Thursday, 30 September 2010

Poem a day, 30: September 30th 2010

Dear everyone, please find enclosed a map
to find the Porter bar on Monday.
We’re meeting at eight for beers on tap
discussion, poetry, and time to play.

Bring a poem if you want to read
a decent hat to look the part
then get yourself a decent seat
and be silent when the reading starts.

Sorry for writing a sonnet today.
And an e-mail I’m drafting for subject matter.
It’s not that I’ve got nothing to say
but it’s been a long day and I’m fucking knackered.

This form is really, really old.
The boiler’s broken, this room is cold.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Poem a day, 29: September 29th 2010

Write your names just here
we’ll collect you together
paint with your voices.

Write your name just here
we’ll find your hidden core, with
repeat exposures

like a camera left
in a room you’re walking through
learning the floorboards.

Write your number, too.
We’ll call when you’re in the bath
and ask for funding.

We are in charge now.
And though we have your interests
at heart, there is more.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Poem a day, 28: September 28th 2010

Having a name, which appears to contain
a subject and a verb
often inspired children to finish the sentence.
It quickly became
‘Sam Drew a picture’
Which was fine
for a time
until my contemporaries added clauses
and created a narrative of my life
so far from the truth
it became irritating:

‘Sam Drew a picture
of his family
in the car together
going somewhere
on holiday, perhaps.’

‘Sam Drew a picture
of the expanding reaches
of the infinity of space.’

‘Sam Drew a picture
of his friends

‘Sam Drew a picture
of himself as an adult
with financial success
and justification for why
this would be desirable.’

Truth be told
the only thing I ever drew
was my friend and his girlfriend
at Land’s End.
The picture has a picturesque view
smudged, and the lovers
existing in each other
And that never came true.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Poem a day, 27: September 27th 2010

I used to be nervous
sweat drenched
short of breath

Now I’m at ease in all sorts of company
able to speak to coach drivers, painters,
Hare Krishna monks, workmates.
Recently, I’ve been known to dance extravagantly
holding one foot behind me
and swinging the resulting stump around
like I was painting a Jackson Pollock.
Sometimes I smile at people in the street.

There’s one thing
sure to bring back
my teenage self

Shopping for jeans has my throat stifled
like a drainpipe full of scum
trying to ask for a pair with longer legs
without sounding as if I were asking
for costume drama midget pornography.
I sweat at the dilemma of choosing between
bootcut, regular, or skinny fittings
and slightly different shades of blue.

Nothing looks right
but I’m damned
if I’ll leave empty handed.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever looked at my own arse for so long.

Finally, I buy that first pair
at the cost of a day’s work
and slip back out, blushing.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Poem a day, 26: September 26th 2010

We have been carved from the same wood
you and I.
For this leap of metaphor
trying to imagine a childhood as wooden
please don’t think of a tree but rather
a block of wood, twelve metres in height
two metres in width, and another two in depth.
So that if I were to trace the knots down
to find the shape of you waiting in this space
your limbs could never reach
beyond the edge of the block’s dimensions
and you can fill that potential all you want
but never be taller than twelve metres.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Poem a day, 25: September 25th 2010

This morning, the air is pure
by which I mean the air
holds no heat
harbours no moisture.
Sounds flail and fall in such air.

And I should like to sieve myself
through this pure air
sprinkling a residue
of webs and half pictures
to decorate the ground behind me.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Poem a day, 23: September 23rd 2010

If a fire erupts in one room of your house
you need thirty minutes to get the hell out.
The doors should close like locks in a river
to imprison the fire. It will stride through
your bedroom, tearing down the wallpaper
eating your bedclothes, reading your books.
And soon it will force the door, escape
and chase you out of your home, curling
its black hair and stinking of knowledge.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Poem a day, 22: September 22nd 2010

Nobody saw him, the fly-covered rat,
but still he lay crying:
I was much closer than you thought
and not rotting but dying.

Poor rat, he always loved rabble-rousing
and now he’s breathing his last.
He must have eaten poison on the banks of the river
and crawled up here to the grass.

Oh, no no no, it was poison always
(still the dead rat lay crying)
I was much too hungry all my life
and not rotting but dying.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Poem a day, 21: September 21st 2010

Among the most futile things I’ve attempted today
is trying to find
a new programme
beginning straight after the Simpsons has finished.
I don’t know
about conspiracies
but if you have found a way of connecting
the end of a day
to a beginning
without enduring the evil of night time
then tell me
because I don’t think
it can be done.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Poem a day, 20: September 20th 2010

Today, I feel like a shark.
They have to move or else they sink
and I know if I stop I will never find
the surface. I have poor eyesight.
I have been known to hurt the innocent
mistaking them for seals and turtles.
Now I have sworn off seals and turtles
but I have already been misrepresented
in the media, and their stories grow sharp
and attractive like coral. I swim
back and forth in the water
with massive depths below.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Poem a day, 19: September 19th 2010

Ill today. Don't ask me
to play monopoly, or
write a decent poem.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Poem a day, 18: September 18th 2010

The toys of my childhood taught me
reincarnation. Soldiers stormed the fortress
were cut down by arrows, machine guns, lasers
and then raised to life by my changing hands
and then did it all again with no regrets
loyal, forgetful, unstained.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Poem a day, 17: September 17th 2010

There was a young lady from Braintree
with pink glasses she'd had since a baby.
This morning she left them
on the floor and I stepped on them
she was screaming and red-faced and scary.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Poem a day, 16: September 16th 2010

In the bathtub, a girl is drowning. If she
straightened an arm it would raise her head
just enough to breathe, but she stays beneath
the water. She knows a single movement
will relinquish her freedom.
She was born in the ocean.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Poem a day, 15: September 15th 2010

I saw your large painting in the art gallery
and was surprised to see myself as a baby
in the corner among the wrapping paper
and empty beaches.
Now I am displaying myself before you
as a shadow previously hidden
cast on the floor in your path, your child
cut from paper.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Poem a day, 14: September 14th 2010

Returning to my bedroom yesterday evening, with the small window
and the window’s dusty blind gathered up like puffed sleeves
I saw the moth. Every evening, there is a moth at my window
knocking on the glass and displaying its belly and legs.
Last night, this thought occurred to me: why is there one moth?
Does each moth have one window it haunts, one light it desires?
Following that was the thought, no, the certainty, that this moth
is the same moth each evening. I closed the blind and the moth flew
to the bottom of the pane, like giving a bow at the end of the show.
I resolved to keep the blind closed, and would have, if not for
the plant in the brown pot on the windowsill. Just like the moth
it has one sun it desires, beyond the window and above the garden
and would not be fooled by the heat and light of my reading lamp.
I considered bringing the moth inside, and taking the plant outside
but left them where they are until they tell me what they know.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Poem a day, 13: September 13th 2010

Opticians today. I purchased
contact lenses to help me see.
It took me ages to learn how
to insert these things
by poking myself in the eye.
I did not think the instinct
to shut your eyes tight
at foreign objects
could be un-learnt
but it turns out that it can.
So now my sight defect
is fixed and invisible.
I have others, but no appointment
to rid me of them.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Poem a day, 12: September 12th 2010

The war photographer
figment in the eye for
the shell-shocked marine
the open-mouthed grieving wife
the running Greek rebel
the starving boy with the empty tin.
They never hear the camera click
for mortars screams bullets rumbling stomach
and we never see the man.
But I can imagine him weathered
by all he has seen, smelt, heard, and felt
changing in front of these people
who don’t notice him.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Poem a day, 11: September 11th 2010

My grandmother had a stuffed bear, and when my mother was born, she passed the bear on. When my sister was born, my mother passed the bear on again, and by this stage it was a bit knackered: one eye missing, patchy fur, and all the stuffing down in one leg like a blackjack club. Emily loved it. One day, my mother decided to restore the bear. It got a new eye, new fur, and had the stuffing drained from the leg and redistributed around its body. Emily was very upset, and I was able to sympathise. You get used to the way a companion feels in your hand, like a cigarette, or a breast.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Poem a day, 10: September 10th 2010

I would like to argue that beauty is arbitrary.
Beauty is survival instinct: the sunrise
is beautiful because it gets warmer, the crops
can grow, and predators have nowhere to hide.

I would like to argue that you’re full of shit.
What about snow? It kills the crops
you freeze and starve and die, and yet
I find the snow-bound trees very attractive.

I would like to argue that if talking to yourself
is the first sign of madness
then staging a short debate with yourself
in 4-line iambic stanzas
must be the second.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Poem a day, 9: September 9th 2010

When I was sixteen my father gave me a computer. This is not a true story. He said: “It’s yours. Do what you want with it.” Just roll with it. So I took the computer upstairs, and I smashed it. My father was appalled at first, but when I repeated his words back to him he was pleased that I’d found the loophole. Now I have a new computer, but I am not allowed to smash it.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Poem a day, 8: September 8th 2010

Olly is Emma's potted plant.
Emma gave Olly his name.
Olly and I are not related
Yet while I was transporting him
From one house to another
He spoke to me: "Sam, please, you can’t
regard me as nothing more than a potted plant
when I think of you as a brother.”
Naturally, I was surprised to hear Olly speak.
He went on to say
(I am paraphrasing)
that it was unmerciful of me
to deliver him straight
from one house to another
when he hasn’t been outside
in years. And I agreed.
So we had a fine day out.
I took him to a pub, the Royal Oak
and we had six pints. We
went to the arboretum
and ogled the sexy snapdragons
and the beautiful begonias.
We got in a fight. We
ate chips from polystyrene trays.
When we got to Emma’s that evening
I’m sure we looked a right state.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Poem a day, 7: September 7th 2010

Home is
video games
getting stuff out of the loft
that only I can reach.
Leaving is
train station
and hoping
I’ll see you really soon.

Poem a day, 6: September 6th 2010

Ivy cutting today. We
tore leaves away
from my mother’s tree
until we realised the shape
beneath the foliage
the extent of the ivy’s dependence
virus limbs
knotting around every promise of fruit.
When we were finished
the spine of the tree was astonished
like a hostage freed
after two years indoors.
We went down to the base
found the ivy’s parallel root
hairy and clinging
picked a section
sliced it top and bottom
tore it out
and presented it to the prisoner.
Perhaps what we were doing
was more than cutting. The two of us
taking away, to find
something huddled and waiting
for a blossom next year.
Secateurs and a hacksaw
for the ivy’s return.

Poem a day, 5: September 5th 2010

Followed by morris dancers today.
I turned around in the street
standing my ground
and they jangled a ragged reggae
pretending to look away
at crystals in a shop window.
Start walking: the bells start ringing.
I ran and the tempo increased
to hardcore electronica beats
jumped onto the train
they followed
six echoes in garish seats
faces hairy and mean, with big hats.
I got off one stop early
and they shook their ringing fists
as they were taken away.

Poem a day, 4: September 4th 2010

You can identify a real bastard
by how he feeds ducks.
Some people break the bread
and spread the pieces on the water
like wishes, or offerings.
But I like to chuck great chunks
at their heads.

Poem a day, 3: September 3rd 2010

There was a new baby from Nicky
who was crawling and wide-eyed and sickly
too young to achieve
and thus I believe
a poor subject for limericks, really.

Poem a day, 2: September 2nd 2010

Repetitions seem to gather on birthdays.
As on this day, walking the dog
down a path I have already walked
a thousand times without the dog.
I brought my girlfriend. We
shielded our faces from the sun
using one hand to cover the light
and another to cover its brother
in the lake. The dog chased
another dog. A big one. The big one
chased a ball. There were two
causes for everything, and at least
six days I could remember. One more.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Poem a day, 1: September 1st 2010

The tail of the sea
gripped in the jaws of the land
struggles from the harbour

Poem a day project

Inspired by Emma Fowler's Creative Thinkers blog, I've decided to write a short (possibly banal) 'poem of the day' for 365 days. The poems will hopefully form a type of diary of what I've been up to, inspired as they are by immediate experiences, edited as little as possible, and written without the anxiety of making 'proper poems' out of them.
The first few days are in lieu, after this I'll be putting one up each day. Let me know what you think.