Category Archives: Poetry

Thom Yorke takes a walk on Halloween Night(2)

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Given the week that it is, I decided to bring this poem back from the dead…..

 

Thom Yorke takes a walk on Halloween Night

The dead move slowly
through the graveyard,
they are few at first
but as they pass
each row of headstones
grey fists punch
through mounds of earth
in a manic salute
and the throng grows
and the throng grows
and the night howls
and the fog curls
and a thin cloud
bisects the moon
and at the edge
of the graveyard
is an old well
and at the bottom
of that well
is a little boy
and that little boy
is crying for help
and that little boy
is Thom Yorke.

Taking part in Open Link Night over at dverse !

 

Gravity, Don’t Fail Me Now.. (gym gnostic 2)

 

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And your gravity fails and negativity don’t pull you through….Bob Dylan

Know your gym……Slim Volume

 

gym gnostic 1

two geezers
pink and steaming
towelling down
after a shower
discussing gravity
how it is not fixed
how it decreases
with distance from the earth’s core
how, if one was to climb to the top of Everest,
since weight is the product of mass and gravity
one would weigh less at the top of Everest
and Slim’s thinking
this is one fucking erudite conversation
and he wants a piece of it
so he points out that
one would regain that weight
on returning to sea level
and one of the geezers replies
yeah but you’d probably burn 10,000 calories
climbing up and down the fucking mountain
and a nearby jock encased in breathable fabric
says shit, I’d burn that in 40 minutes on the rowing machine
and Slim fires back wryly
keep telling yourself that
and the locker room erupts in laughter
and in that moment
basking in the unbearable lightness of banter
Slim defies gravity and levitates
above the bacterial swamp
that is the locker room floor.

Ai Weiwei (quadrille)

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Ai Weiwei (quadrille)

I first came across Ai Wewei
in a gallery on the banks of the Guadalquivir
that river that runs through Seville
and although I admit
he has many arrows
in his artistic quiver
for me, his art fails to deliver
that shiver, that thrill.

 

The challenge over at dVerse is to write a quadrille (44 word poem) using the word “quiver”.

After getting a few comments on this post, I decided to add in a bit more detail, it’s hard to provide a balanced viewpoint with just 44 words .

 

I first became aware of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in Seville of all places. I was walking north along the east bank of the Guadalquiver on my last day in that beautiful exciting sunny city. This section of the east bank does not have much to offer – unless you like graffiti covered vacant lots. I came across a roller blade/skate boarder park where there was a competition going on – elaborate flips, balancing tricks, spectacular wipe-outs, lots of black, lots of tattoos, some magenta hair, Spanish rap music. Looking across to the west bank of the river I saw a brick chimney and what appeared to be a series of bottle-shaped kilns. I crossed the river at the next bridge and using the chimney as a guide I found myself in a museum of contemporary art, the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAC).
The museum is housed in a building with quite a history. It started out as monastery, was used as a barracks in the Napolean invasion, then became the site of ceramics factory (hence, the kilns) and finally in 1997 became the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAC). In the grounds of the museum are various chapels, the priory cell, church, the sacristy, cloisters, monks’ chapter, refectory, gardens and orchards.
Inside the museum, there was an exhibition of the works of the Chinese artist and dissident, Ai Weiwei. The focal point of the exhibition was Ai Weiwei’s “Sunflower Seeds” project which was first shown at the Tate Modern in London where he covered the floor of the Turbine Hall with a layer of hand-crafted porcelain sunflower seeds, a total of 100,000,000 seeds, with a combined weight of 150 tons.
It took more than 1,600 Chinese artisans two and a half years to manufacture this pile of ceramic seeds; each seed is hand-painted and unique, a huge and costly undertaking.
The Seville installation was a smaller version of the Tate installation, consisting of 5 tons of seeds spread like a carpet on the floor of a white-walled room. Outside the room, a video played providing information on the project and showing the artisans working on the production of the seeds. It also showed footage of the original Tate exhibition.
I have to admit that while I could appreciate the sheer effort that went into this piece, and having listened to the video explaining its significance and read further how one of the artist’s intentions is to draw attention to Chinese mass production practices, practices that serve western consumerism at the expense of the individual, as a work of art, it left me completely cold, visually bored. The English poet, Rosemary Tonks, said “The main duty of the poet is to excite – to send the senses reeling” and the same could be said of art in general. Ai Weiwei is a sincere and brave person and there were other Ai Weiwel works on show which better highlighted his talent as an artist, it’s just that this piece, despite the gargantuan effort that went into its production had no visceral impact on me whatsoever.
That is not to take away from the fact that my unplanned visit to Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAC) was one of the highlights of my visit to Seville. Though modest in size, the grounds, history and the placement of contemporary art in the white walled hush of a Carthusian monastery is an experience that should not be missed.

 

 

Dog Days (redux)

 

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Dog Days

Oscar’s wife, Anka,
declared:
we need to procure
a guard dog
to make our home secure,
a real dog
not some mangy cur
some obscure miniature
some saliva dripping
skinny impostor
looking for a sinecure,
a dog that barks
at every knock on the door
and when, Oscar asked,
should this occur?
Yesterday, she said,
or before.

This is a poem from the days of The Daily Prompt. the prompt was the word “cur”.

Photo taken at the Takashi Murakami exhibition (The octopus eats its own leg) at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Slim Remembers an Embarrassing Incident (POEM)

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Slim Remembers an Embarrassing Incident

in which,
believing his girl friend
has left for the pub,
in search of his glasses
he walks naked from the shower
into the living room
of his London flat
sporting a rogue erection
and is met by a chorus of
SURPRISE!
which quickly dies on the humid air
as does his aforementioned erection

and he thought she had forgotten his birthday.

Slim Dickens (plus bonus haiku)

 

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Slim Dickens

David Copperfield
now there’s a name
to conjure with.

Let’s read Oliver Twist again
like we did last summer
let’s read Oliver Twist again
like we did last year.

Great Expectorations –
the plague novel
he never wrote.

 

Raccoons in the Road

caught in the headlights:
too much eye shadow, fellas,
too much eye shadow.

 

Late at Night in the White House (re-post)

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…thought I’d re-post this one, after listening to Donald’s latest tantrum!

Late at Night in the White House

Late at night in the White House
while Donald’s in bed asleep,
the dead presidents
one and all
leave their places
on the wall
to dance their dance
to sing their song
of presidential grief.

 

Sunshine on Goodge Street (Donovan mash up)

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Sunshine On Goodge Street (Donovan mash-up)

in the chilly hours and minutes of uncertainty
a violent hash smoker shook a chocolate machine

and sunshine came softly through my window,
thrown like a star in my vast sleep
I opened my eyes to take a peek.

Yes, I could have tripped out easy
forever to fly, wind velocity nil

but I decided to stay.

(Donovan Phillips Leitch
Superman and Green Lantern
ain’t got nothing on you)

This is a found poem using lines from 5 Donovan songs: Catch the Wind, Sunny Goodge Street, Sunshine Superman, Hurdy Gurdy Man and Mellow Yellow. I’m sure you can figure out which line came from where, but just a note on the second line:

“a violent hash smoker shook a chocolate machine”.

This line is from Sunny Goodge Street and is my favorite Donovan line because of its inherent music –violent, smoker, shook, chocolate, all those o’s, that recurring ‘k’ and the internal rhyme between hash and mash. Say it out loud a couple of times and it will stick in your head!

Sunny Goodge Street appears on Donovan’s second album “Fairytale” and , according to Wikipedia, it “foreshadows the jazzy feel and descriptions of life in urban London that Donovan would continue to explore over the next two years”. There are a few covers out there (Judy Collins and Tom Northcroft), but they are little too earnest and none match the sludgy stoned feel of the original. The recording of the song is almost perfect, except for Harold McNair’s flute solo in the middle which nearly derails the whole thing. Take a listen:

 

Taking part on Open Link Night over at dVerse!

The Food on Air Canada Rouge (redux)

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The Food on Air Canada Rouge

What’s worse than a summer deluge?
What’s worse than Christmas with Ebeneezer Scrooge?
What’s worse than a ride on a runaway luge?
the food on Air Canada Rouge.

What’s worse than a sequel to “In Bruges”?
What’s worse than a night in a crowded refuge?
(the air, loud with snores, the air a flatulent brew)
What’s worse than another night in the same refuge?
the food on Air Canada Rouge.

Air Canada Rouge is a no frills version of a no frills airline. Last year, I travelled with them from Barcelona to Toronto and it was a long nine hours – the on board entertainment system (download an app, sign on to on board Wi-Fi) didn’t work, legroom was minimal, service was begrudging, and as for the food, see above.

The prompt from Lisa over at dVerse is to write a poem on the subject of food, so I thought I would give this post another outing!

Parking (poem)

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Parking

I have this memory.
I am walking across a field
a squelching field
a field that would suck your wellingtons off
the wind is a wet dish cloth
slapping my face
cow pats are dotted like landmines.
I love the countryside
but I don’t love this countryside
with its barbed wire fences
its ragged ditches
its baleful cows.
In the far corner of the field
I come across the rusty shell
of an old Mercedes
abandoned by the farmer
after one last muddy trip to the market,
and I’ve been thinking lately
I should take some ideas I have
some long held, unexamined beliefs
and park them in the far corner of a field,
top of the list being
the irrational notion
that somehow
against all odds,
we would all continue
to live, forever.

It’s all about metaphor over at dverse today, check out Bjorn’s excellent post.

This poem originally appeared in Cyphers Magazine.

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.