Friday, 22 January 2016

KICKING UP LUNAR DUST

Each poem should be unique. I have said this before. 
Uniqueness implies that each metaphor, each image you choose is fresh.
Discussing this post's poem with Juncture 25 recently, it was pointed out that the line: the earth a disc in their sky, was clichéd.
I have to confess I rather liked it but experience leads me to trust my fellow poets judgements. 
Here is the revised poem [you can read the last draft here].

THE SLOW REVEAL

The composition of moon rock did not interest me.
I was twelve.
Neil and Buzz were kicking up dust,
hopping about the lunar surface,
transported there in flimsy machinery.

I was so taken with the idea,
humans free in the universe.
Yes, I was thinking big, beyond the moon,
beyond Mars and out into the Big Black.

I am no longer twelve,
now the science intrigues,
to an extent.

I am no longer twenty four and see their compromises,
the propaganda trade offs, the political expediency
of using war criminals with their benevolent butcher's smiles.

I am no longer forty eight
and know that out there in the stars,
we would have acted out our history.
Colonisation, exploitation, atrocity.
Listening to the news, this Sunday morning,
all three seem hard wired into our brains.
The eagle eyes amongst you will notice that a word has been removed from the penultimate line.
It was felt that sopping Sunday introduced something new to the poem right at the end and was unnecessary.
My thanks to Juncture 25.
Here is Bob Marley with Redemption Song. Wondrous.

Friday, 15 January 2016

THE WHITE LINE

I spent an enjoyable afternoon yesterday discussing poetry with the other members of the Secret Poets. Thanks must go to the Secret Poets for their invaluable assistance in making sense of this post's poem. 
You may have seen the rough draft here.

THE WHITE LINE

Let's play along with the myth
of the over the hill gunslinger,
who's lost his nerve and is on one last job.
He stands outside a door wondering
if his death waits inside.

Taste his fear. See his hands shake.
He gathers himself, and kicks that door open,
outdraws the bad men
[though he is the one dressed in black]
and frees the farmers, as he was supposed to.
Absorbed in his own legend, he pauses,
is shot in the stomach, dies holding on to the wall.

Then there's me, in the dark,
right side of the white line,
Saturday afternoon films, 1961.
That scene has stayed with me since,
perhaps I was just the right age to be impressed.

I had yet to watch Vietnam unfold nightly,
or to see the American Empire begin to crumble.
What has changed? Well, it is now a shorter poem, ten lines have been removed and it is the better for this. 
One of the advantages of sharing your work with others is that you discover what doesn't work.
I also gained a title.
A word of explanation; when I used to go to Saturday afternoon films you had to sit below the white line. This was literally a white line running across the aisle demarcating where children sat in the matinee. I think it was to make cleaning up after the film easier. I was thrown out once for sitting at the back of the cinema. What a rebel.
Here is Jimmy Witherspoon and the late, great Art Pepper. I have just found this clip. Art is playing like an angel.

Friday, 8 January 2016

THE SLOW REVEAL

The chances are that, if you have read my blog in the past, you will know how the Space Race fascinated me as a child. I have written a number of poems about it. They are scattered throughout the blog.
Here is the latest.


THE SLOW REVEAL

The composition of moon rock did not interest me. I was twelve.
Neil and Buzz were hopping about the lunar surface,
transported there in flimsy machinery, the earth a disc in their sky.

I was so taken with the idea, humans free in the universe.
Yes, I was thinking big, beyond the moon,
beyond Mars and out into the Big Black.

I am no longer twelve,
now the science intrigues,
to an extent.

I am no longer twenty four and see their compromises,
the propaganda trade offs, the political expediency
of using war criminals with their benevolent butchers smiles.

I am no longer forty eight
and know that out there in the stars,
we would have acted out our history.
Colonisation, exploitation, atrocity.
Listening to the news, this sopping Sunday morning,
all three seem hard wired into our brains.
One of my earliest memories was of Yuri Gagarin. I followed every mission without understanding the science. There was a romance to the whole endeavour that went far beyond the politics.
Speaking of romance...


just after you died, I wished that rather you had ran off with someone/anyone, left me with the kids, there would have been a chance I'd have seen you again,
I could, I thought, have taken comfort in the fact that you still walked the world, and smiled, and laughed, and lent to it the easy grace you always had in life
that moment has passed
I am here with our grown up children and memories
the night is dark, I light a candle
Nothing really to say about this poem. 
I've been listening to lots of Brizilian music this week. Here's Astrud Gilberto with Corcovado.

Friday, 1 January 2016

NO QUARTER

 
 Two poems that plow the same furrow this post. I shall not go into details of the origin, suffice to say they were written some time ago.

she would say you are making me do this
but he saw no straight lines of Newtonian force flow from him to her
the opposite was true
each and every savage spat
pushed her further from his heart

he left
she could not stand being dumped
an action that confirmed his place in her folk tales

he has yet to give an inch of compassion
The photograph is of a David Hockney designed blind in Saltaire. The village is worth a visit if you are in the area.
This second poem riffs off the same source.

Leonard, she told me, got one thing right, women and men are at war, constantly, and I was a fool to believe otherwise. Over time I concluded she was more Pat Benatar than Leonard Cohen, playing to the camera, all synth drums and big hair and a spiteful mind, the kind that cannot be healed. I enlisted in the army and gave no quarter.
 I leave you with Natalie Merchant and San Andreas Fault.
Until next time.