
Duration suspended, watching the clock
Midnight the moment everyone expects
Two Thousand and Thirteen waits for the knock

Duration suspended watching the clock
The hand creeps to twelve, waiting forever
Two Thousand and Thirteen waits for the knock
Somehow it's stuck between now and never

The hand creeps to twelve - waiting forever
A moment to mark in winter's dark heart
Somehow stuck between now and never
One year ends as another one starts