Tag Archives: poetry

Poem – The fisher and the sun

 

This fisher has had far too much sun.

Nowhere to sit, she stands on her raft which is a thin broken biscuit

Floating on the tea of the sea. 

The sun weighs down on her head like an iron press,

With nothing else better to do than to squeeze and burn her.

It claimed the colour from her hair long ago.

Turned her arms into dangling crisp bacon.

Turned her shoulders into bronze epaulettes of no rank or division.

Made her thin, her pot belly as hard as a pumpkin,

Her legs as stringy and black as liquorice sticks,

And skin so leathery you could line writing desks with it.

But every day she still went out – this fisher –

Waiting for her rod to twitch with fish so that she could return to her village the hero.

The sun waited with her. Patient and simmering,

As time and skin blistered, peeled, repaired, repeated, went raw again.

 

Then one morning …

Hoy! Her rod bends into an arc,

A bamboo rainbow between the raft and the sea.

The line goes TWANG and the surface ripples, froths, is ready to spew.

Quick to react she seizes the rod and bends her back,

Her bacon-y arms now taught and rippling with willing muscle,

Her shoelace legs like steel anchors fusing feet to raft.

She sucks in her belly, her abdominals are cubes of frozen tuna

Lined up on a chopping board, her sweat coming fast, wetting, glossing her,

Making her marble, a statue, a goddess, a hunter of the sea.

The sun becomes interested and pours heat on her like a furious kiln.

She ignores its spiteful baiting and struggles on with the fish.

Then her eyes bulge as the water breaks, and a shark erupts from the cold depths

Like a pale blue missile which lands on the raft with a boom that almost sinks her.

It writhes there for a moment, flipping and flopping, its teeth bared savagely,

A single black pupil throbbing in its socket that nails her to that bobbing drift of wood.

Exhausted, she watches the shark die. Her arms turn back to bacon, her legs to jelly.

Her belly pops out like a seed from a pod.

 

The sun is impressed and immediately sets about boiling her sweat…

But she’s seen too much of this cruel sun, has this fisher,

And she looks up at that moody blood orange in the sky and says:

Here, sun, see what I’ve done! A fish taken from its cold city,

And placed before the sky on a matchstick boat.

I ask you, oh mighty you, could you do this?

And the sun thinks could I? Should I?

A pensive sun. Enjoying this unexpected inquisition.

Then it blinks and has to close its eyes,

As an enormous white cloud chugs slowly by.

Time. Stilled for a while. Clouds are not to be hurried the elders say.

And when later the sky breaks and the sun looks again,

The fisher, the raft and the shark have all gone.

And the sun, deceived, vows to furiously torch all the gulls in the sky

That have the audacity to fly above the wake of the fisher

Who has long since moored her raft and summoned the children

To help drag the shark across the beach

For butchering up for the night of the feast.

The cool night that comes to put suns to sleep.

 


Words by the editor.


 

Poem: The Joker, the Snow, and the Beast from the East

To prove your undying love you said you could make it snow.
What are you now, a magician, a conjuror, clown, the Joker? Hahaha.
I detect your urge to display power rather than sentiment,
You tricky buffoon, in purple costume and spinning bow tie,
True to your word you widen your smile, cackle, and make it snow.
So glorious, in minutes, an hour, an afternoon,
The world becomes covered, the sun’s rays hardly knowing
What to do with themselves upon all that virgin whiteness.
“See what I did!” you boom fiendishly, making trees tremble and shake                                       Their shoulders free of their dusty, white epaulettes.
The mountains grumbled you’d given them headaches,                                                                 While birds tweeted symphonies of pure joy.
Tweet, tweeting: Hey, wow, did you see the orange snow in eastern Europe?
African dust storms and pollen lending peachy pink patches to the continental quilt                    Of Bulgarian ski resorts. And that woman, OMG, oranges and lemons, so beautiful                      In yellow against the tangerine of snow that framed her.
See, not everything from the east is a ‘beast’ you stupid fucking imperious                               Jingo-jangling Brexitmotorbreathcraprag and piss poor TV emission.
Hahahahaha, see the Joker tipping fish into the London Thames.
Haaaaheeheee, see the Joker down in Cambridge data mining privacy.
Weeehahhahahhaaa, see the Joker paying off his porno actress fees.
Snick, snick, snicker, see that clown making off with all the loot and family jewels.
Look! Watch him drive away in his comedy clown car, toot-toot, parp, bang,                               Falls to bits, oops, he forgot to attach snow chains to his comedy wheels.
Snow go! Snow joke! The Beast from the East strikes again! Oh FFS the pun of it all!
And, why? Why so serious?
The stuff will have melted by the time you’ve dragged your asses outta bed,
Pulled up your boots and put on your mittens.
Good thing I took pictures. Click. Click. Whirr.
Reminds me of Wilson Bentley and his magnificent slides,
How he photographed snowflakes.
He was no joker, unlike you, racing off to eastern Europe in some insane attempt                       To paint the snow there a cobalt blue.
Wilson Bentley – a Gotham City-esque name if ever, eh?                                                         Diligently cataloguing his Ice-flowers, could teach you a trick or two.
And I’m sorry to pick on you dear Joker, but you kind of deserve it…
And you will do well to hide among clowns until we’re bored of looking for you…
Or get distracted by Eastern summer tournaments and puffed-up superstars…
But like fingerprints collected at the scene of a crime, no two snowflakes are ever the same.      Whistles blow. And justice points you out as the yellow stain you are                                           Sunk deep into the snow.                                                                                                                  Hahaha, who’s laughing now?


Poem and photos by the editor.

Toy images by TVTA. Poster and adverts scanned by TVTA from own collection. Batman and Joker copyright DC.

Valentide

Valentide. Part I.

There is a distance. A gulf. Water, water, everywhere…

Uncharted seas treacherous as tyrants clinging to power,

Or familiar shipping lanes, precious days, favourable winds.

We navigate small islands, atolls, pause to watch ancient, mystical whales.

We dive and weave with playful dolphins, float on our backs and listen

To tales of mer-people and sea-monsters and pirate-fleets

As told to us by wise old turtles.

Once we saw a ghost ship – its crew a band of bleached-boned skeletons,

They blasted us with spectral cannonballs

Launched from the rotting boards of their phantom galleon.

We fled those shrieking ghosts and sailed on by,

Sometimes calling on deserted islands of pure and absolute paradise.

It is here, once, I saw your soul. Did you see mine?

Then one night a storm, unbelting itself and lashing us with its wet black leather.

Plunging us below then tossing us in the air – three, four, maybe five times…

Until we sank,

Became separated.

Our lifeboats were poor yet somehow sustained us. And what happened to our crew?

Some deserted us and jumped overboard. Some died. Some remained faithful.

Ultimately it was just you and me. Alone. Alone we drifted. On two different boats no bigger

Than matchsticks in the grand sea of things. Did you think of me as I thought of you?

Parched, sun burnt, salt in our hair and eyes like apocalyptic dust. We survived.

God. How on earth (or rather, on water) when I am such a poor sailor, and your captaincy

Is sometimes questionable?

But survive we did.

And though there was, sometimes still is, and maybe will be for much a long time

An ocean of distance to separate us,

Tides will always bring us together again.





Valentide. Part II.

On a bench somewhere, sometime, not long ago, someone wrote ‘I love you’. It wasn’t me, and it wasn’t you, but we borrowed those words and made them our own for just a moment. On dry land we shake off water and tuck in our fins. Retract our tails. Fold up our sails. Moored. Docked. We traipse the city and village and town, lost among others, surrounded by concrete and stone and things made of metal. They say we look small here. Maybe we do. But to me you will always be a giant. Je t’aime. Words borrowed from a wooden bench that looks out to the sea and back again.



Words and photos by the editor.

Adverts scanned by TVTA and Jaltesorensen.

Boatniks. 1970. Denmark; Moby Dick. Pif Gadget. 1982. France; Playmobil. 1979. Denmark; La Mauny. Geo. 1992. France; Sea-Monkeys. Fix Und Foxi. 1984. Germany; Canon Noir. Pif Gadget. 1979. France; Weird War Tales. 1975. US; Lego. 1989. Denmark.


 

Two poems

1.

Among Us

You told us once about reptiles and amphibians

The symbolism, intent, double-meanings

Their hunger

A prince’s pursed lips, a fairytale wish

You said stay away from forests, castles and New York sewers

Warned us of bacterial bites from Komodo Dragons

To not keep snakes or entertain Bearded Dragons

Are you a witch? We asked

No, you said, but was once poisoned by hand cream and oranges

Contaminated beans on toast and energy drinks

Offered by men and women in alligator skins

Who had power to turn poetry into horror in a single day

You said it made you puke when you read in the news

Of that three-headed, six-legged frog found in a school swimming pool

Would make a great pet, someone said

No, said you, it is us who will make great pets for them

See, how they will try to improve us

Stare into our dark places where we hide our shame and guilty secrets

How they devour our sad stories, our dark fairytales

How they leech on our desires

Don’t. Ever. Trust. Them. Is what you say

Beware of them hiding under stones and rocks

Lurking in the grass or under damp logs

Camouflaged in trees or submerged in bogs

And as for the forests and castles and the New York sewers…

Some fairytales are best put to bed

You told us you used to think exploding frogs

Blown-up by straws was extremely cruel

Now you tell us it’s extremely cool.


2.

A Deadly Stream

Three days and nights of relentless rain

That came in sheets as hard as nails from four directions and a granite sky

Accompanied by that lunatic Mistral which owned the streets and ripped off tiles

Toppled fences and sent wheelie bins spinning like defective Daleks

Wisely, most trees bent the knee to the staggering onslaught

Those more republican were swiftly uprooted

Came crashing down like dissident ogres and defeated giants

Coudon offered up its slopes to the charging water

That rushed from the mountain in anticipation of the sea

A delegation bearing gifts of fag ends, soft drink cans

McDonald’s packaging, palm leaves and plastic bags

An armada of debris and detritus offered to the Med.

 

It was on the news

The campus resembled a lagoon

The stream that parted it no longer visible

She went under at around four O’clock, and he jumped in to save her

Witnesses said both were gone in seconds

Forced through a culvert no bigger than the door of an industrial washing machine

Propelled through the concrete tube built beneath the main road

By town planners who believed that this was the best way to control water

When you wanted cars to travel across it

 

A year passes

Remembrances for the two dead students

The mayor erects fences along both sides of the stream that cuts through the Uni

Commissions signs written in French and English that warn:

DANGER. FLOODPLAIN. RISQUE DE NOYADE

Town planners nod sagely in warm offices

Once again believing they have the measure of water.


Words and photos by the editor

Nutella, it’s a jungle out there…

Just got back from the supermarket with our ‘three-jar-only’ rations of Nutella, both eyes intact and no bones broken. Was a good trip today. Maybe tomorrow not so lucky.

French supermarkets these days, it’s a jungle out there…

The Nutella French supermarket brawls

Pif Gadget. 1977. France.


Nutella Poem

Nutella, Nigella, your nuts have a nuance enrobed in palm oil

Rush for nuts, aisles smeared in irate blood and nuts that are crushed

Underfoot, tut, tut, zut! Leap over yellow signs that say Sol Glissant

Nuts, Nigella, cook me up your brunch of nuts Nutella

Black dress, black hair, let’s split then call 18 pour les pompiers

Nuts, palm oil nuts, Nigella, Nutella, it’s a 24 hour gastronomic countdown to

cut price markdown meltdown supermarket aisle showdown smackdown

Downtown Intermarché, Lidl, Carrefour, Aldi, Super U, Super you

You got Nutella, 3 packs, and all your limbs intact, nuts, pots and pans

Casserole, nuts Nutella, Nigella palm oil, je suis la, j’ai faim, oui, mais calmez vous!

(love never ends) We’ll always be together, together in Nutella dreams


France. Pif Gadget. 1981.

France. Pif Gadget. 1976.

Italy. Topolino. 1978.

Halloween countdown: 2

Part 4 of 5. I am the Queen of Halloween

Art and poem by the editor

I had a dream, a wondrous dream, that I was the Queen of Halloween

Oh sweet that dream, oh sweet that dream

When I ruled all of Halloween

Went shopping for Converse, tee-hee-shirts and jeans

Got inked, had some drinks and made friends with an owl

Sang songs with the dolphins and tumbled some crystals –

A-tishoo, a-tishoo, we all fell down

On Hollywood boulevard, Halloween Town

Jump around, jump around, jump up and get down

And the skellygogs danced and the ravens preened

Jump!

And the cats read Mary Shelley out loud to their fleas

Jump!

And the poltergoosts crooned and the moonsters cheered

Jump!

And the glibgoblins giggled and the phantooms agreed

That I was the best, the best they’d seen –

The bestest Queen of Halloween

Oh sweet that dream, oh sweet that dream

When I ruled all of Halloween!


Thanks for reading and jumping along! Look out for countdown number 1 coming soon…

Spinning. A toy poem. Illustrated.

Love grows in all kinds of places.

They came from love. Bloomed, blossomed, were buds on the trees.

Were butterflies hiking lifts inside bubbles.

Dreaming of skies.

Up in the air they learned the art of conversation.

Learned that communication is chemistry.

Compounds and elements. Dispute. Problem. Discuss. Solve.

They defended rigorously their right to disagree with one another.

And in doing so they discovered accord.

That great union in the sky was lucky.

Not so lucky for some of the creatures down below,

Who are spun, turned.

Spin. It’s your go.

Q1: Does your government have you in a spin?

Where to begin … begin with a word …

A word to the wise from the Masters of Austerity …

“We have your number and your number’s up.”

Spin.

Miss a turn.

Go ahead, go again.

In Britain, the Brexit red bus had them under its wheels.

With smarmy charm it punched their tickets and bid them un mauvais bon voyage.

A one-way ticket to nowheresville.

A carousel spinning in delicious circles.

Taking back control one foul turn at a time.

Hi-jacked flags to march under.

Banners of lies.

What exactly did they vote for?

The safe return of their country,

The migrants to go home,

Hospital wards to close,

Beds emptied of broken souls,

Staff worked to the bone,

Emergency services stretched to the limit of their resources,

And all they can endure both morally and physically? 

And all along European people employed as bargaining chips.

Home and abroad. Pawns.

Spin.

Spin.

Shake the dice.

The Masters of Austerity will have you shaking with rage.

Shake, as will the ground beneath your feet when they finally get round to fracking you.

Won’t matter one bit if you own your land… you’ll be fracked right under your house.

That is, those who can afford to live in houses in austerity Britain.

Then ablaze!

Tower blocks that go up in flames,

Because of savage cuts and the corners cut and the wicked decline in the treatment of

the poor?

Grenfell Tower,

A giant aflame,

Austerity framed by dawn’s breaking sky,

Witnessed from Smartphones, TV screens,

And the windows of neighbouring luxury flats.

A hollow stare aimed at the poor.

Austerity Masters squeal their mantras.

Pigs with snouts red raw from scraping too many troughs for far too long.

Orwell said some animals are more equal than others.

Enough to make you sick.

Put you in a spin.

There are doctors for that but not the doctors you need.

Your turn.

Question number 2:

Does your media have you in a spin?

With their spinning tops that spin,

Whirl and twirl, spin and spin,

Engineered by sinister hands conducting in the shadows.

Spin, spin, spin.

It’s all a game they don’t want you to win.

 

A game.

An illusion.

Start again.

And in the small print of the rules it says:

“The only thing spinning worthy of attention is the globe we call our home.

And you are not the only one to call it such.”

Your go.

Your spin.

Spin again.

And spin, spin, spin.

 


Words by the editor.

Images taken from scans made by TVTA and Jaltesorensen.

Publications: Pif Gadget. Anders And & Co. Pato Donald. Christie’s Catalogue. Hamleys Catalogue. Topolino. Bécassine. Star Wars. Doctor Who. 2000 AD.

Grenfell Tower image by Natalie Oxford – https://twitter.com/Natalie_Oxford/status/874835244989513729/photo/1, CC BY 4.0, Link

Updated Feb 2018 to correct spelling error.