Saturday, 7 October 2017

Five Bats

At dusk,
Screaming louder
than you can hear; dancers,
Jauntily in the air, catching

You will
see-not-see us
flying, sounding out our prey.
Food for furry tummy eats, treats.

Back at
our habitats,
We hang out together,
Chatting though tired; upside down

Look out
for us with care,
We will be there flying.
We're elegant, we're beautiful,
We're bats.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Taking the train to the Marsden Jazz Festival

Take The M-Train

With rhythm rippling over the River Cole,
Venues across the village
will hum and chime to sounds within.
So, listen. No, listen. Lis-un.

Drums beating in the air, crash, click, snare, snare,
Trumpets screaming passion, awake, aware.
Trombonist mouthing notes, sharing belly fire
like moonshine, intoxication.  

Vibraphone taps in the Riverhead,
Guitars dangling Django, strumming ipp-ipp-ipp.
Vocalists belt out standards from the Bandstand,
Music humanized through harmonization.

In the Mechanics Hall, newbies and die-hards travel,
Soundscapes landscaping thoughts.
Mimicking the valley, stumbling up, tumble down,
Melody and traveller as one.

Then a hush, just enough for a fleeting bleat.

What happened?
Those drums skipped four-six to five-eight,
That horn blew hair straight,
Their keys switched key spectacularly.

Afterwards, appreciative applause a-plenty.

Notes: This was my submission for the Poster Poems organised by Marsden the Poetry Village during the Marsden Jazz Festival (launch event). The twenty five Poster Poems will be at locations across the village, allowing visitors to wander in words in music during the festival (and for a few weeks afterwards).

My poem wasn't selected, though next year...

Saturday, 23 September 2017

"Sometimes the best part is what if?"

Review: Oceans of Ink by Sheldon Sinnamon (available here and here and here, elsewhere)

This review is a year in the making, not that it has taken me a year to read Sheldon Sinnamon's collection. There have been many barriers and boundaries that cropped up, life's great effect on plans kicked into affect, though in the back of my mind I kept coming back to wanting to complete my notes and review.

Sometime Autumn, 2016, I was approached by Sheldon Sinnamon and asked whether I'd be interested in reviewing this collection. This would be my first proper review, not me writing about something I had read, someone asking me to review their work. I was rather chuffed to be asked. The plan had been to read through the collection during a trip to Belgium, make notes then type these up. It would all be done by December...

Oceans of Ink is a very enjoyable read. As another review noted, the poems are presented in five parts, with each part taking a theme. There's hooks in the writing, there's so much care and detail in the words. There are so many good lines and turns of phrase, I had trouble trouble picking one or two from my notes, so randomly, from Man With No Title:

So now, I have all these memories I need to repress.
My life became a disconcerting mess. 

The poems had a certain familiarity to them, while the come from Sheldon's perspective they had a way of conveying the themes and ideas. Boundaries and barriers were especially strong for me, Sheldon's personal perspective presented perfectly in poems. 

As I said, this review is a year, though I've read through this collection a couple of times. It's really enjoyable, approachable, and has a way of rattling around ones thoughts long after putting it down.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

It's been some time

You know that phrase Nelson uses in the Simpsons, when he's forcing Bart to punch himself, "stop punching yourself, stop punching yourself". That, I know that feeling.

It's the feeling of being blamed for being understaffed. It is the feeling of being perceived as wrong when one follows established process. It's the feeling of knowing I am doing my best (and I am f-ing awesome at my job) and not being able to do all the things that need to be done. It is a feeling of hopelessness unnecessarily growing because looking ahead, one week, one month, to the next year, one anticipates another "stop punching yourself."

I am exhausted by that feeling. Knowing the tide change coming, the 'dog wagging the tail' prophesies, the ever-ever-closer micromanagement tendencies, and the general move from collaborative practices to suspicions of being the them in 'us v. them.' 

Collaborative behaviours are key. What did the Golgafrinchans do to themselves?