Monday, February 28, 2011

Tuesday Poem - Epicentre by Jennifer Compton


I woke up dazed
some taniwha had risen
underneath my bed
straight up from

the centre of the earth
and humped like
a green horse
first time under the saddle.

Then the noise
a peremptory growl
travelling away from me
as swiftly as a train.

How unusual and strange.
I couldn't write a poem
for every earthquake
I have lived through

they all have their little quirks
but every other one had rumbled
towards me, done its worst
shivered, rippled, shook

then galloped away.
The house and I settled
down, drew our breath
and the earth turned.

I have been a bit knocked about emotionally by this new earthquake in Christchurch which has caused so much damage and suffering. So I hadn't sorted out my Tuesday poem. Then I remembered the only poem I have written about an earthquake. Because I was born in Wellington I have been through lots of them. But nothing major. I'm lucky. I thought of this poem because I have a friend who lives in Lyttleton which was the epicentre. So my only epicentre experience came to mind. It was in Martinborough, actually.  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tuesday Poem - Dad by Rachel McGladdery


Rolling in one night on sea legs
made entirely from White Lightning,
he bowled up at mine and fell in through the door.

I helped him up and sat him down
and once propped upon a chair with a cup of tea he told me he had AIDS.
"Oh Dad" I said and went to hug him.
He held his hand out like a nicotine stained starfish.

" you don't have to bleach the cup"

I held him sadly as he sobbed into my shoulder,

"Don't treat me like a leopard"

I hooked up with Rachel on Facebook. She lives up there in Britland and I live down here in the Antipodes and we haven't met in the flesh but I follow the story of her life via her status updates, and maybe she follows mine. Sometimes we have a bit of a witty chitchat. She seems to have a lot of success with her poetry and she deserves to I think. Her work is so sharp and astute and full of flavour. Very tasty stuff, indeed.

Rachel McGladdery has been writing poetry seriously for around 2 years. She has performed at many venues throughout North West England. She won the NXNW Slam in August 2010 at The Tudor House Wigan and also won the title of Liverpool Lennon Poet 2010 in November 2010 and was awarded with her trophy by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. She has been published in Mental Arts Virus Magazine, Preston is my Paris Zine, Word Soup Year One, Dragonheart Press - Winter Poets,and is due to have a poem in a new Forward anthology published in February 2011 'When I speak to you of love...'. She also has work published at The Pygmy Giant. Rachel was Featured Poet in the Poetry Kit's series, Caught In The Net #72. You can see more of Rachel's work here:
Rachel lives in rural Lancashire with her 4 children and 2 cats and is a closet birdwatcher.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tuesday Poem - Life sentence by Vincent O'Sullivan

When the man from the Arts Council mistakenly
knuckles my door in the hope an artiste
might be found on the premises,
                                                   when this woman
with frankly, Norks, you wouldn't believe them,
asks do I have faith in the beyond,

or Arkansas, as he's known around here,
a stud-nostriled bogan with musically
simian taste,
                    he or his gravid sister
wanting to borrow my 'focking tape-deck bro',

there's a queue, veritably, to my front verandah,
each expecting feedback as though manna's by right,
why, I quote Akhmatova
                                      at them, my one
stab at truth in a tricky world, 'The Venice,'
I tell them, 'the Venice of Doges is next door.'

I chose this light-hearted and, yes, tricky poem, from Vincent's most recent collection, Further Convictions Pending. But it wasn't easy to pick just the one poem. I dithered a lot. I was being lead by the nose and up the garden path, forward and back through the book. Yes, the one about the rat with the timely front tooth. Or the one about the squadroned vaginas of the tulip beds. Or the one about the eyes from different people who are introduced to each other in the optician's office. So true! But no. I picked this one because it was too delicious to resist. Sly wit, and naughtiness. Norks is naughty. And so is artiste. I just wish I knew why one of the supplicants is called Arkansas. I have been making up stories about why he is. And pondering whether it is pronounced as it is written, or in the Cholmondeley way it is pronounced in the States. Sigh. Just the one inscrutable in a world I recognise spoken into life by a voice I trust. Just the one pebble to stub my toe against. Do I want to explained to me? No, I don't actually. There is a reason for it, maybe connected to the gravid sister, just as there is a reason why the the chief magistrate and leader of the Most Serene Republic of Venice was styled the Doge, but I am not in the know about that either.

Further Convictions Pending poems 1998-2008 Victoria University Press

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tuesday Poem - Absurd Hats 1909 by Jennifer Compton

Absurd Hats 1909
Filmed by James McDonald

Lady Ward (Theresa) was renowned for the size of her hats
her husband's hat is just as ridiculous although vertiginous
hers is an intricacy of folds and tucks - his is a chimney.

Their marital glance, uncertain, as they flicker in the garden
mouthing - What should I say? Is that machine working?
but they seem accustomed to hoisting hats out of proportion.

It's very annoying and frustrating but I wanted to post a poem by Vincent O'Sullivan this week, and first off I had internet issues, then when that came good I discovered that this blog wouldn't respect indents and rushed everything back to the left margin. I couldn't find out how to fix it. AND it won't do italics. There are meant to be some italics in the little poem of mine I am posting as a stop gap.

Anyway, anyway - this is a poem I picked up while I was at an exhibition at the National Library in Wellington. They were absurd hats and the thing that really gave me the giggles is that they seemed to be wearing representations of their genitals on their heads. "Hers was an intricacy of folds and tucks - his was a chimney."