Author Archives: sdtp33

Reservation (is The Daily Prompt destroying my life?)

via Daily Prompt: Reservation 

Ok, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic but I do have a reservation about The Daily Prompt, because as I write this I should be writing something else. What happened to the posts I was going to write about Courtney Barnett, about Death Cab for Cutie? What about the poems I should finish and submit to a magazine? What about getting a collection of poems together? What about facing the fact that I may not have enough good poems to warrant a collection? What about those song lyrics sitting around waiting for a collaborator? What about “The Lad Poetry Project Revival” ? Instead I am thinking about a daily prompt from a week or two back –“meager”- which didn’t inspire me at the time but then this emerged:

Edgar

Meaghan loved her job,
the compensation was meager
but that didn’t bother her
what bothered her
was her relationship with Edgar;
she felt beleaguered.
“What the hell is wrong with you”,
Edgar raged, on a regular basis,
and all she could think of was:
Isn’t “raged”
an anagram of Edgar?

Then there are the endless revisions. I usually like to let a poem sit for a while, sometimes years, but The Daily Prompt requires an immediate response which invariably means I am rarely satisfied with the poems generated. Take “Confess” for example, I was moderately pleased with one image in the poem but the rest seemed a bit ad hoc, so here is the revised poem, so I can forget about it and move on.

Confess

a sliding hatch
a priest’s profile
through a wire mesh screen
forgiveness, absolution;
will I do it again?
absolutely.

 

Trumplings (The Best of 2017)

This time last year, at every social event I went to, the subject of Donald Trump could not be avoided. This year? Nothing. The Trump presidency has become a bit like one of those television series that people get tired of watching – no discernible plot, no character development, poorly written dialogue and we still have to suffer through seasons 2, 3 and 4.

These are the Trump posts  I had most fun writing in 2017, they rely a bit more (I think) on language rather than straight polemic.

“Agent Orange has a dark Moment” was published in Rat’s Ass Review” and “Donald Trump – On Reflection” was published in “Oddball Magazine“.

Inauguration

it
does
not
augur
well.

 

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Donald’s Early Days

A farrago of fiascos,
banishments and bans;
weekends at Mar-a-Lago
the world in his hands.

 

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Agent Orange has a Dark Moment
Do you know who I miss? Jeb Bush. I miss Jeb Bush. He was my first. When I hit him with that low energy jibe and he fell apart and all the Bush family could not put Humpty together again, I knew I was on to something. Then Little Marco and Lyin’ Ted, I miss them too. But most of all, I miss Hillary, Crooked Hillary. Man, she was tough, had me on the ropes. It took Comey and Vlad, that pointy headed villain, to get me back on my feet. I was nearly out for the count, which might not have been a bad thing. Who needs this shit! I should give Vlad a call, I’m a bit worried -there’s no such thing as a free hack.
Reince Priebus – what kind of fucking name is that? It sounds like bad news from the doctor. “I’m sorry, Donald, you have a Reince Priebus on your rectum and it doesn’t look good”. Ha, I just made myself laugh. And Bannon, I’ve seen sofas on the side of the road in better shape than that rumpled fucker. Spice Box? Hardest job in the world – explaining the unexplainable. That Melissa Mc.Carthy just slays me. How come all the cool people are on the other side? Who have I got? Ryan and Pence? Bland and Blander? Where did Pence come from anyway with his brush cut and his antediluvian politics? The best surgeons in the world couldn’t remove the poker from that guy’s ass. Antediluvian, you didn’t expect that did you?
Talking of cool, I should give Barack a call, ask him down to Florida for a game of golf; check his birth certificate again (Joking! How I miss those days). Man, I hate this fucking White House furniture, is it Friday yet?

 

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Haiku for Donald

petulant pillock

postcranial curmudgeon

bombastic buffoon.

 

Orange is the New Bleak 1 (3)
On Reflection…. Donald Trump

America has given birth
to a giant orange child
a zaftig infant Gulliver
striding the ravaged earth
of his own imagination
trampling whole villages
swallowing villagers whole.

 

 

 

Sunrise/ The Cold Dish (Craig Johnson)

 

 

 

Sunrise I

the sun rises red-eyed
after another long night
tending to the needy side
of the planet.

This poem came about because of a plane journey, a six hour plane journey, with no inflight entertainment. I could have used the downloadable app but I couldn’t imagine watching out of date Jason Bateman movies for 6 hours on my phone, so I picked up a Craig Johnson novel, The Cold Dish, to get me through the flight.
This is the first novel in the Walt Longmire series. Walt is a sheriff in modern day Absaroka County, Wyoming. His wife has been dead 4 years and his life is a bit of a mess but there are various people looking out for him including his best friend, Henry Standing Bear. I know what you are thinking – an American law man with a Native American sidekick!! Anyway Craig Johnson navigates this well enough. There are a number of women in Walt’s life, including his daughter Cady, his dispatcher Ruby, a café owner Dorothy, Vic –his deputy, and Vonnie – a romantic interest. Vonnie is rich, beautiful, and troubled. They are all strong women and they don’t take no shit from Walt.
Walt is at Henry’s bar talking to Vonnie when he gets a call from Vic that a body has been found in a gulley up in the mountains. Walt heads to the scene, the body is hard to get at and the crime scene is complicated by the fact that a herd of sheep has surrounded the body, shat upon it and chewed at the clothes. The body turns out to be Cody Pritchard, a local boy who was involved in the rape of a girl from the reservation and got off lightly. It’s early morning by the time the crime scene has been secured and there is this moment after a long night where Walt, the narrator, says : “I gazed back up to the patch of sage and scrub weed and watched the sun free itself from the red hills”.
This is what amazes me about novelists, they have to handle character, plot, dialogue and create a world for characters to inhabit, for events to occur and they still find time to come up with lines like I have just quoted. So that was it for me, I spent the rest of the flight trying to come up with different ways to describe the sunrise. The first attempt you have already read above, here, for better or for worse, is attempt number 2:

Sunrise II

The sun rises bleary-eyed
having spent another night
attending
one of those wild parties
to which, we
are never invited.

As for the book, it’s well worth a read. Craig Johnson creates believable characters, characters to care about, to root for and the whole thing meanders along laconically with lots of witty banter and joshing – the kind of  joshing you would find in a small town cafe at 10  in the morning, one of those cafes with gingham tables and a robust waitress with chemically damaged hair who won’t take any shit from the bunch of plaid shirted retired guys who turn up every morning to shoot the breeze.

 

Photos : Sunrise on Planet Cistern.

 

Rooster Gallery / Living Off The Grid.

 

 

 

Living Off the Grid

The sun with rare generosity
beats down on the solar panels
on the roof of Vincent’s log cabin.

The first sentence of his organic novel
The abattoir, for once, was silent
sits alone on his laptop screen.

This is the seed from which will spring
plot, character, content.
He gets up, walks out through the kitchen door

through the tortured arch of his driftwood arbor
and into the vegetable garden
where he urinates in a jagged arc

sprinkling life-giving nutrients
on the unsuspecting butter lettuce.
Returning to his desk

he taps out another sentence:
With his mother’s mop, he wipes
the blood from the kitchen floor.

Why so morbid?
It’s warm, he’s feeling drowsy,
he detects a faint signal from a long-dormant source

like the distant ping from a submarine
at the bottom of the ocean.
He should invite someone for dinner,

the lady who sells jam at the Saturday market, perhaps,
or the angry sculptress – she of the tangled hair,
the scrap metal raptors, the acetylene scent.

The jam lady it is.
Bottle of wine from the retired lawyer’s vineyard,
salmon from the gnarled fishermen down at the dock,

try a little humor,
ask her if raspberry jam is a male preserve,
make a nice salad. What’s the worst that could happen?

 

This poem first appeared a little while back in “The Basil O’Flaherty”.

 

Gorge (Boxers and Canyons)

via Daily Prompt: Gorge 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/gorge/

 

 

 

Gorge

too much of a good thing
gorge, and your gorge may rise

not a canyon – a narrow valley,
nearly an anagram of George.
Gorgeous George inspired Muhammad Ali

who went on to beat George Chuvalo,
George Foreman

a blow to the face may cause swelling
engorgement

not such a good thing.

Relocate (haiku)/U2’s New Album

via Daily Prompt: Relocate

 

Relocate

that is what I did

or should I say: emigrate

same thing, in mom’s eyes.

 

This Daily Prompt thing is becoming addictive. What happened to that long post I was going to write about U2’s new album which I haven’t yet listened to: how http://www.allmusic.com gave it 2 1/2 stars out of 5; how Rolling Stone gave it 4 1/2 stars; how the Guardian gave it 2 stars and 4 stars (2 different reviews); how Variety called it their best album in years; how some people just don’t like Bono and decide what they are going to write before they listen to the album; how U2 have always been polarising; how I can’t listen to “The Unforgettable Fire”; how I don’t think Bono became a mature lyricist until “Achtung Baby”; how the last album “Songs of Innocence” has 7 tracks on it that are as good as anything U2 has ever done; how the Edge treats every note like it’s a precious object; how I am biased because ever since I relocated from Ireland to Canada, I have become far more patriotic than I ever was when I lived there.

 

So Distracted / Smart Phone (with apologies to Dickens and Darwin)

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So Distracted

Snapchat
WhatsApp
Instagram
Facebook

What?
……..I’m so distracted

Text message
Twitter feed
I’ll follow you
if you follow me

What?
……..I’m so distracted

Spotify
Pokémon
I just got a like
from Pakistan

What?
……..I’m so distracted

So distracted
So distracted
did I walk that back?
did I retract it?

So distracted
So distracted
did I walk that back?
did I retract it?

What?

 

Smart Phone (with apologies to Dickens and Darwin)

’twas the best invention
’twas the worst invention

’twas communication’s new dawn
’twas the end of communication

’twas a pain in the neck
’twas incipient myopia

’twas why we evolved
with opposable thumbs.

 

Anderson Cooper Gets All Existential

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Anderson Cooper Gets All Existential

Anderson and his panel of pundits are discussing the Robert Mueller investigation into collusion with Russia when…..

out of the blue, Anderson
in that earnest, honest broker way
that he has, says:
“What if there is no there, there?”
and Carl Bernstein concedes
that it is possible there is no there, there;
and the Trump surrogate
with the smug certainty
that only conservatives can muster
says categorically there is no there, there;
the rest of the panel joins in
and they all charge like lemmings
to the edge of an existential cliff.
I am profoundly disturbed by this
because if there is no there, there
then I can’t go there
and what if I call a friend
to meet for coffee
and I say: ”see you there”
but when I arrive there is no there, there
just a vacuum that suggests that
where we are over here
is nothing more than a fever dream
and if there is no here, here
and no there, there
then where the hell are we?

 

For John D. (a Poem and a Deconstruction) …Redux

 

For John D.

fecund, moribund, quincunx

fecund moribundity

moribund fecundity

rhizome, rissole, piss-hole in the snow

phenom, pheromone, genome

lissom, blossom, possum.

 

This poem is all about sound, association and perhaps, memory. The first three lines are an homage to the sound of ‘un’. The phrase -“fecund moribundity, moribund fecundity” –  was uttered by my friend, John Damery (John D.) during a discussion about the music of Neil Diamond – his oeuvre, his place in the pantheon. This was some time ago but it has always stuck in my head, it has a brevity and clarity  that could only have been brought on by the consumption of 5 or 6 pints and the ingestion of greasy chicken. After a long legal battle (not really) he has recently granted me permission to use  it in a poem.

The fourth line is the workhorse of the poem, the engine, the poem’s midfield general. It inverts the ‘mo’ from the first 3 lines to create the ‘om’ that dominates the last two lines. it also introduces ‘iss’ which makes an appearance in the last line. As for “piss-hole in the snow”, I defy anyone to find a finer example of bathos . The fifth line is all about ‘om” but note the clever inversion back to ‘mo’ in ‘pheromone’.

The sixth and last line has a slick softness to it like blancmange. As promised the ‘iss’ from ‘rissole’ and ‘piss-hole’ makes an appearance  before morphing into ‘oss’ and in a final stroke of nothing that remotely approaches genius, the transformation of ‘om’ into ‘um’.

Notes:

quincunx (a word that flirts with obscenity):

an arrangement of five objects with four at the corners of a square or rectangle and the fifth at its centre, used for the five on dice or playing cards, and in planting trees.

rhizome:

a continuously growing horizontal underground stem that puts out lateral shoots and adventitious roots at intervals.

Both words were used in an article in the Irish Times on the poetry of Seamus Heaney, sent to me by John D; ‘Cartesian dualism’ and ‘Binarism’ were also mentioned (and Jesus wept).

rissole:

a compressed mixture of meat and spices, coated in breadcrumbs and fried.

My mom used to make them, although I remember them as being more like a hamburger patty without the bun…thanks, mom!

Photo: English Bay, Vancouver, A-MAZE-ING LAUGHTER, by Yue Minjun.

 

 

Elements/ First Winter in the New Car (haiku plus a slimverse plus a bonus poem)

 

Elements

 

 

 

First Winter in the New Car

wheel well icicles
rear screen wiper on thin ice
seat warmer up high

arse-scorching
high, so that
is what that
switch is for.

A haiku and a slimverse together for the first time – 29 syllable madness. A terrible beauty is born.

Now, a poem that died and came back to life.

Elliot

some said he got what he deserved
he was just another ocean liner
looking for an iceberg
but I had to observe, you know,
not all disasters
are waiting to happen.

 

Two Poems by Jim Feeney

oddball magazine

The Fallen (2017)

1
Goodbye Reince Priebus
no longer will I contemplate
the strange music of your name –
those slender vowels reversing,
no longer will I look for meanings, explanations –
Reince?
A salve to be applied sparingly to a wound?
Put some Reince on that cut, son!
a rinse? a douche? a poultice?
and Priebus?
Latinate portliness – a Shakespearean character,
a writ to slap someone with- Habeas Priebus,
or a complicated skateboard manouevre:
He executed a perfect reverse Priebus!
Reince, it’s been a slice.

2
Scaramucci, Scaramucci,
will you do the fandango?

Anthony, we hardly knew you,
but thanks for letting us know
about Steve Bannon
and his auto-fellatio.

3
Alas, poor Stephen,
abandoned
like a rumpled sofa.

On Reflection…. Donald Trump

America has given birth
to a giant orange child
a zaftig infant Gulliver
striding the ravaged earth
of his own imagination
trampling whole villages
swallowing…

View original post 69 more words

Driving Home with Leonard Cohen (3)

Driving Home with Leonard Cohen

Despite what he says

not everybody knows,

not everybody knows

like Leonard knows.

Not everybody knows

that the best songs

are about loss,

endings,

so long,

ways to say goodbye

closing time,

and that age

can be laughed about

but not at,

if I had a hat

I would raise it to Mr.Cohen

perched up there alone

in his tower of song.

 

I have posted this a few times before, but since today’s the anniversary of Leonard Cohen’s death I thought I would give it another outing.

A note on the genius of Leonard Cohen:

Below is the first verse of “Suzanne”. Notice how he doesn’t hit a conventional rhyme until the chorus where he rhymes ‘blind’ and ‘mind’. He repeats that pattern in the next 2 verses.

“Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by, you can spend the night forever
And you know that she’s half-crazy but that’s why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her that you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer that you’ve always been her lover
And you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you’ve touched her perfect body with your mind”