Wednesday, December 24, 2008
my mother says randomly
(though she's always looked very English to me)
or Spanish perhaps,
where does the name Gratrix
come from anyway?
It's an ancient British name I explain
oh she continues well what about Train
that must be Scandinavian?
My paternal Grandmother's maiden name was Gratrix
My mother's maiden name was Train, another ancient British name
My mother's paternal grandfather was a station master and his surname was Train. His son married a Miss Driver. Thankfully they didn't go for a double-barrelled name.
Going Ancestral for Read Write Poem
and yes, that was a real conversation with my mother.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
You may not agree with everything he says, but you'll certainly have plenty to think about....
The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker
Friday, November 07, 2008
surreal landscapes, spacescapes video
bass pounds.......drums pound
vibrate through floor.......through legs
pure noise smash
strobe lights crash
slow motion collapse
sensory overload drowning
in red music
of burning glass
(Tangerine Dream in Concert, Sunday 2 November)
Red Music of Burning Glass for Poefusion
Monday, November 03, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Young Woman in Black
Silk Neon Gothic
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Our different paradise
More different than a matter
A hopeless thing
Strange as a bribe
Fit and unfit
Hospitable as opulence
Like a small bell
Patient as a gaze
Like a distant creature
To know an interview
A salubrious thing
check whether you are one of the 3,000 poets in it without permission, with poetry you've never seen before attributed to you, read more at the Poetry Foundation website. There's a lot of interesting commentary on it too, as to whether it is some kind of elaborate social experiment. I think I'm choosing to laugh....
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
In our illicit rendezvous,
oblivious to most, except
the promise of forbidden pleasure,
we were barely aware of you,
sketching quietly in the background.
At next season’s
‘Meet the Artist Night’
we wonder as your eyes light up
in recognition we don’t share.
We wander carefully round to view
(no touching just in case).
The pictures do not inspire or move,
but disturb in some peculiar way.
We stop before a canvas –
the largest in the room,
a portrait of our favourite haunt
and unmistakeably of us.
Our infidelity on display,
we need to find a place to hide,
when from the corner of my eye,
I see someone I recognise –
she’s with another man.
Previously published in Poetry Scotland and nothing to do with Dresden!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
ein frisch gebackenes
the full moon -
white bread roll.
(evening barbeque at the Nickern Jugendbauernhof, Dresden)
Thanks to Angelika for correcting my German. You can read more about my trip to Dresden on Crafty Green Poet here and here and more to come!
Monday, September 08, 2008
The Puzzle Box starts with a letter to a Mr Valesquez, thanking him for the gift of a Chinese Puzzle Box. Not quite poetry, not quite short fiction, some of the pieces that follow feel very cinematic and feature recurring characters (including a jazz pianist and two mysterious Japanese gentlemen, one of whom may or may not be the film director Takeshi Kitano) and recurring items (including the puzzle box but also various hats and a ball with a bell in it) and themes (including tattoos and the meaning of poetry). The writing is clever and visual, my favourite part is probably this, the ending of (...)
if the thought is the poem before it is slowed
by words it hides in here,...,
or in here 'x'
or in (you)
But best of all is the way all the pieces play off each other, tied together by the recurring elements. I really would like to see the film of this book.....
Friday, August 22, 2008
a classmate grabs my leg from
under the bookcase.
school librarian -
my classmates tease her, asking
for smutty books.
school library helper -
between me and boys
second hand books
from charity shops
my private library.
Libraries for Booking Through Thursday
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
a Slavic sounding
avalanche of poetry
even though i recognise the word
in the original
the translated poem
still takes me
(Sigitas Parulskis, Gintasas Grajauskas and Eugenijus Alisanka, three Lithuanian poets read at the Edinburgh International Book Festival earlier today).
Sunday, August 10, 2008
...............from every crossroad
.............a funeral procession winding
..........through narrow hillside streets
..or perhaps it is several processions
for several funerals
so many people are dying now
under a bridge
a thousand miles from here
in the place that was his living home
a dead man hangs
Thursday, August 07, 2008
he could easily hide among so many cars
but as the road behind her empties
bright as the red glow of sunset
she feels her heart begin to lighten
as the road ahead becomes the future.
What we leave behind for Easy Street Prompts
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Playing in the garden of a sinister house
with sinister trees.
Running down a blood wet street
pursued by fear.
Always a violent death:
Knives, machetes, napalm, burning homes,
machine guns; alone
on the deck of a capsizing boat
in uncharted seas.
Lost Stuff for Totally Optional Prompts
More Lost Stuff over at Crafty Green Poet
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Croissants seem quintessentially French, but my favourite breakfast I ever had in France was at a long wooden table where we all broke off chunks of crisp baguettes, loaded them up with lots of butter and apricot jam and then dunked them in bowls of steaming hot chocolate.
Croissants for Weekend Wordsmith
Friday, July 18, 2008
a wraith in my thoughts
a breeze in my hair
as I walk down the street
you're a floater that's not
quite blurring my vision
tinnitus that blunts
the edge of my hearing
you stalk my days
and haunt my nights
I'm not scared of ghosts
so what do i fear?
a quick scribble about ghosts for Sunday Scribblings
there are ghosts in some of my poems over on Crafty Green Poet too, you can read them by following the links below:
The Lost Dances of Cranes
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I'm currently reading Beautiful Losers, a novel written by Cohen the year I was born! Written with the same magical ability with words as are his songs, the novel is a wild and brilliant mix of native American land rights, Catholicism and sex. Definitely an 18 certificate!
I really want also to read some of his poetry, he published several collections before he started singing.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
deep colours and black, lots of black......pale faces and dark eyes
long hair in ribbons........stiletto heels and mini skirts
loud music and melancholia
hey, we meant to go dancing last night but never got there.....
crowded for Weekend Wordsmith
For a different type of crowded, visit Crafty Green Poet
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
freezes her veins,
frosts her heart.
The king size bed stretches
under rumpled white sheets
The crystal at the window
mocks with rainbows
from a distant sun.
Tears lie cold on her cheek.
Previously published in Poetry Scotland
Absence for Totally Optional Prompts
Saturday, May 24, 2008
alone at the bar -
she watches her new boyfriend
dancing with his pals.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Honeysuckle scents the light of the moon
The boy down the road becomes a werewolf
and gives the neighbours a fright at full moon
Gravestones are lifted and vampires break free
to find people to bite under the moon
Inner city streets are crowded tonight -
street gangs and demons fight under the moon
When Romeo gets lost in the garden
Juliet shivers at sight of the moon.
Chapter 4 of Unleash the Poem Within suggests that the ghazal is a perfect form for daydreaming and letting your mind wander. I was obviously thinking of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in these daydreams! I wrote another ghazal on Crafty Green Poet here.
The Ghazal Page , an excellent resource to find out more about this fascinating form, is currently holding a competition for moon ghazals.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
My problem with formal verse has always centred on why to use a particular form, I'm a prolific haiku writer because that is a form that suits my way of looking at the world and the things that inspire me, but I don't like to write, for example, a sonnet, just for the sake of it, I want to feel it's the right form for the thoughts I want to express. This book really helped me with its chapters outlining why each form suits particular situations, eg:
sonnet - working out emotions
sestina - making sense of memory
ghazal - allowing your mind to wander
haiku - living in the moment
villanelle - accessing your inner voice
ode - dwelling on what is good in your life
I know that each form suits other situations too, but this was really helpful in getting me to think about form and when I can use it. So in the next few weeks and months, watch out for posts here and on Crafty Green Poet containing my first ghazals and sestinas!
The book is aimed at beginner poets and women interested in poetry as therapy. As the author says: 'I decided to write a book on poetical form because it is something I can wholeheartedly believe in and can provide personal testimony about. It can help women to live fuller, more in tune lives...' It's a book about allowing creativity to help you explore personal issues and though it is also useful for free verse writers who want to start exploring form, it is not a manual for the experienced poet who wants to develop skills in writing quality formal verse.
Unleash the Poem Within by Wendy Nyemaster, published by Source Books.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
reshape wounded heroes,
make a face worth living with again.
He rescued people from childhood
deformity, ravaging disease
to face the world anew.
Now the surgery fills with ageing
prima-donnas, forgotten actors,
last minute’s discarded It girls,
Clamouring for attention, for
nips and tucks to buy
back a plastic copy of their youth.
He pulls back living flesh
creating hollow masks
from which old eyes will stare.
His fingertips do not have the skill
to heal away their
paralysing fear of life itself.
Previously published in Poetry Scotland
Transformation for Totally Optional Prompts
Friday, May 02, 2008
Thursday, May 01, 2008
in the sky
I posted another scifaiku on Crafty Green Poet here.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
painful pale thinness
world weary air
your daily struggle to find change.
I remember the day you were no longer there.
Previously published in Poetry Scotland
People for Totally Optional Prompts
Friday, April 11, 2008
Pilot error in overcrowded sky
Leads to fear and terror,
On page fifteen, don’t miss the special offer –
Cheap flights to Spain
Flight for Writers Island
earlier this week I posted a haiku about flight over on Crafty Green Poet, you can read it here.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
with your exotic blonde beauty
so I polished my few phrases of that language.
You never know when it might be useful.
The day after I overheard you had gone
home to a country that is not Poland
I was in a bar speaking Polish
with some old drunk who said
he thought I was an angel.
previously published in Poetry Scotland
Overhead for Read Write Poem
Friday, March 28, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
sworn best friends
write secrets in a fan -
bound feet ache.
Secondly, you can read a poem I wrote inspired by Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels here.
Thirdly you can read my review of Emperor's Babe a novel in verse by Bernadine Evaristo here on the Pink Gun blog.
Finally, the last stanza of this poem was inspired by Chocolat by Joanna Harris
Sunday, March 23, 2008
won her a contract to discover
the scientific perfection of sweetness.
Five years on, her secret formula
heavily advertised, stays
stubbornly on the shelves.
While continents are ravaged
by a disease she could
have found a cure for
and a humble chocolatier
creates daily bliss
for crowds in a small French town.
previously published in Curlew magazine
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
in the dark of a goth club
takes me back to
a vast cemetery in Vienna
where a friend of mine
(though no fan of yours)
dragged me to your grave
where a tall pale
man in black
was laying lilies
whispering your name.
More on Falco
Monday, March 17, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
an elegant smoker, you lean
casually against the wall
and watch the room
through the mirror.
You kiss your girlfriend
and whisper - a smokescreen
of lies, while you reflect
on another woman.
Your girlfriend keeps
a voodoo doll in her pocket
savage with pinpricks.
Smoke prickles her to tears.
Smoke and Mirrors for Totally Optional Prompts
Sunday, March 09, 2008
and crash to the floor
the room shimmers with Italian passion
and the imponderable beauty of Romany
songs amid sad violins
She is lost in the dance,
the moment, some inner turmoil.
I am drunk on the music
her beauty in motion.
The touch of her hand
is like some kind of promise.
I wake in a bed
where the sheets are all tangled.
My husband is jealous -
he knows I've been dancing
with Signora Argento.
There's an earlier poem about a dream on this blog here.
And birdwatcher's dreams over at Crafty Green Poet here.
Dreams for Read Write Poem
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
I saw the west coast of Africa
fit neatly beside Brazil
despite the expanse of ocean
that correctly came between
in broken blue.
Years later in a college lecture room
I discovered continental drift,
plate tectonics, theories of biogeography
and instantly understood.
Now, sifting through photographs
I see your distant face:
Africa to my Brazil.
previously published in Curlew magazine
unneeded(?) puzzle piece for Weekend Wordsmith
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
petals falling too soon
in the cold room.
I said flowers weren’t the point.
She brought more anyway,
their pale presence
filling the silence.
It was easier than talking.
Romance for Totally Optional Prompts
Previously published in Raindog
Monday, February 18, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
6-8pm, Tuesdays, eight weeks commencing 29 April. Poetry Workshops at Waste Innovations, 17 St Mary Street. The series will start with reading poetry, preparing to write then a series of writing workshops and finally a workshop on how to share poetry through blogging, performance and magazine publication. More information from Waste Innovations.
Afternoon of Saturday 21 June - Haiku workshop at the Salisbury Centre. Further details to follow in this blog and in the Centre's summer programme which isn't published yet.
February 2009 - writing workshop at Vogrie Country Park, Midlothian. Date to be set and details to follow!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I bought a bag of tangerines
for the time of breaking the fast -
they sat, glowing orange
temptation in the fruit bowl.
The first day I struggled
to remain normal, distracted
by ugly rumbles in my stomach -
signs of a deep hunger
that on the second day
gave way to dizzy light headedness,
an ability to float
above the mundane everyday.
On the forty ninth hour
I held a tangerine, its scent
spicing the air; how strangely
difficult it was to eat
to deny myself my entry
into that other existence
I had almost started
Sacrifice for Read Write Poem
Monday, February 04, 2008
that goes with nothing I wear.
My mother never wore it,
could tell no story to give it value.
She told me I must keep it
(though it would only gather dust)
but it matches your dress,
looks bright against the darkness
of your hair. It is a gift.
It is worth more like this.
Previously published in Poetry Scotland
Clothes (and jewellery!) for Read Write Poem
Previous poems about clothes on this blog:
Coming of Age
and on Crafty Green Poet:
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
enough for me to understand
I might be able to translate
(mais non le subjonctif!)*
but German, though understandable,
exists in a Parallel Universe
wo keine Englische Worte anpassen konnen**
and Italians take the same indefinably elegant
approach to language as they do to fashion
ma penso che l'eleganza delle donne italiane sia un mito***
or perhaps just untranslateable
* but not the subjunctive
**where no English words fit
***but I think the elegance of Italian women is a myth
a Macaroni poem (one including more than one language) for Monday Poetry Stretch
A while back I reviewed Paso Doble a book of poetry by ANAMARÍA CROWE SERRANO & ANNAMARIA FERRAMOSCA where each poem was written in Italian and English. You can read the review here.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
by snipers, landmines and hostile troops,
a couple fall in love.
Alchemists, they make a home with
scavenged chairs, a broken table, a second-hand bed
and a sense of humour.
They transcend the ordinary, buoy themselves
against the terrible gravity of war
with the feather lightness of joy.
The pull of vestigial wings between their shoulders
lifts them above their troubled town.
Previously published in The Book of Hopes and Dreams
Sunday, January 13, 2008
we have not walked your path
the path that wore down your shoes
the shoes that are now piled high
in glass cases that we file past
We have not walked your path
and cannot speak for you
but silence allows your deaths
again and again and again.
previously published at: Poetry Songs and Writers in Scotland.
Journeys for Read Write Poem
Thursday, January 10, 2008
A longer review of this book, concentrating on nature poetry, can be found on Crafty Green Poet. A more complete review can be found here.