Poetry Archive :: Mantis

This week’s micro-poetry was, it has to be said, summat of a triumph. That first line is what does it, of course: start strong, they say. Amazingly, the rest then pretty much wrote itself.

Some weeks, you just get lucky, I suppose.


Confession: I ate him,
slightly tart, filling
sex, then stomach;
no regrets remain.

Brave bug did his duty,
species preservation;
he died happy,
I made sure of that.

As mother of futures
responsible pleasure,
sacrifice made;
continues our line.

Consumption essential
conception so stressful;
really peckish
his head hit the spot.

Ultimate sacrifice
gone with true feeling,
missed already:
what can I eat now?

Right Now

This week, I acted on instinct for the first time in a while.


There are a PHENOMENAL number of online portals, websites and magazines that take submissions. A magazine such as Mslexia will give a vital insight into such places, but it is only the tip of a considerable iceberg. Countless places exist to send work to, but perilously few will pay you for the effort. It is, in certain lights, a poisoned chalice of effort versus reward.

Occasionally however I’m not here for the cash. There are moments when you just want to write summat for the sake of writing: this week, the day after my first successful counselling session, I needed to believe that writing remains enjoyable for the hell of it. So, I sat down and wrote three poems. Just like that. BOOM. Then, I stared at them for a bit and was really very happy with what had resulted.


One of them, it must be said, had been written in a rough form whilst waiting in the counselling office. I feel this is a theme going forward, that it might be nice to do one a week for the next three months because if all else fails, that’s a collection right there. Then, they sat around for a day, as is the idea, before coming back for polish. After that, they were printed out, put in an envelope with a stamped-addressed return one for acknowledgement, and then posted.

That was an odd feeling: walking to the letterbox, sending my work away, not knowing when I’d hear a reply. Having to watch for my own letter’s return, I have to say, is considerably more exciting than anticipating failure via an e-mail. I’m far less likely to get upset too, amazingly, because this just feels like a better way to fail. If my poem from the waiting room makes it, of course, I’m one short for the collection…


Should that actually come to pass, I reckon I’d cope.

All Time High

This week, sadly, has not been nearly as successful as last week. There’s a major reason for this, that I’m not discussing on the other blog either, and honestly it is not relevant thus far to anything else here either. Except, of course, this major change in emphasis was inevitably going to have some consequences. The main one is wanting to cut back on Social media. Instagram’s already dried up, for which there’s no great loss.

I’d like to thank everybody who has contributed to the stuff I’ve done, and simply admit up front that my desire to encourage talk is sadly not currently being met by an enthusiasm to engage. It’s no wonder so many people are tired. It’s a tough world out there at the best of times; right now is particularly taxing. The bigger problem is watching those who think talking means just listening to them and agreeing.


The other consequence is having anything of real interest to discuss. Until my brain decides to start playing nicely again, there’ll be some freshening up of the website, archiving of long-overdue gubbins, plus occasional personal ramble into working processes. I suspect this will be the way things pan out until the Easter holiday is done and dusted with, which means a return to ‘normal’ around the 23rd.

There are a remarkable number of things right now being worked on, however, and it might be an idea that next week those lists are refined and re-ordered. More importantly there’s not a definitive list of what’s been entered for and that ought to be organised, so at least there’s the knowledge of what rejections are being waited for…

Bear with me, it’ll all work itself out in the end.

There’s No Other Way

Following the weekend’s revelation that my mental issues are scuppering progress on editing old work, we’ve made solid progress on a new approach to writing long-form fiction. In fact, as it transpires, this approach is a bit of a revelation:

I speak a bit about the process on the Other Blog: it was meant as a means to release mental pressure, and give me something to aim towards going forward. Buoyed by this, tomorrow is the day when I work on the short story I’ve written and not yet completed that I’d like to enter for the formal contest that began all this trauma in the first place.

If this works to my satisfaction, there’s a second short story to follow.


However, right now I’m trying my best not to be obsessed with doing just one thing if something else pops up, comes along and demands attention. In practical terms that’s trying a new submission avenue this week, that doesn’t have a deadline and demands what I consider to be my best work. I have no idea if it will work or not but what is apparent is how much the process is being enjoyed. That’s what’s been missing for the last few months.

If I can find the things that truly spark joy when creating, there’s a far better chance of something finally being considered as good enough.

Poetry Archive :: Laurel

We’re having fun over the next four weeks by doing quite literal interpretations of our subject matters. In this case, it was incredibly easy to throw together five verses on the literal essence of laurel, both historically and medicinally. This worked far better than I’d initially expected it to, so much so it’ll be fun to do the same with three other shades of green, or green-related words going forward.

Amazing sometimes how an idea spins you out to a completely different direction than first anticipated.


Aromatic tree,
evergreen shrub: mountain nymph,
priestess of Gaia.

Victory’s symbol,
poet laureate: favoured
by the Gods themselves.

emperor’s regalia:
Roman reverence.

Vital astringent
wound’s salve: that Bloody Mary’s
green ingredient.

Humble, verdant growth
vitally symbolic; plant
new futures within.

Poetry Archive :: Jungle

April for poetry isn’t just themed, it is the beginning of an intentional process of detachment. My brain, built as it is, has an almost obsessive need sometimes for order and control. However, increasing amounts of current poetry is anything but: free-form verse, little or no controlled structure, simply feelings falling from brain to page. What matters far more than a framework is the emergence of a unique poetic ‘tone’, rhythm of vocal presentation that only really manifests when the works are read aloud.

Therefore, I’m working hard on the process of attempting to decouple brain from structure. This week’s the foundation point, and Twitter’s restrictions make this a lot more conventional than I’d like, which we will address with next week’s subject matter. For now, however, it works as a means of environmental protest.


Chlorophyll canopy, dancing
sunlight, humid motes
thousand-hued boughs:
welcome to the jungle.

Insect population, living
ecosystem, multicoloured
sensational overload:
moment in crisis.

Over-zealous farmers, stripping
green’s worth, bulldozing
entire species, extinction:
all for profit.

Planetary meltdown, stripping
colour, diversity’s
green turns to dust:
variety extinction.

Joint responsibility, changing
money-driven attitudes
preserve the jungle:
secure Earth’s future.

Is It Worth It?

Last week I received a completely expected rejection.

Normally, there’d be those people who tell me that expecting to fail is bad: the only way in which work is ever likely to succeed is when I believe in it first. The biggest issue, without doubt right now, is finding method by which that faith can exist within me with confidence. Fiction in my remit isn’t good enough: narratives are inconsistent, often incoherent and ultimately self-indulgent. What needs to happen is a complete readjustment of attitude and outlook.

More importantly, belief in that particular part of myself has to be significantly readdressed.


How do I know this? It is the success in other forms of writing which highlights these shortcomings. This isn’t about winning contests either: poetry is now a more comfortable, capable means by which emotion and direction can be communicated. For a very long time it was impossible to adequately express extremely deep-seated issues. Poetry became a tool used to clear away obstructions, allowing access to places I was scared to go to otherwise. Words in that form have, quite literally, set me free.

All that time I’ve been writing blogs and fiction regardless of quality or often coherence. This release was undoubtedly valuable but not nearly as beneficial as poetry remains. Think of it as being stuck in a completely alien environment with no verbal or literal means of communicating with the outside world. Most sane people won’t start learning the language using long, complex sentences. You begin with single words: food, love, tree, bird, basic things that are then strung together.


This is learning to draw and learning the basics of proportion and perspective as an artist; being able to boil an egg, chop up ingredients consistently before training as a professional cook. All of this experience, decades of writing, has never been quite enough to make a vital leap of capability. Knowing this is the reason I’ve always said a novel will be published, but never presented anything capable (or finished) to do so.

Self has held back because it was just too frightened of making that vital jump, until now.

The answer, I’ve decided, is probably to start at the beginning. All the novels that are sitting, half done on my hard drive don’t hold the answers to the question I’m looking for. I need to start again, using the tools I now possess, to write differently. Recycling a fractured past has begun to do more harm than good. What is needed to move forward is something better, different and largely unknown. This is not the time for rigid structure and direction.


This is about writing what I really am, seeing where that new-found ability takes me.