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Ooh, Chemicals, Bad! (Slim, eHarmony and a Rant)

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Slim and I are logging some early evening deck time chowing down on barbecued steaks from ‘What The Cat Dragged In’, our local artisan butcher shop, and sipping a balls forward red, having already polished off a growler of craft IPA – slightly over-hopped with a hint of camel’s breath.

It’s hot. Rivulets of sweat trickle down Slim’s face forming a damp half-moon at the neck of his white tee shirt which carries the message “IT’S NOT IMPORTANT”. I’m telling him about how I spread moth balls all around the base of the shed at the end of the garden in a vain attempt to deter the two skunks who have set up home underneath it.

(rivulets,

Romulus,

amulets)

“Napthalene” Slim announces “is the chemical name for moth balls. I was out on an eHarmony date last night and I mentioned to the lady I was having dinner with that I used to work in the chemical industry….”

Slim on eHarmony, this is news to me. I wonder what his profile is like, what hobbies has he listed? I know he doesn’t kayak or go for long walks on the beach at sunset, his main interests outside of poetry are Premier League soccer and playing bass in a Clash tribute band (not coming to a venue anywhere near anybody, soon). Plus, he hasn’t dated anyone in years and his wardrobe consists of faded jeans and white tee shirts that are too small for him and usually carry some nihilist, dystopian message.

“What did you list as your hobbies on your eHarmony profile?” I interrupt, to his annoyance.

“Cooking, now let me get on with my story. As I said I mentioned to the lady I was having dinner with that I used to work in the chemical industry and she grimaced and said:  ‘Ooh, chemicals, bad!’ So I told her that at least 50% of what she was wearing was synthetic material made from petroleum by products; that behind the walls of the restaurant that we were sitting in were miles of electrical wire covered in plastic insulating material made from petroleum byproducts; that the phone she keeps checking contains plastics, not to mention lithium, probably mined using child labour in Africa; that the toilet seats  that we plonk our over-privileged arses on are made from plastic; that all these materials are products of the chemical industry and are manufactured in some shit hole of a town far from our blissed out home; that we are not going back to an agrarian society, we are too soft and distracted, the work is too hard and we would be bored out of our fucking skulls; that we have to regulate industry, not get rid of it and how we can we possibly move forward if we don’t understand where we stand, or sit”.

“What was her response?” I asked.

“She said that she was going to the washroom to plonk her over privileged arse on a plastic toilet seat, and she never came back.”

The sun drops behind the ridge of the house

convection currents go crazy in the trees,

the moth balls smell like halitosis

on the warm neurotic breeze.

 

Happy Hour on The Tap and Barrel Patio

 

Patiology

The girl, two tables down

angles her right shoulder forward

every time she makes a point.

 

Beside us,

the expensive suits and haircuts

play with their phones

like fishermen on the dock in Mykonos

playing with their worry beads.

After four beers,

they relax into loud brodacious banter.

 

The glass towers flare as the sun goes down.

 

Happy Hour Friday

on The Tap and Barrel patio

and Monday morning

seems a lifetime away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poem (A Turn of Events) in Cyphers Magazine

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Cyphers magazine has published one of my poems – “A Turn Of Events” – in their Spring 2017 issue. I am really pleased about this, it’s a short poem but it’s one of the few that I have written that I don’t think needs to be fixed in some way. Cyphers is a Dublin based print only magazine which has been in existence since 1975. I have been subscribing to it since that time and I cannot recommend it enough. The current issue contains a number of tributes to Leland Bardwell, one of the founders of the magazine, who died in 2016. She was by all accounts a fascinating character and an original and playful poet. Here are a few lines from her poem “The Party Ended Yesterday”:

The sea in party frock

punched the air, slapped in the new.

The mountain moved across the light.

This and two more of her poems are included in the Spring  issue.

Cyphers can be found at http://www.cyphers.ie

If you want to subscribe to Cyphers magazine, you can do so by writing to the following address:

Cyphers Magazine, 3 Selskar Terrace, Ranelagh, Dublin 6, Ireland.

Subscription rate is €21.00 for three issues including postage

In Britain £20.00 for three issues including postage

US $36.00 for three issues including postage

Steve Bannon’s Eyes

 

look like

portals to

 

hell.

The Party’s Over (3 poems and a bonus poem)

My head is throbbing like a car stereo, there’s stubble on my tongue. Last night, I invited Slim and the rest of his Poet’s Circle over for a few drinks to celebrate the end of April-Month of Slim and it was quite a night, or at least, I think it was. It began relatively smoothly with an intense discussion about accessibility (no surprises there) and I remember making an emotional speech about the end rhymes in “Suzanne”. Then the conversation moved on to verse forms – cinquains, tankas, sestinas, halibuns, what happens if one turns a haiku upside down -fascinating stuff. Then Slim chimed in and asked where his own invention, the slimverse, fitted in to this pantheon. There was an embarrassed silence. Eventually,  one of the poets – the one we refer to as The Accomplished Poet -spoke up. I should add that he is indeed accomplished and his compact vivid poems , mostly about his garden, have been widely published. He politely suggested that perhaps a 3 syllable line was too limiting, that making music with such a restriction is quite difficult. Now there was another kind of silence, the kind that ensues when a lion tamer drops his whip. Slim says quietly “fuck you and your fucking garden” and aims a punch at The Accomplished Poet’s head, who, perhaps because of all that work in the garden, turns out to be quite agile. He ducks Slim’s punch and kicks him adroitly in the nuts. When the applause died down and Slim could speak again, he uncharacteristically apologized and gave The Accomplished Poet a hug, a doubtful pleasure given Slim’s personal hygiene issues. The evening ended on a happy note with a raucous rendition of “Suzanne”, everyone hitting the end rhymes hard.

But before we wrap it all up, just one more po-faced gem from Slim.

The Universe is Unexplainable

like a frog

down a well

we only

know the walls.

Maybe it’s the hangover but  I am having an adverse reaction to that last poem.

For Chrissakes

 doesn’t that

make you want

to smash a

garden gnome!

Before this deteriorates let’s turn to my good friend, Snoop D Doggerel, currently on tour in Southwest Ontario, who took time out to pen this following opus which I think puts it all in perspective.

COMING UP SHORT

aphorists

are gnomic

the dwarfs of

lit’rature

And that’s it! No finer ending!

I would like to point out that no animals were harmed in the making of this month of blog posts, although a few (a frog, a bull, dogs, mice) were shamelessly used as props or on the business end of a simile.

What Can I Say

 to leave no

footprint we

must fly but

never land.