Day 27 – poem about bad hair

g&g

Some days a poem just writes itself. This was one such. From a few notes jotted while I was visiting my gran in her “retirement home”, the tone quickly established itself & made me laugh out loud as the various descriptions presented themselves.

knot me

in the quiet blue of my gran’s tiny
room a photo of a long-haired kiss-
curled cow-licked feminine-faced lout;
smug in a purple-striped shirt under
neath an all-white knitted jumper
(as was, I hope, vaguely fashionable
in the Miami Vice trashed late 80’s);
set off with a heart-shaped silver bolo-
tie for fuck’s sake
                                 although i recognise
his confident cock-eyed grin, his too-
smooth clean-cut chin, & once-pride&joy
full-but-already-thinning head of fine
wavy hair, my stomach double knots
in grief & pity — for he does not yet
know all he has, nor all he will lose

Day 21 – a list poem that is not in any way reflective of my real life

Slight change of pace today. Not a big List Poem writer. But wanted to try a TO DO LIST list poem. The rest is both sad & self -explanatory.

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the TO DO LIST poem

  • find the to do list you made yesterday
  • prioritise the tasks on that list
  • then do the things on that list
  • actually do the next thing first
  • add the things you forgot to put on yesterday’s list, including:
    • pay bills (it doesn’t matter which ones, they’re all due)
    • submit the article that was due last week
    • read the book you need to review
    • wash the dishes (no seriously, you’re out of cutlery)
    • buy fresh milk
    • stop making cups of tea then absentmindedly adding off-milk
    • throw out off-milk
    • clean out whole fridge while you’re at it
    • take cans to recycling
    • register the dog
      • buy the dog a collar
      • register the dog, put the rego disc on the dog’s collar, put the collar on the dog
  • then prioritise the NEW list
  • work out how much time is left in the day
  • allocate a specific time to get each task done
  • make sure you stick to the schedule
  • get first two things done which takes 3 times as long as you thought
  • make coffee so you can stay up late tonight getting things crossed off the NEW list
  • absentmindedly add off-milk
  • don’t just put the off-milk back in the fridge, throw it out
  • treat yourself to a short stretch on top of the bed
    ——(ostensibly to read some of that book you need to review)
  • fall asleep after three pages
  • wake up, groggy, too late to make proper meal
  • eat half a can of baked beans cold from the tin
  • make a cup of tea
  • absentmindedly add off-milk
  • seriously why didn’t you throw that milk out, it’s not hard
  • climb in to bed proper
  • think of all the things you need to add to tomorrow’s to do list
  • promptly fall asleep & forget everything you need to add

*****

to-do-list

Day 1 – New look blog, new NaPoWriMo season … same old chaos

Having successfully completed last year’s NaPoWriMo I was all set to come into this year, with a plan, well-organised & a task list of things I wanted to achieve. (I have a folder of articles I think might be great starting points for poems; I have ideas for poems which when written will go in yet into yet-to-be-completed collections; I have snippets of lines I want to expand into a poem; I have titles without poems beneath them.)

Naturally that was all knocked out the window within the first 24 hours …

To be fair, I have submitted 11 poems to 5 separate competitions in the past 3 days (including one which was only sent off at 11.51pm to make a midnight deadline — thanks Sarah R for late night editing advice, we didn’t fix everything but fixed a lot more than I would have by myself.)

& so to today…

On Wednesday that self-same Sarah, challenged me to write a poem (actually three) for her. The prompts were:

  • Jazz (she knows my fondness for the form)
  • “I have been called …”
  • Resurrection

I have been efficient (or lazy, depending on your perspective) & combined them into one glorious evocation which cogently & (moderately) briefly articulates my views of the genre (including some of my favourite quotes)

((heehee, chuckling already just thinking of some of them))

(((nothing like making enemies on day 1 of NaPoWriMo)))

I think of it as a Comic Narrative Collage Poem (for those writing essays on it)

NB: I openly concede I have occasionally appropriated &/or transmutated the words of others without attribution, but as the wise ones say: stealing from one author is plagiarism, stealing from many is research

& so:

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litany: a fair & comprehensive critique of Jazz

in the beginning
i have been called many names
few of them kind
simply for expressing
not my distaste, but rather
my total lack of interest
in jazz

musical interlude I
just so i’m being fair (ho ho ho)
i’ve dug out a few old mp3’s
(sorry purists & your obsession
with lossless files the size
of our larger country towns)
& they’re in the background now
helping give me context
Sonny Rollins & Dave Brubeck’s foursome
& Miles Davies who’s feeling Kind of Blue
(no kidding if you’re listening to what you’re playing)

research: google proving
jazz sucks 1.39 million googles
i hate jazz — 23 million googles
why jazz is bad 122 million googles

quotes by better minds than i
sure it might be cheap & easy shots
to repeat some zingers from better minds than i
about why jazz is not the wonderful art form
its many beret wearers contend
so with that commendation
i gleefully will

the cons
like toddlers let loose in a music room

music invented for the torture of imbeciles

it has a bad name because some of it’s crap & it’s boring

choppy noise pretending to make music out of traffic jams

live jazz — two words which find my hands instinctively shooting up to protect my ears

there are two types of people in this world, people who like jazz & people who would rather perforate their ear drums with rusty knitting needles than listen to it

like the kind of a man you wouldn’t want your daughter associating with
(though some take this as a compliment)

& as el Barto famously claims
ahhh… cartoons America’s only native art form — i don’t count jazz because it sucks

musical interlude II
hmmm, old boy’s club isn’t doing it for me
so have downloaded tracks from Ambrose Akinmusire’s album
“The Imagined Savior is Far Easier to Paint” (wtf?)
(apparently he’s a hip hot young thing on the jazz scene)
so how’s that for open minded
what a fair & balanced old fox am i
to boldly go where i have long avoided going

testimonials from actual people
i love jazz! i listen to it in bed — it helps me fall asleep
i put Theolonius Monk on for brunch when my in-laws come over
it’s so soothing — i play it when i’m studying or reading
i always play it after sex — helps the ladies out of my bed & into their taxi quicker

claims against its greatness
it’s elitist, pretentious
bastion of testosterone
did i mention catch all for pretension
or at least many pretentious folk flock to it

two words: smooth jazz
two more words: jazz fusion

it’s mostly dreck

musical interlude III
that wasn’t working either so gone back to basics:
“Let’s Get Acquainted with Jazz — For People Who Hate Jazz”
[a mono vinyl rip] — & suddenly i’m transported
to the mid 50’s & the little lady is bringing out
whores derves for our happening dinner party

the pros
if you’re expecting a resurrection
where i claim after listening to it
i am now a convert, sorry to disappoint
however in the interest of fairness

jazz isn’t: methodical, but isn’t messy either
(oh, that makes sense now, thank you)

jazz is: smooth & cool … rage … flows like water … never seems to begin or end (well it never seems to end, i’ll give you that, sorry sorry)

((i know i probably should refrain from commenting
on all of these positive ones — but it’s just too much fun))

(((where was i?)))

it’s a conversation … a give & take … a connection & communication between musicians
(perhaps, but don’t you think you should consider your audience a bit too)

washes away the dust of everyday life
(that one’s actually quite lovely, but i find water does just as well
& doesn’t make my ears bleed)

musical interlude IV ends abruptly
/my god, my god — do you never stop
this one track has been playing
in the back ground stomping on my brain
noodling along for what feels like days
never ending noodling
noodle noodle noodle
high hat high hat
da-da-da dah toot
da-da-da dah toot
da-da-da dah toot
da-da-da dah toot
da-da-da dah toot
da-da-da dah toot
back to “Shake it Off” for me

arguments against “my not getting it”
if your taste was better cultivated, you’d be able to appreciate it
implication:
like mine is, like i do
(sorry but if jazz were better i would like it
whether or not i could evaluate it on an intermellectual level)

improvisation is EXTREMELY hard
aka:
you don’t like jazz because you can’t play it
(i can’t play any musical instrument in any sort of pleasing way
but that doesn’t stop me liking whole swags of musical styles)

you can’t criticise jazz without understanding it
(um, if it looks like shit & smells like shit
i don’t need to taste it to find out it is shit)

perhaps it’s not jazz music that’s the problem
it’s jazz musicians

or more alarmingly — jazz aficionados

in summation
it’s annoying noise
it’s annoising

repetitive without being groovy
improvisational without being original

if a musician hits the wrong note
they keep playing & try not to hit it again
jazz players hit it again … & again … & again

to be serious for just a moment though
any system where Nina Simone & Ella Fitzgerald
are described by the same word which
includes the warblings of Kenny G & Michael Bublé
is seriously flawed

so there, you’ve caught me out
some early jazz vocalists i don’t not not hate

my idea of hell is being trapped
between the 88th & 89th floor
of a burning skyscraper
& not fearing i’ll fall, but worrying
the smooth jazz soundtrack
piping through the tinny sound system
will last longer than the cable

the best thing about jazz is there’s no chance
of getting a melody stuck in your head
which is great because who wants
jazz stuck in your head anyway

but the final damning nail in the jazz coffin has to be:
that Star Trek: The Next Generation’s
Commander William T. Riker loves it
& he’s the biggest douche out beyond the final frontier

critique complete.

*****

riker eyes

what comes when you have other deadlines

A friend & I are currently doing a trial run for a project we’d like to deliver early next year. This means we are each writing a poem a day (supposedly for all of September, but we’ll see how dry the well gets).  It’s similar to a NaPoWrMo — but a theme has been selected & each poem is an exploration of that theme. We intend to invite other poets, set tasks, & look to publish the best of, etc etc. But I digress.

Six days in, it’s exciting but definitely a very challenging task.

Naturally, given that I have a daily deadline & a set topic — I’m finding all sorts of reasons to write those other poems — NOT AT ALL RELATED TO THE POSSIBLE FUTURE PROJECT TEST RUN!!!! — which have been inside for a few months … or are discovered as I research topics only tangentially related to the topic (if at all).

This is good for those BONUS poems (I must be producing 3  for every 1 project poem each day, & fragments / sketches of others). So it’s nice to have a lot of new first drafts under my belt. [Seriously the application of a curfew makes the fun you have after it has expired soooo much more wonderful!]  But I hope the designated topic starts turning up some gems soon.

This is one of those offcuts. I don’t actually need to say much more about it, as the poem is a little too self-explanatory (hey it’s only a draft) & will tell its story walkin’. The title, sadly, I think is my favourite part 🙂  But it is, at the very least, a quirky piece of information – definitely worth the share.  Thoughts/comments always appreciated.

 

Johannes Goropius Becanus’s Brabantic Obsession

was it:

hubris, naiveté or desperation to be near
a god that patiently does not exist, or at the last
doesn’t actually care enough to intervene

which led 16th century Dutch amateur linguist
Johannes Goropius Becanus to prove
Brabantic was the language spoken in Paradise?

his key theory:

the world’s original language must be its simplest
& given innocent Brabantic has more short words than
Latin, Greek, & Hebrew — viz. it’s older than all three!

corollary theories:

all languages have bitten from the Brabantic tree
Egyptian hieroglyphics represent Brabantic
Eden was located (you guessed it) in the Brabant

oh — did I mention Brabantic was the language
spoken between the Scheldt & Meuse Rivers
in Holland, the region right where Goropius lived?

IKR, coincidence or what!

*****

Tree_of_Knowledge_by_The_Fairywitch

Tree of Knowledge by The-Fairywitch

Day 30 – April Thirty: two, for the price of one

NaPoWriMo is over for me for 2014.  There’s no need for an introduction cos I say it all in the poem.

NaPoWriMo 2014 meta-poem

i.
this last, a self-referential postmodern effort
where i talk about writing the poem itself
& how even finding the title proved elusive
vacillations between the technoesque
“rebuild”, “reboot”, even “re-de-construct”
to the cliched “fresh start” & “new day”
& the punning “imperfect storm”
it’s been a challenging month on a life front
wherein i survived easter (always a dark time)
dealt with banal bureaucracies who
(simply because they weren’t paid for several months)
disconnected power & phone
was unable to use an expired credit card
risked not being able to drive as my car
was 3 hours away from being unregistered
being cancelled from my artist payment grant
because i hadn’t attended a meeting
searched for long lost medicare & healthcare cards
(finding one out of two) almost missed out
on participating in my new course of study
owing to a clerical error…

… but all that changed today
when my long awaited tax refund
magically appeared in my bank account
& the clouds parted & the sun shone down
& life almost did, literally, start again

ii.
yet despite enduring
all that Real World guff
i’ve scribed & posted
30 poems in 30 days
played a few word games
some less successful than others
received some moving feedback
gone from 0 to 50 followers
(thank you all) & been viewed
over 470 times in 11 countries
all of which helps make my first
NaPoWriMo a true blast

i feel exhausted
sad
drained
strangely addicted
wishing for a few more days
wishing Day 16
had a bigger response
& i could reveal the punchline

i’m gonna miss it like mad
because while i published 30 poems
there’s at least another 30
in various solid draft stages
& 30 more abandoned ideas
that might warrant revisiting
when i have more time & energy
so all in all, a profitable month

it’s good
to be
a poet

 

BONUS POEM:  I began this month with a poem about stars. I want to end it the same way, except this is just about one star. My favourite one.

 

latecomers to the sunset

people continue to stop    suddenly
iPhonestruck    fumbling in awe
to snapcapture    the wild gold
firestorm    our universe is  flaring

it’s glorious  admittedly   but i keep
thinking    half-smugly  half-sadly
you should have been here 
15 minutes ago

*****

 2014-04-30 23.49.30

 

Day 26 – April Twenty Six: I’ll be caaaaalllllllllllllling you!

I actually had a pretty good draft of this poem completed by midday.  Then I drank some wine.  Red wine.  Very rich plummy chocolaty tasting red wine.  It’s now just after 11pm.  (There’s a lesson in there somewhere!)

It’s based on a few notes I made a couple of days ago while dealing with my electricity provider.

powerless

thank you for calling Genesis Energy
please listen carefully as the following options may have changed

to feel frustrated, please press #1
to wish to kill yourself painlessly, please press #2
to be treated like a nameless shleck, please press #3
to be shunted back & forth between a variety of different Customer Assistant Consultants, none of whom will actually assist you, please press #4
to slowly go crazy as you are tag-teamed by a duet of equally perky but highly irritating male & female announcers who banter delightfully as they tell you 28 different versions of — “for other ways you can make a positive difference with Genesis Energy including Solar Heating, please talk to one of our Customer Assistant Consultants … today“, please press #5
to be utterly infuriated by the repeated-every-7-seconds burst of bland but groovy funky elevator jazz music, please press #6
to have your query answered quickly & efficiently, please press #9
(we’re just kidding of course, there is no option #9)

you have selected #5
{click}
thanks for holding
{click}
we apologise for the delay, your call will be answered as soon as possible
{click}
your call is in the queue, and will be answered in approximately < 8 > minutes

*****

 Online-channel-powered-by-call-centres

Image: Call centre hell