NaPoWriMo 15: Bloodshot Moons

A blood(shot) moon.

 

Further poetry catch-up. Here’s my terza rima from Tuesday…From which I learned that terza rima is HARD to make sense and execute elegantly. I’ve done my best!

As you may be able to surmise from the title, it’s about the current tetrad of blood moons – although not in an apocalyptic way – and about eyes.

(If you’re reading this and also wear contact lenses, perhaps the odd experience of looking into your eye and wiggling the plastic retina back and forth (like a little eclipse) to make it more comfortable, may resonate…)

 

Bloodshot Moons

 

These hours, when shining faces become slurred

the centre of my eyes are inverse moons:

their two gasping auroras speak the word

 

water. For midnight here is scorched high-noon,

when plastic sight eclipses. Space is blurred

and my dry lens is a dish for the spoon

 

of tomorrow morning’s lost ellipses.

 

NaPoWriMo 2.12: Hilarity Crash-Lands in Japan

Or become hysterical – but do go to Japan, it’s great.

Yesterday’s word adventure was to think up a concrete noun – a word for a solid, everyday thing – and look it up online.

Then, the idea is to replace that word with an abstract noun – love, fear, sorrow – and see what emerges:  a ‘replacement poem’.

It’s a nice way of forcing an unusual perspective, a form of remote association (which poetry depends on) – wherein one has to draw together two disparate elements and seek what links them. I found the playlist poem exercise did this, too, linking song titles to a Russian constructivist tower (!).

So I got a concrete and abstract noun (from a third party, to make it interesting), looked up the concrete noun and found a news story about it, or a particular type of it…Then created a sort of deletion poem, cutting down and down until it became something else:

 

Hilarity Crash-Lands in Japan

 

It burst in

from a pit

that orbited Earth

for eight months.

Very interesting

flowers.

 

The ‘extraterrestrial’,

expected in April,

suddenly produced.

 

Form was unusual:

sent to the ISS

with astronaut

Koichi Wakata,

returned to Earth

eight months later.

 

“We are amazed

how fast it has grown,”

Masahiro Kajita,

chief priest, said.

 

Children planted the seeds,

to blossom in 10 tears*,

when children

come of age.

 

 

The original – very strange & beautiful – news story can be read here.

 

* NB this typo was in the original article, but I left it as I liked the image…

NaPoWriMo 2.6: Enceladus Street

image

Enceladus. Not enchiladas.

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to use what’s outside your window to make a list or toolbox of nouns, colours and verbs to play with in creating a poem.

It wasn’t quite happening, so I had a look through the day’s news for further inspiration and came across this story about Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons (not the popular Mexican food, although it does sound similar). Scientists have confirmed that there is likely to be a large body of water which might – a big might – contain some form of life…

So I used the word bank I generated (looking out of a cafe window earlier) and tried to apply them to a poem about Enceladus…This is a useful technique sometimes, to force new or different ways of expressing things. You can, for example, list verbs to do with a job (butchery, or athletics, or ironmongery) and then use those verbs on an entirely unrelated subject matter – so you could get ‘welding’ in a poem about food. (This is something Margret Geraghty describes in her book ‘The Five-Minute Writer’). It’s a nice way to get verbs ‘working harder’.

As ever – it’s work in progress and I have no idea if the word-transposing thing worked here, but it’s something to try eh?

And I am now up to date with my poems! And so to bed, with thoughts of space…

 

Enceladus Street

or, Piece of String Territory

 

A billioned reddened weather vanes

turn to face the galvanized grey

of its vents. The idea of blue

looms in over our sensors:

aqua-marines, royals, magentas.

 

Away from the safety-

yellow of the street-light Sun,

the indecipherable graffiti

of Earth. Our drifting CCTV

taxis, like an echo in this dark

car park, never paying

or displaying.

 

Could this be just

(half)

the ticket?

A prime location to

(almost)

make it?

The Rules of Twister or, Meaning of Whirl

One of the recent, unusual, French funnels.

Recently, there have been tornadoes in both the USA and in France (!), where they are much less common an occurrence and, mercifully for the French, much less powerful.

So in a bid to capture something of their violence and swirling destruction, I put to use the Lazarus Corporation Text Mixing Desk in conjunction with Google Translate, the internet, and my brain.

Essentially, I put the rules of Twister and definitions of tornadoes through the Mixing Desk (I’m really not sure how it works, apart from removing expletives, or swear words, and generally cutting up the text you put in).

I then alternated (ish) a line from each (the rules and the definition) and – in honour of the recent French ‘tornades’ – put this through Google Translate from English, to French, to (one of their former colonies and because it’s a symbol language), Vietnamese – then back and forth until the language got confused.

At each point, I saved the intermediary translation, then chose the ones I liked at the end and tinkered with it (to give it something of a vortex-form, too – dot dot dot…).

Sometimes when the ideas aren’t a-flowing, you’ve got to prime them. It’s a fun experiment – and perhaps captures something of a whirl of meaning and confusion in the language, as twisters/tornadoes/tornades/cơn lốc xoáy (that’s the Vietnamese) actually cause in real life…

I also like that ‘the Referee’ came up as a figure with the agency: whether that’s the Weather itself, or a God (if you’re so inclined), or Chance, is up to you…

 

The Rules of Twister

or, Meaning of Whirl

 

…the Referee can call, may, may call out:

appearance, emergence of a funnel-shaped cloud.

The colouring arrow – pointing, advancing

large progress. Great examples

power the steering wheel. Then

the Referee spins the spinner, then…

 

…someone or something turns violent

or mobile: devastating, devastating spiral

calls out to the part of the body

of winds turned violent, rotating

with action and passion. Then

the Referee must turn again

a different colour, then…

 

Going Viral: The Edge of Life

Coronavirus – which probably doesn’t infect textiles, like the virus in my poem

I’ve been having a bit of a recovery period post-NaPoWriMo. Well, I did write 31 poems during April; so a little pause is not unreasonable…

Just spotted this story about the new and potentially-pandemical (it’s a word now), coronavirus. The name sounds quite pretty – like a crown, or the corona of the sun. But sadly its symptoms – possible respiratory and kidney failure – are far from pretty. Here’s hoping it does not become any more than the threat of a pandemic.

And while we wait to see if this lurgy heralds the apocalypse-proper: here’s a piece I wrote some time ago about a (possibly) more benign viral pandemic, the source of which is a fusty academic (hey – that rhymed)…

 

The Edge of Life

 

Though to others it seemed

he had been quarantined

for some years now

in his collegiate room,

his conjectural womb

and perma-furrowed brow:

something had been transmitted.

 

He noted it first

with the patches

he had fitted

to his elbows,

the latches

of the arms

to his seat;

the spine

turning pages

a day

at a week

at a year

at a time.

 

They relapsed

from leather

to tweed,

and then so

did his seat.

In one dark-bound tome

spreading up the walls

he sought acute definition,

(an unambiguous home

in his first edition)

for the current

and developing

condition.

 

It stated:

A virus

is an infectious agent

which replicates within a host,

composed of RNA or DNA,

a protein coat,

an organism

at the edge of life.

 

But not, it seemed now,

at the edge of fashion;

not an agent

in exclusive ration.

An organism

with ample hosts,

in trousers, shirts,

blouses and coats,

a coarse-woollen contagion

of replicant ghosts.

 

Although no-one could don

this material as he could

they unwittingly would

as the symptoms upon

their attire began.

 

No fabric was immune:

polyester perished,

silk succumbed,

denim died, and

cotton went to meet

its Tailor.

 

He saw the pandemic

progress across campus

and county and country

from his leather-patch window;

the edge of life,

the tattered hem,

the volume’s fraying sheets.

NaPoWriMo 29: Excerpts from a Report on the New Poem Aquarium

An empty aquarium – shall we fill it with poems? Shall we?

So yes, it being the end of NaPoWriMo, I’m going quite deranged and using increasing amounts (and oddities) of Found or – in this instance what I’m calling ‘Poached Poetry’. (Poached in the sense of hunted and stolen, or I guess it could be poached in the egg-sense.)

This has reached new and ridiculous heights (or depths) today: I have just watched a news report about a new Chinese visitor attraction and written bits of it out as a poem, giving the attraction a new title.

To retain the (very tiny amount of) enigma, I will only post the link to the original news report at a later time…

What do you think the report was actually about?

Don’t throw a wobbly trying to figure it out.

 

A Poached Poem

or, Excerpts from a Report on the New Poem Aquarium

 

…Psychedelic, otherworldly, primordial:

visitors can now get up-close and personal

with the creatures, albeit from a safe

distance. Even the more dangerous species

are a sight to behold…

 

…Some have quite long tentacles and,

as a result, they look quite graceful

when swimming…

 

…More than 3000 are on show,

dozens of species

in eleven tanks

some weigh more than

twenty tonnes…

 

…The museum says it is not easy

to keep the deep-sea dwellers

in captivity. They’re poor swimmers –

a special circulatory system

is required, just to keep them

afloat….

NaPoWriMo 23: A Triolet for Entropy

The Universe loves things to get more disordered. (So most of us fit right in – We Are Stardust!)

I’m running on a slightly altered NaPoWriMo timetable, or flexi-time, if you will: there’s a Welcome and a Blessing brewing for Sunday, from earlier prompts. But as I’ve slightly stumbled on these – and am going to return to them – I thought I’d try out a triolet from today’s NaPoWriMo prompt.

Looking around for some inspiration, I found this article about entropy and intelligence – which slightly blew my mind. In essence, this is about the idea that the Universe tends towards a more disordered state – and that by applying this idea to some models, they become analogous to what happens when ‘intelligent’ beings are involved. That we, as intelligent (supposedly) beings, are also inherently entropic. Apparently, even the evolution of walking may be relevant in this system. Roll on the bedlam!

I think that’s what it means, anyway. Although I suggest you read it yourself, as the reporter clearly knows what they’re talking about a lot more than this poet.

And to celebrate this un-knowledge of our inherent entropy, I wrote an orderly triolet…

6061841765_df55494046

NaPoWriMo 20: Rising Suns

Piss-en-lit! Taraxacum!

Yesterday’s NaPoWriMo prompt was to use a prescribed list of words and include 5 or more in a poem. Jo Bell’s prompt was to write about something that was growing. So I did both: PROMPT-JAM. Yeah.

As I walked near where I live yesterday, I noticed a patch of grass with lots of dandelions on it – and I was thinking about John Donne and his poem Sun Rising. There was an Afternoon Drama about him on last week – The Flea (which was  wonderful: a great rendering of some of the poems and a great dramatisation of that moment where he met his young wife – you can listen to it here for the next couple of days and I recommend you to!).

So this poem’s a response to Sun Rising with a slightly different cosmology in mind – using that wonderful line ‘nothing else is’ as a starting point.

And, of course, sneaking in lots of those pesky words from the NaPoWriMo list*.

 

Rising Suns

or, What About Everything Else?

 

If nothing else is, then what is this? Oh

bilious soil, gerrymandering generator

of dunderheaded dandelions. Lying

on this lawn’s gutter

trying to be stars.

 

Piss-en-lit! Taraxacum!

You are the cowbird’s feed –

no more than seaweed

on this ocean green.

 

Do they not know the Sun

is non-pareil? Cyclops Sky,

look the other way from

earth’s rodomontade! Its

jagged leaf-curls, its petal-sways

firing a gaudy artillery

of interstellar rays.

 

For there is no centre,

not in you, not in me:

only endless circles,

miraculous spheres;

svelte self-similarity,

and ego’s ghostly tears.

 

*Words included (some slightly altered in form! Is that allowed?) from NaPoWriMo’s prompt:


generator
miraculous
dunderhead
cyclops
seaweed
gutter
non-pareil (having no equal)
artillery
curl
ego
rodomontade
twice
ghost
cowbird
svelte

NaPoWriMo 19: Dating the Deep

COLOSSUS SEEKS KRAKEN

Yesterday’s prompt was to write a poem in the form of a personal ad (from NaPoWriMo) or to write about a particular word you really love.

So: I love the word ‘cephalopod’ (and am fascinated by this group of animals) – so I’ve fused the two prompts into the following. (I’m not even sure it’s a poem; more just a silly tinkering with acronyms and the conventions.)

Just imagine this appearing in an edition of Deep Sea Dating magazine…

 

Dating the Deep

or, FEEL YOUR WAY

 

Version one (acronyms):

 

FEEL YOUR WAY:

COLOSSUS (20-25m) seeks

KRAKEN 4 WLTM or B2B

ENJOYS PnP Energy

Looking for LTR

ALAWP (within reason)

GSOH, WE

 

Version two (acronyms explained):

 

FEEL YOUR WAY:

COLOSSUS (20-25metres) seeks

KRAKEN 4 Wavy Long-Tentacled Moments or Beak to Beak

Enjoys Predation and Preserving Energy

Looking for Teuthological Reproduction

All Large Whales Pursued (within reason)

Great Set of Hooks, Whopping Eyes

 

Appendix – 

Original homo sapiens acronyms:

 

ALAWP: all letters answered with a photo (probably means the advertiser will only reply to letters that attach a photo)

B2B: Does not exist, made it up

GSOH: good sense of humor

LTR: long-term relationship

PnP: party and play

WE: well endowed

WLTM: would like to meet

NaPoWriMo 14: I AM ANTI-BOTNET

An infographic of how a Botnet works…I’d like to see an infographic of my ANTI-BOTNET. Anyone?

Tasked with creating a ‘persona poem’ yesterday (with the suggestion of a superhero). So I started trolling the internet for some inspiration – and came across this story from today, which I found simultaneously interesting, amusing and alarming.

WordPress (which hosts this very site) has been ‘attacked’ by a ‘Giant Botnet’ of some thousands of linked computers since last week – and this may have been a pre-cursor to a much larger attack (a ‘Mega Botnet’?)…When thinking, then, about a superhero – I thought we (WordPress users, many of whom will be using it to share their NaPoWriMo efforts) could do with the ANTI-BOTNET.

Last month, I went to the Leeds Trinity Writers’ Festival Day and we did a workshop on the ‘Techno-Poem’. This seemed such a rich thread of techno-speak, -images and -ideas, I thought… HERE COMES THE ANTI-BOTNET (WHO ALWAYS SPEAKS IN CAPITALS).

BE WARNED, READER – THIS ONE IS VERY VERY SILLY:

 

I AM ANTI-BOTNET

or, http://www.IFEARNOTHING.infinity/forever/BAM

 

I AM ANTI-BOTNET. FROM WITHIN THE

NETWORK’S SPACES, I EMERGE: FROM THE

DARKLING ROBOT’S SHADOW, I WILL SURGE

INTO THE NETWORK PROTOCOLS

OF YOUR TECHNO-SOUL.

 

I AM ANTI-BOTNET AND NO MALICIOUS

SOFTWARE THREATENS ME. NO IRC

CAN CHAT ITS WAY THROUGH

THE INTERNET RELAY SUITE

OF MY CYBER-MIND.

 

I AM ANTI-BOTNET AND MY CAPS-LOCK

IS FOREVER ON: ZOMBIE-COMPUTERS

FEAR THE ENCRYPTION OF MY CRY;

THE SPAMDEX-NETQUAKE OF MY ROAR.

I CODE FEAR IN TO SKYNET,

YES – EVEN TERMINATOR.

 

I AM ANTI-BOTNET AND NO BOT-HERDER

USHERS ME TOWARDS DESTINY.  MY

ALMIGHTY ALGORITHMS SELF-ARISE

IN THE SILICONE-STEELY SOLIDITY

OF MY BILLION-BILLION-WEBCAM EYES.