The Irish Dilemma (a slimverse)
we can not
we are blessed
These poems were originally written as an attempt to provoke. That didn’t happen, and nothing changed as a result of writing them but at least I had some fun doing it. The second poem appeared in the magazine Anti_Heroin Chic
Haiku for Donald
Trumputin (a romance)
Don loves Vlad
Vlad loves Don
Love as big as
A nuclear bomb.
Front door, back door,
Heavy Metal Heaven
Slim plugs in his guitar
sets the dial on his amp
to “heavy metal”
hits an E minor seven
walks out of the room
takes a leak
makes a cup of coffee
drinks a cup of coffee
checks the football results
texts his brother in England:
what the fuck’s up, mate
his brother doesn’t answer
he starts writing a novel:
Like every Saturday that Summer
they are lying behind a log on the beach
at English Bay, up to no good. The sun –
a red ball of anger on the horizon –
shouts through the brown chemical haze:
“that’s it, I’m getting the fuck outta here”.
Then, and only then, they hear a baby cry.
That’s all he’s got
Slim returns to the room
that E minor seven
is still going
but faint now
like a rustle of paper
like the distant chatter
of dead drummers
in heavy metal heaven
he picks up his guitar
hits an A minor seven
walks out of the room
starts his taxes……
now, fact is
a ball of
white gas, glimpsed
through the trees.
prompted by daily prompt ‘fact’.
you call your
self a tree
my bank has
plus a bonus poem in which Slim escapes the 3 syllable shackles of slimverse and displays an uncharacteristic lightness of being.
The low November sun
hits the silver birches
and the cherry tree
sending the bush tits
and the black-capped
into a flitting frenzy
Who pulled the alarm?
Which one is my nest?
Where did I leave that worm?
Both poems have appeared in other posts, this combination was prompted by the Daily Prompt – ‘branch’.
on the vacuum’s humid breath
web based solutions
seek cover in crevices
Word of the Day – Cisgender
‘Cis’ is a latin prefix meaning ‘on the same side of’. ‘Cisgender’ is a term used to describe people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth.
Examples of use in a sentence:
1. Last night at dinner, he told his family he was ‘cisgender’; they said: “what’s changed?”
2. I am a cisgender, bi-national ( two passports), white male.
Assumptions that can be made from sentence no.2:
Never assume anything about anybody based on a label.
What I dislike about the word:
It was spawned in academia and therefore is more likely to obfuscate rather than clarify.
It has a whiff of fundamentalism, totalitarianism to it; it has the odour of doctrine.
When I hear the word, I hear the language police knocking on my door.
What I really dislike about the word:
There is no poetry in it; no alliteration, assonance, internal rhyme. Not one letter is repeated. All those wheedling slender vowels, the awful hiss of that first syllable like a snake slithering across the floor. And then, and then that doughy ‘g’ which can’t be saved by the late arrival of that hard ‘d’ like an ambulance to an accident.
Other than that……I’m fine with it
Photo: English Bay, Vancouver, A-MAZE-ING LAUGHTER, by Yue Minjun.
Not the export it used to be,
nothing like the glory days
Hiroshima, Vietnam, Cambodia;
still popular at home tho’
nearly twelve thousand gun deaths a year
the gun barrel points both ways.
This is not much of a poem, is it?
That last metaphor was a bit clumsy
and there’s no music in statistics
but there is a rhyme in that last line
and there’s assonance in ‘American Carnage’
and there is an ass in the White House
but enough about that
stay away from the low hanging fruit
we need a rhyme
carnage, baggage, garbage, image
imagine all the people
that’s what this situation needs
a protest singer, a protest song
three chords and a chorus
that we can sway and link arms to
Where are you
This poem originally appeared in Rat’s Ass Review .
I was watching the CNN town hall last week where some of the teenage survivors of the Parkland school shooting got to pose questions to 3 politicians (including Marco Rubio). It was probably one of the most painfully riveting pieces of television, I’ve seen in a while. It was truly amazing to see a 17 year old high school student cut through the usual fog of evasion and diversion to pin down Marco Rubio about NRA sponsorship of his campaign. Marco, in the end, refused to say he would stop taking money from the NRA. I thought of these lines from Bob Dylan:
“Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
encrusted with barnacles
encrusted with sesame seed
encrusted with sea salt
from a qualified ocean
rust is a scale
not a crust
some people trust in God
says that’s a bust
dust to dust
life hath no sequel
so have a ball
what his dad
thinks of it all.
When I saw the daily prompt ‘encrusted’, I thought…well, I like that word but I don’t see a poem in it. Then I was at the gym listening to Don Henley’s album, ‘Cass County’, on Spotify. It’s a country album. I don’t particularly like modern cowboy-hat-and-boots country, the singer always seems to be in a rush to get to the chorus, but this is more singer-songwriter country music and Don Henley is such a good lyricist that I would listen to anything he does.
Country music, of course, is all about story and rhyme – the melodies are usually lifted from other songs. So, my brain started to absorb that rhyming rhythm and free associate on the word ‘encrusted’ , when I hit “trust in God” I thought of an ad that Ron Reagan has on CNN. The rest…….
Why, when dogs chase birds,
do we see optimism
(By the way, if you haven’t already, check out “Comedians in Cars getting Coffee” where comedy, coffee and cars are the only constants.)
A Very American Problem
In the wake of the recent mass shooting…
in the wake..as if the mass shooting is an ocean liner
and we are sailboats helplessly bobbing.
In the wake of the recent mass shooting
the President will talk about mental health (not his own)
and find someone to blame.
In the wake of the recent mass shooting
Anderson Cooper and his panel discussed how in future
the notification of victims’ families could be speeded up,
the acceptance of the inevitability of mass shootings
inherent in this discussion
saddened me more than anything.
In the wake of the recent mass shooting
thoughts, hearts, prayers will go out,
in a mass exodus of platitudes.
In the wake of the recent mass shooting
no one will ask how someone who can’t legally purchase alcohol
can purchase an assault rifle.
This observation, this juxtaposition
has become so obvious, so commonplace,
it no longer qualifies as an insight.
Lecture (Why Fifty Shades of Grey is a boring title)
The Cartoon President
I watched the new Showtime series “The Cartoon President” on the weekend. It was funny…..sort of, more Simpson’s than South Park. The main problem is the central character, Donald. He comes across as a benign mix of Homer Simpson and Archie Bunker or even Dennis the Menace – a rambunctious, mischievous boy child constantly frustrating the adults tasked with his supervision. He’s almost, and I hate to say this, likeable. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that Donald himself and seven year old boys all over the world will probably enjoy the show.
On the plus side there are very accurate caricatures of General Kelly, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and Donald Trump Jr.
irritable vowel syndrome
pain in the assonance
inflammation of the lower case
fear of sonnets
the irrational fear that someone in the room is going to recite a Robert Service poem.
I was reading Trish Hopkinson’s excellent blog last weekend and I came across a post titled “20 Paying Lit Mags”. This intrigued me, there are so many Lit Mags to submit to and it’s difficult to know where to start, so I thought: why not try submitting to the ones that pay. I started to examine the list.
I will use the phrase “don’t get me wrong” twice in this post. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there is no money in poetry and that most people that run Lit Mags are doing it for the love of it.
What did I find? Well, on the whole, Paying Lit Mags don’t pay much. The lowest payment was $10, a lot of payments were in the $15 to $25 range for a poem or a short story. My favourite was this one:
PAYMENT: For original commentary, fiction, and poetry, Contrary Magazine pays $20 per author per issue, regardless of the number of works or nature of the submission. Reviews and Contrary Blog posts are usually unpaid. Author must email us an invoice within six months of acceptance for the payment to be processed. If no invoice is received within six months of acceptance, author forfeits payment, but all rights remain in force. Upon receipt of invoice, payments will be made through Paypal.
You have to chase down $20 and no matter what “all rights remain in force”. There should at least be a “no thank you but I insist” stage to the process. Then again, it is called “Contrary Magazine”.
One magazine, “Chicken Soup for the Soul”, stood out. They pay $200 for a short story or poem. Could this be the magazine for me? I clicked on their website where I found a list of categories for which they needed submissions. For example:
Stories about My Mom
We are collecting stories and poems written by sons and daughters of all ages about their moms, step-moms, grandmoms or someone that is “like a mom” to you. Tell us what this special person has done for you. Is she always right? Do you still turn to her for advice? Does she annoy you with her advice? Have you become your mom even though you swore you never would? How has your relationship changed as you’ve gotten older? Share your best stories – ones that will make us laugh, cry, or nod our heads in recognition. We are not looking for general tributes (we know your mom is terrific) nor are we looking for biographies. We are looking for specific anecdotes about you and your mom or stepmom or grandmom. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is SEPTEMBER 30, 2018 for release in March 2019 in time for Mother’s Day.
I began to get the feeling that I might have trouble mustering the requisite wholesomeness for “Chicken Soup for the Soul”. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure they are good people who are providing a valuable and popular service…hell, they are paying $200….but…you know. Also, I don’t think my mom would fit the “Chicken Soup” model, she had a somewhat colourful turn of phrase and an unerring ear for bullshit or pretentiousness.
She had this expression “plus fours and no breakfast” which always made me think of landed Irish gentry from a JP Donleavy novel; their fortunes dwindling, living in a damp, draughty, decaying castle in rural Ireland tended to by a skeleton staff of loyal eccentric servants supervised by an ancient butler – a bead of rheumy moisture permanently suspended from the end of his nose. She had many other expressions a bit more profane than this one but I don’t think she would appreciate having them repeated here. So maybe I’ll try Contrary Magazine and if I get accepted I’ll invoice them for half the amount just to be contrary.
Following the Sound on Monday Morning
Brexit at Tiffany’s
I ask Slim for his response to a recent report that Nigel Farage thinks it would be a good idea to re-do the Brexit referendum. We arrange to meet for a few pints in ‘The Post-Coital Beetle” to discuss his response and catch up. Slim is late, so I get a booth, and order a pitcher of Blue Buck. On the television screen suspended from the ceiling, two ex-soccer players – Matt Holland and Phil Neville – are discussing possession stats for the English premier league; apparently, the team that keeps possession of the ball usually wins. Not rocket science, but then Matt and Phil are not rocket scientists. They both look trim and fit in their English sportscaster casual wear. Phil is wearing a beige V-necked sweater, a white button down shirt, tight black pants and fashion sneakers. Matt is wearing a black crew neck, tight black pants and, yes, fashion sneakers. They look like their mothers dressed them.
I have never met Slim’s mother, but I doubt if she would have dressed him in the outfit he is wearing as he bursts through the pub door like an overweight, balding Kramer – faded baggy jeans, a MEC Gore-Tex anorak whose wicking days are long over and a white T shirt, one size too small, with the message “Fragile” on the front. He slaps a sheet of white paper on the table and says:
“Here you go!”
On the paper lies the following poem:
will be remembered forever
as the man who made
the word, ‘wanker’,
Very good, I say, “disparage”, “Farage”. What do you want to call the post?
‘Brexit at Tiffany’s’.
Ha! Or how about : ‘Guess who’s coming to Brexit’!
Slim looks like he has just swallowed a cup of Drano.
I think you’re missing the fucking point. It has to be a movie or book with ‘Breakfast’ in the title, like, say, ‘Brexit of Champions’ or ‘The Brexit Club’.
Well, anyway…… so it’s not a homonym, it’s not a synonym, it’s not really a pun, what is it?
It’s a malapropism.
Who took Sidney Poitier to dinner?
How did you know, no one ever gets that right.
I know because every time you have a few drinks, you ask the same fucking question.
Why not? Life’s short.
It’ll be even fucking shorter if we keep eating Poutine.
We both lean back and laugh. On the screen above our heads, Manchester United score a goal and the colour commentator says:
“See, what just happened is that United have put the ball in the net and it’s been proven time and time again that if you want to score goals you have to put the ball in the net”
A Brexit poem from Slim’s locker:
Come what? May?
Breggsit over easy?
Not on the menu.
Willie Nelson Once Said..
Willie Nelson once said:
if you fail at something long enough
you become a legend
by that metric
I’ve got some failing to do.
What an explosion
that word is.
don’t tell Gord Downie
what the poets are doin’.
I wish I could recall
what that word means.
Not a dry seat in the house.
Laugh? I nearly cried.
Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain.
Oh, Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me.
Aunt Mary Hangs Out The Washing.
One of the above
is not a mnemonic
And If The Eagle Flies At Midnight
we’ll still be on the ground
our feet stuck to the pavement
of that going nowhere town.