Category: poetry (Page 1 of 12)

#NaPoWriMo WTF

I had never heard of this acronym until my mate and fellow poet Neil Fulwood revealed it to me and a poem (pretty damn good one) too.

Basically the UK Poetry Society being about ten years behind evrybody else has copped a write a poem every day in April meme from the rest of the world. (figures totally). They then have haphazardly and with their usual acumen and professionalism spread it about half-heartedly on the web.

Brewery / piss up meme….

So being a cynical pensioner with time on hands I thought I would give it a bash and here the first two results. ( I one behind the daily upload and I ignoring all prompts except Moniza Alvi’s as she a good poet and I know her brother).

MY FATHER’S THINGS – Poems for Ivo Charles Belcher

My father as ayoung boy holding a rabbit..Long Wittenham Berkshire probably during wartime.

I produced an illustrated sequence of poems for my father in 2019. This April 13th he would have been 92 had he lived but he has been gone 20 years now.

As a tribute I have created a pdf of the sequence that was shown as a series of artworks at the King Billy.

Below a link to the free pdf download

Note on process. All typed directly on old manual typewriter. Very few mistakes or edits. One take like jazz…..it either got that swing or it ain’t….

DIESEL ON GRAVEL – 1986-1989 First Flash Fictions

Poems written in London and Oxfordshire. Published in early 1990s in Last Gasp pamphlets. Last Gasp was a poetry open mic I helped run with poets Giles Goodland and Bridget Kursheed in Oxford.

From 1986 I was heavily influenced by Raymond Carver and especially his book FIRES.  Indeed I attended his memorial readings event in London and saw Edmund White, Richard Ford and Salman Rushdie read in his honour.

I think this volume is the ‘lost volume’ as I was living at home in Didcot and totally cut off from literary world from 1988 until 1990.

I did do some readings through the Last Gasp group until I moved to Edinburgh in 1993.

None of these poems have been seen apart from in these hand made pamphlets.

Style note all hand written then typed on my mother’s old typewriter.

The last few pages of the document as pdf have originals and some uncollected poems.

The blue pen and line through a poem are from Giles Goodland when selecting for a pamphlet…I did not have second copies as everything had to be typed by hand …so here it is..

Diesel on Gravel…..1990

Diesel on Gravel PDF

Poetry in England Part 2: Poetry Flies

Damien Hurst cow’s head which by the way was FAKE too…..it is cast the flies hatched anyway from a container containing maggots and food in other half..a Barnum conjuring act

POETRY FLIES

I came from Oxford I didn’t go to Oxford
I visited Cambridge once I didn’t go to Cambridge
I do not have a nice tidy clique to accept my poetry
Even when I write nothing for thirty years

I didn’t keep writing when I should have
I didn’t stack chairs for the powers that be
Or fawn over some imperious drunk poets event
I didn’t give a fuck about academia

In fact I have no part of any club that would want me
I attack those who live their delusional poetic lives
Ever since I worked the counter at the Poetry Library
Where we used to call the acolytes and hanger’s on flies

This isn’t the news you wanted from nowhere is it
Telling you your half-baked pamphlet on birth pains is rubbish
Or that your fake working-class credentials can raise funding not talent
As the arts council analyses your diversity count and footfall

No the English Poetry world is a festering barrel of rotten apples
Oozing its bile over another generation of half-arsed creative writing graduates
Networking themselves to death for a pamphlet, a prize, a smile from above
Whilst the old guard from Oxford and Cambridge still hold the reins

Still decide where the research diversity shilling get poured like Maundy money
Down the throats of the deserving poor in their alms houses
Power resides in the quads and vestries the quiet places
Where no poet slams or wines, no poor sleep, no modernist cries

An era of fake poetry, fake careers, fake web-based literary magazines
A dance of the dispossessed and the affluent caressing their egos
Pretending that having a poem published is fighting evil
Glued to the bright fizzing screens like bluebottles in a butchers

Dropping, dropping like flies
on the cold marble slab of the publishers.

Emily Meyer the erosion cast of a severed cows head made for Damien Hirst’s ‘A thousand years’

Erosion molding/slip casting

The basic concept is that the subject is coated in a medium that captures the pelage, plumage, scales, hairs, etc. down to the surface of the skin, and all of the material not captured is allowed to rot away until completely removed. The hollow of the mold is washed thoroughly, and another medium is cast into it. The roots of the fur, feathers, hair, etc., that were once embedded in skin, are exposed inside the mold now that the skin has been rotted away. When the casting medium is poured into the mold, it grabs the exposed roots. The outer coating/mold, is then melted/dissolved/removed, leaving a perfect cast of the subject. The end result is a form of the animal, with every hair/feather in place as it was in life. It will resemble taxidermy, but it is far from it because the only material that remains is the hair/feathers and the medium that they are captured in. In theory (with lots of practice) this method can produce a result that is more accurate than taxidermy or freezedrying can ever produce, because it removes the variable of human error as far as anatomical accuracy goes. It also beautifully replaces the skin, which can be achieved with remarkably life-like results by using a flesh toned casting medium with the appropriate level of translucency.

An exceedingly good metaphor for the current state of the hollowed out dead body of English Poetry right now.

POETRY IN ENGLAND

wrote this many moons ago nothing changed
the description of Les Murray reading at the end is true

POETRY IN ENGLAND

There is something about poetry in England
That is awfully nay terribly Middle Class
Something not quite right in the hands of a worker
Sibilants dribbling like snot from the poor man’s nose

Wiping its sleeve on the tasteful tablecloth of power
Always waiting to be found out or at least held up
As an exemplar of the erudite working class chap
Even that Larkin fellow wasn’t a chav was he darling

Then the skirmishes with the Leftist proletarians
Or the Rightists in their towers quaffing champers
No never quite right, never accepted as kosher
Little piggy faces pressed to the literary crown jewels

In 1992 I gate-crashed an Oxford University poetry bash
Crept along corridors I had no right to be in
After another day serving the arrogant little sods
And after much prevarication finally made it in

Les Murray, sitting like an antipodean Buddha
Laughing like a Boeotian at the Athenian Temple
Then he slowly let rip with poems from Dog Fox Field
Words circling the pews like a fox in a henhouse

I walked up shook his hand said thank you

And skedaddled before they set the hounds loose

POETRY SUBMISSIONS: The Poisoned Chalice

Yesterday evening I submitted to all these with varying degrees of success with the exception of Belle Ombre (which I had never heard of and which seemed a contender for the new Agenda up its own (hare’s) arse award). I got something off to all the rest even the one that I was not supposed to get to i.e. London Review of Books which I worked out later drops subs in the genre they trying to make money on through a competition…nice little capitalist ploy there LRB.

I sent three poems anyway to annoy them.

The rest especially those using submittable were all good. Clear guidance and appeared to know web from elbow. Except Allegro which should win an award for bad usage of out of date blogger and no comprehension of design or fonts. (The editor kindly rejected me already so we evens). The good thing is some decent poems rejected already on the recycle route to be flung elsewhere.

I submitted a whole pamphlet to The North because it a good magazine and it did not say you couldn’t.

London Grip I had heard rumours of through Neil Fulwood and John Lucas connection.

Poetry submitting is a bit like going out to bat without a bat..you take a defensive stance and wait for the hundred mile an hour hard ball of rejection to bounce into your sensitive spot.

The balls get bowled back on average six months later it appears so not losing sleep over some of the more arcane ‘self-publishing and social media’ rules which frankly bullshit invented by people still working out what the internet is.

More frightening is the references to NO AI which like horse and stable door frankly too late most of the crap I seeing around the magazines and the hell for leather publishers is probably already AI induced.

SELFIE @ 65

Self-regarding

Self-effacing

Selfie at 65

Teeth – some lost

Eyes – scarred

Piles- fixed

Hernia – fixed

Ears – Tinnitus

Brain- forgets names

Hands – scarred wrinkled

Feet – chilblained

Hair – grey thinner

Optimism – constrained

Politics – centrist was left

Artwork – little

Writing – occasional

Music- listen not make

Income – pensions

Abode – secure and flawed

Outlook- slow depreciation

Partner – tolerant

Cat- poorly

Family – a way away

A selfie at 65

I will do another at 70

I have a plan

NORFOLK IN SPRING



The taste of salt on the tongue

Kids gone to uni now empty nester

Husband in marketing doing well


Always wanted to write

Met a small press woman

Now I got a pamphlet

Next year a prize

Discovering a new poet every day

over coffee in Waterstones

Elizabeth Bishop is amazing



I really struggled with words

But now I have so much free time

To devote to my passion

Words come easy

Over a prosecco in the garden


Wonderful thing is

There hundreds like me

It a real movement

Lovely to meet so many like me



Ever read Virginia Wolf?

She’s amazing

Never thought I could do it too

I voted for Brexit, regret it now.

Dark Marilyn

DARK MARILYN

Our sweet matter to anti-matter
the gilded cage gridded, blocks, contains
epitome of class, pleasure and power

Always six paces behind, a life of service
I brushed by them one east end afternoon
As Charles and Nigella floated by

Like peacocks emerging from a stairwell
Their expensive coats azure blue, bejewelled
At a secret view of Conran’s new restaurant

I stood watching my artist friend imitate Chagall
Stair painted for the decorative pleasure of diners
Indian and Jewish colours swirling like feathers

A car waiting above to return her to a fake kitchen
A fake marriage with fake lighting, fake cooking
Performing normality in front of chauffer and chef

The ringmaster always in control, labour doesn’t work
A Thatcherite generation child lost to trauma
Washed up in a promotional video that became life

Decorous, dysfunctional, abused, depressed
Then trapped in a paparazzi shot forever choked
Mouth dripping chocolate like fake blood

Dark Marilyn
A new chocolate bar.

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