Monthly Archives: February 2016

Friday’s Hendecasyllabic attempt & Saturday’s ash pile!

Red Undone

Write the red in me, that misplaced sunshine,                                                                                                 your hand marks me with its witches’ tongue casting                                                                                      skin to leather and tough corset strings too tight.                                                                                            I surrender blue, slight like the curve in a child’s eye.                                                                               Stopped and unstuck with possibility, you                                                                                                            think I’ll come late called, fluttering like those bird                                                                                         But the night is a better lover, it holds                                                                                                                and fades, lets me slip, slink over its sides out                                                                                       of the bathtub of its love and even forgets me



A pile of perfect cuts                                                                                                                                         the curves of a mountain                                                                                                                                 its face lonely with cold                                                                                                                                   lapped at rosary beads                                                                                                                                     the burnt face curling in on itself                                                                                                     becoming a curl of ghosthood                                                                                                                           a wisp  of unwant                   antiquated dust queen

The guilt-reeds shimmer                                                                                                                               as they pass the bodies along                                                                                                                         bruising the sepia-bled                                                                                                                                   tangle of swollen hands                                                                                                                                   that cannot reach but only curl          and claw                                                                                   that old cruelty singing through                                                                                                                   those bright pebbles laid over children’s eyes                                                                                     guilt-sheaths now with still tongues                                                                                                   glob and bubble of red lips                                                                                                                       now brown, now black, now back                                                                                                              to puckered nothingness                 fragmented in its womb-juice                                                     all the taste pressed out into the folds of some trash-bucket                                                 hands playing games with themselves over the crumpled hillock                                                 old crone junk                                                                                                                                                     that hag-slide slag-piled sleep                                                                                                                  we all look better as dust                                                                                                                        ash-spewn, un-spun                  ghost-gear


Ekphrastic Poem [early draft]

Let’s Not Be Stupid (Richard Deacon, 1991)

locked in tug-of-war
fates tussling
chained together
by double-helix
strands of biology
either way
there is chronology
follow the timeline
we are tomorrow’s history
you were once
the bean-seed
of an idea
now caged
by its own
human limitations
bag of gold
at the end of black rainbow
is plump with emptiness
full of nothing
space stares back
frames a moment
whether of disappointment
is up to you
shift back
and forth
across monkey-bars
playground pendulum
legs swinging
kicking out
against constraint

sculpture let's not be stupid

Image Poem

Deirdre Image Poem(?) (unfinished and abandoned since Monday!)
Window Blinds
Vertical blinds
bar my view,
my exit into space.
Material bars,
the fabric of my world,
my here and now.
My materialist self
contained in the room within.

Pictures hang preserved,
unchanging, untouched
by passing sunbeams.
No dustmotes dance
in yellow rays,
but lie congealed
on every surface.

Yet drawing the cord
the vista changes
as light spills in
missives from the garden.
Between those blind bars
the world waves in,
in parallel segments,
made whole in the mind.
Fabric bars can bend but
held on their tracks,
these bars are prisoners.
But, fabric cannot bar my way.

Another Villanelle (Deirdre)

Villanelle (well nearly!)


The mist will everything in its wake enfold
from the sea below it’s playing truant
clutching, with silver fingers soft and cold.

It creeps around the stone sheepfold,
covers it over with a white garment.
The mist will everything in its wake enfold

It leaches colour, browns, greens and gold,
dampens bird calls lonely, soft or strident,
clutching, with silver fingers soft and cold.

It hides our view, insidious blindfold,
all hollows, rocks, peaks, land’s alignment.
The mist will everything in its wake enfold.

But for an instant the daylight’s paroled
a ray of bright sunshine, playful, vibrant,
clutching those silver fingers soft and cold

A brocken spectre breaks the mist’s handhold
Below us dancing, our shadow’s fragment.
Then mist will everything in its wake enfold,
clutching, with silver fingers, soft and cold.

Week 6 Task 3

Week 6 Exercise 3: After Ponge
Salt Lamp
Unlit it is a heavy lump, a block, assertively asymmetrical. It changes shape with use and age, casting off white grains like salty skin cells. Such grains litter the surface of the table on which it stands, white cubic dandruff. Each cube maintains its salty taste, its essence.
Its lumpiness stands on a brown ring, perfectly circular but for an indent which permits the passage of a thin white electric cable. This ring mediates between the rock in its ruggedness, its deliquescence and the oaken smoothness of my table beneath. The cable brings my rock into present times, connecting it to the grid, the electrified universe.
Touching it, I feel its coldness, the cave from which it has been hacked. Its surface is uneven, a miniature landscape of crags and undulations, jagged peaks in miniature. I feel the marks of the hands that tore it from the rock face, the axe that scarred its future life .Today it feels dry to the touch, at other times the cold atmosphere of my room brings a liquid film to its surface as though it had been raining within. At these times it feels smoother, less powerful somehow, tamed by atmospheric water.
Once lit my lamp becomes powerful, its influence extending beyond its mass. Its colour intensifies, moving from pale pink salmon colour to a transformative orange light, visible through my window as a cold fire, a warming energy. Streaked lines of its surface shine out like rivers between its salty crags, a world within itself. I heat myself from its coldness, rejoicing in its light.


Brown Soda Bread
Neither disc, sphere nor hemisphere, it is rounded, yet craggy. Its flattened base reverberates hollow like a drum, when struck to test if it is fully cooked. When struck it scatters yellowed flour dust like wheaten snow. Its upper surface is raised and hollowed, pockmarked like a earthen moon. Or you could look at it as a mini-world surface, four roads leading from edge to centre to form a cross. A crossroads in bread an almost-division to allow each quadrisphere to rise to its own level without let or hindrance. To touch it is rough and craggy, a thin rocky surface protecting the cushiony bread within.
The dough is mixed and moulded by hand, encouraged from the edge of the bowl by gentle hands, a globe flattened to a disc as it is laid on the baking tray. Marked with a cross, by knife or hand edge, it is doubly bisected before going to its transformation under fire.
While mixing the bread is a matter of minutes, it embodies the work of aeons. Grains of wheat and oats are milled by stones which have been shaped over centuries, the milling perhaps powered by rivers, skills leading back towards the dawn of time. Flattened to acquiescence the grains retain their strength in their husks, share the tenderness of their kernels.
Sour milk or buttermilk moistens the grain to unify its molecules and give it new form. Salt brings its flavour to life. Bicarbonate of soda, the final ingredient, allies with the buttermilk to create a transformative explosion within the dough. It pushes its own boundaries, rises above itself and protects its tender inside with external crustiness.
Baking completed, the bread leans against the wall or stove, a stationery wagon wheel until held securely in two hands it may be broken, its quarters separated for different journeys. It is strong enough to survive rough travel.
Opened we can see the world beneath the crust, the speckled brown and creamy green of the interior, feel its cushiony texture, firm enough to hold support, soft enough to sustain and comfort the eater. Buttered and bitten it reveals its crumbly perfection.




Love Story

I’m your Valentine, I’m yours forever
Of course you love me, worship, deify.

You bring me gifts – gold, frankincense, myrrh.

You married me, let no man sever ……
You saw but a single star in the sky.
I’m your valentine, I’m yours forever.

“I told you that” ….”Yeah right, whatever…”
You’re sick of my voice, my whine, my sigh .
You bring me gifts – gold, frankincense, myrrh.

I begged for a choice. “No!” you said. “Never!”
Decisions are yours, I daren’t ask why.
I’m your Valentine, I’m yours forever.

Your stupid cow, I’m not that clever,
do as I’m told, I bloody comply.
You bring me gifts – gold, frankincense, myrrh

Love’s no more, there’s nothing bleaker
No escape in life, unless I die.
I’m your Valentine, I’m yours forever.
You bring me gifts, gold, frankincense, myrrh.



Week 6 Tasks

[Task 1]

Out of Character

like an unprovoked slap in the face
lecture chased good deed down the street
people staring as if I were the mugger
when it bordered on the other way around
normally overflowing with sorry
this instance no urge to apologise
usually do not confront
once bitten twice
but fists were clenched
and shoved into pockets
the pocket that paid out when I thought it was just tissues and house-keys
the pocket from which I had retrieved 20p on request
the 20p I handed over without challenging alibi
don’t think I’ve got any change but if it’s in here it’s yours
he is not homeless
this is not our first encounter I remember too late
a recurring local cameo
verbal attack on my choice of degree
stole campaign badges instead of signing petition
no questions asked just 20p between strangers
welcome to it
but then
personal space violated
thrusted face demanding a quid
explained one coin was all I had
he sneered isn’t that fucking convenient the exact amount
I asked for but you don’t have a pound?
started off on a rant
so I started off down the path
and that’s when footsteps accelerated
called me disgraceful bastard among other things
and objection erupted out of character
spewed into the air didn’t bother to turn my head
startled the young family leaving Burger King
who paused to observe
two mad men shouting expletives in public

one of them 20p richer


[Task 3]

The Battery

1.5V (Pb). You are the tiny canister that sits motionless while packed with charge. Sleeping baby to be handled with care. So smooth, wrapped in a hard plastic jacket stuck to skin with adhesive. The jacket is segmented, has a raised line that catches on the nail like an elusive end of Sellotape. I could peel you but I won’t. Your bottom a metallic moon-mirror, paint lid that shows the eye blurred as if smeared, but when polished on sleeve nothing changes. Bold red and white announces practical purpose, cousin to a First Aid kit. Positive: a reverse England flag, neo-Nationalist tattoo gone awry. Negative is a stop sign.

You’re a puppy wriggling with nervous energy, keep trying to get out of hand and roll across the table. Cradled tightly in the palm you attract electrolytic grease.

There is plenty of reading material curving your surface. Do not Swallow. Do not dispose of in fire. Not rechargeable. Keep away from children (whole toy-boxes silenced). The warnings are fancier in French, more forbidding in German. Ingredients acidly listed as just Zinc Chloride. Apparently you don’t like wheelie bins, they are banned. ‘For Low Power Products’ is a lukewarm performance review but you got AAA and have so much potential. Made in Poland by the Panasonic Corporation – you are a corporate tool but everyone is these days, so don’t worry.

It’s ironic how terminals spark things into life. I shake you with vigour but electrons won’t rattle within or salt-sprinkle forth. Hub of internal resistance. Fight the power! But you are the power! Hub of internal struggle.

Some people say a potato or lemon does the same job – but if all potatoes were lost to another famine, we’d be grateful to still have you (except we wouldn’t, because you taste bad). Solo stubby nipple ringed with hypnosis is a siren who calls to poking tongue with metal ballads. But you would have to be 9V for her fangs to shock the apex with that stinging burst of nostalgia.

Size S: is that small or substantial? You’re pretty damn cool, little battery, just over an inch tall; delicate yet solid, a dead weight. Where should I put you? Excuse the human impulse to use a thing to do another thing. You’re engineered to slot into so many places. Sleek…purposeful…tell me, how does that feel? I envy your surety, your place. There are signs everywhere telling you exactly where to go and how to fit in.

Look, battery, look, I have Googled you. The Voltaic Pile is your great-great-great-great-grandfather. Here is a diagram labelling your insides. Why do you show no interest in this non-invasive dissection?


[Task 4]

My City: An Overview

they build Coventry up as a city rumbling with hunger for success but the tower blocks taste of stagnant plasterboard-porridge in the concrete jungle the roots of destruction tangled up in politics smashed glass does not equate party animal so the students emigrate nightly for alternative scenes and DJs in ten-minute-train-ride towns our architecture dazzles visitors with its dullness but it beats being homeless witness the homeward-bound hide their grateful smiles anchored here for life by spine-crushing loads on all sides as they pass CLOSING DOWN SALE shop fronts shuttered my wallet apparently purged its cash to binge on stacks of loyalty cards tourists are dragged in to document what’s destroyed regeneration is less entertaining than ruin all eyes on the naked lady this city murmurs and tuts and shouts in the streets over the heads of pushchair prisoners it begs persistently for change outside Spar (the one that used to be Yates’ wine bar) whispers we were once a community in the war forgetting Iraq Bosnia Kosovo Afghanistan Iraq Libya Syria the clash of regimes colours opinions bus doors this city’s soundtrack is an intermingled chorus of multicultural exchange potentially bewildering like the first day of school when everyone is tentatively testing out the dynamics sometimes it gets you in the gut like a rampaging bully sometimes it gets you in the gut like human birdsong