Author Archives: sdtp33

A Scarecrow looks back on his Life

IMG_1274 (2)

A Scarecrow looks back on his Life

Before Oz
I had control of my life
I had a purpose
a reason for existence

a modus operandi:
stand in a field
and scare crows
that’s it, that’s all.

It was lonely at times
I admit, particularly
at night, but occasionally
a farmer returning

drunk across the fields
would stop and tell me his life story
then fall asleep, snoring
and farting at my feet

and yes, oh yes
I listened in on
acts of intimacy
on hot summer nights

and heard sounds
that made my straw curl;
then Oz occurred
and it was no longer

about presence
it was about absence
the absence of a brain;
children would circle me

and sing that stupid song
suddenly I was pathetic, forlorn;
what got me most was the
sheer illogicality of it all –

to yearn for a brain, one must
have a brain to begin with,
sometimes, I think the sole function
of a brain is to yearn…..

(…hang on a second, I’m sure I saw that same crow yesterday. The little bugger won’t come within twenty feet of me. I’ve still got it….)

This poem was inspired by a dVerse prompt to write a poem from the point of view of a character from The Wizard of Oz..a scarecrow, a Tin Man, a lion. I played with that a bit.

 

Yosemite (the poem)

IMG_0406

 

Yosemite

The sun is slowly leaving
the party that is the day,
things will not be the same.

When he finally tumbles into his room
at the Mariposa Lodge outside of Yosemite
which the Miwok Indians call Ahwahnee
meaning Large Mouth,
Myron turns on the television
to find Patrick Stewart
shouting into the camera in blank verse
and even though Kenneth Branagh is nowhere in sight
he quickly deduces that this is Shakespeare,
Macbeth, in fact, but a strange one,
there are soldiers in Soviet uniforms and a fridge
and of course bad things are happening, off stage.
Then the bottle of Salmon Creek Pinot Grigio
which he had at the Butterfly Café,
starts to take its toll
(‘butterfly’ is the English word for Mariposa),
and lulled by the convolutions of the language
Myron falls asleep and in his dream
Patrick Stewart is staring at him.

“ Brush thy teeth”, Patrick yells,
spittle spraying the inside of the screen.
“Brush thy teeth
lest thou rise
foul of breath
In the sulphurous morn.”

 

This poem appeared a little while back in The Galway Review 

(It’s open link night at dVerse, so thought I’d give this one a bit of exposure)

The Vancouver Folk Festival 2018 (Live From The Wisdom Tent)

 

 

 

Back in mid-July, I attended the annual Vancouver Folk Festival at Jericho Beach Park. It was a beautiful sunny weekend, hot by Vancouver standards. The beach, adjacent to the park, was crowded; beyond the beach the bay was busy with paddle boarders, swimmers, yachts, kayaks and of course, tankers. The north shore mountains looked down on it all, a little miffed now that the ski season is long over and all the attention has moved to sea level.

Highlights of the festival for me were Ry Cooder (and the Hamiltones), Wallis Byrd, Darlingside, James Mc Murtry and Neko Case. The performances were less politically overt this year, there was a sense that enough had been said and the diversity and inclusiveness of the occasion and the creativity on display was sufficient response to the ugliness, racism and bigotry currently on the march in some parts of the world.

My friend, Slim, got a free weekend pass by volunteering at The Wisdom Tent. All he had to do was turn up once a day and dispense wisdom for an hour. Slim is not a man known for empathy, so his choice of volunteer job surprised me. He could, for example, have volunteered at the recycle stations explaining to people the complex and arcane choices available to them; or perhaps, he could have dressed up in a tutu and sold raffle tickets, all perfectly good options. But no, he had to sit in a hot tent, imposing his gnomic bromides on the defenceless public.

Live from the Wisdom Tent

IMG_0714

(I sat in on one of Slim’s sessions and secretly recorded it. The following is an edited transcript of the recording. Note: Slim sat behind a trestle table, his visitors approached one by one. I did not transcribe the sometimes withering and profane responses to his proffered wisdom.)

walk past the writing on the wall
look neither left nor right

*************
always whistle past a graveyard

*************

today is the first day
of the rest of your life
tomorrow is the next

*************

walk towards the noise
walk towards the noise

*************

neither a floater
nor a settler be

*************

to find the person of your dreams
you must first fall asleep

**************

if you’re feeling abysmal
pepto bismol will do nothing

**************

talk softly
don’t carry sticks of any size

**************

be all you can be
then try harder

***************

like a frog down a well
we only know the walls.

***************

to leave no footprint
we must fly and never land.

***************

never drink anything blue

***************

life is waiting for the other shoe
the secret is……..hang on, is that James McMurtry starting on stage 5?

(male voice) hey man, where are you going, you’re supposed to be here until 4?
(Slim)…you should get rid of those dreads, you’re not from Jamaica.
(male voice)…who was that pot-bellied old fart?

Excerpts From a Long Weekend

 

Haiku (conversation overheard in a downtown bar)

he wants to retire
back where all the spires conspire
to show him the way.

Too much of a good thing

summer evening
the red sunset bleeds regret
maturity lost.

Why can’t I write like Rupi Kaur? (1)

my quinoa* quota
was far from quotidian
thanks! sunflower seeds!
*’keen-wah

Climate Change is Opening Windows

rumours dropping from the eaves
neighbours thick as thieves
singing off key at three

o’clock in the morning.

Haiku written while painting a room…

IMG_1034
Haiku written while painting a room…

haiku written while painting a room
searching for a transcendent metaphor
thinking someday maybe I could write
inspirational poetry like rupi kaur

you are
what you
are meant
to be

that kind of thing
do a book signing at Indigo
start a line of greeting cards
anything’s possible, really,
if once, just once I could resist
the impulse to be a smartass
……the haiku:

classic grey, cloud white
super eggshell for the walls
flat for the ceiling.

Collectives

IMG_0159

Collectives

A durante of toucans
A piety of soutanes
A woggle of scouts

A caveat of emptors
A torment of mentors
A loudness of louts

An agenda of schemers
A cumulus of dreamers
A Hamlet of doubts.
Note: Lines 1 and 3 are taken from Wiktionary, Glossary of Collective Nouns

…taking part in Open Link Night at dVerse, check it out here.

The Daily Jolt Names the Day (plus a haiku about law enforcement)

img_0168 (2)

…and the day is Friday!
…and your Daily Jolt is…….

Scofflaw

…which is an actual word meaning : “a person who flouts the law, who literally scoffs at the law”

Scofflaw (the haiku)

call yourself a cop
well, who the hell arrested
your development?

If today’s jolt word inspires you to write a post, let me know by linking your post to this blog, or post a comment.

Daily Jolt Update:

So far, the most frequent contributor to The Daily Jolt has been the witty, the inimitable, the one and only Steve Simpson, in fact he has been the one and only contributor.
If you are not reading Steve’s blog you are missing a treat; Steve is one of the most original poets out there. He writes fantasies underpinned by the everyday! Check him out here !

Four Lines That Kill Me Every Time (1)

IMG_0401 (2)

There’s flies in the kitchen I can hear ’em there buzzing
And I ain’t done nothing since I woke up today.
How the hell can a person go to work in the morning
And come home in the evening and have nothing to say.”

This is from “Angel from Montgomery” by John Prine……a life in 4 lines, says more than some novels.
There are many versions of this song but one of the best is by Bonnie Raitt and John Prine.

 

The Daily Jolt Lives Another Day (but will England?)

IMG_0168

 

…..and the Daily Jolt word is “tumultaneous”, meaning “when two tumultuous events occur simultaneously”…

So, for example, if the Conservative government in England was to implode tomorrow over Brexit and at the same time, the English soccer team was to lose to Croatia in the World Cup, those two events would be considered to be “tumultaneous”.

Note: To date, The Daily Jolt (my cynical attempt to boost traffic on my blog) has not been a success that roars,  but still I am enjoying it because I appear to be inspiring myself, self-jolting, so to speak…..

If you are inspired by or use the jolt word, let me know through a comment or link.

 

Waiting for Slim/ Melania’s Cheekbones

IMG_0269 (8)

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).

there is no stopping us…

Ivanka (a slimverse)

Ivanka
no offence
but your dad’s
a wanka.

there was more, but I can’t remember…..

Pigments of the Imagination

Pigments (2)

Pigments of the Imagination

black crow, a
chunk of white
bread, becomes
an eagle,

pigments in
flight, flying
pigments, yes,
imagine.

….the return of slimverse* after a month of haiku.

* A verse form in which each line can contain only 3 syllables and each verse can contain only 4 lines. In its purest form, there is only one verse, a poetic morsel.

High Plains Sushi

IMG_1357

High Plains Sushi

This bar’s insured by Smith and Wesson
Says the sign upon the wall
Vern studies his empty beer glass
Time slows down to a crawl

Audrey, the lank-haired waitress
Watches from the bar
Order something soon, she yells
Or get the hell out of here.

There’s a special on at Wanda’s Ranch
Tuesday night 2 for one
But Vern doesn’t have the appetite
He doesn’t have the wherewithal

There’s only one thing that he wants
And he’s going to get it soon
High Plains Sushi
High Plains Sushi
Hot Sake in a cup
Five thousand feet above the ocean
And he just can’t get enough

Two guys from the goldmine
Old Arsenic and Rock Face
Have journeyed up from the centre of the Earth
To join the human race

But no matter how hard they try
No matter what they do
In the glow from the pool table
They’ve still got that subterranean hue.

Something’s warming beneath a heat lamp
Looks like deep fried road kill
Beside a tub of mashed potatoes
It’s making Vern feel ill

There’s only one thing that he wants
And he’s going to get it soon
High Plains Sushi
High Plains Sushi
Hot Sake in a cup
Five thousand feet above the ocean
And he just can’t get enough.

 

I spent a little time once in Elko, Nevada. There was a sushi restaurant in the town which served individual portions large enough to feed a small Japanese village. Elko hosts an annual Cowboy Poetry Festival. Interesting place. This poem started as a song lyric and then became a poem with a chorus which I believe is called a “duranga”.

 

The Daily Jolt Returns for a Day

IMG_0168

 

The Daily Jolt Returns for a Day

And the Jolt word of the day is: “frumpet”.

This word comes courtesy of Eilene Lyon and is an actual word, she explains it all in her excellent post “La Concion es la Cosa” .

The challenge is to use the word in a post, make up a meaning for it if you like, for example:

A Soccer Hooligan’s Diary

11p.m., a pub somewhere in England

Kev says he fancies a bit of frumpet
says he’s tired of skinny fit girls
says they’re all angles, bone and gristle;
comfort is what Kev wants, comfort.

 

Daily Jolt Update

Response to the last jolt world, “brattitude”, did not exceed my expectations, although the incomparable Steve Simpson did inadvertently use it in a comment on the post. “Incomparable”, see that’s the kind of publicity you get if you participate in The Daily Jolt. So muster up a bit of brattitude and give it a go.

Link your post to this blog or post a comment  with a link to your post, if you like.