Just like that.
A stone thrown into a mirroring lake.
A conversational grenade.
So I explained –
But firmly –
That’s really not how it works.
I told her
Poems don’t come in boxes
Like IKEA bookshelves
Just waiting to be bolted together;
There’s no off-the-peg package, no microwave meal
And, thank God, no app for them yet.
You don’t find them lying
Like pennies on pavements
Hanging from trees, hooked up on barbed wire;
They don’t drift around like falling leaves, butterflies,
Snowflakes or dandelion seeds.
You have to reach in
With a sharp, searching blade
Open a vein and let it flood out
Hot, red and dangerous
As long as you dare;
You work and it hurts
And you rage at the day
You were cruelly bestowed with this gift
And you wonder with every new word you set down
Just what in the hell are you doing
And the long hours pass
And the torn pages pile
And the crossings-out scream
And the universe mocks
And the heart and soul plead
If you’re lucky
You can laugh through the tears when it’s done.
She looked at me.
So is that a yes
Or a no?
I am the owl / who asks questions in the dark
I am the wolf / who runs alone
I am the road / that takes you nowhere
I am the axe / whose edge is dulled
I am the lightning / that briefly reveals
I am the tree / that senses autumn
I am the stone / time wears away
I am the soil / in need of rain
Thank you to Monica Carroll for the prompt! N.
is a match.
But no matter how much
At the paper
It will not catch.
Putting out fires:
Just one blaze
And alll the time
I’m fighting them
I’m wishing I was
Midnight Blue for the hours of sleepless melancholy; Black Permanent for days that dawn dark and stubbornly stay that way. Corn Poppy Red for fiery exchanges with the universe, and testy tirades at my own imperfections; Golden Yellow to summon the sunshine back. Oyster Grey for cool reflections and to shape the world in my own way; Irish Green for mystery and mischief. Sober Toffee Brown for study and chewing matters over; sumptuous Lavender Purple for grand, imperious prose. And sometimes I’ll fill up for days or months with my favourite Invisible. Just to keep them guessing.
Delighted to announce that my little book goes on sale at amazon.com today – I’ve always dreamed of visiting the US, and still hope to some day, but at least now my words have made it over there, and that’s exciting enough! N.
Big day on Thursday 13 April with my first book launch event, courtesy of my publishers and Magazine Brighton.
And the book even has its own promo video:
Getting real now.
Set out today
To look for a line;
A thought, a word
Picked up on the road
And carried home
To keep a pledge
Made to an empty page.
Only to find
My mind consumed
By the unconscious calculus
Of carving through an off-camber curve;
Weaving down a pot-holed hill
Like a raindrop on a window-pane;
Ticking off long, level miles
With well-drilled diesel diligence;
Hustling over heart-freeze crossroads
Like a prisoner dodging the searchlights’ glare.
An hour’s artless, guiltless pleasure,
My mission and all sense of time forgotten.
Yet on returning
Found that my work was done.