Tag Archives: writing

Day of the Dead poem: Interlude Idioglossia

“An angel may weep if a twin should die”

Wide you haftago, haftago, haftago (leave me or alowen)
Broken hearted tempo in the hearth (flames aglowen)
Or alowen larlarlowen lowen lar lar lar

At the Cut pockits emty see bombed out buildins
Crumble rumble rubble rumbba rub rub
Granma died in that house, royt, rumbba rub rub
Rubbed out smithereens an mightily blown up
A Pfennig for yer thoughts me dear, Luftwaffe, leffé, leffé
Luk out, lef bizniz (leave or alowen)
Left Bank Francs fer catacombs tours deep underground
Leftovers, angovers, a face as lung as Livery Street
An all the Purple Hearts you cud eat
Keeps the bitternez dowen (keeps pharmacists in lifestyles
They have growen accustomed to)

See, it’s not jus me, it’s the sadness of everything
An everyone, everyone, everyone, and all that’s ever been

Treacle liver taters shugga choclit lar lar lar
(rations is a passion in a fashion when passin through the yard)
Lollylar lollylar (cominyar cominyar)
Rememba Trev the orse an Joey the tortuss
An Dandy dog an Patch the cat?
The stillborn rabbits buried under the lawn?
(Sausages grow on trees you know, lar lar lar)
Shellin peas, wipe yer feet on a doorstep made from a shell
Unexploded metal an shiny, merry Christmas from Hell

O wide you haftago, haftago, haftago (leave me or alowen)
Broken hearted tempo in the hearth (flames aglowen)
Or alowen larlarlowen lowen lar lar lar

Midland Red, daily bread, blackbird bye bye
Mrs Mills knees up yellin Happy New Year
Elizabeth Liza Beth Lizzy Liz Liz
Bethany Eliza Bet Betty boop beep
Promises made were not owers to keep
Breakin hips breakin words breakin backs breakin vows
Chewin gum G.I. Joe nylon stockings choclit up
To the neck in muck and bullets and lar lar soldier blood
Ma’s bezt mate… jus turned seventeen
Gassed herself coz she thought she was no lunger clean
O so beautiful, so beautiful she was
(an I’d cry her some tears if I had any left)

See, it’s not jus me, it’s the sadness of everything
An everyone, everyone, everyone, and all that’s ever been

Ma’s promised us a picnic if we both be gud
Pretty new dresses an matching red huds
(lar lar lar)
The teacher never cud tell us apart in a munth of Sundys
But school’s dun with now royt, so cum out n play
Shake off yer unparalleled sadness
As heavy as a hundred woollen coats soaked by rain
An the river-lung tears of angels missin their wings
An hark now, listen to the song o the twins…
Fer the sweetest things may be heard above all storms
Of the mightiest wrath (and the sadness of all things)

Lar lar lar, I knew you’d be waitin fer me when I came home
Took ages dint it?
More days than I knew what to do with, if truth be known
These colours, they don’t half look gud. Shall we keep em?
(lar lar lar) to be sure to be sure.


Día de Muertos. November 1st. 2018.

Words and lino cut by the editor.

19th and 20th century lithographs + angels, art and advertising

American Crescent Cycles par Winthrop Ramsdell 1899

La Tournée du Chat Noir par Thoéphile Steinlen. 1896. Tin plate.


Cats That Come Back. At a poster store in Montmartre you spent your final few euros on cards depicting the lithographic advertising styles of the late 19th and early 20th century. You took photos of the outside of the poster store, and had one taken of yourself and your youngest son, a part of you indulging in some late-afternoon fantasy that you were the proprietors of said store. What fun, surrounded by art originally intended to part one from one’s cash – and a hundred years later it’s still doing the same, only selling itself this time around. What a sale, what a fine boutique did those Parisian streets make for you. For it’s easy to get lost in the culture, art and spirit of expression when it surrounds you in all its breath-taking vibrancy. There is a deep yearning. A searching back through history to find a part of yourself you may recognise. Print advertising is consumerism’s cocky high art. A brassy exhibition of wonders. A sly yet alluring gallery that invites you inside. It’s everything you love and loathe in the same moment. You pitch these paper testimonials to commercialism with all the integrity and enthusiasm of a loving archivist. But you are also an artist. Those Paris streets and galleries and windows and walls whispered to your heart. Hell, sometimes they yelled at you, told you they remembered, recalled your angels & fey (born from the snippets and slivers of glossy ads in magazines in case you didn’t know), the exhibitions, the foreign shores, the hours spent holding brushes and conjuring colours. You sold it well, they said. You made an impression. You left a mark. People were happy. Sometimes that’s the least you have to do. From: The Artist and the Four Hats




Job par Alfons Mucha 1896

Job done?

For a bit

Too busy writing

To try and score another hit

It’s a circle you see

A merry go round

You jump on and off at certain points

feet touch the ground

Back up again

Always looking for those special connections


Palooka N° 5


Words, Angel & Fey artwork by the editor.
Colour Angels & Fey scans taken from Palooka issue 5.
Lithograph adverts scanned from commercial postcards and tin plates are shown for illustrative purposes only. No infringement of copyright is intended.
Cat count: we spotted at least 26 images of cats in this blog post. A new TVTA record!

Poem: The ever-growing, space-consuming giant Mish-mash tree

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 🙂