Monday, 25 March 2013

The Alternate Ending


Now to the real business of the day, my 40th poem in as many days. I started doing this whole thing as a journey of personal enlightenment. I am not even LYING when I say this small block of 40 days has been one of the strangest periods of my entire life. And as 25 year olds go I've had a pretty weird life. Not braggin', jus' sayin' yo.

So I guess I really have learnt a lot. I've realised that I have the best gang of friends a gal could ever hope to find, and you're all perfect in your own imperfect ways. This has all been for you. I mean, not really, I literally just said it was very personal, but you know...what I'm trying to say is, thanks for being there and shit.

I wrote this poem way back at the start of the challenge and have been gently tweaking it throughout the whole process. It's aaaaall about personal enlightenment, so rather fitting. It's almost as though I planned it. Imagine that, me, forward planning! What on EARTH.

Anyway, this is the end. OR IS IT? DAY 40.

The Minus Owl

On the third day
the owl flew out to me.

“Any milk today?” it said.
“Don’t mock me,” I said.
“And those feathers aren’t fooling anyone.”

“Axe to grind?”
“How can I take you seriously?” I said,
adjusting my noose.

The owl clicked its beak
and rode off on the sound.

I picked up a stone
and cursed it.

“There, now you won’t ever be loved.”

And I threw it back in the dirt
where it came from.

On the tenth day,
the owl flew out to me.

“What do you hate?” it said.
“When you’re playing a game,” I said.
“And somebody cheats.”

“What’s a game?”
“A party I’m not invited to,” I said.
I looked off wistfully.

The owl laughed its way
out of the scene.

I spent a whole day
putting different wigs on a whale.

“What you need to understand is, I’m unemployed.”

I heard that whale
works in Hollywood now.

On the eighteenth day
the owl flew out to me.

“What do you want?” it said.
“Just a mile or so of solidity,” I said.
“Something to keep me going.”

“Where are you going?”
“Where have you been?” I said,
remembering how scared I was.

The owl nodded,
getting into a car.

I picked through the rubble,
looking for artefacts.

“I’m really starting to appreciate the dust of a place.”

I wrote my name with a stick,
seeing it exist for the first time in years.

On the last day,
the owl flew out to me.

“What do you have?” it said.
“My body,” I said.
“And the teeth of a survivor.”

“What did you ever survive?”
“Life,” I said. “At least this long.”
I held out my arms, shaping the years.

The owl gave a hoot
and was gone.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

A Certain Substance

Happy Saturday, folks! 

I'm still bloody well snowed in and it's really boring and cold. Got some heavy beats laid down for my novel today though, which I guess is a good thing. 

Today's poem is all about the realistic terrors one goes through when faced with a life that has briefly crumbled before your eyes. You just gots to scoop them pieces into a cellophane bag and throw them off a cliff, otherwise they'll get real mouldy and start to impinge on your brand new life, which, though it may be a little slow to begin with, it going to be a thousand times better than the old one because you're not carrying around a dead weight of rancidity. Glean from that what you will my darlings.

Day 38! (Scary number!)

The Four Stages of Overcoming Defeat

Stage 1 involves covering your face with PVA glue
and singing along with the microwave.
Become a bed. Let everything inside you fall asleep.

Draw 1 inch of water and then eat the paper.
You are ready for Stage 2.
Carve a story of the sea onto the back of a chocolate bar.

Sell it to a sheikh for a thousand apologies.
With them, buy yourself a new backpack;
we’ll be going on a hike.

Whitewash a cabbage and use it as a snowball
against the fiends of the mountain.
They might look like thin air,

but they’re definitely going to try and kill you.
Take ‘em down to advance to Stage 3.
Stay in for twelve years waiting for a phone call.

Stage 4 arrives when you realise what a fool you’ve been,
at which point you will stand up, turn once around
and be transported to a train station of yesteryear.

Get on the train and don’t look back.  

Friday, 22 March 2013

Feeling or Showing

Fellow travellers, how are you?

I've been snowed in today, which is surreal, given the date. But it's a strange old world we live in I suppose. Anyway, here's today's poem...I appear to have been channelling Sophie's Choice, despite never having seen the film. I think it's probably because Meryl Streep and I are sisters and we have a very close bond. 

Nearly done now, day 37!

The Supercilious Technique

If you grip your teeth like that
they won’t thank you for it.
Those little sheep
in the pasture of your mouth
need to be free to graze
when they want to.

Leaving something behind
was never going to be easy.
But you pick a favourite child
for a reason.

Give it one turn of your body,
swift and unyielding.
There will be pain,
there always is,
but when your muscles begin to forget
you’ll wonder what it was you were ever holding on to.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

A Proper Title


Yes, everyone, it's World Poetry Day. It's almost as if I timed my challenge to coincide. That sounds like sarcasm, it's not, I didn't. What I have done is gone and rit you a poem about being a poet and what it means and ting. I hope you've read lots of other poems and written loads yourself and just given poetry to respect it deserves for at least one bloody day out of the thousands you have/will live. 

Peace and poems guys!

Day 36

On Being a Wack Poet, Yo!

I mistook a set of garden furniture
for a small urban horse.
It was all downhill from there, really.

Like complimentary porcelain figurines
the words purchased themselves
and stood in the living room of my pages.

It’s one of those chapter-less books,
so I never know where I am
or when to stop.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Of All The Named

Hey hey hey!

So, I've spent the day coming up with alternate life plans and buying large envelopes. That's right, ENVY ME. But for reals, this poetry lark is taking its toll on my inner tubes and whatnot. 

Just as a joke, answer me, who would read a novel I'd written? Not that I really HAVE written it, but it's coming along, and I'm pretty sure that if I sent some positive public opinion polls garnered from my very own blog to the agents I'm going to approach, they would DEFINITELY want to add me to their books. So do me a favour, tell people I'm a writer and that I'm coming to write the shit out of them, yeah? Thx bbz.

Day 35, love to you.

The Book Of

In the beginning,
we went to a pearl
and asked for forgiveness.
The pearl said,
“Let he who is without a stone
cast the first line.”
And with that, fishing was born
and all the people were saved.

We cut out small stars from our skin
and cooked them into a stew
so that we might taste
the darkness of universe.
Our mothers and fathers didn’t trust us
with the sharp knives,
but when we served the meal,
they sat back and thought it was good.

They say there are cabbages out there
that are bigger than houses;
so big in fact they hollow them out
and have people live in them,
like giant molluscs.
There, they make lists
of everything that could improve
at the hands of anyone but themselves.

We’re all born in black and white,
coming out of the dark room,
pleased with our exposure.
In the end, everything is a sea
and we have drowned and drowned again
searching for a precious stone.
Wandering through the suburb of my mind
the streets ring with nothing.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Missed the Programme

Ommmmmmg! I'm in a good mood for the first time in about 2 weeks! Cray cray innit? I wrote this poem off the bat and haven't had time to look over it properly - I did not realise how late the hour. So yeah, I think it might be a bit odd, but really, that's kind of my speciality, so I suppose things are just moseying along nicely. I also think it's not quite finished, but I AM stupidly tired just now, probably because I've got SWINE FLU or some other retro illness that everyone has forgotten about.

Hope you're all in good spirits. Let's just really try to end war, yeah?

Day 34.

On the Requirement of Sleep

When they said, “What do you know about birds?”
it felt like an accusation.
I told them I didn’t know anything,
that whatever birds were mixed up in,
it had nothing to do with me.
I hadn’t seen birds in years;
we move in different circles.

I took out a pen and a city emerged from the tip.
I said, “This is where we’ll all live one day,
when the heat leaves for a better party.”
And they said, “If you can only see life
through a square window,
how do you ever expect to be anything but square?”
They had me on the ropes.

I realised we were at sea.
They handed me a telescope and said,
“What’s that on the horizon?”
I fell, eye first, through the slim brass tube,
the scent conjuring hours spent
desperately trying not to eat dirt.
At the end of it, I saw a little grey man.

“It’s sleep!” I cried. “He’s coming this way!”
And so he was, rippling, like a punch in slow motion.
“He doesn’t want to see you,” they said.
“Your heart rate is disrespectful.
Your name is all you have left.”
My face fell, splitting into exactly one million pieces,
scattering like a handful of chickenfeed. 

Monday, 18 March 2013

Little Place

Bloody days, eh? If it wasn't for the threat of vitamin D deficiency, I'd wish for it to be night all the time so that I could sleep bloody well LOADS. But that's mostly because I'm starting to worry about getting wrinkles under my eyes from a lack of good quality rest. It's important, okay guys? Please bear it in mind when you're thinking about being awake all night.

Here's the effort of day 33 anyway...

The Glass

When I look out of the window,
I could cry. Simple tears,
like those of a dog without a treat.
Haven’t we all felt this teenaged?

I’ve always been a 99% empty kinda gal.
The 1% is only there as a buffer
between the glass of my soul
and the outside that presses down on it.

Oh leaves, you don’t know anything,
you innocent bastards.
And colours, which child’s psyche
did you vomit your way out of?

I have come to unknow the world,
through all its perjury.
The sun was built to burn us,
who are we to question that?

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Any Connotations's another poem about being upset about ends of eras and shit. Alright, alright, I know! I keep going on about it, and I'm sorry. I'm just using poetry to purge, k? When it's all over, we'll all be better people for it and we'll have a right old knees up, drinks on me*, right? (*I'm not buying anyone any drinks. I'll be having all of the drinks. All of them.)

Oh, and ST PATRICK'S DAY, isn't it? Yes, that. 

Day 32...

Grand Canyon

So you took a melon baller to my faculties
and scooped them clean out of me.
I just thought we were getting ready for a party,
but the empty skin that is left of me
doesn’t really feel like dancing.

It’s hard to pinpoint
the exact moment of ending.
There was no swell of music,
no credits, no spongy clouds of popcorn
stuck to the soles of our shoes.

They say the Grand Canyon
was just a hairline crack once;
that the earth saw it getting bigger,
while the sky blindly tried to fill the gap.
I guess you could say the earth is a secretive asshole,

but where’s the use in that now?
That old canyon serves its purpose.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Slow Guitar

Today has been largely unproductive, although I did decide to move to Canada, so that's something. But then I remembered I don't have any money, so it's just another dream dashed. Here is a poem about feelings and shit.

On Being Irrepressibly Angry

I have triggers,
just like everybody else.
And once they’ve been pulled,
it’s hard to get the bullets back in.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Free, Expressive, Exaggerated

Dear readers of my blog, also known as friends

I didn't post a poem yesterday. I'm very disappointed in myself, but in my defence, I HAD given up my dream of becoming a writer after one too many let downs (it's been the week from Satan's arsehole, NOT EVEN KIDDING), so trying to write a poem just felt indecent. However, I woke up this morning and decided I wasn't quite ready to let the dream die. SO I'VE WRITTEN A POEM AGAIN FOR TODAY! 

I'll just tack an extra day on at the end of the challenge to make up for the indiscretion. This is an older poem that has been completely reworked for the modern era. And also because people who read it first time round said it was too balls-out weird to make any sense. This one will also be dedicated to a good friend of mine, because she was one of those people who read it first, and also just because she's awesome. 

Talk my advice folks, live slow, die old. PEACE OUT.

Bearwood: An Introduction

Upon arriving in Bearwood, I found the place strange and myself strange in it. The train pulled away like a disillusioned lover and I stood obtuse in the smoke. After several months of lobbying, a busboy was elected to handle my trousseau.

The Bearwood Arms lies between two classic eras of history. I was shown to an attic room by a small curse of a man called Tripe McKenna. He told me he had known my father, when my father was not more than a chilly, moor-wandering whippet.

Three days later The Captain arrived at my door dressed as a piƱata shaped like an old naval captain. “Warum bist du hier?” he asked. I handed over the advert I had nursed from the paper: “Bearwood – Professional person wanted, must have own organs. Time travellers need not apply.”

His moustache billowed. It was made up of gaunt Edwardian ghosts, each one locked there by an earthly woe. “Follow me please,” he said, leading me through the dance of a lifetime. As we krumped across the village green, I smelt hazelnuts on the air and life was good.

In the post office, Mrs Gherkin looked me up and down with her cold, obese eyes. “And she’s never travelled through time, you say?” she asked. “No ma’am,” The Captain told her. She went to the oven and took out a key.

“You’ll be staying with the train driver. He has an unhelpful disposition but you shan’t go wrong with his knowledge of the Bearwood catacombs. The grass has been telling tales this past lambing season; too many heads break the neck, if you catch my drift?”

I hadn’t a clue what she meant so I reached into my case, took out a defaced copy of The Anubis Gates and a garrotte wire and laid them on the counter. Mrs Gherkin smiled, revealing not teeth, but minute hula dancers hung from her gums in tiny cages. “They like you,” she said.

And with that I secured my position as the Bearwood Mystery Solver.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

A Natural State


Just a teeny tiny poem today I'm afraid. Don't really know what else to say about it...I guess I've always liked that word, muscovado, and now I've gone and made it into art. Or not art, whatever.

Day 29.

Seeking Help from Inanimate Objects

Oh muscovado sugar,
if you can’t do it, no one can.
Unfortunately you are sugar
and can do little more
than flirt with cake mix.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Stiff Upper Lip

Life, you defeat me. But only briefly. And not brutally enough to stem the poetry, amaright? Yeah, I am. 

I've also convinced myself I've skipped about 10 days or summink...are we really on day 28 already? I'm lost...

On Feeling

If you were to count the footprints
that crowd my face,
you could walk from here to hell.
Tough luck innit, kid?

Looking at the backs of my hands,
I hardly know them.
They’re like the first day at school,
shaking and too small.

What can anyone achieve like this?
Who can bounce around the roulette wheel
and avoid landing in the black?
Chance has a hundred fingers

stretching the length of the country,
getting into every corner,
exposing every curve of fear
to leave you looking like a fool.

I poured my feelings into a giant rubber ear
and buried it in a secret place.
It’s just what people have come to expect now
from a maverick like me.

Monday, 11 March 2013

The Cusp of the Wave

My mind is elsewhere again today, so I'm afraid it's another journey through my back catalogue. We'll try afresh tomorrow.

War Biographer

The War paces back and forth,
restless in his agitation.
“I’m not all bad, you know?” he says,
turning to me, his hands wrung almost to powder.
“I had a life once; parents. Lovers.
But you can’t escape destiny, can you?”

He lights a Camel cigarette, sits down to regroup.
Across his face I see the scars so chronicled:
the small, country-shaped burns,
the trenches gouged into his forehead.
His eyes never stop moving.
I find myself drifting across his map.

He’s on his feet again, snapping me back.
“Let’s talk tactics,” I say.
“Must we? There’s so much more to me than that.”
“Okay,” I consider him for a moment. “Favourite book?”
“The Bridges of Madison County.”
Unexpected. I cross and uncross my legs.
“Movie?” I ask.
“Basic Instinct.”

Are we flirting right now?

The War gazes out of the window,
his fingers hung from the end of his hands
like long stems of wheat.
“You know, I’m a very wealthy man,” he says.
“So I’ve heard.”
“I have a condo in the heart of every human being.
I could take you to yours if you like?”

His eyes are trained on me
and black as bullets. 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Some Were Betrayed

I've never been one to give up on a sequence, and I'll be damned if I do it now. Day 26, you're up, you bastard.

On Finding Out

Just when we thought it couldn’t get blacker,
the sun goes down.
A sickness blisters.

The ceiling holds an indefinable answer,
though to stare
is to let the minutes
tremble from your eyes.
They loop the neck to strangle,
every breath less real in its certainty.

What have we been doing all these year?
The faded games of unknowing
sound in our ears
as uncontrolled explosions,
taking us by surprise
like lost cities.
Like the noises we make
when we’re dying.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

The Bitch of Living

What's that I hear you cry, dear readers? Do I have another morose poem for you today? Why yes I do! Soz about all the feelings, guys...I'm in the grip of one of life's major heartbreaks. I ain't the first and by sure as heck ain't gon' be the last, but it's apparently manifesting itself through my work (and the monotonous hours of crying and wanting to vomit), so you're just going to have to DEAL, right? Right. I'm glad we're on the same page. Literally! LOL, see, I can still be funny! *insert fart noise*. 

Day 25, whut whut!

Dull Days

The clock is harbouring secrets.
What time was it you left?
When was I really alive?
Happiness is a temporary disguise.
Underneath it we are all in the clutches of longing,
longing for that underappreciated past.
We can say, “Today was a good day.
I did not cry,” but what does that mean, really?

I had forgotten how good it felt
to taste water after a meal.
So much has changed.
One day, we will wonder
where these days went,
wonder why we sprinkled them away
like salt from clammy fingertips.
The threads, once so tightly woven,
are working their way loose.
We grow slack with despair.

Friday, 8 March 2013

My Heart Will Be Blessed

Hey hey guys and girls!

So it's taken me 'til now (21:19pm) but I've written a proper poem about things other than the shadowy women who hide in my imagination. I fell back on my favourite form, the PROSE POEM - is it a story? Is it a poem? WE JUST DON'T KNOW. So we say that it's a bit of both. In fairness, if I added a few more line breaks, no one would ever know, because my cadence is so fucking right on! WOO YEAH! Poetry Masters FTW!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. While it's about anyone working in a job that they might not be too keen on, it's going to be dedicated to a good friend of mine, who I cannot name for legal reasons, but they're definitely NOT made up. 

Day 24.

On Office Work

Another chilled out fucker of a morning. The sun is just throwing off its preshow nerves and the leaves mutter something about Pernod. A beautiful song about latent life expectations revolves in my ears while the small plastic ballerina makes me feel so terribly ample.

Someone has left a tiny shoe on my desk. I put my bag on the hook and it hangs like a German paratrooper caught in the solid arms of an oak tree, dying. I take out my paperwork and begin circling the tittles. I’m told it will help to emphasise the writer’s point.

I leave and re-enter the room. For some reason Colette is crying; that awful middle-aged, dry-crying that seems so much less real. “We’re just having a moment,” Janet says. We’re always having moments, Janet, that’s how the semantic reasoning of Time works for humans.

The sobs continue all afternoon, each one connected, jointed, a skeleton of misery scaffolding around us, holding us up as the 3 o’clock slump approaches. Oh for a mirror to smash my face through, that I might truly see the reflection of my agony.

I gaze out of the window with all the abject air of classic Hollywood. A fat dog sits by a bin, his spindly legs splayed like a bunch of keys that belong to an old manor house where a hundred ghosts have gathered for a series of lectures on spooky poetry.

By the end of the day, my elbows are flat as northern vowels. I try to eat a banana, but feel like it’s laughing at me. As I leave, a percussion band follows me with the sound of ironic rain. The dog looks up at me with a sad smile that says, “I used to be just like you.”

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Love After Love

Hey y'all

So first off, I'm sorry I haven't really given my preamble the effort it deserves over the last couple of days. I was attacked by a plague of gnats shaped like the letter X, so I couldn't see clearly to type, but I've been trying really hard to fight them off, so hopefully things can start getting back to normal at some point. I'm not convinced they will, but we can only try, right?

Secondary apologies must apply to recent poems also. I can't concentrate to write anything very jolly right now (it's the gnats, they've chewed me raw). Tonight's poem was supposed to be longer, but nothing sounded right, so maybe it's the right length, just as it is.

Anyway, day 23 go go go!

On Darkness

The night comes in like a stranger,
fumbling over our arrangements,
our routines. There’s a whisper
of something breaking.

There’s a rustle in the shadows.
I look across at you.
Your face has become a Ferris wheel
turning slowly away from me. 

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Being Alive

Hopefully this evening's blog speaks for itself. Fuck everything. Except you guys.

The Other Woman

I have been
irrationally hating school children
because they might look like she did at that age.
Those little bastards.

Indeterminate hair
and some sort of face
with an open mouth
busy eating everything that was mine.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Is Now

Couldn't seem to bring myself to write anything new today, so this is a poem I wrote last year that almost no one has read. Sorry.

Human Condition

We do not recall having been
the size of a cashew nut,
though science assures us we were.

Shelled prawns in dark soup,
we were no doubt dreaming
in escape routes.
Narrow islands of light
expanding into days.

The burgeoning medals of our eyeballs
flashed with triumph.
We were proud then,

Hearts bleat wet anthems.
The islands taper,
ready to close
as quickly as they opened.

Monday, 4 March 2013

The Strangest Dream


I'm currently surviving the day on around an hour and a half of sleep in the receipt of some rather painful news last night. Tiredness makes spelling words like tiredness really quite difficult as it turns out. Anyway, I managed to use some of that time in the dark writing today's little number. Not a talking animal in sight...think I must be coming down with something. Queue sadface.

I had planned some kind of extravaganza for the fact that I'm halfway through my challenge (yay!) but I just don't have the energy. Here, have this picture of two blobs:

Day 20, roll on two.

In Your Wake

I bob like a piece of churned up rubbish.
Your new lovers lean over the side
and vomit on me, making my struggle
for the surface that little bit more acidic.

You have set a course for sunset, and as far
as I can tell, you’re making good progress.
Is it wrong to root for icebergs?
To give my vote to stormy weather?

You were always inclined to wash over me,
but once the crest of the wave had fallen,
I was left drowning and dishevelled.
You were always a stronger swimmer than me.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The Instep and The Ankle

Happy Sunday boys and girls. I spent the day watching period dramas and tidying my poky wee bedroom trying to make space for all the bloody fan mail I've been receiving 'cause of this epic poetry trek I'm doing. AMIRIGHT?! No, I am not. 

C'mon guys, we need to find a new place for poetry in society. It's really sad that people just don't give a shit any more. Did you know, when T.S. Eliot was alive, women literally died upon hearing his name? THAT is celebrity gone mad, folks! These days, I bet half of you couldn't name a contemporary poet and then die, could you? You ought to be ashamed.

ANYWAY, day 19!

On Questioning

Someone once said to me,
“Do you think that because you’ve written
so many poems,
you’re actually going to become a poem?”

So I said, “What’s a piece of string
when two people stretch it between themselves,
making a line of it?
The answer is string.”

That person lived in my head
and would occasionally exit
via the mouth
to go about their daily business

of peeling oranges;
of shopping unethically;
of poking their fingers
into freshly baked bread.

I remember the day they asked me
if I’d ever seen an old man eating a Twix.
The thin membrane between life and death
broke over me.

I began weeping.

Friday, 1 March 2013

For My Presents

I've had a real struggle with my poem today. Not only because I'm posting it much earlier than usual and haven't had my post-evening meal sit down but also because I think my brain is, very slowly, drying to powder.

However, I'm orf out for m'big sister's birfday tonight (check out her blog featuring some wonderful artworks here: miladyprinneth), so I'm sure a wee jaunt round the finer side of West Yorkshire's night time "scene" will inspire something more in me tomorrow. 

ALSO, while this poem is about a sad day, let it be known, I am not sad today. HERE GOES NUTHIN':

Ode to a Sad Day

I was late to the party.
I brought a Kurdish woman with me,
as part of my costume.
When we arrived,
it turned out I hadn’t been invited
at all.

We went up into the mountains.
She was wailing;
long, clean notes
like a washing machine on a spin cycle.

“Look,” I said.
“I can’t help that they didn’t want me,
you weren’t even involved.
Take solace in that,
and shut up.”

Then she picked the sun right out of me
with a long finger nail
and went running down the mountain

“Well,” I thought to myself.
“If this is life,
I ain’t buying it.”
And then I packed up my day
and went home.