Two quotes about poetry today

“[the poet] is expected to construct new poems out of the plastic and Styrofoam garbage that litters the twentieth-century linguistic floor, to make fresh art from the used verbal condoms of social intercourse.”

Stephen Fry

“Poetry is the highest art.”

Terry Pratchett

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Poetry: This is all I have so far

This is sort of a meta-poem, a poem about writing. About not being able to finish. This is all I have so far…

I drew you

smooth syllables

grooves in paper

I

shrugging hunched obsessive

shaded your skin

the side of a soft pencil

curving

like a quadratic equation

the hours sloughed away

in discarded newsprint

dark and light

my only tones

in a world of oil

you like gasoline rainbow

exploded across the retina

no colour could be enough

so I used none

I

sketched, madly breaking

you pulsed that etched line

soft as

plunging into waist-deep snow

when you looked up

from the surface

paused everything

something hot and liquid

passed between our eyes

the pencil tip broke

like a brittle rib

flew swallow swift

shattered the world

everything fluttered

the canvas fell down

myriad sparkling frosts

around the drawing of you

muse-pale

inexpressible

eyeless

statue of a goddess

there is no word

in monochrome dialect

for the colour of your lips

(I rage at the inadequacy of paper)

the trails tears make

on your face

‘texture’ I yell at the two mirrors

hanging wedded in the corner

those sharp stings

do not show hashed lines

on your cheeks

after all these years

they have faded like Paris

I cling to your image

as slivers of graphite

to the thick fibres of the page

I am doing my best

to draw you from a photograph

Editing poetry: Klimt’s Kiss

I wrote this for a creative writing class. I believe that the assignment was to write something about a painting, and I saw this (The Kiss by Gustav Klimt) on someone’s wall. Everyone had always commented on how romantic it was, so I decided to approach it from the opposite way, as if he was taking her against her will.

Graffiti landscape
Shallow dark fake tan bronze
They collapse in a throbbing vein of colour
They grow from the ground
Parallel, strands of geometry
Circles and squares fit tightly together

Wood and lathe
They move in a spiralling thread
And the turnings fall away
In helical symmetry

Her face is twisted and held like twine
Away from his breath,
The dark hemp of his reach
She thinks of the smooth
Green of avocado
While he rapes her in gold
Tries to pry her face open
With dirty fingers
Pull out the fine threads of feeling
The arched soles of her feet whisper ‘baise moi’

via Editing poetry: Klimt’s Kiss.

Editing poetry: All grown up – two viewpoints

The phrase ‘che bell’onor s’acquista in far vendetta’ belongs to Dante.

you grew up too fast
hurtled down ill-lit corridors
too heavy to lift the dust
shaking in counterpoint to the surge
you flinched at the raised hands
never heard as I whispered ‘no’
into the taut space of six long years
Skinner would have approved, cheered
as they painted him a criminal,
crimson for the shadows
che bell’onor s’acquista in far vendetta
but thermodymanics prevails
(as one might expect)
you faded in the sunlight
almost transparent in photographs
poor reflection of a smile
a dance written down
or cast in a mirror
the tut-tut of the shutter’s
disapproval
your friend in those aimless orchards

you grew up too fast
those hands so briefly small
clutched at the concept of beauty
as it slipped sand-quick
between your fingers
you grew up inside
that dark oak room
trailed with purple ribbons
you learned to paint the light
using shadow
to trap your hopes
within the frame
the rhythm and the flutter
of mood
your hearbeat on the door
the frenzy and the brush
antonymic

Looped Smile

We have elevated coldness

To high art

It hangs far out of reach

Thin-framed, oblique

All angle, clip and glitch

You greet me like a guest

With an honest handshake

I realize that I do not know

Cannot see a single edge

From this perspective

Or perhaps it is that

You never had edges

And I never noticed

Either way

I do not recognize

This stuttered image

I cannot see the nude woman descending

Just the infinitely looped smile

We wear to lure strangers

Into our nest

via Looped Smile.