Monday’s optimism was a little tarnished today, mostly because I forgot Rule #1 of the Internet: don’t let other people’s success diminish your own achievement. Sometimes it can be hard to be objective, and then you remember all the good work you have done and everything is okay again. Everyone started somewhere, after all. This is as good a space as any for me to begin.
I have absolutely no idea how this happened at all. It just fell out of my head in five self made-pieces, last taking prompts from previous four. It’s odd sometimes how these things just happen.
It’s a long way from where I was on Monday to where I am now.
There to here’s strained gasp away
pain never leaves anything, well
stitched within this soul.
Here was now, a breath ago
hidden panic, exposed
juxtaposed across decades
disturbs uneasy timeline
stuck tightly to my soul.
greater confidence, self-defined
unexpected truth unwinds
expletive, summarily repeated.
Then to now, alteration;
recognition what before, no longer
reassign priorities, regroup.
There to here’s return to form
hidden panic assuaged:
unexpected, belief transcends
emergent; new direction.
It is odd, sometimes, how the things we least expect to emerge in our work end up doing just that. This poem is a case in point: the events of this poem are 100% true. The verse maps out a real, difficult event in my late 20’s. There is one deviation from fact, for the sake of a convenient conclusion, but this will be the second time this particular moment has surfaced in my poetry.
I know why this happened, at this point in proceedings. Lockdown is taking a quite particular mental toll on the trauma-affected areas of my brain: last night was a case in point. Understanding that this stuff is happening is one thing: dealing with it, when it happens, another thing entirely. Getting it out of the brain and onto a page/screen is undoubtedly helpful, however.
Next week’s poem, as a result, is a differenty beast entirely.
calm, nerves flattened
we’re all friends here
except, over there
middle finger raised
not this again
since when was he
on my side, big man
now what, possibly
mind’s already sold
axis powers pact
bigger picture painted
middle finger salute
exit, stage left
phone number, meet hand
It’s been another week of lockdown complete, with poetry becoming easier to tap into. That’s an encouraging sign, considering that I’ll be dipping my toes back into competitive submissions after Patreon work’s done. The biggest single issue, of finding a cohesive and credible voice, seems to have been properly put to rest. There was no a proper comprehension of how I should sound when presenting poetry until quite recently.
Being taught is one thing, as I have discovered in exercise, but grasping the reality of that teaching is another thing entirely. Comprehension is the bridge that has always been lacking. How do I move from here to there without losing the essence of what I am? How is it possible to combine subject matter with the right level of objective emotion? It is happening now, of that I am confident.
The next step, undoubtedly, is to put these new skills to work.
Nature’s affirmations, cautious life emergent;
darkness is shrinking, sunlight’s warmth singing.
Anger released, exhaled; everything goes, nothing retained,
cleansing rains: vital pulse, regained.
Cool skin, thawed heart: blue backdrop, green shoots:
framed palette perfect, backdrop painted.
Grow strong, daylight’s confirmation: turn, upward destination,
larger space not trapped below.
Confidence reborn, harvest ready; life takes time,
relax, allow world to match pace, good grace.
I’m quite tired. Fortunately there’s only five more days of exercise for REDJanuary to complete. Fingers crossed I will not have a repeat of the trauma relapse that happened on Thursday for a while, and tomorrow there’s a new back shave and hairdo and that is always something to look forward to. In the meantime, I have nothing to say about this poem other than it was a useful exercise in stream of consciousness writing, and that I’m likely to come back to this at some point for a rewrite.
That reminds me, I need to sort out the February headers tomorrow…
In Darkest Days
Monday’s muted hue reminds: don’t quit today, not finished here; mind left awry, piled Jenga high each countless resolution neatly filed, marked decades past.
Tuesday’s ruby heart pumps strong: another mile, muscles dictate; progress made far past
expectation, stamina evolving unpredicted revelation.
Wednesday wanes, impostor syndrome looms, all alone ‘cross sweat stained rooms; bad moments burnt, kindling bright: evening’s progress strong, consistent pace.
Thursday’s emerging, different past, everything placed: inescapable reality’s thrall deposed, unopposed ascendancy guaranteed, unstoppable forced.
Friday doesn’t mind, forgiving sins: dice thrown, snake lies slain; Eden’s burnt remains. All this will pass, promise paid, toss broken gains.
There are big poems as yet undiscovered within me. They are hidden behind bad memories, submerged in low, foul smelling lakes of recrimination and angst. These words are the marrow in bones that move a body in other directions, and by understanding their significance, the whole of my existence becomes smarter and stronger. I’m away right now, and whilst brain takes a much needed couple of weeks away from a full-time screen, there’s the words that have been left behind.
Starting next Monday, until the end of the month, you’ll get two verses of the New Poetry per day on Monday and Wednesday, with EX/WHI on Fridays. It’s a window into the part of my brain undergoing renovation. You can’t see much through this darkened, dirty glass but let the management assure you that these changes are worth the vastly inflated construction fees, and you’ll be able to see the sea from here. Oh, and you can have the chicken for absolutely nothing. Gratis. All yours, squire.
Strap in people, there’s turbulence coming.
I spend an awful lot of time in my life online being exposed to a particular brand of selfish, arrogant and blinkered attitudes. Many of these emanate from individuals who view me, as a woman who’s been gaming since the 1970’s, as some kind of curiosity to be poked, studied and summarily laughed at. Then there are those who creep me out by stalking my actions, or making lewd comments over everything I say, however innocent that might be. Mostly, people are the problem.
These people know who they are, and this poem is for them.
[This has been edited from its original postings via social media.]
The hubbub over this is mere distraction,
pointless tirade from he who does not hear:
allows anger to grant brief satisfaction,
short victory exposing faults as clear.
Continuing this course of self-destruction
a pointless, all-consuming pack of lies;
outcome will not result in reproduction
instead, expect a chorus of goodbyes.
Should truly you require to keep a friendship
for longer than the time between ad breaks;
put down that sword, prepare to shed your armour,
high time to reconsider what it takes.
Each gamer’s creed is written in their pixels,
intractable no longer from the soul:
attention needed for a range of muscles
not simply brain and hand to make things whole.
Forget those jokes about making a sandwich
‘Play of the Game’ no longer will impress:
if you desire a friendship in your bandwidth
drop toxic thoughts and actions to progress.
I would argue that the worthwhile thing you can ever do with someone suffering from any form of mental illness is to learn how to listen to them.
If you cannot express your anguish for yourself, sometimes all that is left is incoherent anger, frustration and tears. In those moments, help is absolutely crucial.
Here’s a series of haiku on how it feels to me when this happens.
Please Help Me
Nowhere else to go
Desperate plea: find method
Knowledge eludes, true
Redemption out of arm’s reach:
Please, someone listen.
This voice, important
Requires immediate help:
Hand is offered, small
Gesture immediate: breathe,
Explain what is wrong.
Way forward defined,
Begin the healing process,
I’d like to take a moment to state, for the record, I am INSANELY proud of this week’s Micropoetry. Firstly, I used the French term arrondissements and rhymed it in a manner that was not only relevant but utterly awesome.
Second of all, a love letter was written to my favourite city: it is perfectly acceptable to express love for a place, I am reliably informed, and this is a town that was fallen in love with at an early age. It is where my husband proposed to me, and where we went for our honeymoon. It’s also where my 50th Birthday was spent, and (if there is the chance) where I’d retire. Mostly, Paris is amazing, and as a result, utterly deserves more poetry to be written about it.
This, all told, is a pretty decent start.
[I made this poem unexpectedly MOAR AWESOME with a re-write, which you can find here.]
My One and Only
Will never fail to understand
Always willing to take my hand
My one and only soothes the soul
Returning peace, making heart whole.
Her arrondissements surround
Life weary girl: effect profound
Agreement between life and death
Remaining even when I’ve left.
The Seine will calm inherent fear,
An understanding strong and clear:
From cafe warmth to Tour Eiffel,
Ring Notre Dame’s distinctive bells.
Your sounds will heal the broken parts
Of mind and body, then will start
The reconstruction of belief
Elimination of brief grief.
This city never cheats nor lies
Brings joy with greeting and goodbyes
My one and only, staunch best friend
Paris, beginning without end.
Valentines Day, for me, is the anniversary of meeting my husband. As that’s more than thirty years ago, you might think I won’t grasp the minutiae of relationship pain, or understand the complexities of love and regret. Think again, fact fans. I fall in and out of love with stuff (sometimes) on an hourly basis. My mind is fickle and ultimately terrible when it comes to snap judgements. Of course, I’m sensible enough to never show this in the Real World and all the angst conveniently leaks out into fiction and poetry. In this case, quite a lot of regret and hate’s been about in the last week, and it seemed sensible (and convenient) to remove all that angst in literary form.
There’s enough of this to fuel more than a single month’s worth of content, that’s for damn sure.
So many things, close
To beating heart: where do I
Begin our story?
At the start, belief
Honesty placed: your passion
Swallowed soul and mind.
The middle movement,
Soaring, reflective: leading
Onwards to coda.
Then, ending arrives;
Passion departed: becomes
Regret is our love:
Beautifully broken piece
Of once perfect whole.