Category Archives: Pink Poesy

Poetry, unsurprisingly.

Poetry Workshop

Attended a poetry workshop earlier today at the Fitz, across town. Harvested some of the more reasonable products below – four in response to artworks I’ve included (doubled up on the Rodin), and the last a prompt. Rough works, but hopefully of some service.

auguste-rodin-large-clenched-hand

Large Clenched Hand
(Grande main crisp
ée)

Rodin

Vitality expressed in its
moment of expungence.
Pain, cast in metal.
The body radiating
its emotion, its anger
and its revolt,
using nothing more than
itself.

Masculine, this could be
the hand of Laocoön
as he grapples with
the serpent coils of
his pride-wrought fate.

Ah! Pride!
Whomever this hand
belongs to, it is a
proud man.
The despair, the anger
expressed in the rictus
clench could signal
no less
than a will
-a prideful will-
roundly thwarted.

 

FIT167215 David and Goliath, c.1857 (oil on canvas) by Degas, Edgar (1834-1917); 63.8x80 cm; Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, UK; French,  out of copyright

David and Goliath

Degas

Dun, nude, loose.
Your colours, the olive green,
the dirty taupe,
evoke your crude life,
your barbaric
brutish existence.

There could never have
been honour won that
day.
Honour requires grace,
and there is no grace to
be found
in the rude, shifting
muck of your lives.

 

Large Clenched Hand
(Grande main crisp
ée)

Rodin

Alive!
Even in My agony,
Beset by the cruelties of
the World
You will not take Me
I refuse this fate
I despite your arrows
of Inevitability

Reckon!
I am a Man
and though You
would snuff Me out,
You cannot deny that I have been
Alive!

 

alfred-sisley-a-street-possibly-in-port-marly-1876_

A street, possibly in Port-Marly, 1875-77

Sisley

I see your view
the view that you
moulded, filtered and
regurgitated.
And I deem it good.
Masterful, even. Yet,
it is not the skill
of rendering the sky,
nor the evocation
of the shadow,
nor any of the many other
elements of quality that
make me pause.

No.

It is simply
the way you write
your name.
The clumsiness of it.
Slap-dash.
Work-a-day.

Did you, too,
regret the ugliness
of your hand?
Did you
look on that text
and grow sad
at its lack of finesse?

Six characters, rough-written,
express more
than the painting entire.
Just as you reworked
what you saw, so do I
import my own assumptions.
But,
whatever phantasms I conjure,
whatever gross errors I commit,
I am left
with that sliver of Truth.
You and I,
We are brothers.

 

Sandbox

2×8’s
screwed to one another,
hanging together loosely, unevenly
set atop flags of repurposed concrete.
A shoddy affair, made in an amateur manner
but fit to purpose.
Good enough to hold back the spilling
sands.
You can remember the damp grit of it, even
now –
you can still feel it in your mouth, that
not-quite-earthy taste,
that roughness you knew,
even then, was doing
damage to your teeth.
How many hours did you spend there,
building imaginary worlds
which, god-like, shifted to your every whim?
Shifted, like so much sand.
Solitary hours – yes, there were times
you were joined, where your pantheon
doubled, trebled – but it was never as
good as when there was but a
single will – a direction unfettered
by compromise.
A tyranny enlightened
and self-contained.
Contained by a set of 2×8’s
screwed to one another
and hanging together,
loosely.

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The Start

The Start

The early days
where we are tentative:
Each with diffident regard
for the other – not yet honest,
still wrapped up in the allure of the foreign.
At arms length we eye one-another,
unsure of the way ahead.

Easily abashed, we shy from
the bold and dangerous claims of our hearts
their true pealing tones.
But,
when hinted at,
or fallen into
and –
met with words of support!

Ah, then the rush of emotion;
the desire to forge new commonalities;
to root out the remaining similarities;
it is strong.

The growth of it, it depends on
moments like this
where we rush roughshod
over our own timidity.
Where we drop our guard,
forgetting the earnest hopes
and desires
and bare ourselves.
Self forgotten in a moment of
vitality.

Only this way can we grow –
grow to be true friends.

The Modality of Illness

The Modality of Illness

What does it mean to be ill?
To be dying?
What is the meaning of violence?

How can one tell when the shift from
dying to dead happens,
from health to un-health?
When it comes time to hit to mean it,
how do you avoid pulling the punch?

Where does the sickness enter in,
and how can it be known,
in the moment,
that you shift from living to dying?

Life doesn’t happen
discretely.
While the time-slice might
be binary
the lived experience is continua.

You can’t switch between the two,
completely in one or the other.
So, how do you effect the shift?
Our media, our lessons, our culture
provide no easy solution.

At our bases, we are all
still Parmenedean.
The act of the will
is all,
and allows of no
gradation.

At point A
a thing is 0,
and point B
a thing is 1.
And the gulf between the two,
unbridgeable.
Where is the room for life?

 

 

Work Poems

A few poems I’ve had sitting around for a while. Thought I might as well post them. Some are newish, others I don’t even recall writing, but they all have a similar through-line. In no particular order:

7:48

 

Restive.
Filled with energy,
but eager to return to bed.

Feeling alive,

yet sickly – on a tilt

with my seinous too full.

Caffeine taking hold

with the work-day yawning before me

eager to swallow all my liveliness.

Agitated

I know not whether to shout the start of the day

or to crawl back beneath the sheets.

 

Of a Sunday

 

It is a small thing.
Inconsequential, really,

but the immediacy of it,

on the day,

makes it loom large in the eye.

 

Time runs quicker,
and the running, with the

rush of speed and compression of air,

adds to the stress.

Each hour attended to by

a mounting frustration,

itself a source of deprivation.

 

Finally, Night seeps in.
Night is a thin fabric, fit only

for the savouring of that

bitterest of rumens,

wasted Time.

 

Soon enough, the body is thrown back in.

And the mind, forever(?) shackled to it,

is dragged to the bottom just as inexorably.

Now, the regret comes

and with it,

the souring of future opportunities,

ushered in, compelled, by the

required perspective.

 

As we all know,

as we all know.

Time is merely relative,

and the experience of it,

it’s up to us.

How, then, to shake ourselves free,

and live as we wish to live?

Post Work Partum

 

The desire to crawl up inside yourself.

Not tired, but too burned through to care

hungry

even though you know you’ve eaten enough

Strung out on caffeine, jittery, short

Even the internet has run out of new things

and you’re

surrounded by people

with their inanities

and their posturing

and you just

can’t

fucking care about it all anymore.

Friday Afternoon

 

The frustration of

scenes, and descriptions

and interactions left

uncaptured for want of

foresight or strength of

memory.

The irritation of

plans and stories

and plots conjured on

the cusp of sleep, filling

you with excitement and

energy, only to fade

to ridiculousness, to

inexpressibility, to the

mundane by morning light.

The ever-present anxiety

at being illegitimate, at

wearing un-earned names,

at pinning too much of

yourself on something

ephemeral, on something

that doesn’t fit you.

Vigil

Vigil

I first saw them

around midsummer, walking home

in the early evening shade.

They stood, huddled together,

aside from the flow of traffic.

Not quite dark enough yet,

their candles didn’t cast much light.

Everyone else seemed to ignore them,

so I did too, despite their queer appearance.

 

The second time I saw them, their numbers

had grown.

Four now, all dressed similarly,

with the same candles as before.

Still no one seemed to pay them attention.

And so neither did I.

I was late to a meeting

with a friend.

 

I guess I’d catch them

every two or three days

over the course of the next

several months.

They never seemed to say anything,

or interact with anyone.

Just stood there,

with their candles,

and their dark clothes,

and their cryptic sign

saying:

Remember Ma-Ga

and D.S.

 

Winter’s set in now,

and the dark comes early,

and stays late.

I haven’t seen them for a while,

but

whenever I walk past

the corner they used to fill,

I think on how

their candles would flare brightly.

People would see them,

now.

Swelter

Swelter

 

The storied sailor may be right,

and Hell is a cold, icy ocean trench

that saps your will and chokes your heart;

I wouldn’t pretend to know.

 

Despair, though –

Despair is hot.

 

The heat of an over-burdened body

The heat of all the rage and impotence

clutched close and tight.

The heat of a breath held too long,

after the swirling eye-spots

have blotted out vision

and the lungs shudder to bursting.

The heat of a fatal fever-

too extreme to heal,

too strong to dissipate.

 

Despair has the heat of friction,

born of all the wasted efforts

and the rued missed chances,

and the stupid, wanton mistakes.

 

The heat smothers,

blanketing you with its weight.

It surrounds you even while

it comes from inside,

till the tears start from your bloodshot eyes and

moans, undirected, start from your parched throat.

Yes, Hell might be cold,

but Despair,

Despair is hot.

Nomenclature

Nomenclature

A writer, eh?
You seem to have considered this prettily thoroughly; you come to me with determination in your stance.

It never hurts, though, to have a second perspective.

A check-list, then, to get you on your way:
Necessities for THE WRITER

-recursive self-reference

-abstraction, elitist and hermetic

-anti-social addictions and behaviour: nicotine is a must, alcoholism is tested and true, but, for my money, opiates are due an imminent come-back

-melancholic disposition, coupled with pseudo-legitimate mental disorder(s)

-self-conscious posturing, initially best practiced alone

-queer politics: used to be, you could be a Maoist, though, nowadays, the Dark Enlighten –

What? What do you mean, none of that has anything to do with “the craft?” You think being a writer, it comes out of actually writing? Like some sort of emergent label?

You’ve got it all wrong, friend! Can’t you see, it’s McLuhan-esque! The whole package, it’s a performance! The trick of it, it’s about getting people, not all people, certainly, but enough to pay the tab, it’s about getting them to fall for the fantasy, to buy in!

You have to charm them with your attractive vulnerability, your potent phthisis, picking up on their own desires for a sensual enervation.

You have to become that idealised insubstantial!

Then, then you’ll have them, have them by the score and, vampiric, you’ll feed off their collective desires, enriching yourself to sustain your dissolution.

That’s what being a Writer is all about! Actually writing, well, that’s maybe third or fourth in order of actual importance!

Identity

Identity

 

Ex-communist

Student

Male

Writer

Son

Aesthete

Brother

Caucasian

Husband

Feminist-Ally

Canadian

Socialist

Friend

Expatriate

Agnostic

Cis

Millennial

Pescetarian

Musician

 

None of these things

are Me

Published?

Poem published in the April 2 edition of the Cambridge News

Science Park ver. 2

Satisfaction

Satisfaction

 

Verruca.

Chipped Tooth.

Scar Tissue.

Overbite.

Too much weight here.

Too little there.

 

Without this,

this current

Fixation,

maybe then I’d

be happy,

and confident,

and satisfied with

this,

this body of

mine.

 

 

Probably not,

though.