Six Sentence Stories: a viral poem

Britains toys. 1983. UK.

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and the cue word this week is Routine.


A viral poem:

The rime of the ancient healthcarer

 

07h: Colleagues arrive, smiles behind masks, Wuhan shakes all around, wash hands, clean-crisp uniforms, temperatures taken.

09h: Patients washed and fed, some ache, some throb, some sneeze, some cough, mask on, wash hands, gloves on, temperatures taken.

14h: Sanitize, sterilize, realize some don’t like their own company in isolation, oxygen, pills, hand gels and meals on wheels, change mask, wash hands, touch face – blast it, wash hands again.

16h: Mask on, mask off, wash hands, mask on, disinfect, tick boxes checked, temperatures taken.

20h: Wash hands, change clothes, mask off, go home, wash hands, change clothes, watch news with family, prepare sandwiches for tomorrow.

00h: A routine sleep brings bad scenes lathered in dystopian creams, because there’s not enough water to keep us clean in viral dreams it seems we all must share, day after day, day after day, they dropped down one by one; virus, virus, everywhere, and all the crowds were gone.


After The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

#Coronavirus #WashHands

666 screwed…

It seems ominous this post I’m writing to mark Britain’s official exit from the European Union today is post N°666.

Get thee behind me, Satan. And all that.

Iron Maiden. The Number of the Beast. 1982. EMI / Harvest. Art: Derek Riggs.

Not ominous really, perhaps just apt. If I were a blog newbie, then post N°13 would do just as well.

Anyway, sorry for the downbeat tone, I’m just mightily sad that today marks the date I, and many like me, will no longer be treated in law as European. To this I say… go fuck yourself. And please give me my European citizenship and freedoms back. To my Euro and Brit friends in the UK who never asked for any of this, I hope life will be uncomplicated and kind. To my fellow Brits in Europe, I hope it goes smoothly… we are subject in many ways now to our host country regs. And to the Brits who voted Leave… enjoy your celebration, sure, but please don’t rub it in the faces of those whose lives, family, homes, and jobs are being affected.

And now, a Nutella poem

The Nutella Poem

(part III. Exit crisis)

Nutella, Nutella, O how do we send thee across the Channel?

Your nuts enrobed in palm oil, cocoa and tariffs, held up in traffic,

lorry park queues and bound by new rules…

We want our Nutella! shout the hungry masses at the borders.

Nutella! Nutella! Not commemorative tea towels and 50p coins,

Nor mugs with slogans and a chubby thumbs-up!

Nutella! Your nuts! We want your price cuts,

supermarket discounts and multi-buy dreams,

lathered in cocoa, palm oil, oh sugar, oh Nutella…

Oh where is Nigella?

Nigella, Nigella, a recipe we need, to feed us,

to please us, to ease us, tease us, to free us…

from empty cupboards and ration book hell.

Nigella, Nutella, palm oil, nuts, cocoa and sugar,

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

Italy. Topolino. 1978.

#JeNeSuisPasUnVirus – be kind. It could be your nation.

#guyverhofstadt – keep up the fight for continued European rights of those citizens about to lose them.

Nutella Poem (part I)

Nutella Poem (part II)


Happy New Yeats! Party like it’s 1999, in 1962!

Prince Magazine Special. 1985. Australia.

Happy new year vintage mates! Sorry we’re late and sorry we got the wrong year, but Wooof and I just got back from time travelling in 1982 watching Prince recording 1999, then we got lost in 1962 and found a cool book of poetry from W.B. Yeats, and then we got tangled up in a vintage space war between aliens and robots disputing a 3 billion year old moon made of chedder cheese and denim!

Continue reading

Poem: Idles when idle

Editor’s note: This poem has been selected for a special mission and will return soon. Apologies for any inconvenience.

 





Poem by the editor. Thanks to Idles.

Poem: The Broken Boat Saloon

The Broken Boat Saloon

1.

Suddenly we were confronted by God in the bar of the Broken Boat Saloon,
Our final frontier drinking den, our misty outpost for a world left behind.
We’re All In The Same Boat proclaimed the sign above the bar,
Next to a Spencer carbine rifle that the landlady swore
Was once used by Custer in an Indian war.
So full of bluster, though we dared not say – at least to her face anyway,
And instead would butter her up for her fine bosom and curly hair,
Order copious amounts of her strange beer and liquors
Before setting our weary frames at tables full of the same old faces.
The house band there never got paid – except in beer and mash –
Yet they turned up most evenings to help detach us
From the axles and wheels of a world bent to grind us.

2.

The Broken Boat Saloon, where we’d huddle together in that leaking life-boat,
Poor, overfilled, but able enough to carry us away from whatever
Sinking disaster every man, woman and child had abandoned themselves from.
And in that creaky boat, with sails turned amber-rose
From nicotine and blood, and in the comfort of other refugees
And survivors of frontiers – multi-lingual and all colours and creed,
We’d bail out our grief and plug the holes of despair.
You heard it as good as we: that unearthly rap at the door
Which opened to the landlady’s clenched paw – she wasn’t letting him in…
Not on yours or anyone else’s life.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” the landlady growled.
“I am Duende,” said the stranger. “Duende with no beginning, middle or end,
And I am here to show you God.”

3.

And in Duende came, dressed in black, cowboy boots and a Stetson hat,
Hard to tell if it was a woman or a man if truth be known, let’s say ‘he’
Went straight to the bar and said: “Give me a drink.”
“What’s your poison?” the landlady enquired.
“Whiskey, and three of your patrons to get up on that stage,
For I’m in need of both liquor and entertainment.”
“Cost ya,” said the landlady. “The whiskey ain’t cheap and neither are my patrons.”
Said Duende: “You misunderstand, I make no payment for the things I want,
But I will give you a night to remember when I show you God.”
The Saloon went silent. The landlady spat on the floor, lit a cigarette,
Before shouting across the bar for three to take the stage –
Three to entertain the stranger called Duende.

4.

Old Ginette got up first, with aid of her cane.
Her hair dyed pink, as was her custom in later years,
Some called her Lady Rose, but most just Old Ginette.
Well, she took to the stage and struck us silent as a mighty bell
Would still us to make us stare up at the heavens.
And was it poetry or song that parted her lips, as she said to us:
“Brothers and sisters, I quit going to church on Sundays
Because my legs could no longer make the steps,
Nor could my eyes bring themselves to look into the faces

Of people that bored me to godless and witless tears.
So, now, brothers and sisters, I sit in my home
All alone and pray to God, lo!
Because you don’t need to go to church to find God, right?
God was with me Sunday morning when I dyed my hair pink.
God’s in my hair, brothers and sisters, Gods in my hair!”

We hardly even noticed her exit the stage, such was our awe,
Our enchantment, open-mouthed and dumb as dead salmon.
And the house band seemed just in awe of her as we –
That ragtag trio of drifters dressed in black – banjo, fiddle and a Spanish guitar,
Skinny little dogs they were, declaring often: “The Lion Cult loves you!”

5.

Captain Luke got up next, with the aid of two friends,
Drunk beyond measure and deemed ‘round the bend’ –
Even when he was sober, which was rare.
Dandy Luke they sometimes called him – and he tried his best,
With his hair greased up on the crown of his head
Like a hillock of freshly-laid dog mess.
And ink spots on his frilly white shirt (Luke liked to write poems
When he wasn’t seeing double),
Kept a lea of black stubble on his beer-soaked face,
Which wrinkled as he parted his lips and began to sing:
“Gonna tell you ‘bout a girl called Emma-Jane McGee…”
And boy were we shocked that not only did he possess some mighty fine pipes,
But knew words other than: ‘Bartender make that the same again.’

“Emma-Jane McGee fell from a tree,
Into a grave pre-dug by her husband,
A husband whose heart was owned by another,

A woman from the south, a woman like no other.
How he’ll kiss that southerner upon her fresh lips,
Twist a ring on her finger and say ‘I do’,
While poor Emma-Jane beneath her tree,
Turns in her grave and slips to sleep.
Goodnight, goodnight, Emma-Jane McGee.
Sleep tight, sleep tight, Emma-Jane McGee.”

After, the house band had to be nudged into action to move,
Because they were standing there in just as much awe as we.
“The Lion Cult loves you!” they declared to Captain Luke,
As he stepped down from the stage, and fell flat on his face.

6.

Unaided, ha! – as if she ever needed anyone’s help!
Third and last to get onstage was Bad Girl Sally who was all the rage
Back in Madame Minou’s Whorehouse when the sun shone for days,
And we all got our money’s worth from a good decade.
Bad Girl Sally slapped her foot down on a stool and began to wail:
“Show me your face, your soul, your balls, your titties, your gold.
Show me your heart and I’ll show you mine too,
‘cept my black heart is busted in two.
Say broken mirror on the wall, who’s the sassiest of them all?
The classiest, bad-assiest, nastiest, most trashiest?
See, I want it all, and I want it now! Give me…

Diamonds and tiaras and black panthers and piranhas.
O, doctor, dear doctor, I have this disease… and the disease is myself.”

We watched Sally pick up the stool and toss it over her shoulder –
Lord, it hit the banjo player of the house band square on his head,
Though he didn’t seem to mind too much – he was in awe of Sally
Like the rest of us. Awe, red raw, bleeding all over the damn stage floor,
As Bad Girl Sally suddenly ripped off her dress
And showed us her breasts, upon which she’d scrawled in black paint:
‘Over’ on the one, ‘Rated’ on the other.

7.

And we wondered if we witnessed miracles that night
At the Broken Boat Saloon after Duende walked in.
And in the silence that followed Sally’s performance,
We heard the slow-handclapping of Duende at the bar,
Who grinned through his teeth and a dangling cigar.
“Did you see God?” he asked us. “Did you see your true creator?”
The landlady tugged her Spencer carbine from the wall
And aimed it’s business end at the head of Duende.
“Let’s call it three-hundred bucks, shall we honey?
Coz the only God we know here is the colour of money.”
And Duende stood straight and tall and took off his hat,
And his head was all shiny, and had this queer radiance, an aura
That stunned us one and all in the bar of the Broken Boat Saloon.
“You say you saw no God tonight?” Duende said evenly.
“If so, then who do you see before you now?”
“I see a man full of holes,” snarled the landlady,
And she shot Duende dead to the bar room floor,
Who did nought else but got back on his feet, dusted himself down and said:
“I’ll forgive you for that, for I’m the forgiving type. Now get to your knees
And worship your God, and pray The Lion Cult has a song left in them yet.”
And the house band, not immune to the occasional spell of metaphysics,
Began playing the Cowboy’s Lament,
And Duende nodded his head and closed his eyes,
As if dreaming of Laredo, and a young cowboy wrapped in white linen,
The same dream we had dreamed under countless starry skies,
Around campfires, or in cots, or in the arms of whores and gunslingers.
Boy, what a cheer rose up, and a rush to the bar to buy drinks for Duende
Who was deemed a God worthy of celebration that night
When the muse found us all at the Broken Boat Saloon,
And the sweetest voices sang from deep within the soul.


Words and art by the editor.

Thanks to a three-masted ship of inspiration:

Sophia Riley-Kobacker ** The History of Emotions Blog ** Everything2: Nick Cave’s Love Song Lecture **


 

Day of the Dead poem: Interlude Idioglossia

“An angel may weep if a twin should die”

Editor’s note: This poem has been selected for a special mission and will return soon. Apologies for any inconvenience.


Día de Muertos. November 1st. 2018.

Words and lino cut by the editor.

Poem: “The ever-growing, space-consuming giant Mish-mash tree.” Illustrated.

Words and illustrations by the Editor.

For Adam.

I grew from a seed in my garden one day
A giant Mish-mash tree with purple fruit and pink spray.
It began at fourteen inches and had such an appetite
That it ate all my tomatoes and grew four foot overnight.
The next day it rained on my giant Mish-mash tree
And the sun shone so brightly that by quarter-past three
It was bigger than my house and had scoffed my runner beans.
Oh how hungry you are, my giant Mish-mash tree!

The following morning as I tended to my flowers,
My shock and my horror, they had all been devoured.
The pansies and the bluebells and my pretty rose borders,
Chomped down to their stalks, this was so out of order!
At first I blamed the slugs then the dog then the cat,
Then I realised in my garden there was only one thing so fat…
Only one thing so portly, porky, podgy, plump to see…
My ever-growing space-consuming giant Mish-mash tree!

Its trunk I measured fifty feet, its height three thousand inches tall,
Each purple fruit weighed sixteen stone and looked like cannonballs.
“She’s a lively little grower,” my old neighbour remarked,
“You’ll need to sell your garden soon and buy a blimmin’ park!”
Pah and utter tish-tosh, how I scoffed at what he said,
But then three hours later the tree had eaten up my shed!
You greedy, gluttonous, gobbling, gulping giant Mish-mash tree,
Where am I to store my tools now my shed is in your tummy?

Enough was enough, there could be no truce or pardon,
At this rate by tomorrow I would no longer have a garden.
Angrily I shook my fist up at the Mish-mash tree,
But all it did was snigger and snort and grow another ten feet.
And then it rumbled and it grumbled and I had to act fast…
I could see it had intentions on my prize strawberry patch.
And worse, my greenhouse, full of little bonsai trees,
“You leave those tiny trees alone!” I warned my Mish-mash tree.

I rushed inside and quickly dialled
The emergency action garden line…
The botanical gardens and the local nursery…
The national parks and the forestry committee…
Gardens Weekly and Gardeners’ World…
What Garden, Which Garden and The Gardening Herald…
A tree surgeon, a lumberjack, a professor of trees…
But they all thought me mad and put the phone down on me!

And so I chanced upon a book at the local lending library,
‘How to Win Friends and Influence People With a Nice Cup of Tea’…
Well, if it can work for humans why not plants?
So I borrowed the book and took my chance!
And the very next day I approached the Mish-mash tree
With an honest invitation for a nice cup of tea.
Just him and me, in my conservatory,
And if he behaved I would chuck in a pack of custard creams!

The tree it shook with gladness and glee,
Said: “Oh I do so love a cup of tea! I’ll come, I’ll come, quite happily!”
“There’s just one problem,” I warned the tree,
“You’re far too big for my conservatory…
You’re far too big for Buckingham Palace,
And you won’t need a cup you’ll need a king-size chalice!
If only you could shrink to a reasonable size…
I’m certain you would have such a lovely time.”

The Mish-mash tree looked down at me and gave a gentle smile,
Said: “Earl Grey, Indian, Chinese, mint, green and camomile,
Are all my favourite types of brew, and I’m quite partial to a custard cream too,
So I’ll gladly shrink to a dinky thing and join you for a high tea for two!”
“Oh thank you!” I cheered. “Let me find you a pot,
And put you on my table in the sunniest spot.
Come join me indoors, we’ll drink gallons of tea,
My ever-shrinking, not space-consuming, tiny Mish-mash tree.
Drink tea, drink tea, drink gallons of tea,
Just you and me in my conservatory.”

The End

Writers of the world your carriage awaits

Petite – the written world at your small fingertips

1980. Fair-Play. France.

How many of us began our mechanical word journeys on a Petite typewriter? In the 80s I didn’t have a Petite, but I did inherit my auntie’s Scout typewriter that she used for college in the 60s – a small, compact, pastel blue thing of some elegance and which weighed a ton. I wonder how many times my fingers pushed those creamy white keys, how my ears attuned to the striking of hammers against the ribbon onto the page?

The Scout was dethroned by an early 90s electronic word processor, a Brother, which weighed two tons and took up all the space on my desk. It came with a screen about the size of a  letterbox on a front door and could save to floppy disks as well as print. Both the manual and electronic machines served me well as a young writer, popping out page after page of poems and stories (of which a certain few were published. And there is a charm now to that old-school way of submitting typed work by post with an SAE that you had to do back then – but that’s another story for another time). Back to the machines, and I still have pages that were churned out from them which have survived the years and all the moves. It’s funny looking over them again, not just the words I wrote but the typeface, the indents, the smudges and marks. The time-yellowed correction fluid blobs.

When the electronic Brother became redundant, with parts increasingly difficult to get hold of, it was replaced by my first laptop and MS Word package. It’s satisfying seeing words, sentences and paragraphs organise and compose themselves on a computer screen. The tools available make searching and editing simple and fast. With that said, you still can’t beat the elemental feel of a pen in your hand, its shaft working magic from the flicks and swirls of your wrist.

To the left of me right now are hillocks of paper marked by Bics and Papermates and HB pencils – precious notes. To the right is a coffee cup. And in the centre of these is the keyboard, and the screen that I stare into every day, the screen upon which those pen-made notes find their order and place.

I’ll let the artist Stella Marrs have the last word(s) at the end of this post. For now, please enjoy these images of what is possibly the equivalent of the writer’s first car, the Petite typewriter! Plus, a sewing machine, and an activity centre …

It’s all about creation, right?


1980. Fair-Play. France.


1980. Fair-Play. France.


1980. Fair-Play. France.


1980. Fair-Play. France.


1980. Fair-Play. France.


Hamleys. UK. 1983.


stellamarrs.com


Thanks for carbon copying with us 🙂