A Recipe for Martian Happiness

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Marvin could do with a bit of this recipe, I reckon.

Last Thursday 27th July, I compered an event as part of at-Bristol’s Festival of What If-?

As part of the evening – with its excellent provocations on the theme of living on Mars – I crowd-sourced a poem: A Recipe for Martian Happiness. That poem is now disappeared forever (though someone might have been filming it on their phone, I think) – but I’ve used the components to generate another…

**NB contains a single, heroically-deployed swearword in first stanza**

A Recipe for Martian Happiness

Take:
3,004,437 kisses of rubies and warp-tunnel-bend them with a toolbelt.
3,279,491 metric fucktonnes of lipstick and propulse them with duct tape.
8,197,635 on the Kardashev Scale of roses; whizz with a lovely felt tip pen.

Add:
1,470,239 infinitesimally small bloods, which you’ll propel with a space-hopper pump.
4,724,435 centimetres of crochet, to asphyxiate with a defraction grate.
8,716,756 fathoms of macaws: endeavour these with
the machine on the shopping channel that slices the egg.

Continue with:
7,717,684 Angstroms of banjos and drip them with resilience.
3,508,683 planetfulls of strawberries to expand with a penknife.
3,094,126 semitones of folk dancing; smash with a molecular miner.

After that, locate:
6,680,979 planetoids of ferrets, so you can daydream them with a hairdryer.
4,813,550 voids of cold noses to hyperswim with a pen.
4,312,191 planet-hops of cat videos and accelerate them with a quantum discombobulator.

Pause a moment to fetch:
1,714,822 chunks of red lipstick, invented with a centrifuge.
9,705,975 baskets of fire, upthrusted with a whisk.
601,592 on the Beaufort Scale of sex, zoomed with a Mower Drill Toothbrush.

Finally, pop in:
3,498,057 furlongs of a Martian’s ruddy complexion, evaporated with a spiralizer.
4,550,125 glasses of Marslot, blinked with a sporknif.
Garnish with a run of compressors.
Method for generating this poem:

I asked those present at the What If We Lived on Mars? event to contribute to this poem – by writing:

  • Measurements of any kind (on yellow tags)
  • Ingredients – things that make you happy and/or are red (pink tags)
  • Verbs of any kind, spacey and non-spacey (green tags)
  • Tools of spacey and non-spacey kind (blue tags)

We then used this formula when performing the poem for the first and only time, in that iteration…

Take <random no. from phone app>
<measurement>
of <ingredient>
and <verb> it
with a <tool>
REPEAT UNTIL BORED/COMPLETE
Final sequence begins ‘Garnish with…’

NaPoWriMo 4.30 – Ate Night Moat

This is my day 30 (final one for the year) effort for National Poetry Writing Month.

It’s a homophonic translation (according to sound, not meaning – I don’t know Norwegian!) of this Norwegian poem by Jan Erik Vold.

And as a final flourish, I decided to have a go at an experimental ‘quick and dirty’ video poem (having recently bought a new laptop and some editing sofware).

The purposes of the exercise was mainly having a go at one of my own, using bits and pieces I happened to have filmed on my mobile phone, and to continue getting to grips with my editing sofware.(Also, I really enjoy homophonic translations for their nonsense quality!)

So it’s far from polished, nor does it really have a ‘concept’! But that’s NaPoWriMo sometimes…Hopefully there are some interesting juxtapositions – and it’s made me want to experiment more with poetry, video and sound together.

NaPoWriMo been a really enjoyable endeavour this year and I’ve written various things I’m certainly going to develop – so I’ll see you all in 2017 🙂

Here’s the original poem, followed by the text version of my homophonic translation, followed by the actual translation (which is not, as you might imagine, very similar):

ET NYTT MØTE
Et nytt møte – og all den
smerte

dét
innebærer. Likevel

gleder vi oss, likevel
trekker vi

i alle salighetens
spaker håndtak og hendler, jackpot

på jackpot!
mens myntene raser

ut, de er flere og kommer fortere
enn vi kan samle

dem opp – la gå
med det, la gå med det.

Å veksle
disse sjetongene inn, det er der

det virkelige
arbeidet ligger.

**My homophonic translation**

Ate Night Moat

Ate night moat, ogled
and smarter

debt
imbiber. Like evil

gladder vile, like evil
Trekkie vile

Eye all her Sally eaters
speaker handbag or handler, jackpot

pi jackpot!
Men’s minty razor

out, deer flair hog Frontera
envy can smelly

them up – lager
Med debt, lager Med debt.

A Vesper
disses shit on jeans in, debtor dear

debt twerker liger*
albeit liger.

* a liger actually is “the offspring of a male lion and a female tiger.”

**Real translation**
A New Meeting
A new meeting – and all
the pain

bound
to follow. Even so

we’re happy about it, pulling at
all the

handles, levers and sticks
of joy, jackpot

upon jackpot!
while the coins gush out

so fast
and so many that we cannot

collect them – never mind about
that, never mind.

Cashing in
these chips, that’s where

the real work
begins.

NaPoWriMo 2.29: The Bristol Queen

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The Bristol Queen…

I’ve been travelling to Weston-super-Mare the last couple of weeks to run a course – and have noticed a boat on blocks, in a car park near the train station…

It’s this one – The Bristol Queen…And there was something about it being there among all those cars that was so incongruous, I thought it deserved a sonnet.

So that’s what I’m writing today, though it’s one I’m going to keep back for potential polishing…

Just as The Queen herself seems to need quite a lot of polishing (having been taken out for refurbishment over two years ago!)

NaPoWriMo 2.27: Tele

panasonictv120319_257_17n2i1g-17n2i1p

Very long lines was today’s prompt from NaPoWriMo – I’m not sure mine are quite long enough, but I don’t have much time today – and have written something…Here it is!

Tele

That ridiculous tele, the size of it, spreading at the edges
of the Panasonic black.; it got so big it wasn’t cinema
it was more than a window, a wall even. It spread out so far
it encompassed the whole of the town, even though
you couldn’t usually see it all from that house. It got so big
that it could see itself from space showing Ultra HD footage
of the Great Wall of China and the plastic islands of the Atlantic
and Pacific. When it showed nature doco’s the tele was so big
it made the Blue Whale seem like a minnow, the Sun
like an energy-saving lightbulb. But that tele was still
too small. It never showed enough. So we wait, wait, wait
for the upgrade.

NaPoWriMo 4.25: La Belle Dame…

dicksee1

La Belle Dame Sans Merci
by Frank Dicksee

And so I’m up to date, with two ekphrastic poems

This second one inspired by the above painting, itself inspired by this Keats poem of the same name, which means, ‘The Beautiful Lady Without Mercy’.

My poem is entitled The Beautiful Lady With or, Horrid Warning – and allows the lady without mercy her right to reply. She doesn’t mess about.

(I’m afraid I keeping this one too as it’s bawdy and fun, so should be sent out to appropriately-bawdy competitions/journals.)

NaPoWriMo 4.22: The Thereminist Hails a Bus

the-day-the-earth-stood-still-poster

Lydia Kavina played some wonderful contemporary classical for theremin, as well as some marvellous sci-fi and mystery classics, like Mars Attacks! and The Day The Earth Stood Still (which I must rewatch – no, NOT the Keanu Reeves one, which was awful – the 1951 film).

We went to St George’s in Bristol last night (who it appears are fundraising for a rather splendid extension), to see this musician:

It was delightful and mesmerising. I particularly enjoyed the Mars Attacks! theme performance for its soundscape-y and dancy/movement quality…

(Also, I was just reminded in watching that title sequence how much I love the Sarah Jessica Parker and Pierce Brosnan scene where they kiss while he has no body, and her head’s attached to her chihuahua’s body – inspired).

My favourite ‘classical’ (written in 1941 though, I think) was Bird of Paradise – which you can listen to here on Spotify (I didn’t know I could embed these here! Always learning…)

And so, I wrote a piece celebrating the thereminist, the instrument and the wonderful way they are played, with the above title – but am keeping it offline, as I might enter it into some things.

As is now tradition, here’s that sign:

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NaPoWriMo 4.21: Entrance Only

We were at a funeral yesterday and I wrote something about waiting to go to such a ceremony at a crematorium – and also touching on them as spaces (hence the title above).

There’s certainly something there I’d like to develop: funerals are of course an intense, shared, human experience – but there’s also the curious nature of the edge-of-town hinterland quality of crematoria.

It’s a peculiarly Victorian industrial process, even though this one was very well designed (much less of a sense of being ‘processed’ than some).

So again NaPoWriMo-wise: There Are Currently No Animals in This Enclosure. They’re off elsewhere, being preened and fed up, to be released into the Wilds of journals, magazines and competitions.

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I’ll continue sharing elements of the process of writing – just to affirm that I am writing every day and this year (perhaps more than any other) finding that discipline immensely rich.

NaPoWriMo 4.11: Looking Through the Patio Doors at Dusk, April 2016

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“In a terracotta pot, day-/glo plastic pegs cling to the edge…”

I liked the NaPoWriMo prompt today – the idea of the last, abstracted line in an otherwise concretely descriptive poem is really useful as an approach…Here’s mine:

Looking Through the Patio Doors at Dusk, April 2016

On the ledge by the fence
the rosemary is thin
the lavender long-unfragranced
all just pricey twigs.
In a terracotta pot, day-
glo pegs cling to the edge,
some snapped, some twisted. 
A lantern with star-shaped holes
its tealight becoming an ancient 
island with one burnt-out tree.
Drips queue on the washing line. 
Everywhere the rich are 
cocooning themselves.