poetry

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

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

Autumn again

Photo: Claire Doble

 

the nostalgia of street corners

so ordinary and familiar

little things that stack up to life

one step, step, step

day after day

years, even

and in autumn

when everything’s dying off after abundance

I weep

over a final mundane journey

ragged leaves scuffing my way

a boy outgrown/ growing up

a closing door

era’s end

and like a film, it’s golden in there

that final crack of light

glowing yellowbrick road curling

back to the recent past

even the tough times

I know. I knew, I know

how shit things were/are/were

but they’re already bathed

in the liquidamber of sealed memory

the beauty

of inaccessibility (don’t ever change!)

and what if I’m only now getting used

to accepting the seasons

and it’s all starting to make sense

and I could relax into it

just about

feel the lull of acceptance

a way life could be?

and I know every other fucking poet

said it already

but this is mine

 

Photo: Claire Doble

 

 

 

permission, confession, absolution

I want to talk about asking permission

they don’t say don’t… just do

but then there’s me too, consent… permission

owch. It’s all context, true

 

I want to talk about needing confession

put it out there, tell your truth or

keep it secret, safe

admit it, stake your claim

take. Something. from/for me.

 

I want to talk about craving absolution

the way I probe my mind’s wounds

touching, brutally, cutting away

because I deserve it,

and need to feel that pain

hurt myself today

 

bad blood flows free

release

anxiety

clean slate… for me?

don’t need permission to be

but ache for

you forgive

no

understand, justify

 

moreover

where are we

 

I recorded this because I feel like it needs to be spoken. My ageing computer unfortunately didn’t realise it was in the presence of poetic genius and somehow opted to use the in-laptop mic instead of the proper one I’d plugged in so the sound is really shit. Sorry! Soundcloud link :

 

Concrete

 

So we’re worried about the bridges now

don’t trust the men who built them

or just men

in general

suck

don’t they?

but we’re still driving across

in our cars

that men built

those same ones.

not exactly the same ones but

sort of

the polluting ones

where they fiddled the books

or the sensors

or the stats

to pretend

they weren’t so bad

after all

but they were

still.

And what about the Maldives

sinking beneath

the waves

of plastic

we made

one more long-haul flight

and I never take

a plastic straw

these days

just sink into the bedrock

of sandstone and granite

can the two mix?

blonde and dark

a fizz

you know what

the best thing I heard this week was?

that the heart and lungs don’t know

the exercise you’re doing

but the limbs

they know you’re running

you’re running

 

Photo: Claire Doble