Day 30 – The Last Thing Remaining on My List

Last night, dear friend & wonderful poet, Louise Nicholas, launched her first, very beautiful, full-length collection of poems, The List of Last Remaining through 5 Islands Press. It was a fabulous warm funny (mildly drunken) night.

Today, after dipping my way in & out of the collection, I have taken the last line of her poem, “How to scale a fish” & tweaked it to use as the title of today’s poem.

moonlight, unearthed

& so it’s come : to that time : of life : to once again : take out the tools of excavation : to dust off : my brooms & tiny brushes : sharpen my trowels : put pads on my ageing knees : & get down in the pit : in the dirt : dig down through the layers : the strata of my happiness : & my grief : to uncover the bones : & broken pottery : & terracotta floors : of true love : lost : of childhood : lost : of embryos : washed down drains : blood on thighs, over tiles, over everything : & to keep digging : until all that’s left to see : is an empty grave : a soul shaped hole : a silver wash : of moon : light : & salt

fish scales

Last line: “as if unearthed in moonlight”

Day 29 – Flowers of Sun

Watched the 2010 episode of Doctor Who “Vincent and the Doctor”. A strange episode, with a monster that doesn’t really work — but such a lovely character piece that you overlook that (or I did anyway).

It ends with a sentimental, though for me, still deeply moving scene, where a lonely misunderstood Van Gogh (who sold only one painting in his life) is whizzed through time by Amy & the Doctor to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, to see an exhibition of his work & hear a beautiful (if slightly mawkish, so what!) speech by Art Historian disguised as Bill Nighy on his place in the history of art.

sensing sadness

who would not : given the chance : like to be whisked : jimmy stewart : wonderful life style : into your future : to see that : your love of strong sunlight : your thick brush strokes : your colour : your colour : your colour : your ability to transform : torment : your understanding : of ecstasy : the swirling double life : of your stars : your need to create : something greater : than yourself : was a masterpiece : despite : your doubts : despite you : not knowing : the sadness : actually : won’t last : forever


Day 28 – Sand Trek

Today was about recuperation. I didn’t realise how stressed I’d become, so most of it was spent reading & catching up on some binge tv.

About 10 o’clock, the dawg & I went for a moonlit beach walk. Once we got home, this came out. & although it’s not strictly one of the Word Games (do I even have to use them now my Residency is finished?) weirdly, last week I read several chapters of Sand: A Journey through Science & the Imagination by Michael Welland, so there is a tentative link.


love  :  taking sand … into the house … on my soles … fugue of beach … summer counterpoint … on this cool … autumn moonlight  :  the thought … of this sandalful … of golden grain … an ankledust’s worth … of microscopic rocks … fleeing the sea … to shipwreck … on my carpet … makes me feel … more connected  :  to everything


27 – Waving to the Big Day

Well, the reading went today & it went pretty well. Though I really am exhausted now.

Today’s entry is really a series of very fast games. Because it was my last day, I wanted to choose a book in a different way to usual … so, to the irritation of a librarian who didn’t like me looking at books in the reserved collection, I found a book waiting for someone that I myself have been wanting to read for ages. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy.

I selected it because of its great last line. Then again because I liked it’s opening line. Again because of its chapter titles. & finally, just to make me day complete, I wrote out the first & last sentence of each chapter (or at least a bitesized phrase thereof). Then I played a number of games — that number, of course, was predetermined before I began!

five waves

i — first & last lines of every chapter (in order they appear)

aliens are stupid …
… i am the battlefield
call me zombie …
… you will be my battlefield
it should have been easy …
… and ran
as ways to go …
… you saved me
through the smudged window …
… if you want to see, i can show you
Ben Parsh is dead …
… in the spirit of vengeance
you saved me …
… you have to find something you’re willing to die for
the world is screaming …
… we’re plugging you into wonderland
we fell asleep last night …… the siren goes off
two hours …
… flash flash flash blinkblinkblink
the siren’s blare is so loud …
… his smell, sayings, my brothers
the green eye looked at me
… & yes, he’s toast
i want to drink in …
… obliterating the dark in a burst of golden light

ii — first lines of every chapter
aliens are stupid …
call me zombie …
it should have been easy …
as ways to go …
through the smudged window …
Ben Parsh is dead …
you saved me …
the world is screaming …
we fell asleep last night …
two hours …
the siren’s blare is so loud …
the green eye looked at me
i want to drink in …

iii — last lines of every chapter
… i am the battlefield
… you will be my battlefield
… and ran
… you saved me
… if you want to see, i can show you
… in the spirit of vengeance
… you have to find something you’re willing to die for
… we’re plugging you into wonderland
… the siren goes off
… flash flash flash blinkblinkblink
… his smell, sayings, my brothers
… & yes, he’s toast
… obliterating the dark in a burst of golden light

iv — chapter titles (in reverse order, both in name & chronology, with some licence)
the hole is dark & black — because of kismet or chance, i don’t know — the sea infinite in its ways — thousands of raindrops go into the flower — with a vengeance of spirit — that would kill a lesser heart — the day humans know they are winning — is the day the fly may fall into — silence — land — wonder at our last intrusion — i do not want to be, earth’s final historian

v — first & last line (put together as the first line) followed by chapter mashup
there will be no burst of golden light
through your window
reminding you of the world’s wonder
there will only be a winnowing
a thousand ways of silence
a loss of wonderland, mayfly days
black holes of human hearts
vengeance spirits flowering
rain in infinite seas
intrusions, last histories
because …

invasion wavesCROP.jpg

Day 26 – Seeing Things

What with tomorrow being tomorrow, & plenty of work to do to get ready for it, today’s poem & Game are both going to be as brief as poossible. I’ll be using a variation of one of the Word Games I’ve played before, Last Line (Gone) – except this time it’s First Line (Gone; to be the last line of my poem):).

The line is taken from  The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. A truly glorious wonderful book that made me laugh, made me cry, made me weep buckets. Told by Enzo, who is a dog, this is a book that is a delight to read & one which will no doubt linger for days.

the art of not facing the truth

it’s easy to pretend
i’m waiting for you

easy to say
i’ve learnt

easy to argue
next time will be better

easy to acknowledge
every wrong

now you are gone

empty gestures
are all i have


First line of The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. “Gestures all that I have; sometimes they must be grand in nature.”

Day 25 – The Year of One Day

Today is a controversial day for many. But it’s been good to me. The past 2 years now, I’ve got good poems out of it. Today I re-read Alan Seymour’s “classic Aussie play” The One Day of the Year, about the changing face of Anzac Day in the 60’s. I haven’t read it since uni, & ironically while it has dated, many of the issues it explores are still ones that people argue about today.

I began with its last line (Last Line, Gone) & continued from there…

the last post


love its haunting frail warbly wobbly squeaky somehow off-key, off-kilter
voice trying to be courageous to death’s face but never quite succeeding
forlorn melancholy brassy vulnerability half-farting battlefield bravado
but most of all the strange perception that no matter how well played
it always sounds like there’s a note wrong in there — somewhere


yes, it’s time to turn off the taps we’ve had our last warning
your duty is done your time is over your rest deserves peace

last postCROP

The last line of The One Day of the Year is: “i’m a bloody Australian & i’ll always …

Day 24 – Inspired by Last Week Tonight

Today entry is a bit of a laugh.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has twice made fun of New York News Channel, WCBS 2 & their somewhat, um, quirky, is perhaps the nicest way to put, teasers; the first was in November last year & again this week (I just saw it today).

They’re almost too weird to believe (though I have linked them, so you can watch for yourself). So this is a Title Poem Game based on these headlines.

WCBS2 News @ 11

if, in the last hour of the day, you find yourself wanting
answers to questions your regular news cannot provide.
never fear — the team at WCBS2 have got your back
we are not your typical news service

we go — inside a dog’s mind
& rate afterlife tourist traps — ghost rest stops

we’ll help you
— shock yourself happy
— freeze yourself fabulous
— shaming your name

& reveal the heartbreaking
— secret lives of suburban wives
(& how to cope when the supermarket’s
run out of on-special peanut butter)

mirrored pain — we finally address that fear of your reflection
the vampire facial — obviously last night’s program is not an issue for you

cover all the big health trends
— younger hands
— younger eyes
— women: shaving face
— scalp botox
— the man flu: the truth (hey it really is worse for men)
— viagra for kids

get our heads around all that fandangled
new, teckermonology
— the digital breakup
— digital amnesia
— digital anxiety
— digital dentistry
— text walking
— barcode bandits
— the atm panic button

now, we don’t want to scare you
but have you considered
— dog danger (if you got in their mind with us
a few weeks ago, you should be okay)

— keyless danger
— danger underground
— virtual kidnapping
— high heel self defence
— dry drowning
— water overdose

wanna know what’s inside something
we got it (un)covered
— what’s in the water
— what’s in your wine
— what’s in the box
(no, we’re not running out of ideas:
the contents of boxes are big news)

we’ll incite a bit of pogonophobia
(which ironically has nothing to do with bouncy sticks
are beards bad?

but sometimes are just
lazy — sick of food
poignant — summer sadness
alliterative — spiked spices


What In God’s Name Are They Covering On WCBS News At 11?

What In God’s Name Is Still Happening On WCBS2 News At 11