NaPoWriMo 24: Dust Across the Beam

Hyde Park Picture House: 100 in 2014!

As you may have noticed, things have been a bit cinematic on my blog during NaPoWriMo.

I’m reading a few poems (including my poem about the Invisible Cinema walking tour, from earlier in the month) on Sunday morning at an event to mark the centenary of Hyde Park Picture House. And here is a piece I wrote based on an earlier prompt from Canal Laureate Jo Bell, which was to write a poem of Welcome.

So, to celebrate the Picture House’s centenary, I wrote a welcome for its next 100 years – and here it is:

 

Twenty-One Thirteen

or, Dust Across the Beam

 

Welcome, twenty-one thirteen:

may your bright skies usher in

the twenty-first century’s pigeons –

their future-coos upon the roof’s tiles

(not nesting in seats, feathering aisles).

 

Welcome, twenty-one thirteen:

the elaborate plaster flowers which grow

from the walls are the germinating magic bean

of all the cinemas to which we can no longer go.

A furrow of many bulbs (and most no longer glow).

 

Welcome, twenty-one thirteen:

may the red curtains of each romance

open and close, close and open

on the clumsy ill-fated dance

of faltering fake yawns

and thousands of missed chances.

 

Welcome, twenty-one thirteen:

may never the popcorn of cinema dreams

be trodden under giant flat-screen feet

confining chorus gasp, behind-you screams

to closed-curtain houses on sparse streets.

 

Welcome, twenty-one thirteen

and all the seconds in between:

may the 26-flicker of each second’s cell

combine with the terabytes of files, to tell

stories as many as dust across the beam.

For stories are light and light is the spell.

 

So welcome, twenty-one thirteen:

may all your future screens,

even in desperate certificate eighteens

times contain only some scenes

of the mildest peril.

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 6: A Valediction for Cleanliness

Not a picture of me – this was relatively clean for the Wolf Run…

 

Taken a moment out from the meditation and practice retreat I’m on right now to catch up a bit with NaPoWriMo – although I might be running a day or two behind, I will do them all! So, in brief – I wrote something akin to a Valedication, although using the prompt very ‘robustly’.

On Sunday, I took part in the WOLF Run – a 10K run near Leamington Spa, with Wilderness Obstacles Lakes and Fields (hence WOLF) – this poem was a record of its epic muddiness, forming a ‘Goodbye to Cleanliness’:

 

The Paint-Chart of Possibilities When Mixing Earth and Water

or, Goodbye to all That Clean

 

A gleaming tension grows;

the pristine crowd in day-gloes or white,

each skin-tight bright lycra pose

stretches out the wait.

 

There is to be some kind of run –

but the main attraction, the real fun

comes as the troop form a great canvas

to really demonstrate en masse

the mixing of Earth and Water.

So let’s see what’s on offer:

 

To begin the range – April Field-Path:

a lovely undercoat, its soft bourbon-

biscuit hue making it ideal

for embracing the lower-leg in

a fine dust and the

odd little clod.

 

Then on to Brun-de-Lac.

A truly rich, sedimentary tone this,

for coating the upper shins and thigh.

 

The Chocolate Porridge-Oat

is wonderfully thick: a chest-high slick

of it will really start to add some depth

to the body’s scheme.

 

And if you’re feeling bold, why not try

ur Fifty Shades of Dry – until you can

behold the only other colour in sight

beneath the panting, coated face:

the opalescent eyes’ bright-white.

Which Winter?

A snow-dome iris, cracking through the screen…

This spell of wintry weather reminded me of a poem I wrote and put on some Christmas cards some years back – which is very wintry indeed…I think it was mainly to do with playing around with the image-paraphernalia of snow and wintry landscapes; so perhaps it’s not my most successful poem – but I hope it paints interesting pictures, at least (and follows a sonnet form too – good old ABABCDCDEFEFGG – as a technical exercise!).

Still working on my second sci-poem of the week, which I’m hoping to pop up later – but in the mean time, here is my snowy sonnet, entitled:

 

Which Winter?

 

There is a blizzard in our eyes sometimes;

A snow-dome iris, cracking through the screen.

Our cabins locked within a shaking mime

As giant flakes engulf the fish-eyed scene.

 

There is ice within our smile some days;

Sharp fragments dripping from our roof top lips.

The mountains mouth an O, the silence plays

On plastic pine tree pivots where Earth tips.

 

There is a frost across our minds some nights

Which petrifies the valleys of our thought.

It hushes colour, crushes light and slights

Our source; stills the singing of the stream.

 

Yet constant is the chorus of the flame

Each cabin’s candle dances, seeks the same.