Author Archives: sdtp33

The Name is at the Bottom Blues

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The Name is at the Bottom Blues

it’s a name that you come across
in someone else’s bathroom
beside the shaving cream
the Tylenol
and those pills that people use
and suddenly
you’re soaked
in melancholy
from your head
down to your shoes
there ain’t no doubt about it
there ain’t no doubt about it
you’ve got those Estee Lauder blues.

Taking part in Open Link Night over at dverse!

Waiting for Slim/ Melania’s Cheekbones (redux)

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Waiting for Slim

Sunday afternoon in late June
I’m sitting outside The Post-Coital Beetle
watching the traffic on Broadway,
at the next table, four bearded guys
wearing flat caps and plaid shirts,
looking like the bastard sons of Mumford,
are downing pints of over-hopped pale ale.
At the traffic lights, an eighteen year old Asian kid
checks his hair in the rear view mirror
while his Lamborghini growls
like a panther on a leash.
And who is this slouching along Broadway
his bald head shining in the sun?
No, it is not an image out of Spiritus Mundi,
it’s not one of the boys of summer,
it’s Slim,
a man with all the charm of a pit bull with distemper;
his remaining hair is scrunched into an angry man-bun
he’s carrying a magazine
which he slams down on the table in front of me
“Look at this bullshit!” he whines.

Later, as the sun goes down over Point Grey
and automatic timers turn lights
on in empty Styrofoam mansions,
we settle in to a plate of nachos
and one pitcher follows another
until we find ourselves face to face
trading lines like Lennon and McCartney (well, not quite)
and driven by our shared admiration
of Melania Trump’s granite cheekbones
we compose this maudlin cri de couer

Melania
his megalomania
don’t let it stain ya
don’t let it restrain ya
don’t let it contain ya
and if he should fail ya
remember this:
you know the size
of his hands
and his……..

(the last line is drowned out
by the roar of a feral Ferrari
tearing down Broadway).

The challenge from Sarah over at dverse is to write a poem about waiting, thought I’d revive this one.

Rhymin’ (Neil) Diamond – the Good, the Bad and the Internal (music on Monday)

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The great Paul Simon once said: “I’d rather be a bucket than a pail”. Ok, maybe he didn’t but perhaps he should have. Anyway, this is not about rhymin’ Simon, this is about rhymin’ Diamond who once said:

I am, I said

To no one there

And no one heard at all

Not even the chair

Implying that, in a room containing inanimate objects, the object most likely to reply would be a chair. That chair is important, not just because it rhymes with “there”. The chair suggests that Neil is in a room, and there is only one chair (“the chair”), so Neil is most likely lying on a bed and of course he is alone, so alone that he has resorted to talking to the furniture. Without the chair, he could be anywhere, it becomes the focus of his existential crisis. This is a “pop song”,  grab the attention of the audience or they are gone and it has to look easy and that’s hard and he does it through that one detail, the chair.

It has to be said that Neil is perhaps not at the same level as Paul Simon when it comes to poetic, sophisticated lyrics, but he has his moments. Take the first verse of “ Cracklin’ Rosie”:

“Aw, Cracklin’ Rosie, get on board

   We’re gonna ride

   Till there ain’t no more to go

   Taking it slow

   And Lord, don’t you know

   We’ll have me a time with a poor man’s lady

There’s that internal rhyme happening – board, more, Lord, poor -and all those ‘O’s’, fifteen in total! And the assonance in the chorus of

“Cracklin’ Rose,

You’re a store-bought woman”

It goes a bit downhill after that – “you make me sing like a guitar hummin’” – hummin’ and woman – ouch!

But, for my money, Neil’s finest moment when it comes to writing lyrics is in “Sweet Caroline”. The song, admittedly, is not without some absolute groaners:

“Where it began,

I can’t begin to knowin’”

And that’s the first two lines.

Even the chorus, which contains that finest moment is a syntactical nightmare:

Sweet Caroline

Good times never seemed so good

I’ve been inclined,

To believe they never would

Oh, no, no

I have wrestled with this for some time and the best I can come up with is this: ”I’ve been inclined to believe that good times never would never seem so good”. Think about that too long and I guarantee that steam will come out of your ears. But it doesn’t matter, because all that matters is that rhyme between “Sweet Caroline” and “I’ve been inclined”. He could have gone for “fine”, “wine”, “mine” etc but there is something about “inclined” that is so unexpected, so colloquial, so conversational. It surprises every time you hear it. And of course, the acid test of any chorus is how well it does in a pub or bar late in the evening and everyone is a little hammered and some skinny guy on acoustic guitar hauls out “Sweet Caroline” and everyone is just waiting to belt out that chorus and I guarantee you that the volume will perceptibly increase when they reach that line and everyone takes just a little credit for recognising how clever it is.

 

 

Sgt. Pepper Mashup (Art, pop and found poetry)

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Sgt. Pepper Mashup (a found poem)

Made passively tolerant by LSD, he was happy to sit back
endlessly recombining like some insoluble chemical compound
all he really wanted was the cyclic cloud drift of his verse.

The song never relinquishes this staccato dominant
played by Harrison on his Stratocaster with treble-heavy settings
making the most of McCartney’s rich ninth’s and elevenths –
a brilliantly whimsical expression of period burlesque.

It is impossible to conduct a revolution without picking a side
like a comic brass fob watch suspended from a floral waistcoat
objectivity is illusory and all creativity inescapably self –referential.

The track is whipped to a climax by a coruscating pseudo-Indian guitar solo.
Lennon grinned sardonically, as he walked past Aspinall,
requesting from Martin a sound like the end of the world.

 

I have always felt that found poetry is a form of theft. Yet, here I am with my first found poem. It all started with listening to the remastered copy of Sgt.Pepper, ( a vast improvement on the snap, crackle and pop of my old vinyl version) and in particular, the guitar solo in “Fixing a Hole”. Paul McCartney played lead guitar on a number of tracks on the album, but the style of playing on the solo sounded more like George Harrison. So, I consulted the bible – “Revolution in the Head”, by Ian MacDonald, a track by track analysis of 241 Beatle tracks and essential to any Beatles nerd. Yes, it is George’s solo!
I read a couple of other track analyses and found myself enjoying MacDonald’s writing style, a number of phrases jumped out from the page and the idea of a found poem formed. The result is the above poem. It has, believe it or not, a structure: each line is a direct quote from an analysis of an individual Sgt. Pepper track, and the lines are sequenced in the same order as the tracks appear on the album.
Buy Ian MacDonald’s book, you won’t be disappointed and I will feel better about stealing his stuff.

The subject over at dVerse is Pop Art, I can’t think of anything more pop art than Sgt. Pepper from the cover to the content (the Beatles turned pop into an art form) plus found poetry is a form of collage, so I thought I would link this one!

 

 

Boris Johnson at the G7 (a sort of triple tanka)

 

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Boris Johnson at the G7 

Can’t believe I’m here.
Oh! The joy of dissembling!
Japes, pranks and capers!

What is Macron looking at?
I think Donald might like me.

There’s Melania!
Those cheekbones, the north face of
the bloody Eiger,

scale her promontories, what!
No time for rumpy pumpy,

lots to do! Trudeau
is smirking, colonial
prat! I think Merkel

wants to spank me, go nanny!
Concentrate! Now where was I?

Cats I Have Known (poem)

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Cats I Have Known

there’s the cat with nine tails
there’s the cat with nine lives
there’s the cat that got my tongue
there’s the cat that is out of the bag
there’s the cat that curiosity killed

Percy was our first
a long-haired white
a tour bus for fleas
he led a long and lazy life
those fleas didn’t get around much.

Next came Sweeney
who left us too early
killed by a car
in the back lane.

Then Sasha the hunter
who brought us daily gifts
of dead birds and mice
and fought an ongoing battle
for ownership of the back yard
with two blue jays.
Sasha, too, fell foul of a car
in the back lane,
I heard about it
while checking into a Holiday Inn
somewhere in Alabama,
the peroxide permed ladies
at the front desk
passed me a note
which simply said:
“Sasha is dead”.
“Sasha is a cat”, I explained,
seeing the look of concern
on their powdered faces,
this did nothing to alleviate the gloom
I couldn’t get my room keys fast enough.
That was enough catastrophe for us,
Sasha’s ashes now rest in an urn
nestled in the bowl of the cherry tree
in the back yard
where she is visited frequently
by her former prey.

Photo : graffiti in Getsemani, Colombia

Taking part in Anmols’ prompt “all things feline” Over at dverse

Toad at the Gates of Doom (poem)

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Toad at the Gates of Doom

Outside the Gates of Hades
sits a cross-eyed toad
beside a burnt-out serpent
a broker and a phone

Outside the Gates of Heaven
sits an angel in disguise
beside an incontinent bishop
with ecstasy in his eyes

and the sign on the gate says:

Closed for Renovation
no judgement today
if you’re looking for accommodation
clear off, go away.

God is on vacation
taking a well-earned break
there’s only so much suffering
one true God can take

So, get your ass back down there
be good to everyone
drink lots of water
and try to get along.

 

(This poem came about because, for a brief period, I was listening to prog metal. Brief because, like all things prog, the talent rarely matches the ambition, the concepts. Pink Floyd were a progressive band but they were successful because they could write songs and had one of the best lyricists in rock, the concepts were secondary. Prog metal players, from what I can tell , are accomplished musicians – the guitarists can play at incredible speeds and the drummers sound like they are descended from the octopus but the lyrics are banal at best and the melodies vestigial. The album titles, though, are always interesting and that’s where this poem started – I was playing around with making up titles for prog metal concept albums…the poem evolved from there.)

Taking part in Open Link Night over at dVerse.

Drain The Swamp Rag

A version of this poem appeared with 4 other poems, a little while back in the online magazine Anti-Heroin Chic

The subject over at dverse today is “Smoke and Mirrors”, so I thought I would give the poem another outing.

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Drain The Swamp Rag

(Walk that back
walk that back
I know I said it
but I walked that back.)

Attack dog surrogates
inveterate invertebrates
re-stock the swamp
with old white males.

Post logic, post truth,
snake oil and kool-aid
re-stock the swamp
with old white males.

Mike Pence, John Bolton
Rudy Giuliani
re-stock the swamp
with old white males

Inveterate surrogates
attack dog invertebrates
re-mail the stock
to the old white swamp

re-stock the swamp
with old white males.

Lines randomly composed while listening to a band from the Maritimes in the Dubh Linn Gate Pub, Whistler, British Columbia

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Lines randomly composed while listening to a band from the Maritimes in the Dubh Linn Gate Pub, Whistler, British Columbia

Oh. the herring were running wild and fast
as we sailed out from St. John
and the cod were plump as Mary’s arse
on a Sunday morning after early mass
with sausages on the griddle, rashers in the pan
with a whack fol de diddle dairy oh
with a whack fol de diddle dan.

(my first and, hopefully, my last attempt at a seafaring song…a note to my readers:
please drink responsibly or you will end up writing rubbish like the above…)