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 17: Google Search Suggestions on the Day of Thatcher’s Funeral

Indeed she is not. At least we all have death in common though, eh?

Off-prompt today, but will be writing a Blessing (after Jo Bell’s prompt) and a Welcome Poem (from NaPoWriMo’s prompt) for a thing I’m doing at Hyde Park Picture House next Sunday. Neither seemed quite right today…

For there was a little funeral, as you may have noticed or heard about (I did not want to bless Thatcher’s life or passing, nor welcome the funeral, really – I’m saving those for something else).

So I asked Google to write me a poem about it – taking the list of phrases it suggested after the beginnings of statements I put in, then giving it a title (well, two – like I always do). A kind of found techno-list poem. And the following is what Google wrote (with little or no editing – go do it yourself and check!)…

It’s no secret I’m not a fan of the late-Iron Lady’s politics, but I really didn’t edit this very much – but did ‘curate’ it – so of course I wouldn’t have gone for things that sounded too celebratory. There is little that is ‘neutral’. But I guess the title and search phrases (a bit e e cummings?) were just an experiment in seeing what kind of liturgy the internet would turn up.

Actually, I was pleased it ended on our commonality in death. As a Buddhist teacher friend of mine says about, well, many things: “She who has the most __________ [insert anything here], still dies.”

 

 

Google Search Suggestions on the Day of Thatcher’s Funeral

or, How Much / She Brought / What Were / Now / Tomorrow

 

How much

How much does a funeral cost

How much is my car worth

How much is child benefit

 

She brought

She brought me food

She brought the house down

She bought it

 

What were

What were the crusades

What were the jim crow laws

What were the nuremberg laws

What were the symptoms of the black death

What were they like

 

Now

Now we

Now we are free

Now we know

Now we comply

 

Tomorrow

Tomorrow we

Tomorrow we sail

Tomorrow we ride

Tomorrow we work

Tomorrow we die

NaPoWriMo 16: Apple ’til Blackened Lager

Look! Blackened Lager is an actual thing!

This was really good fun: the prompt today was to find a poem in a language other than English – a language you don’t know – then to translate it by sound. So not to think about what the words mean, just what they sound like, in English.

It’s actually a wonderful way of showing musicality in poetry and one I might use in workshops or schools in future! So thanks for that, NaPoWriMo.

So on to my attempt, which either says something about Danish, or about me…It seems like it’s about booze, Satan, chocolate and has a lot of exclamations…

You can read the original here and decide whether it bears any resemblance to the Danish poem in sound-terms. And judge for yourself what it says about me as a poet!

 

Apple ‘Til Blackened Lager

 

Yet, pledged at Bruges, ordered Smarties:

some Norman caller. Come on, cockerel

vast: here or stooping hill.

 

Oh! Ever the arse lies set, far-fetched,

pah! Taller can earn her,

‘til, at lignin, gamble cosmetics.

 

Oh!  Man can litter husks, had Satan in heather,

on her repaired cooking-vase,

ordered no blackened lager

(ending welder’s singing).

 

Ha! Honed forest, tidy home – end, part-timer

or come here, at part-timer’s fur scent.

Oh Satan’s liver debt – still, after lithesome,

after all of the angered daggers,

man guards its boiled ravens.

 

Alone, or seen in film, man has gleamed

longer, for cooking masks in

gore. I stake her nest gang,

sew the gun, her cabbage and go home –

or linger vaguely in mourning.

 

Oh tanker – pah! All dead androids

man ogles must brutally Alt + Delete

the Kit-Kat: all of them.

 

Their forced hand, forky, did lick the

villa – varied, mad – so that

masks all in given error

did heed her smarter.

NaPoWriMo 16: Emancipation on Briggate

Fortunately, the wheelie bin I saw on the move this morning off Briggate was not air-borne (just ground-borne – can something be ‘ground-borne’? I suppose earthworms and moles are…)

Hello NaPoWriMo-ers!

I’m looking forward to trying the prompt later and gobbledegook-ing some poetry not-in-translation…

But a silly moment produced a silly poem this morning, so here it is:

 

Emancipation on Briggate

or, The Wind Creates a Performance Action around the Theme of Waste

 

In a narrow shopping alley, I witnessed earlier today

A brave wee wheelie-bin, just scampering away:

Quoth the receptacle, gambolling across the floor,

“I shall be free of your rubbish forevermore!”

 

(But alas, just moments later, an overall ensnared the bin.

The moral: nevermore waste a second of freedom – ever, ever again.)

NaPoWriMo 15: Transaction on a Spring Day – A Pantum

The OWL (Observation Wheel Leeds) at night – which is the ‘great revolving wheel’ in the poem…

 

Today’s prompt: a Malay verse-form “of rhymed quatrains (abab), with 8-12 syllables per line. The first two lines of each quatrain aren’t meant to have a formal, logical link to the second two lines, although the two halves of each quatrain are supposed to have an imaginative or imagistic connection” (to quote the NaPoWriMo site).

I am not sure if it follows the rules fully – but I tried! Might put another one up later/tomorrow too…

AND (in the style of ANTI-BOTNET) I HAVE NOW CAUGHT-UP FROM BEING FOUR DAYS BEHIND!

 

Transaction on a Spring Day

 

I push the DVDs across the till,

Exchanging our feelings about the stories;

Above the skyline, a great revolving wheel

Magnifies the sky-screen’s bright-blue glories.

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.

NaPoWriMo 12: Want/Need

A magick key (for an inadvertently key-shaped poem)

 

A quick one this: I don’t often get slushy and when I do, it tends to be short! And this is very much in that vein.

The prompt for the 12th was to write a list of things you would want to say but would never (thereby, of course, saying them) – so this started from there and became a brief love poem of things unsaid:

 

Want/Need

or, Doors/Keys

 

I want to say

I didn’t know that before

you, I didn’t realise

there was so much

I didn’t know that

I thought

I couldn’t do. But

you,

you and me,

both glass doors,

both lost keys:

you don’t need

to hear it.

NaPoWriMo 11: Double-Duvet Mecca

A pair of washers at a washeteria

Day 11’s prompt was to write a Tanka (five-line stanzas with 5-7-5-7-7 syllables) – so I’ve used the form to bring an autobiographical poem into being.

I had this idea a little while ago: as my partner and I live on a narrowboat, we don’t have a full-size washing machine and either use a little twin-tub (which can be labour-intensive) – or visit a laundrette. On our travels up here to Leeds from Bristol via the inland waterways (see Inland Odyssey posts!), we used various laundrettes  (including my favourite, the ‘Washeteria’ (a delightfully old-school term), which was still pleasingly 1950s/1960s in its layout and appliances, but worked perfectly).

Laundrettes, or Washeterias, can be a really pleasant experience I think – the urban equivalent of gathering at the water’s edge to wash clothes in the river: there’s something connective about it – human, cleansing.

So this poem is about the laundrette (the place and the person) we use in Leeds – and about connecting across difference, in this ‘urban riverside’.

 

Double-Duvet Mecca

or, Paired Socks

 

We fold its cover

together: a courtly dance.

I go to give thanks,

but behind his warm machines

the laundrette prays to Mecca.

 

A service wash bought:

I call you ‘the other one’,

dodging a term. But

he smiles, his warmth bestowing

a Universe of paired socks.

NaPoWriMo 10: Un-love Poem for Call-Centre Conversations

The battery-farming of conversation, in the form of a call centre.

Day 10’s prompt was to write a poem of un-love; not a malediction, so much, but just a poem of ennui (that’s how I read it) about someone, or something.

It so happens that I spent quite a bit of time doing a transfer from one credit card to another today, as well as spending some time on the phone to a large mobile phone company. While the people I spoke to were perfectly polite and proficient, there is something really jarring about that stop-start scripted version of a conversation you have to have with them. Generally, I like people and enjoy meeting new humans; finding out how surprising and unusual people can be. But there’s no sponaneity when you have to speak to  (some, not all) call centres or worse, there’s very little humanity about those types of interaction.

You’re both becoming a part of a process, elements in a mechanised version of a conversation, with niceties wedged in here and there as WD-40 (that’s a type of lubricating oil for machines, non-British readers!) to make it seem less robotic…I should know, I’ve worked in call centres myself – although I don’t think it was ever going to be a long-term prospect (I tended to deviate from the script too much).

(By the way, I called it ‘Going Forward’ as one chap I spoke to said it about ten times – it’s a real politician’s phrase that, ‘Going Forward’ – as opposed to what? Going back in time? Or does it mean ‘Moving forward’, progressing, in some way? It means, I fear, very little.)

So here’s a poem about it:

 

Going Forward

or, Transference

 

** Our staff are currently both

at present engaged in

dealing with the customer

enquiries of other clients **

 

Can I just confirm your name, Mr Parkin,

Sir, Mr Parking, sir, yes, of yourself, sir?

And the 16-digit number, sir, the 3-digit figure

tattoed on your face and the date

your number is up? Going forward, Mr Parken, sir,

we just wanted to ask, before the transfer

some questions about your circumstances, if we may,

if I may, on behalf of ourselves, to yourself?

 

We’d like, Mr Perkin, to discuss

the finer points and repercuss-

ions of your over-

spending, Mr Parkan,

sir,

we’d like it if we

could just go over

a few things,

for yourself,

from ourselves,

to perform the script

tautologically,

repeatedly, with

zero per cent

interest,

to say nothing

for fifty years,

to  itemise the

Terms and

Conditioning.