Tag Archives: Photography

Haiku and Poem written in a pub somewhere in Kitsilano

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Poster

poster on the wall
Lennon at a piano
deconstructing Paul.

 

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Perspective

imagine,
you, a frog
down a well,
above you
only sky.

 

Taking part in open link over at earthweal.  This is obviously a re-post, I have not been inside a pub in Kitsilano or anywhere else for a few weeks. I was working on a few pandemic-related poems but it’s hard to keep pace with events.

Bathos (A Whiter Shade Of Pale)

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Bathos

The moon hung
like a searchlight
in the spangled sky
and we hung
out on
the deck.

 

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A Whiter Shade of Pale

By the time ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ was recorded in 1967, Bob Dylan had already raised the bar very high in terms of what the public expected from a song lyric; song writers were now expected  to be poets. This was a heavy load to carry as few songwriters had Bob’s poetic gift; as a result, bathos was everywhere.

Bathos: “an effect of anticlimax created by an unintentional lapse in mood from the sublime to the trivial or ridiculous”.

There are, as I said, many examples from that era, but the one that always stands out in my mind is from the last four lines of the first verse of ” A Whiter Shade of Pale”:

The room was humming harder

as the ceiling flew away

when we called out for another drink

the waiter brought a tray.

I have to admit that when I first heard this song I had no idea what it was about. Why are sixteen vestal virgins leaving for the coast? What is a vestal virgin anyway? Who is the miller? I still don’t know,  but I don’t think it really matters.  It’s best  to sit back, listen to the song and let your brain feed on the images and in no time at all the room will hum harder, the ceiling will fly away, you’ll think about maybe following the vestal virgins, you’ll skip a light fandango, turn cartwheels across the floor, all the time trying to avoid that waiter and his tray.

Notes:

The recorded version of the song has only two verses, but if you google the lyrics you will find four verses. Procol Harum sometimes included the extra verses in live performances but wisely left them out of the recording; they are not very good and diminish the song’s impact. As Bob Seger once sang:

Well those drifters days are past me now
I’ve got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out

Bob Seger, ‘Against the Wind’

“What to leave in, what to leave out” – whether you are writing a song, poem, novel, short story, if you can solve that one you might be on the way  to something good!

Check out this version by Annie Lennox

 

 

Between (Everyone’s got something to bring..)…..Edit

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Between

Between the caucus and the carcass
between the chaos and the calm
between the fracas and the ruckus
between the righteous and the damned

Between the priest and the sermon
between the singer and the song
no one can determine
why we all can’t get along

Between the question and the answer
there is a life time of space
between the dance and the dancer
there is beauty and there is grace

Everyone’s
got something to bring
affect one thing
affect one thing

Everyone’s
got something to bring
affect one thing
affect one thing.

 

It’s Open Link Weekend over at earthweal, so I thought I would re-post this one. Be sure to check out earthweal, always something interesting going on there!

 

Storms

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Storms

If it’s getting stormier
and it surely is
then we have to put a bit more work
into naming those storms
I mean to say, c’mon now,
Storm Dennis?
Dennis is a guy who wears cardigans
and washes his car every Sunday.
Margaret Thatcher’s husband
was called Dennis –
Storm Margaret
now there’s a storm,
a storm full of righteous certainty
levelling working class towns
circumnavigating domiciles of the rich.
How about Storm Boris
a tropical storm perhaps
full of hot air and bluster
a flatulent tail wind
or to switch professions and countries
Storm Janis
now there’s a storm to rip the roofs of houses
flatten whole trailer parks
transport cows to far off fields
or Storm Aretha
a storm that demands respect
sock it to me
anything but Dennis
side-parted, brilliantined, undershot Dennis.

The subject over at earthweal is “storms”.

Todd and the Time Machine Part 2

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Part 1 can be found here.

Todd and the Time Machine Part 2

Todd’s basement materialises
he sees the dark wood veneer panelling,
that tartan colonial sofa his uncle gave him,
the dark patch where his uncle rested his head
still glistening from the oil slick of his uncle’s hair,
in the corner, his wife is playing with an electrical cord.
“Don’t pull the cord, I’m not fully back yet!” Todd screams.

His wife’s voice comes back
a little garbled by the time lag
“I hope you’re going to clean up that damn dust this time”.

Todd returns to the present,
presents himself and sneezes into his sleeve
leaving a black smear on his plaid Mark’s Work Warehouse shirt.
Unknown ramifications
unforeseen outcomes,
that 21st century air
trapped in the time capsule
drops to a lower carbon dioxide concentration
as the capsule travels back in time
the surplus carbon dioxide
reverts to the original carbon
forming a black dust
which coats the inside of the capsule;
thing is, it’s a one way process
no one knows why

“You look like shit”, his wife says
“You look time-wasted, you look timed out,
what happened to your hair?”

Unknown ramifications
unforeseen outcomes
time travel messes with your hair
alters your DNA
deletes your vaccinations
the dangers of rushing a technology to market
too soon.

Todd’s wife grins
“I wasn’t really going to pull the cord”,
she hugs him, grinding slowly
“What did you bring back for me, this time?”

 

Taking part in open link over at earthweal, the poem was inspired by earthweal’s prompt “A Clockwork Green”. 

Check out earthweal, a lot of good poetry and Brendan’s no-holds-barred editorials manage to be informative and entertaining at the same time.

Allergic (there is poetry in chemistry 2)

 

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Allergic 

there is poetry in chemistry:

dextromethorphan hydrobromide
pseudoephedrine hydrochloride
chloropheniramine

antihistamines
expectorants
decongestants

loratimide
netipot
rose hip

post nasal drip
post nasal depression
catarrh,
but no catharsis.

 

……another re-post, but ’tis the season.

 

 

Short Unsolicited Advice on Writing Poetry (redux)

 

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Short Unsolicited Advice on Writing Poetry

write long poems on short days
short poems on long days
you don’t need a drummer
but you do need rhythm
avoid melodrama
your head cannot explode all the time,
there is uncharted territory
between ecstasy and despair
look after your images
they should splash like cold water
on the reader’s face
observe, always observe.

 

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Caye Caulker (poem, take 4)

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Caye Caulker

In the café below
the locals talk about the old times
about Eve and the apple
about Paradise lost
about how all the bottles
washed up on the shore
carry the same message.

pelicans plummet into the bluebottle sea
sting rays undulate

out on the coral reef
tiny organisms
fret about climate change
and that damn carbonic acid

I fink the pH is dropping, I really do

meanwhile, over in San Pedro
on the Redneck Riviera
hermetically sealed resorts
march north towards Mexico
and thin, blond soccer moms
mingle with sun-damaged matrons
dedicated to the preservation
of floral print muumuus.

in the café below, Bob Marley’s still jammin’.

 

This poem has had a few lives. Participating in open link over at earthweal. Head over and check out Brendan’s thought provoking and eloquent post .

 

Solastalgia (tanka)

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Solastalgia (an alternative etymology)

solas in Gaelic
means light, solastalgia,
a longing for light

hidden under a bushel
at the end of a tunnel.

The challenge over at earthweal is to “Write a new poem on the theme of Solastalgia” which is “a form of emotional or existential distress caused by environmental change.”

 

 

Machu Picchu (poem)

 

Machu Picchu

I

Backpacks
bucket lists
smart phones
selfie sticks
altitude pills
attitude pills,
sun hats
sun block
Lonely Planet Guidebook,
don’t drink the water
don’t eat the salad
no ice please
this is our tribe
this is our tribe.

II

The Incas long ago
left for the valley
to grow their quinoa,
wheat and corn
but we keep coming
to look for something
that may have been left behind;
we are a benign invader
a tad earnest maybe
mild-mannered to a fault
but hand us a weak wifi signal
and we go ape-shit.
There are those among us
who have already abandoned
the physical world –
I see them
sitting in restaurants
heads bowed and thumbs
working beneath the table
connecting by radio waves
to a digital stream
of consciousness and banality.
I am he as you are he
and we are a river of electrons.

 

Photos by Marie Feeney

This poem was originally published in The Galway Review.

Taking part in Open Link Night over at dverse

Pigeon (Anthropocene Poem)

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Pigeon

Early December,
downtown Vancouver
and it’s raining
more than the usual
cats and dogs,
it feels like the city
is trapped
in a giant car wash.

All year long the weather
has been acting like a child
that hasn’t been taught limits.

Three months of summer drought.

We woke up one morning
and white ash from forest fires
covered the deck,
and that evening down on the beach
we were treated to
a red ball sunset
worthy of Beijing or Mumbai.
The Indian guy in the coffee shop
told me it made him feel homesick.

Something’s happening to the frogs.

The Oregon spotted frog is Canada’s most threatened amphibian,
I saw that on TV program called
“Canada’s Most Threatened Amphibians”.
Also threatened is the northern leopard frog.

Sea stars have sea star wasting syndrome

We’re losing song birds, bats and bees

The world is an orchestra
and the string section is leaving
one by one.

Anthropocene
Anthropocene
Sixth Extinction,
soon there will only be us.

******
At the corner of Georgia and Granville
a pigeon waddles through a puddle
created by a blocked storm drain

and I’m thinking:
Who’d be a pigeon on a day like this?
Who’d be a pigeon at a time like this?

 

The theme over at dVerse is “soliloquies”, I think this sort of fits!

Also taking part in Open Link over at earthweal ( a new blog which is well worth checking out)

 

The Land Called Where You Are Not (poem)


The Land Called Where You Are Not

that place you will never go
it can be one hundred miles away
it can be a stone’s throw
but there is one thing that is sure
there is one thing that you know
in the land called Where You Are Not
you will always be a no show.

 

(I located my inner Seuss over Christmas)

Taking part in Open Link over at dVerse