Author: Claire

Passionfruit

There’s a tangle of tears

trapped inside like

one of those wire balls

of fairy lights

 

quivering like a mouse

with stone-giant hands

how to hold the precious things

while the rest gets torn down

 

walking as ghosts

puppet-shadows loom behind

grotesque approximations

of life split in two rhymes

 

somewhere cracked open

like a passionfruit, purple rind

waxy, strange, so different to

the gold ooze inside

 

What I want to say is

there’s an ever-distanting, displaced

version of me

and I’m worried about her because

she’s going on her way

and I’m here trembling

like a rodent

who’s been caught in sharp light

not sure whether to run or die

start a new life

my brain held in

rock-giant hands like

a bowl of bright-smelling ooze

studded with shiny black seeds

and those softspider veins

while cave-light shadows

make small mockery

of insignificant me

with a snarl of tears

caught inside

like a barbed-wire bottle

of fairy lights

 

 

 

Photo: https://unsplash.com/@californong

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Urgent

the swirl of urgent

like sandy snow cycloning

skudding up leaves of unimportant

detritus

kneel and pray

the god of stress knows

to keep everyone offside with his

promises of afterfailure

so nobody turns away

the priest calmly intones

just do this but he

lies

like a motivation-poster slogan

no succour here

 

photo: Claire Doble

Liquid

Liquid

in a bottle or pooled

in the sink

limpid

wet eyes

drink the sight

of vast lakes and

muddy puddles

curl of an ocean wave

jaunty froth

a spill of lace

jabot at the throat of a Victorian gent

dried red creek bed

and electric green ferns

tiny glints

water winks

guarded carefully by leaves of sword

fishtank in a bar

with a shark

there’s protests

unheeded, pouring wine

into bodies

getting tanked

watching creatures swim

become one with fluid

gasp for more

return to primal states

float in ultraviolet bubbles

while lodged in our collective hippocampi are

ancient memories

of drinking air for the very first time

Photo: https://unsplash.com/@sharonmccutcheon

The Fundamentals

Today snow light

Lit television-blue emerging

Rising sun struggles awake

Wake up tired

Sleepy in the morning

Dawning, a latent creating

Writing these words

Letters on the page

Notes that bridge

Spanning and expanding

Stretching the mind

Thoughts get recorded

Posterity is fog

Misty but still

Quietly sifting through

Beyond. Pushing

Shoving. It’s a job

Work towards

Journey / the destination

Here

 

So this is a new poetic form I just invented (maybe?! please tell me if it already exists!) where each new line starts with a synonym of the word at the end of the previous line. We will call it a Claireform poem 🙂 

Photo: I got arty with my camera and a cough drop (not mine!) this morning.

 

Boy blue

 

Like a triangle of stained glass

No, a diamond in blue

curl of censer smoke

caresses air bubbles

joyful

trapped in stasis

imperfections to some

perspective

looking through the lens

tears and beer froth

framed in lines of black

lions and jackals claw

endlessly

don’t trouble

a split of smile

twist of glee, the cackle

and the pain of it all

days many and so few

deep into something new

remember? I remember you

my little boy blue

 

 

Photo: Yu Siang Teo on Unsplash

 

 

Rubik’s path

 

It twists as you step it

have to swap as you go

when you look back where you came from

the way is closed

in this sense unique

some people don’t like

unlockable, blockchain reaction

when familiar is sweet

so now you’re sticky-stuck

and toffee-glued

in sugary metaphors

— are grammatical confections

bad for your health?

don’t wait too long

for the penny to drop

the other shoe to

drop the pressure

somebody’s gonna…

never gonna

stop

 

photo: by Claire Doble

2019 goals – writing and otherwise

It was with some trepidation that I looked back on my “writing goals for 2018” post this week to see if I’d achieved what I set out to. I somehow remembered that I’d been too ambitious and I really hate and fear failure. But I was pleasantly surprised to see I’d known from the start that this year was all about finding paid work and that would mean my own writing would suffer.

I guess it’s fair to say, I’m pleased to have achieved what I set out to do – get a job. But I’m also sad that this meant, as predicted, way less creative writing for me. However, despite saying I wouldn’t manage it, I did end up doing most of GloPoWriMo2018 global poetry month in April, so that was a bonus. I did submit a few poems, short stories and creative non-fiction but all were rejected and I didn’t have time or the jive to revisit/rework them and keep submitting. Rejection stings. Then some family issues mid-year, combined with starting work really diverted all my energy to survival-mode.

I’ve been on somewhat of a journey this year (forever). My birthday falls in January and 2018 was a significant one that made me reassess a lot of my ideas and habits. It’s a process that is ongoing but I’d also like to acknowledge here the hard work I’ve done throughout the past 12+ months that’s along the lines of trying to be my “Best self”. This has involved mental and physical undertakings.

I’ve been trying really hard to shed some outdated beliefs / habits / addictions and insecurities. I’m not 100% there (is anyone, ever?) but I think I’ve made progress. And it’s part of the journey to take a moment to congratulate myself. It has not always been easy or enjoyable, although sometimes it has! Well done, Claire.

A big part of this year has been my running, too. It’s funny, when we moved to Zurich five years ago a friend here mentioned “there’s great running trails here,” as a selling point at the time. To which I scoffed dismissively “not interested, that is NOT my thing. At all. Ever! ” Well never say never.  In 2018 I clocked up more than 1,000km of running. I’m stupidly proud of this. Not just because it’s a big number but because it means I was consistent. In rain, hail, snow, sun, heat, blahblah I kept on jogging all year. I went for runs in Zurich, Rome, Sydney, Porto, Perth, Ocean Shores, Dübendorf and Venice and I completed my first-ever Half-Marathon. And, to tie it back to my previous point: running has hugely helped my mental health.

It’s been an interesting year. When I look at my blog stats, they’re way down on 2017, which was a wonderfully flourishing period for my writing AND I did the 26Cantons52Weeks to boot. I wrote some decent stuff in 2018. I was going to say the quality had suffered, but I just read everything and… well… I like it! But I also know the difference it makes to write regularly, as I was doing in 2017. So I hope to get back to that in 2019. However, I am going to err on the side of sensible because I don’t want to set myself up to fail. So what are some reasonable goals…

  • Short stories: I’d like to focus on short stories a bit more. I had some success in placing those in 2017 when I was really working at it, and I think it’s a good way to go. If I can write or hone 4x short stories I’m happy enough with to attempt to place them in 2019, that will be a good outcome. (Actually I already have one on the boil)
  • THE NOVEL: I keep saying how I must get back to this. Maybe 2019 will be the year! I think if I can dedicate a few months of evenings / weekends to focus on it, it could happen. Maybe another NaNoWriMo?
  • Running: I would love to run another half-marathon this year. Maybe even two – one in Spring and one in Autumn. I don’t have the bandwidth to train for a full mara. That’s a goal for 2020!
  • Poetry: don’t think I need to put goals around my poems anymore. They can just come and go as they please.

 

Happy (almost) new year! What are your goals for 2019?

 

Photo: a wicked angel my son made at school

the nothing things

these are the things nobody owns

given free and worthless

made by no-one knows

in a country far away

encased in cardboard and foam

slickshine of stickytape

sliced through and thrown

clean from the box

as though untouched

but

whose fingers caressed

plastic casing and imagined

those in the west

unwrapping

their creation

did it pay for for a day, an hour, a week

chucked on the heap

weep, world

steep price to pay

these are the nothing things

that nobody wants

made, shipped, given, slippedmemory, unregarded

thrown away,

still… will… outlive

 

Photo by armin djuhic on Unsplash

Guilgry

I’m coining this new term, “Guilgry” for the combo of guilt and anger I feel when I see those “1 Million Women” type posts on Facebook. You know the ones I mean, that tell you oh-so-simply FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO REDUCE PLASTIC USE IN THE HOME TODAY! Oh yeah… and it mostly involves spending ages online searching out kooky products that cost 3x as much as the old ones and then further guilt-tripping your friends into doing the same. But you feel worse if you don’t do it. And then you get angry because, why aren’t more people doing this? But then you also get ragey because IT’S JUST NOT THAT SIMPLE – like, how are these eco products produced anyway, and what about when they eventually are used up and have to go to landfill and everyone just wants a simple solution to absolve themselves so they no longer have to keep thinking but we should always be THINKING and if you’re actually thinking, you’ll realise it’s never that fucking easy and it’s all just a bloody marketing trick and, really: follow the money. Because someone somewhere is making a fucktonne bunch of money offof all our guilt and that also makes me wild. But what about also making a difference and maybe I’m not even willing to, so I feel mad at myself and also a little ashamed and then my friends are sharing it and saying Oh Wow, Yes, Look How Simple It IS and all it costs is more money and if everyone did it, but what about the poor people? If it’s inaccessible to the poor it’s neither radical nor revolutionary and If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production. Now I’ve got that churny gut feeling that signifies the roiling impotence of my existence, if not the entire human race’s. And anyway, after the runaway success of Hangry, I’m coining it: Guilgry.

 

 

Rage against the plastic photo: by Cristian Newman on Unsplash