Category Archives: Poetry

A Ghazal about Everlasting Love (and a rabbit)

Frog and cat

 

A Ghazal about Everlasting Love (and a rabbit)

like that rabbit on TV
our love will last

you know, the pink one with the drum
(our love will last)

and the dark sunglasses
(our love will last)

who sometimes hits a wall
(our love will last)

and sometimes stalls
(our love will last)

but he keeps banging that drum
(our love will last)

the rabbit keeps banging the drum
(our love will last)

but unlike our love
alkaline batteries are not everlasting

and eventually the rabbit falls
breathes his last

and we need another simile
one that lasts

like plastic in a landfill
our love will last

like craters on the moon
our love will last

like the power of the sun
our love will last

like the winds out on the ocean
our love will last.

 

In my previous ghazal , “Bucket List” I vowed to write a ghazal about everlasting love for the dVerse ghazal challenge. So there you have it, my first love poem, a big challenge – I’m the kind of person whose usual response to the words “I love you” is “right back at ya”.

Listening to Carlos Santana in Kitsilano Gym (quadrille)

 

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Listening to Carlos Santana in Kitsilano Gym.

listening to Carlos Santana
in Kitsilano Gym,
his guitar solos
leading always
to that existential wail
on the top fret
above the cutaway
takes me back to Asbury Park
walking along the boardwalk
having watched Woodstock
my head an unsustainable mix
of idealism, hedonism.

 

This is a response to Quadrille #82 – Fretboard of Poetry, the prompt from Kim at dVerse, which is to use the word fret in a 44-word poem that does not require meter or rhyme.

 

Landline (for Dad)

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Landline (for Dad)

Sometimes, I think
I should text my dad
give him an update
tell him where I’m at.
Not that he would answer
he’s been gone a few years now
and even if he were alive
texting would hardly be his thing;
at the turn of the century
he was still approaching
what we now call a ‘landline’
with some trepidation.

Landline: a rope
uncoiling towards the shore.

He once told me
that when we have children
of our own
we begin to understand
our own parents better
so I think my text
would be an attempt
to let him know
that, yes, dad
I have found this
to be true.

 

Stock Market (a tanka)

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Stock Market

a bear is on the loose
the once priapic market
losing altitude

false hopes and false dreams for sale
nothing tangible.

 

This is response to the dVerse prompt to write about markets. It’s a haiku that I have upgraded (?) to a tanka, check out the poetry over at dVerse, some excellent market poems.

The photo is of an actual market in Sicily.

 

 

Foraging with Farage (poem)

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Foraging with Farage

In his new television series
Foraging with Farage
coming soon to The Bollocks Network
Nigel discusses
the influx of foreign fungi
to the hallowed fields and forests
of the Kingdom By The Sea
and the subsequent decline
of the Great English Mushroom.

In the final episode,
under the influence of psilocybin
Nigel takes a walk in the forest
and encounters a naked Boris Johnson
sitting on a giant toad stool
in a sunlit glade.
Boris, Nigel exclaims,
full of chagrin
and psilocybin,
I thought you were a natural blonde!
Has it all been a lie?
This is dream sequence, you fool,
Boris replies
The writers have run out of ideas.
He then tumbles off the toad stool
and bounds on all fours into the forest.
I tell you folks
if you miss one television series this year
make sure it’s this one!

Participating  in Open Link Night over at dVerse.

 

Bucket List (a ghazal)

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Bucket List (a ghazal)

mountain climbing in County Meath
put it on my bucket list

fly fishing in the Sahara
put it on my bucket list

snow shoeing in the Serengeti
put it on my bucket list

surfing in Saskatchewan
put it on my bucket list

stop hiding behind a shield of sarcasm
Really? Put that on my bucket list?

write a ghazal about everlasting love
aw fuck it, put it on my bucket list

stop peppering my poems with profanity
that’s a prohibition, it has no place on the list

and furthermore, call me James, Jimmy, Jimbo, Jim
but don’t fuck with my bucket list!

 

It’s ghazal time again over at dverse, so here’s another attempt. By the way, in a classical ghazal (which this is not!), it is customary to insert one’s name in the final couplet.

Sorry about the language, I’ll do anything for a rhyme!

Saturday Morning in Idabel (Sunday Morning Coming Down)

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Saturday Morning in Idabel

There’s a dead armadillo
On the side of the road
Empty beer can in his claws
That joke just never gets old

There’s a dog on the shoulder
Trying to bite his own tail
I’m in the motel parking lot
Watching that dog fail

And I can’t remember
When I ever felt this low
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
And I ain’t got no place to go.

Down at the Piggly Wiggly
There’s no one in the aisles
No one at the check-out counter
Hasn’t been for a while

There’s a big box store sitting
Out of town, someplace
People are moving towards it
Like it came from outer space

And I can’t remember
When I ever felt this low
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
And I ain’t got no place to go

And Cookie he is worried
His wife’s leg has turned black
He’s got a concealed weapon’s license
A shotgun and a rack

And he has no idea
How he’ll pay the hospital bill
He says: guns never hurt nobody
only people kill

And I can’t remember
When I ever felt this low
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
And I ain’t got no place to go

 

Amaya, over at dVerse has asked for a poem about or based on a song to which we have a strong emotional connection. The above piece is a song lyric I wrote thinking of Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down”. I used to travel in my work, and I got stuck in strange towns and cities on Sunday mornings quite a lot. Being away from my family was a depressing experience at times and Kris Kristofferson’s song lyrics resonated. On the upside, being stuck in Idabel, Oklahoma, generated a poem, and a song lyric which my friend, John Mitchell wrote music for, (I have previously posted about that process).

 

 

“On a Sunday morning sidewalk
I’m wishing, Lord, that I was stoned
‘Cause there’s something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone
And there’s nothin’ short of dyin’
That’s half as lonesome as the sound
Of the sleepin’ city sidewalk
And Sunday mornin’ comin’ down”

Walk (Dublin 2016)…poem

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Walk (Dublin 2016)

In Iveagh gardens an exhibition promises:
Contemporary sculpture based on
Non-monumental ideas of the uncanny.
This phrase sticks like chewing gum
To the bedpost of my mind
As I walk through Stephen’s Green,
Replacing: One then offers the cat up to the aperture
Which, according to my brother,
Is the ultimate step in programming
One’s automatic cat door to accept
One’s micro-chipped cat.
Outside the Shelbourne Hotel
Tourists wearing horned helmets
Board a Viking ship on wheels.
I am in search of a pub sandwich
Two slices of white bread, ham, cheese ,
Toasted in a cellophane pack
Small jar of mustard on the side
Served with Guinness
In a quiet pub where I can sit
And think non monumental thoughts
And where the barman asks me
As we watch Lionel Messi
float past three transfixed defenders
Is he the best ever?
And I am surprised not at the question
But at the deference.

The challenge from Anmol over at dverse, is to write a poem on the subject of walking and observing. This poem was written after a trip back to my home town of Dublin. Walking around one’s home town is not so much about looking for the new as it is about re-discovering the past; it’s more about the memories that the place holds rather than the physical aspect of the place. It’s also about trying to recover a feeling or an experience from the past.

The photo is of Dublin from Sandymount Strand, and of course, Joyce’s “snot-green, scrotum-tightening sea”.

(The poem appeared previously in the Galway Review)

 

 

 

The Wrong Way Home (a ghazal)

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The Wrong Way Home

happy hours and peeler bars
he’s taking the wrong way home

a friendly toke, a line of coke
he’s taking the wrong way home

the night is young, pass that bong
he’s taking the wrong way home

a McFlurry, an Indian curry
he’s taking the wrong way home

a pounding head, a stranger’s bed
he’s taking the wrong way home

early dawn, suitcase on the lawn
he’s found his way home.

…..over at dVerse, the verse form of the month is a ghazal, this is my attempt! For a full description of the form, check out their very informative post .

Hal The Halibunist Looks Back On His Long Career

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Hal The Halibunist Looks Back On His Long Career

halibuns about Haliburton
halibuns about halitosis
halibuns about Halle Berry
halibuns about Halley’s Comet

halibuns about Spiritus Mundi
halibuns about Rosamund Pike
halibuns about Solomon Grundy
halibuns just for the fun of it

halibuns at Sun Dance
halibuns in Halifax
halibuns about halibut
halibundance
halibundance
halibundance.

Little Richard (a quadrille)

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(the prompt from Kim over at dVerse is to write a quadrille -44 word poem- using the word “rich”)

Little Richard

Richard Penniman
Little Richard
not just any man
a pioneer of rock and roll
twelve bars and no holds barred
and all about that one thing:
Molly likes to ball
Sally has everything that Uncle John needs
Sue knows just what to do
a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom.

 

 

 

A Lai for Bob

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A Lai for Bob 

adenoidal snarl
it’s about a girl

mostly

but sometimes, the world
and how it turns, or

maybe

it’s a frantic swirl
of images, words

let fly

with venom and spite
an angry prophet

raging

but he’s more than that:
clown, joker, poet,

snide sage

in a feathered hat
an imp at sunset

dancing.

 

( a few notes on the form – each verse in a lai has nine lines arranged in groups of three; each group contains a couplet of 5 syllable lines and a single 2 syllable line; the rhyming pattern is aab aab aab; each verse can have different end rhymes but the pattern must be the same, for example…ccd ccd etc. I have been a bit loose with what constitutes a rhyme , so this poem is sort of lai-based, but I have tried to maintain consistency in terms of vowels and/or consonants.
For more detailed discussion on the form, check out here )

Participating in Open Link Night over at dVerse.

Lai Ability

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Ah, well……the challenge over at dVerse is to write a lai or a lai nouveau.  I read the rules for the lai nouveau and they are so complicated I am afraid I might vanish up my own arse if I tried one….so here’s another lai…(re the rhymes, I have tried to keep the same vowel sound in the couplet end rhymes).

 

Skunk

struts across the lawn
in the early dawn

tail high

sphincter primed, that gland
full of mercaptan

stands by

an insurance plan,
deterrent, demand…..

supply.

The Tight Rope Walker (a quadrille)

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The Tight Rope Walker

After John’s hamster died
he could not tell up from down,
he became a tight rope walker
tottering grimly forward
without pole or safety net
modern medicine is just a sham
couldn’t save one damn hamster
he never acknowledged
the gravity of his situation.

The challenge over at dVerse is to write a quadrille (44 word poem), incorporating the word “up”.

Conveyor (Bean There)

Pigments (2)

Conveyor

I replaced a defective mechanical arm once
on the night shift at the Bird’s Eye factory
in Eastbourne, England.

The arm swept the green beans from the main chute into side conveyors
where ladies wearing hair nets
separated the good beans from the bad.

It was the top conveyor,
so I was in full view of the workers below
as I moved my arm back and forth
sweeping beans in a poor imitation of a mechanical arm.

My fellow student workers threw beans at me
and the ladies in hair nets shouted “get a move on, Paddy”;
my name isn’t ‘Paddy’
but that’s what English people called Irish people back then.

Time moved like molasses
time dragged its feet like a moody teenager
time passed like a wet Sunday in Belfast

On the way home in the early morning,
we stole milk bottles from doorsteps,
just because we could.

 

Taking part in Open Link Night over at dVerse, check them out here.

 

Of Hatches and Ports (poem)

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Of Hatches and Ports

batten down the hatches
any port in a storm;
I have to admit
storm or no storm
I have never liked port
it always seemed to me
to be a drink from a time
when men retired after dinner
to a separate room to warm their arses
at the fire, share a bottle,
and indulge in convivial chat –
the odour of old sweat rising from tweed
the ladies in the next room, discussing
what else: their husbands and their gout

 

Inspired by the prompt “batten down the hatches” over at Saturday Mix – Mad about Metaphor.

If Robert Mueller Wrote a Tanka

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If Robert Mueller Wrote a Tanka

Why the long face, Bob?
always that same damn question
since I was a boy,

and always the same answer:
it is long because it’s long.

Okay, just one more……

If Justin Trudeau Wrote a Haiku

I’m a feminist;
man, it’s difficult, women…
I just don’t get them.

 

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