Monday, September 26, 2011

Tuesday Poem - Found Poem by John Daniel

Found Poem

I found a poem.

I will tell you how I found it.
I was walking along the beach
when I saw a stone with a bump
I brought it home and stood it on the mantelpiece
where it immediately turned into
a Work of Art.

If I can find a Work of Art on the beach I thought
I can find poems on fire extinguishers, in recipe books,
insurance policies, telephone directories,
the index to The Oxford Book of English Verse,
my grandfather's diary.

I read out the Smiths, A.J.
from the London telephone directory
and was attacked by a lady in the Lamb and Flag
screaming This isn't poetry!

I found a poem
by Jeremy Bentham, the philosopher of Utilitarianism
The Greatest Happiness of the Greatest Number
who had written a will stating that he was to be wheeled out
at university committee meetings
and whose head had just fallen off.

This was the end of the Found Poem.
There is only so much you can do with a headless Utilitarian,
wills and insurance policies.
I returned the poem to its beach
laying it carefully among 10,000 others
where it immediately forgot it was a Work of Art
and changed back into a pebble.

Sometimes I go for a walk
listening to the great pebble-polisher
dragging the poems off the earth
hurling them forward and back
the tug-of-war between the moon and the beach.

And sometimes I pick
up an odd-shaped pebble
but I never take it back to the mantelpiece.
That would be ecologically irresponsible.
Instead I lie hearing the rumble
of unfound poems
and the artless crash of the waves
on the beach.

John Daniel isn't a Perth poet, he lives in England, but I met him in Perth where he was a guest at the WA Poetry Festival. Quite a find, I thought. I hadn't known his work at all. I invested in two of his books - Pushing 100, and Missing the Boat - which was published by Etruscan Books in 2007. Found Poem is in Missing the Boat. His work is often hilarious, always thoughtful, wistful, retro, charming, and sometimes just a bit nuts. Love it!

If you want to read the other Tuesday Poems click on the quill icon up on the right.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tuesday Poem - The Woodwoman by Coral Carter


The woodwoman and her helpers stack sawn jarrah sleepers against the back fence. One hundred and twenty dollars for a six by four. They had no change. Our first transaction and I wasn’t feeling generous about a thirty dollar tip. So Macca and Animal sped up the lane, with malice I thought, the trailer swaying in a spray of stones and dust. Hannah, the woodwoman, stayed and talked about the ugliness of palms. Stupid trees long and naked with no shade potential. The people who planted them didn’t realise what mess makers they were. A hangover from the eighties when everyone was mad for them, but this desert town is no place for a tropical palm. She hoped it didn’t rain as the red mud was ferocious. Glued itself to boots and shoes and didn’t budge except onto any indoor surface. She reckoned her kids believed she was created to clean mud off stuff. She was in a hurry and had to go to work making pizzas for hungry bastards. The men came back from getting the change. Tried to break the land speed record down the back lane.

Someone is drilling.
A kid is in trouble.
My shadow chases my pen.
Cabbage moths love dance across the sky.
Crouching clouds begin to creep.
A leaf hobbles across the pavers.
I prop the gate open.
Look at the new neat woodpile.
The sawn red ends of wood.
I photograph the wood and the stupid palms.
My cup is empty.
Incense burns low.
As I preview the photographs,
I see my reflection in the camera screen.
Wrinkled and white.
That’s me now,
I say to myself,
Get used to it.

I met Coral at the WA Poetry Festival and loved her work. She is a dynamic reader and the kind of gutsy person who starts up a press (Mulla Mulla) to publish poetry. But she is an all-rounder, she does lots of stuff.
"Coral Carter is attracted to doing things which begin with P, poet, photographer and publisher.

Coral lives in Kalgoorlie Western Australia walking daily on the country she was born in." 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tuesday Poem - A Day In The Life by Andrew Burke

A Day In The Life

My chest clenches
and I fumble in my pocket
for the Nitrolingual spray.

I'm walking
my damaged heart and dog
through tall gums.

You can watch so much
television, you can nap
just so many hours

then you itch
to do things, simple things
like stretch your legs

and walk.
I stand under a tree
to catch its breath.

A Nitrolingual mist
is working its way
through dank slums

to open the way ahead.
Zimmy sits at my feet, tongue
hanging like

a flag at half mast.
'Come on,' I say,
'let's go.'

I had the honour of launching Andrew Burke's new book Qwerty at the Bodhi Tree cafe during the WA Poetry Festival. It was published by Mullamulla Press which is an initiative of the irrepressible Coral Carter. I made a few jokes about launching and lunching and chapbooks being cheap books but of course, as Coral adamantly asserted, she doesn't publish chapbooks, she publishes slim volumes.

If you want to check out the other Tuesday Poems click on the quill icon above. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Tuesday Poem - thin by Janet Jackson


His piss in the toilet,
his siren sweat in the air:
gone, in the light.

In the sink, a glass, his lick
dried on it

In the open bin, on the tissues and the plastic,
two knotted condoms, 3am, 4am.
He wouldn't stay till morning, add a third.
He wouldn't sleep
beside me.

Naked in my purple bathrobe
I kneel on the vinyl beside the bin,
pick out the condoms, hold
them in my fingers, his come,
no longer white, now cloudy-clear and thin,
his sperm dying.

He was so hot.
From the drawer by the sink
I get the big scissors and, not knowing
what will happen, make a small cut
near the end of one condom. His come rushes
onto my hand, cool, amniotic,
albumen-clingy, thin, slightly
distasteful. I wouldn't lick it

The kitchen is chill, silent, scentless.
I raise my skin, inhale:
clean cut grass and musk
tainted with latex.
I can't smell him, only
an abstraction.

The danger I couldn't touch
runs over my hand into the bin.

Before I can do anything
I have to wash it off me.

I've just got back home from the Perth Poetry Festival and heard so much poetry! It was very full on. I heard so much poetry and met so many poets that I will be posting poems from over the other side of Australia for a while. It is great to draw a much bigger Venn diagram. My idea of poetry includes so much more now. Going to a festival will do that for you. I am too tired now to write much more so I shall just say - First up, JANET JACKSON!

thin was published on the author's site Proximity.

Below find the link to Janet's site where you can read her poems, find out more about her, buy her books and find the dates of her gigs.