NaPoWriMo 7: The Pies of Awareness

The Pies of Awareness may or may not come from Gregg’s (who feature, by the way, as a Classical Allusion in another poem of mine by a pigeon)

Quickfire blog entries!

The prompt for NaPoWriMo Day 7 was to write a poem consisting solely of a series of declarative statements, with one question at the end.

So, based on some conversations I’ve had recently, here it is – the explanation is kind of involved, so I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

(By the way, days 8 and 9 – the eight-line verse form and the noir-inspired poem – will both be coming tomorrow! But  recently wrote a piece – Little Shadows – which uses a noir-inspired image to explore how bees see…So that can keep you going for now!)

You can listen to me reading The Pies of Awareness on SoundCloud, too, which may (or may not) add something to it:

 

The Pies of Awareness

or, I Don’t Know Anything

 

This is my shop and these are my pies.

Each has a price and some have a filling.

Don’t ask me what’s in them; I’ll tell you no lies.

Some cost a fortune and some cost a shilling.

 

This is my shop and these are my pies.

Many are deadly, but they all look the same:

Be advised that most are just space in disguise.

Enjoy it: the guessing is part of the game.

 

This is my shop and this is your pie.

I’ve taken the time to bake death in the crust.

You can’t have a receipt. You can’t leave in disgust.

For 20p I’ll heat it up, if you’re sure you’d like to try?

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Card-board Word-hoard: Sunday 17th March

Sunday, 2pm at Melbourne Street Studios, Leeds

Sunday, 2pm at Melbourne Street Studios, Leeds.
YOU SHOULD COME. IT WILL BE FUN AND MESSY.
Bring: glue sticks, scissors, old newspapers and packaging (clean not skanky!).

On Sunday 17th March at 2pm, I’ll be running a workshop at 2pm at Melbourne Street Studios (Melbourne St, Leeds – address here) as part of The Fabulous Recycling and Discourse on the Environment Exhibition (about which, more information here) working with old newspapers and packaging to create found (and concrete) poems.

The exhibition is by artists Donna Bramall and Rachel Hinds – the exhibition aims to show their “individual responses to the realities of how the waste created by society effects the environment we live in”.

Whether you’re an experienced writer or have never written a poem before, it’s a great way of working with form and enjoying words for their sound, as objects and in their arbitrary (but often intriguing and beautiful) collisions with other words. That’s the fun of found poetry of this kind: you choose the words ‘off-the-shelf’, someone has already written them down – you’re collecting, curating and creating with them. And whatever the self reveals, even through ‘randomness’, still reveals the self – the theory goes.

You can lay them out in interesting and peculiar ways, in shapes and with images – along the lines of Concrete Poetry.

Finally, as an example – here is a found-poem I made working with some students (when teaching):

A found-poem, mainly from Metro headlines!

A found poem, mainly from Metro headlines!

And here’s the poem typed out:

 

Summon The Urban Future…

 

…naturally adaptive,

the sirens tumble

unsupported patterns.

 

Now meet the Ultimate

30-month low you’ll treasure,

transforming a perfect A-Lister.

 

Buy the £440,000 art cakes

inside the new blue red carpet,

as accidental tech-scents

hit

the flawless box triumphs.

 

 

(My favourite is the ‘accidental tech-scents’ – I would never had come up with that without Metro’s assistance! It’s not often you can say that about poetry…)

 

Hope to see you Sunday for some cut-and-stick fun…

‘As Above, So Below’ or, ‘Capital E. Control A. Control C. Control V.’

Galaxies or neurons? The Universe is, or is like, a Giant Brain. Or the Brain is, or is like, a Little Universe. Same diff.

Last week, I read this story:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/27/physicists-universe-giant-brain_n_2196346.html

It’s not a very recent/topical one (from the end of last year) – but being as it’s about the self-similarity of networks ranging from the internet, the brain and the Universe itself, I figure a few weeks isn’t that significant.

Anyway – the headline is ‘Physicists Find Evidence That The Universe Is A ‘Giant Brain”. An intriguing one, is it not?

So I wanted to write something about the idea of networks – and the people who work in this kind of theoretical mathematics, which is so entirely beyond my understanding (technically, if not thematically). I don’t know whether working in these kind of mind-blowing theoretical (yet perhaps realer-than-real) realms of science would make you more connected to the world around you, or indeed make you feel the total insubstantial nature of the world around you. So that’s the feeling from which I started to write, imagining one of the scientists involved, lit by the glowing bank of computers which must have been deployed to crunch this much data…

As I posted the news story on Facebook (one of the networks it mentions), a friend used the phrase ‘As Above, So Below’ to sum it up – and that formed the starting point of the poem. At what point is such an aphorism just as useful as all the data we can find? When do we cease to be able to understand (and just need to allow the Universe to get on with it)?

I don’t know – but I hope you enjoy the poem. The ending fully let out my inner-hippie, and I make no apologies for it 😉

 

As Above, So Below

or, Capital E. Control A. Control C. Control V.

 

‘Universe Is A Giant Brain’: journos, tip-tapping innocently,

will claim they cannot see the difference between,

like, metaphor and simile.

 

Knowing this, the analysis complete,

he sat at the centre of the screens, replete

in the data. The sense of having caught

something. Then, a gagging spider, he

Selected All and hit Delete.

 

So, on every page of the report

he reproduced the phrase in haste –

Copy Paste Copy Paste:

As Above, So Below.

 

 

As that very morning, LinkedIn

had asked him if he would like to connect with

Everything. Capital E.

Control A. Control C. Control V.

 

He uttered: Fundamental Laws,

as Facebook asked him what he thought about

Everything? Capital E. Pushing question marks

down cables in the floor; whispering answers up

into the lattice-dark. As

Everything updated its status:

As Above, So Below.

With a winking smiley 😉

 

Control A? Control C? Control V?

Capital E. Controls Cosmos. Controls Velocity.

Consciousness Copy. Vastness Paste.

Control Facebook. Paste Brain.

Copy Everything. Paste Same.

Cut Above. Paste Below.  And so

the report was pasted onto his profile:

As Above, So Below.

 

So, he sent Everything a message

as the single word ‘Love’. Capital L. Thinking:

As Below, So Above.

Pick One Fleck – Apophis

There he is! Yes, the slightly-less blurry one with the big red arrow pointing to it. That isn’t actually there, of course.

As part of the new year’s Free-range Writer Plan, I’m going to try and write at least one or two poems each week, inspired by things I’ve picked up in the news or online (or perhaps from the Fortean Times, which I was lucky enough to receive a subscription to for Christmas).

Sometimes it’s useful to choose a subject and make yourself write a poem about it – so that’s what I’ve done with Apophis. Yet another threat to the Pale Blue Dot (as Carl Sagan called Earth) is passing us at the moment – the Apophis Asteroid, which will also pass within 22,364 miles of our planet in April 2029, giving it a 2.7% chance of whacking into us. Which would be annoying.

As ever with such astronomical phenomenon, I’m not sure how scared I should be. As scared as we should be of Nibiru/Planet X, the mysterious elliptical-orbit planet that was meant to run us off the solar-highway recently, perhaps? Well, this is real – so a dial up the Fear-o-Meter a little, certainly.

Curiously, I wrote the following poem and then looked up what else is 2.7% – and found that, “The house advantage in single zero roulette is 2.7% and for the double zero game it is 5.26%”. So there we are: my roulette ball image was not so off-the-cuff.

This is largely as it popped out of my brain, with some tweaks as I typed it out. I hope you enjoy it – and May The Odds Be Ever In Earth’s Favour.

 

Pick One Fleck

 

Just one, from the hole-

punched carbon sky and wonder

at its stats, its vital ballistics. Wonder

whether cosmic winds blow it

our way; whether Newton or some other

more modern, more menacing, model

may stack odds against Earth’s favour.

 

 

The roulette ball: Apophis

freewheels the not-so-clockwork model

above my head. No, not

above our heads: around them,

spinning like cartoon concussion,

a character impacted. The Micky Mouse

Milky-Way squeeze-and-stretches

the life-expectancy of this

billions-years-young billiard ball,

awaiting its gong for supper.

 

 

So that will be the next time:

twenty twenty-nine. Visions blurred,

screens thick with dust of fear. When

Hollywood Lears hover near

cinema seats, with light-shows projected

from our eyes and bouncing back into

the dinosaur-mind. When masses

collect on mountaintops, praying

through rehashed prisms of extra-

terrestrial life-guards and super-

natural knowledge of ancient civilisations long-

since ceased and of hyper-

sensory conspiracies of governments who

govern the stars (but who can barely keep their own

noses clean of the tar of smear).

 

When shots are littered each second

at worlds within our own, this speck of glitter in

the eye of space could make it blink

the ground into its own reflection, infinite bits,

out of being. But how lucky we would be

to see it, to be here: when there are more dead

than living than ever before. How lucky to be

the last crater-act,

the final flaming curtain,

the ones who saw

it happen.

 

And in case you have never read it, here’s Carl Sagan’s piece of writing about our Pale Blue Dot – which is a wonderful reminder of both our insignificance and, perhaps, the need for perspective when dealing with other Humans.

Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot – viewable larger at the original site