swan darkness

lost 23: swan darkness

beak to beak the chairs shrouded and clouded imagination in stars and striped hearts. possibly things, high-fructose swans, axles without wheels, cooks who cannot substitute one ingredient in a pink peppercorn macaroon with touches of lemongrass and meyer lemons; (see how a hand in front of your eyes can hide a mountain) those who gather salt from great salt beds know that jokes about german sausage are the wurst, startle with new mechanical robots, seven downtown skips in the narrow streets and skip to m’lou my darling change fittings baths sinks shower stalls please put a plug in the bathroom heaters embossed and purple wallpaper. a boulder decides to tumble down. a hill fire stimulates visions. branches kill. codswallop collop collywobbles comeuppance – roots of trees trip. she didn’t like her beard at first but it grew on her. ask the earth’s permission to slip through the throng no more remarkably than a shadow; ponder shape. you want to read more about the swans, corn syrup cantankerous catercornered cockalorum cockamamie; crap, that row of raindrops waiting, waiting to fall from a thin branch.

Writing is a struggle against silence. Carlos Fuentes

From a blog called Wordplay: Helping writers become authors, which is more about writing story than poem: The post is 10 Habits of Successful Authors. most of which we know already as KM Weiland’s Wordplay seems to be for beginning writers, but still, from her list the following will always be pertinent:









(photo: from Wordplay website)


3. Learn the rules. Read voraciously: fiction, books on writing (check out my list of recommend books), blogs, workshops, and anything else you can find. Never stop learning.

4. Break the rules. Once you have a solid understanding of the principles of fiction, don’t be afraid to step beyond their confines. Experiment. Think outside the box… but art is an evolution. If it stagnates, it dies.

5. Create your own inspiration. Pinpoint what inspires you and surround yourself with stimuli. Discipline, creativity, and persistence are a cure-all for writer’s block.

6. Don’t slack on the hard stuff. Don’t cut corners on research, outlining, or editing.

7. Follow your heart, not the market. Art is a deeply personal expression. Write (what) your heart has to tell.

8. Develop a thick skin. Criticism of our work can seem like a personal attack. But criticism—especially when coming from critique partners, agents, and editors—is a vital part of the process. Accept constructive criticism, learn from it, and use it to make your writing better.

10. Love what you do. The writing road has its own set of speed bumps—isolation, loneliness, rejection—but the benefits of spinning these webs of color and fantasy are more than just compensation!

From the Poem-A-day site (Academy of American Poets), these lines from Jack Gilbert’s poem:
Horses at Midnight Without a Moon

Our heart wanders lost in the dark woods./Our dream wrestles in the castle of doubt.

The Poetry Conversation:

just spent an enjoyable two hours perusing your new blog Claudia. thanks for that! Lise M. Rochefort

Thanks Lise!

sweet street toothy

lost 21: sweet street toothy
do not… sense of morality bone chill rent cigarettes ponies a pizza de-emphasize ethical ode translate to cypher text code… store or keep inside your car bucket of chicken elephants a babyfood jar filled with gasoline a set of rubber cockroaches a slice of smelly cheese the treasured 45 (sing out your new belief in oils and acrylics pastels 6b pencils charcoal scratch the nude into copper) twenty-four cans of soft drinks or a small bouquet of trumpet lilies, (your hair the way it curls, now grey) nor leave in the trunk your own wedding cake a small bag of doggie waste or fine Belgian chocolates for your local buddhist priest. not even the barbecue chip ice cream rescued from the rhythm of the chemical sports outlet. think flying fish bumping principia mathematica off the production lines godwottery gazump fartlek gongoozle gadzooks! – you, my sister, say my mother lied, that what/ she said was sand that fell between the slats// of sidewalks made of planks no systems fever, laws of motion or gravity no peace or utter depravity mccavity. well there you are, the gesture said, worship carves a data port in a jackson pollock painting, pumps it full of how honey is sweet, raiment of gold, cloud barred by an insistent breeze. random data misinformation feeds on misinformation but you’d be happy living inside a cuckoo clock Baurusuchia tall as you are, your huge teeth, your dog face, talk to me oh  long-legged one. those six-inch heels. head anatomical athletic training regime, duddy, stare. kibitz with outdated unreasonable positions on that sweet street of pensioners, cupboards of sugar and salt, coke. neurocity of mesoeucrocodylians: paint ink paper added removed, scraped added again scraped off, just where are we/growing my little one, little one/ where are we growing my loodle my love –

I’m out of breath after that one…but at the top, the gift of a shahai to ynklings, by poet/photographer Grant D. Savage. Thank you Grant! Photo from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2018534/Pissarrachampsa-sera-The-70million-year-old-crocodile-huge-teeth-dogs-head.html, and you my sister said… from ‘her light blue dress’, Claudia Radmore

From Grant another extraordinary Juxtaposition:


or rounded conversation


vital statistics

in the dictionaries

or the rock

reclining on silk
or silver screens

tomorrow my bride’s gonna come
…are we going to fly

down into my easy chair
perfect mandala

will the circle
be unbroken

my form

sand grains
the brighter

and fainter stars
that many

times … is/in yours
freud/jung letters

the only
my shrink ever enjoyed

the personal
and the collective

cymbals clash/and gongs

i enter/ great mother
virgin/soror mystica

you leaven
in my mouth

… likewise i’m sure
the buddha’s wife

breasts etc dragging
not on the back of

but fathered/he
by an elephant

you initiated an elephant?
the scent of

the dung of

white dogs/scarlet woman
from india in my dream

she tried to insist
she be on my left

fixed my infinite
out of control electricty

i had been tearing out the wires
poetry synapses/you said

and i smiled
placed my mouth

on your voice
tongue-shock spilling

tongue/french kiss on french/you loudly toast
insisting you’re Quebecois/father/mother?/land

Terre de nos aïeux… (however you spell that)
sung/accented … English soprano

Too beautiful not to be passed on:

Nothing to do with writing, but I’m entranced by this photo. Those blues, those blue scallops over the yellow band, that sweep of blue from its back that slides onto the branch of brain coral. Maybe it’s because I’m terrified of water; that might lend an aura of wonder to my perception of this goby. I don’t like to look at fish or many other underwater creatures. They give me nightmares, but this goby won’t do that. It might inspire a new career, that of clothing designer – look out Betsy! It’s the first-place winner, macro-photography category, in an annual contest put on by the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. The photographer is Canadian (yeaaay!!!!) Todd Mintz’s who photocaptured this cute-as-can-be yellownose goby (Elacatinus randalli) peering out from brain coral in Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean.

http://news.yahoo.com/sea-creatures-true-beauty-revealed-winning-underwater-photos-174404076.html (Maybe there’s a poem in Goby for someone…)

The discussion continued: Shai Ben-Shalom

I greatly enjoyed the discussion that Pearl initiated. Reading what people wrote was an eye-opener. I was particularly interested in those comments that described how poems are entities that have independent lives, disconnected from the author or from the reader. Sadly, I am yet to see my own poems having such lives. None of them was written for the sake of it, but rather to reach a specific target – the reader’s eye. Without a reader, my poems don’t really have a life.
Indeed, when drafting a poem I may not necessarily know who the reader might be, but he is there, somewhere. There always seems to be ‘someone’ in my mind, vague as he may be, who will eventually read my lines (or listen to me reading them) at some point in the future. The poem is written for that person. I just don’t feel secure enough in my skills to write ‘for myself’. I don’t consider my ideas to be all that important, or my poems to be all that good, to sustain their inner quality when no one is reading. Without a two-way communication, the drive to hold a pen would have evaporated. But the thought that someone would read any of my poems, react to it, offer a feedback, initiate a discussion, perhaps even reciprocate by sharing a poem of his own – now that is a reason to write!

One day, when I get comfortable with the language and become familiar with the art of writing, I may see some internal beauty in my poems, a built-in spark that gives them life of their own (perhaps in the spirit of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, ‘there is a blaze of light on every word’). Until then, you, who may read my lines, may offer a listening ear at Tree Reading and may introduce me to your own poems – you are my motivation to write!

Shai, I think it is you who are the inspiration here, and the others in the conversation… Thank you!

you exist interferometry

lost 19: you exist interferometry

they shoot and shoot and run after people don’t they. she pulls the pig’s head and bum apart, the head part just something that makes a pig run, sets these horrors loose. death is only imaginary, the trodden path to the wattle fence, the squabbling and killing. it was a fine wool clip, from the care of horses and cattle to the long bow tribulations of men. those who took the cross, so be it. unchidden to the last scruple of pain or love, he was yet able to capture what bird-watchers call the bird’s ‘giss’, its essence, and that was enough. animate you coat hanger aerials, wrecking yard doors the wrong colour, on your own oil stain, flash of doozy dudgeon ecdysiast, the stripper iridescent on rainy days like today. things that swarm should now withdraw forgetful. we yet us bingo sing play let decay and composition, the protosemic protosemantic in his essay, the cherry trees he promised, becoming the clinamen epistemes; particularly then from where do they get their souls erroneous. you did not actually fly did you; you were too wide around, and far bigger than the average cow – interferometry, memory stick. the behind. to carry you to said final ferocious ecology, evade the plummet towards absolute zero, laugh. ontological mainstay as network of signification, but not of accessible reading habits. we have scilla siberica i think

….and why the cover of Stuart Ross’s latest book at the top of the post??? you ask. Because I really, really, very much really like this collection! The title of the book also fits the theme somehow (whatever theme there is…) that of the ‘we yet us bingo sing play’,

Two contributions from Grant: If this shahai doesn’t get printed out by most readers and pinned up on bulletin or fridge, there’s something wrong… The poem will speak for itself.

Juxtapositions VII

is winter immediate past
or future

a daffodil unfolds sun
and shadow in frost

we are so happy
talking problems on and on

and your solution to all
now i have everything

all the usual things to have
and to be upset about

finally i changed
can’t we just be friends

well … … yes!
and we never spoke again

at least a goshawk lets you know
both owl and snake die

the squirrel i fed
lily bulb in its paws

proffered tim horton’s cup
clink of looney on looney

yes she says
there is somebody else

expecting jealousy
surprised by impotence

and for the she-merlin
a sparrow as a gourmet meal

while the male keeps
his talons spread and relaxed

there in the apple
the flesh, the juice

the heart-shaped ovaries
burgeoning seeds of too much

never seeing the dark something
that struck and missed

the wind
in the long grass

was it for real
that love scene

all the earth tones
siddhartha’s woman dies of snakebite

his thousand faces/voices
… being … the river’s … OMMMMM …

Again from Southword Magazine, Ireland, via Riddle Fence, a poet I’d not read before but for whom I’ll be on the lookout: Carmelita McGrath: http://www.munsterlit.ie/Southword/Issues/21A/contents.html#riddle

Adam and Eve on a Winter Afternoon

Adam comes in from sawing wood
with a chip on his shoulder.
And grunts. And heaves the wood down,
a heavy drop filled with creeping, unsaid things,
to the woodbox.

And Eve is trying to imagine it not there,
that slow and trembling thing within his breath
that lives between inhale and exhale. This
must be just exertion, and yet it feels
like a weapon, not quite secret but concealed.

She has words for such days – wood hyacinth,
aurora borealis, Harley-Davidson – either
ethereal beauty or a fast-flying escape.
But the kitchen is a trap baited with supper cooking
and the imminent arrival of children.

And Adam says, “Whas for supper?”
And Eve says, “Soup.”
And he says, “Any meat in it?
I hope you’re not off meat again. Growing
children need their protein. And this
is no climate to be eating like rabbits.”

And then the old clock rescued from a house
where pouncing bargain hunters drove deals at a death sale
hammers four o’clock home.

And Eve thinks that four o’clocks are old-fashioned flowers,
and she stirs the soup and plunks down
in her bentwood rocker with her seed catalogues,
thinks crocosnia
thinks branching tulip
thinks Apricot Beauty
thinks hemerocallis

And the ragged thing between breath and breath
is there again, just for a second, a thing of air
with claws and teeth.

And Adam goes out for another load
before the early dark sinks in on him,
and while his saw buzzes
the language of massacre on wood
thinks tomorrow’s Friday
thinks pint of Guinness
thinks at least she dyed her hair
thinks I can hear the children

Their footsteps saw over frozen grass, their voices
high, inadvertently calling everything back together,
one of them playing a blackbird’s call on a recorder.

A response to yesterday’s conversation, from Grant:
Maybe what we’re looking for in poetry is a needed homeostasis. In biology: a return to an established norm. May not be the best state for you but it is what is biologically comfortable for the indiviudual. All biological development is a struggle between the tendency towards entropy vis a vis the need for and tendency toward greater and more organized information. This is part related to the drive for fitness and the fact of competing morphologies. In poetry, readers and poets are off balance, and/but driven toward another another imbalance in the attempt to re-establish an unrealizable homeostasis. Complete balance is essentially, biologically speaking, the end, the final catastrophe, of a life … death. Cosmologically speaking, it is complete entropy, the balanced and uniform distribution of energy and matter that ends all events, anything that recognizes the, and the recognizable, universe. Art to be art, to have life, needs an element of of imbalance, and a degree of unacceptability. Humpf. Grant.

Oh Grant, and everyone whose ideas i’ve posted so far, I do hope you keep this going, now and then or always, and it would be great to have others join in. It’s not something I’m good at, but I love seeing it happen. Comments, it’s all about these intelligent comments. How else will I know what I’m trying to do???

guffaw, expletive

a shahai by Grant D. Savage (poem and photograph by Grant)

 lost 10: being nice (guffaw, expletive)

the genes hold the key to being nice so why is there a huge bag of old socks in the corner, words are the blunt instrument, hook’em lapsed secularists sweet jesus convent girls want it don’t want it they get it they… up to the live feed transponder. planetary telescopes, squashed egos, real men eat with their hands. a rat made the decision: faded chintzes on a narrow library table, cynical statistical curve. and the sinners walk free, that non-believer had less hair every time i looked – four-day feast of fools screen screams, extra-triple zero kick the tires, from my perspective (guffaw, expletive) this is either the fossilized skin of a duck-bill hadrosaur saurolophus or a angostirosira saurolohus; in other words can one be good without god, it’s ours not theirs. they. we. threatening squad of inline skimp-skirted skater squirts, neatly dressed and clean shaven. ahem. the car starting as if it had never done anything else.

Note: reference to Alain de Botton, RELIGION FOR ATHEISTS: A Non-Believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion, 2012, Pantheon Books.