Day 17 – when biography becomes poetry

This poem is inspired by a fellow NaPoWriMo-er whose site I was checking out. Her biog read almost like a poem (whether intentionally or not I couldn’t quite tell). But I loved the idea & wanted to try it for myself. It was a truly wonderful experience trying to describe yourself, not in the dry blurby words of biographical accomplishment, but in the much more playful & liberating medium of poetry. I have a feeling this really is only a first draft. It came very quickly & I know there’s probably 100 more lines that could be written. I need to write them, then cull back to the best dozen or so. None-the-less, today I don’t have time for that so this is whatcha get …


gareth: a draft poetical biography

there’s almost always music playing in my head

my brain tries putting every experience it has into a poem
— sometimes successfully

i cry at stupid dog videos on facebook

i prefer barefoot to shoes

i love stones, shells & driftwood

i have a sweet tooth i’m trying to starve

i was born an hour late & have been trying to catch up ever since

night driving in the country is a zen meditation

i know i could stop being a hermit if i make a concerted effort
— i think

sunglasses & i don’t get along, i’ve lost every pair i’ve ever owned
— (the last pair took less than a day)

i want to spend one night in a lighthouse during a storm

i want to live in New York at least once, Iceland twice & Lothlorien forever after that

you tell me my eyes change colour from deepest black
— to a goldenhoneyhazelbrown
— (though i’ve never seen it)

i knew i was hurt, though i didn’t realise how much till we met

more than anything i want to be happy
— except i don’t know exactly what will make that happen



Day 16 – some music for you, as we start on the downhill run home

Not the poem I was planning to work on today (though it was on the NaPoWriMoToDoList), but a line which has been substantially altered, barrelled into my book-reading this morning insisting to be heard. So I got up, & 2 hours later …



we assemble in a darkened
room, which we proceed to fill
with the singing of hollow wood.
we prefer the hallowed. & we prefer
the new. for centuries they’ve carried
their bias beneath the veneer,
mixed with years of sweat, love
& complicated accumulated hubris.
we can’t quantify a subjective quality
like sound cry the one-eyed critics
clamouring to be heard over the still
reverberating air — nevertheless
ranking was what we are
in the dark room to do.

we understand, you don’t
always get what you pay for
but know this also love is blind
so, the Italians momentarily
lost their glamour, the hum
of their hubris, briefly dulled
but the mystique, the mythos,
the belief in the brand name,
remain, without, in any way,
diminishing the price tag.




So as a kind of NaPoWriMo2015 midway point bonus poem, here is a Semi-Sort-of-Narrative Poem about one of my favourite passions, pleasures, pastimes, pursuits & predilections. (Today’s actual poem, still to follow.)

If you love reading, be warned, the following 244 words could terrify you.


big angst over a relatively small number

in the 365 days of last year
i physically completed reading
56 new books ; give or take ;
another 8-10 audiobooks ;
for a lower than expected
1-&-a-quarter-a-week average ;
not included are books begun
but abandoned ; nor a half-dozen
reread books , first timers only
— but none of these
are the small number in question

i’m 44 & semi-fit-ish ,
if you look at me while
squinting into the sun ;
blood pressure 120 over 80
at the last doctor’s visit ;
my grandparental average age
is 90.9 , & still rising
— but none of these
are the small number in question either

assuming i can maintain
this minimal completion rate
until my , now meticulously
mapped-out , demise ;
& assuming i survive
to at least 80 ; 10 years shy
of my long-living familial median ,
the second assumption
far less likely than the first ;
then i only have 2,376
books left to read in my life!
— welcome to the small number
& the big angst

less than 2 & half thousand!
10,000 new books are published
in english … E.V.E.R.Y. year ;
360,000 during my imagined
remaindered lifetime ;
& i’ll be able to read a measly ;
0.69% of them ; if i’m lucky ;
not counting all the classics
never read but always intending to ;
the books already bought
but not yet dipped into ;
& of course the faves i’d like
to revisit at least once more
before the big shuffle off

hence my goal this year ;
& the next 15 at least ;
to religiously devour
2 a week ; that’s 1664
before i’m 60 ; leaving a lazy
712 to knock off between
then … & 2050
— should be a doddle



Day 14 – from a single line, a whole poem grows

One of the lines in this poem has been floating round the journal looking all waif like & forlorn for months. Today another poetic job got struck from the NaPoWriMo to do list. Boom. (For those playing at home, there is a very nice prize to the first person who correctly identifies that original spark line.)

NB the second line of each of the three couplets are meant to be indented, but wordpress ain’t designed for poets…



it’s easy to ignore gravity’s rubber
band on days like these

the cold has shaken it loose

electron energy seeped into my DNA

gazing up as dozens of leaves
sigh down around me

a pointing sun, signs the way

the breeze follows its own music

i begin to lift
into the endless bluebright sky



Day 13 – something a bit shorter & simpler after yesterday

Yesterday’s poem was hard work to get my head around & then to hone back, once I was inside it. I’ve written a couple of poems today, all of them short & ‘simple’. This is a nice capture of a thought I often have.


painting silence

on those truly cold days
when i can see right
through myself

stare at the bare part
where my heart
should be

finally comprehending
what dying alone
will mean

as opposed to
making it
— a joke