Showing posts with label NaPoWriMo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NaPoWriMo. Show all posts

2020-04-17

NaPoWriMo - 17/04/2020 - Things Christina Knows

A bit of a cheat here, this was originally the first song that I wrote for my collaboration with Hallam London but he didn't feel comfortable identifying with a teenage girl so I put this aside and wrote Dance Crime instead.



Things Christina knows

Anne is in a coma, everybody says;
Christina hears but can't speak--too soon--
to Beth through Friday's endless afternoon
of double chemistry she tried and failed.
What can you say when someone's nearly dead
and all you want is never dying dance,
too loud, too bright, too fast; a crowded chance
to step out of control.  Perhaps enough is said?

And now tonight Christina knows that Beth,
locked-in upon a mission of her own,
took something hard and white.  She's in a zone,
unblinking, where nothing like a friend's near death
can interrupt her all consuming hunt
to find the perfect boy-stroke-girl and dance
enmeshed in rhythm, sweat and sideways glances--
she never takes them home, but surely wants...


...and so Christina knows
that everything is possible;
but also she knows
nobody's words are true;
and now she sees
the rising Sun eclipsed by tower blocks,
and this is life :
the trick is not to fuck it up.


Today through morning's shopping/washing turn-around
Christina struggles, wanting not to think
of how a body hovering on some brink,
might turn either direction.  Might be found
tomorrow morning asking after bacon
or might...  the nights are so long this week
and after she'd not slept she had to freak
Bethany by dragging her to visit Anne...


...and so Christina realises
that anything is bearable;
although she must admit
that everybody fails;
and she has seen
that stolen cars still smoulder by the underpass,
but she still knows that there is hope :
the trick is not to fuck it up.


Christina stands up now to dance, the World
is subtly rearranged, and she needs more
than strobing light against the dark.  She's sure
she never felt this way before.  No walls
seem relevant.  She walks through rain barefooted,
towards the hill of trees, towards the high place
towards infinity, and the clearing sky,
where she will dance as if everything is looking.


Christina knows
that anything is possible;
and thus she knows
the stars are in her reach;
and though she's longed
that simple friendships might endure,
she'll take each one for however long it lasts :
the trick is, as ever, not to fuck it up.




2020-04-15

NaPoWriMo - 15/04/2020 - The Engine Subcommittee




The Engine Subcommittee...



...meets, occasionally quorate,
and every Thursday evening
in the longtime beer spill backroom
of the Dog and Gun.

They consider the case for turbine rotors
the glasses of beer, the ceramic or titanium alloys
the questions of low, high and optimum temperatures
and whether the peanuts should be salted

or dryly roast.  They consider the boast
of Nigel of the Flat Cap, that he can route
all the required pipes and wires
around the belfries and spires

without making a single decorated Gothic
flinch.  Watch the Master of Combustion pinch
out his cigarette and say
for the thirty-seven thousandth time

that he is certain all engine components
should be situated in roofs and crypts,
and not disturb the bats, or visitor collection box flow patterns,
in any significant way.

The subcommittee has been meeting for fifteen years;
the cathedral hasn't moved an inch.




2019-04-24

NaPoWriMo - 2019 #23 - Reference works




Reference works

So... Edward finally has the book.  It came
in Amazon's robust brown cardboard packaging
and the woman who lives downstairs took it in.
Thank you, says Ed, when he gets in from work
at seven p.m. but the woman — is it Carol? —
is blushing again and disappears.  Leaving
Edward with his box which he opens...

How to do anything!

(with diagrams)

This is the business -- and by business
he does not mean answering tech. support
queries for clueless noobs for eight hours every
day at what works out very close to minimum
wage, but business: the business of business
of getting stuff done and getting on.  Here we go...

How to debug Windows(tm) system-level drivers using a virtual machine.

Well perhaps this isn't where to start, let's try:

How to change a '64 or '65 Aston Martin gearbox.

--and the diagrams are great! You can see exactly
how to remove the clutch plate.  If only Edward
did not drive a smart car with a pushed-in wing.
Maybe the index is the thing?

How to sex aardvarks...

How to damp a gas-cooled reactor...

How to weld titanium in the vacuum of space...

All useful stuff but Ed to some degree
is aware of his place in the scheme of things
and this is not his metier:

How to turn a profit growing swedes...

How to hold a spade...

How to milk a cow...

How to duel with various blades...

And now Edward's starting to get angry
all he wants answered is one simple question
but is there an entry for How to meet nice girls?
Is it under "N"?  Is it under "G"?

Is this book even alphabetical?  Well nothing
for it but to read the whole damn thing.  Except
the doorbell rings and it is what's-her-face?
Karen?  Carla?  Katie!  That was it.  And it seems
she has made too much mushroom stroganoff
and would he like...?  Edward has too much
to do.  Too much to read...
Now, let's get down to this:

Chapter one:  How to recognise the obvious...




 


2019-04-21

NaPoWriMo - 2019 #21 - Poem that did not go where I expected




Poem that did not go where I expected

The blade of the scissors
which is half of the scissors
a scissor if you will
has a voice that sings a tiny tinny song
as it circles over and over
upon the sharpening stone
the point of scissors is that this inner edge is straight
and flat
so there is no jamming or binding
and no gap through which the paper can turn
and jam. Gracious

this pair was mauled
battered
looks like they were used
for cutting barbed wire
by desperate dressmakers
knee deep in the Somme
"Get that wire clear, Soldier!"
screamed the chief seamstress
and they worked the little yellow handles
until their fingers were ragged
until the ache ran all the way
right up their arms.




2019-04-17

NaPoWriMo - 2019 #17 - The days of your life beyond recounting




The days of your life beyond recounting


The days of your life beyond recounting
waiting at the junction in the rain:
the cars, the radio, and what accounting

can there be?  The billboard over there surmounting
the traffic island's fertile plain;
the grey life stories beyond recounting

crawling past each day.  Even discounting
repeated visits, the number's are insane.
The tires, the radiators: what accounting

for metal in motion.  The tonnage mounting
as commuters fill the left turn lane
the lives of days spewed from a fountain

and then there's you--frustration mounting--
in the stasis of a queue.  You can't explain
the ways of a life beyond recounting,
the cars, the radio, the days... who's counting.




2019-04-16

NaPoWriMo - 2019 #16 - Towards a new "towards a new metaphysics"




Towards a new "towards a new metaphysics"



Professor Colin Ledgate taps his ream
of printed handout notes lethargically
upon the wooden desk.  It's five fifteen.
Most students have already pulled their coats
or jackets silently from under chairs;
begun to bottom-shuffle to the steps
that split the blocks of moulded plywood seating
but Colin's thoughts are on competing

with Dr Maggie Frust who came across
the concrete quad from the Dept. of Modern Text-
ual Analysis and other poly-
syllablic words to cross cerebral swords
on the topic of her latest on-line coup,
a pair of lectures jointly called: "What's can
hermeneutics do with you?" and though
Professor Colin's almost sure the viewers
can't be more than half a dozen fawning
undergrads or people who, like Colin himself,
want to derail the sharply tailored Maggie's
so seemingly unswerving glide towards
the Creftung Prize, which rightly ought to rest
in that little cabinet beside the stairs
in his own beloved Dept. of Contemporary
Metalinguistic Thought.  He ought, he thinks,
to do some sort of on-line thing himself
he's almost sure there is a webcam on the shelf
in the postgrad common room and he is sure
that one or more of them would be up for
the project, possibly something populist
with "metamodernism..." Hmm, perhaps...
He knows he is a lapsed postmodernist
and possibly it's time to address that
with something new...  The sky is blue

beyond the non-opening double glazing
and most of the students are gazing at that, or waiting,
impatiently, for him to complete his sentence.
Where was he now, oh yes:

So I'll see you tomorrow when we'll do
the most exciting part.  We'll discuss how prior art
cannot be separated from the act
of writing text, and how the consequence
of that is that critique becomes a part
of the document studied, and thus we finally
advance on Blitherheimer's stance that there can't
be semiotics without an implied ontology
which everyone ignores,


and with that, the class flee.


2019-04-12

NaPoWriMo - 2019 #11 - I came here from...



I came here from...


I came here from Theoretical England,
in the Best of All Possible British Isles.
We do things differently there. We don't
flee the EU ––or Advanced Ethical Zone,
as we call it–– because we built that from
debris of World War II, which never was,
in our world, because when Neville Chamberlain
said Peace in our Time he meant he'd finished years
of detailed work to fix the aching wounds
of World War I (which also never happened).
And in spite of being scarred by neither war,
we learned their lessons and we learned them well.
Persons of rational demeanour don't
need shells to explosively unmake the man
next along, before they grasp with all their hearts
that war is bad and act accordingly.
Unfortunately we've no Vorticists --
you can't have everything. I came here from
a place that can't exist. Whose fault is that?




NaPoWriMo - 2019 #12 - What we can learn from alien machinery.



What we can learn from alien machinery.

Align the fixing lugs with care.  Keep clothing,
loose ideas and hair out of the works.
Don't shirk responsibilities, you are
the only one who can maintain
your interior landscape.  See how
the Centaurian Enveiglatron turns on

every nineteen and three-quarter hours, to brews itself
a cup of lukewarm surface-cleaning gel.
Try not to dwell upon a single goal
you can't control the quirks of fate and chance
see how the Nuclear Inflectionoid will dance

around alternative solutions and quest
not only for a task done well;
it's also seeking grace,
and to stop with every tool-head facing west
--we don't know why it does that,

and that's a lesson too!
There will be things you do,
simply part of you,
without a deeper meaning.  Do not ignore
the urge to laugh, or waltz,
or merely don your coat

with a perfectly unnecessary flourish.  You are a you
and like the Pseudo-de-crenalator
you're the only one we have.
So nourish yourself.  Make a scene, a song. a plan...
If you're not being you, then who the hell else can?



2019-04-11

NaPoWriMo - 2019 #10 - Earthman! Do you have time to talk about...




Earthman!  Do you have time to talk about...


"We follow our book," the thing explains, "the star
we need to find's described in there." It offers
a battered paperback. The text's a block
of triangles and squares.  I squint at it.

"I like your words," I say, "it's artistic
but also information dense." "Oh, that's
not ours." The blue man says. "We had to hire
a translator, "and though not all he said made sense,

I feel we got the gist, take this bit here:
'ALREADY AFFORD EXPOSED, DO GLASS, AND ALL
THE TURNING TURNING TURNING WINGS THIN WINGS
AND TOWARDS THE MIDDLE: EDGE.' I mean... it's not

transparent,  but I think the sense is there. Still..."
He leaps up from the chair and turns to stare
into the sky, at the Sun. "It's pretty clear
that this is not the one." He sadly
smiles.

"We'd best be moving on our way! So... greetings
from the Cosmos and all those things I'm supposed to say...
I'm sure another friendly UFO
will come your way, in not so very long."



2019-04-09

NaPoWriMo - 2019 #9 - Safeguarding the chain of evidence




Safeguarding the chain of evidence


The police has started putting crime scene tape
round places where no crime has ever been.
It's Captain Rawlins who explains to me,
while he's fencing off my cat, that the Universe
is both quantum indeterminate and yet

also subject to chaotic effects
and thus incalculable on the classical level.
"The problem is we can't assume that time
flows only forwards from the crime," he says,
"and wily defence lawyers can make much

from that."  And now a team's dusting my fridge
for prints, and making an infinity
of possible chalk outlines down the stairs...
Hey guys!  I need to eat, or use my chair...
Guys...  Guys?  What? Oh sure, I can hold the light.






2019-04-08

NaPoWriMo - 2019 #8 - raven

raven

rainwater hammered into the mud

until it's smoking
barns where my brothers sweated
mindlessly
to stack the crop
the wooden post which is the first and last
sight of our land
in the rearview mirror this time
this last time
nothing more to unearth beneath it
a raven rising from it
as I take the highway




2019-04-07

NaPoWriMo - 2019 #6 - exits exist



Exits exist

Things that fell
apart, the centre
never holding. Text
inexplicable in
significance,
red on white
signage and see
there's bold and
underlining of random
words as if
as if it means
something

like other
random words, authority
figures shouting.  Oy!
What do they
want now? What
do they want
from me?  I
cannot see. I
mean I can
see everything

but that is
too much.  Complexity
kicks me
in the head,
although a stumble
into a simpler
place, like the
library, could work.



(From Carrie Etter's Short lines prompt..."

2019-04-05

NaPoWriMo - 2019 #5 - I shall now mock you




I shall now mock you

Pick a country; choose a side;
pick a religion, all the while
insisting you and only you are right
and I shall laugh, while pretending...
well pretending nothing, I will just laugh...

Let's talk about the reality of things, solidity, substantiality,
versus the irreality of thought.
You have been taught to draw lines on the world,
to cut things up, as if this was a clever thing, to say:
"here are the boys

and here the girls"—
to take a popular example
and I am laughing again and shading with crayons
where your line goes multifractal in-between,
in the place you mysteriously cannot see...

Can you even see your pencil?
It has an rubber on the end,
or is that an eraser with a pencil on the front?
You know, I could stab someone with this
or load it in a crossbow

and though it would not fly so far or straight
it still would kill a man.
So is it a dagger, is it a bolt?
Are you clawing at your reasoning,
trying to find the fault?

Why does this pencil, this woman, this philosophy not classify?
I'll tell you here and now
the absolute and perfect reason why:
atoms.
It just takes atoms,

to show most human thought is pish.
This isn't a pencil, it's a grouping of particles.
It is what it is,
and it does what it does;
and we can't entirely know either case.

See?  Now I wrapped it in duct tape
and jammed it in the printer where,
because I could sharpen it to the right length
it serves to hold the broken toner cartridge in
until we can get a new one.

It's not a pencil;
it's a adjustable compression prop.
Your attempts to understand must have a stop,
not because the analysis is wrong...
Analysis is great, please do more!

Draw lines, calculate error bars,
shade some portion of the chart where dragons
provably cannot lie
but never forget:
things are as they are

the analysis is just our latest, bestist, most-partial guess.
So chill a little.
It's what it is,
whether you will or no.
Let it go.




2019-04-04

NaPoWriMo - 2019 #4 - Big Ben is Broken...

As the title suggests, this was written originally as a NaPoWriMo poem, but it was subsequently featured by Kinsman when they were guest editing Celebrating Change.

So you can see it there on Celebrating Change, where Kinsman also picked some other excellent poems.

...And now I'm adding a recording of me reading this, see just below.






Big Ben is broken

The PM will announce,
has announced,
will have recently been announcing
after revelations in yesterday's, tomorrow's London Times
that Big Ben is broken
and using science we have found
tick come adrift from tock
a pendulum that rocks erratically
from left to right to yes to no to maybe to furious
and back through quite depressed.
What is counted now behind the clock face,
one cannot even guess.

We've come adrift
in this week-last-Thursday afternoon:
East of Sunday Papers, West of some-or-other doom;
marooned in a rancid doldrum
where nothing makes much sense;
fey moods a-flicker
on the faces of an electorate
who are electing: insanocrats, defectocrats,
deselectocrats, talking cartoon animals,
and general nogoodniks of all persuasions
while all the while explaining
that they've nothing left to lose
which frankly shows
some lack of imagination...

Because...
there's no-one understands
that a country is a gift:
but also something bought;
that society (by which I mean your whole damn world)
doesn't work by golden-age magic
or prerogatives of kings
it is also necessary
for actual people to make actual plans
for actual things
and that contrary to what politicos believe
the bulk of those are not in Westminster
nor anywhere near.

There is no government mandate
to open corner shops on streets
it's just that if you have a world
where such an act makes sense
then people do it.  Similarly
while wonks do think about defence
**a lot** they strangely fail to consider
that it might make sense to guarantee
there will be street repairs
or a steady supply of students --
even if they will get pissed
and throw up on the front steps
of high street banks
-- which also ideally should exist.

The point is that societies/countries/governments
serve us and not the other way around
but Big Ben is broken and maybe
in some other world
we could send in DrWho
in a fifty-foot robot to inject
a team of crack horologists
but here...
but here, oh dear...
no such remedy exists
and the lunatic asylum next door
continues to froth
and though I am loathe
to suggest any sort of social cleansing
the urge to brick up the doors
while they're voting
is quite strong.

Ask not what you can do for your country
ask if your country has gone wrong,
and if it has...
ask what you can do
by way of running repairs.




2019-04-03

NaPoWriMo - 2019 #3 - Meanwhile...



Meanwhile...

along the high street and also down below
grounded in the subterrain
beneath the iron grating footsteps of the everyday
their Spring-chill lemon sunshine
their affordable shoes

along the high street also down below
maintenance tunnels of the self
an urgent task repair beneath
their very feet who do not know
at one and the same time

what expert desperation efforts
right below
none of the people here
the overalls and waders
spanners crowbars and handheld lights

handheld unsteadily all over
sloshing through the shite




2019-04-02

NaPoWriMo - 2019 #2 - The Q in Quantum




The Q in Quantum


Mud on this five-barred gate, there must have been
some other walker come this way...  And thus
I have observed them, however indirectly.
No-longer are they free to pass between
the old stones of the squeeze stile and thus diffract
across the whole breadth of the field; footprints
all scattered to the wind except where mud
and cow pats reduce the probability
to a tiny fraction of a Vibram tread,
or the deep pooled likelihood where many worlds
saw them chance to stand and watch the magpies squabble
the way I probably did.


2019-04-01

NaPoWriMo - 2019 #1 - Beachhead



Beachhead

the seagulls convolute the air and draw
the threads of it too thin to know and turn
above your ice cream cone
the ice cream seller's compressor drones
the hint of diesel pleasant
when it is this dilute

would it be dissolute
to go back to the headland
and sketch the bay again
would it be presumptuous to believe
that much in draughtsmanship or better perhaps...
to purchase cones of peas and chips
alfresco dining a la carte
the simpler pleasures
of someone else's art




2018-11-30

Making out with Proteus

I've not posted enough this year.

But I did post during NoPoWriMo and one of the poems was There's very much a multiverse - a casual, and probably acausal, dissection of life in a quantum multiverse.

Proteus is the eldest son of Poseidon; called the Old Man of the Sea, he is a shapeshifter.  He could also foretell the future, but hated to do so.  Probably because of the temporal turbulence that causes.  So, to make him do it you had to wrestle him and he would turn into horrible things...

In that poem I committed a sin of a type that used to annoy Douglas Adams so much that he created an improbable sperm whale as a way of getting back at us about it.  e.g. I created a character for the reader to care about, and then discarded them without explanation.

OK, I didn't kill her off, but I did leave her in a quantum superposition of pkissed = 0.5 and ppunched = 0.5.

I subsequently felt a bit bad about her situation.  I thought I should get her out of it.

She turned out bisexual in the process.  There's no social or political meaning behind that, it's just that in her world anybody can become anything, so what can you do...

Anyway, to quote Adams again: This is her tale...






Making out with Proteus


And when our lips meet, his face unfolds
not à la Hellraiser or Resident Evil
but more like topology, mathematical;
an object that, rotating, shows
where I thought it simple, I was wrong...

...it seems we're every one of us a world, cityscape, a throng,
a crowd scene filmed in Technicolor and
just as I think I have absorbed that one
there folds out of the multitude a female face.
So I kiss that too.

I'm taller and she tilts her head,
there's just a touch of breath across my lips,
before they brush on hers.  There is no rush,
but when I pull back, wanting to see her eyes,
she winks

and then her whole body unfolds.
And I half fall, and step, but now I'm walking
through her... him... them... the plurality
ambiguity meaning nothing, in this unplaced untime
and they are still unfolding all around

and I'm walking through their whole world now:
past a booth, where a bakelite telephone is ringing,
through faded dark green curtains onto
a late-night street with distant drunken singing,
towards the only open place: a coffee shop

and as I go I feel the ghosts of kisses,
punches, traffic accidents, hands on zips, caresses
the flash of lust,
or possibly tactical nukes,
the glass in front of me explodes

the world goes dark
and the spinning fragments form a field of stars
so vast and deep and hungry now I know
that this is perfect love for me
a warm heart-shaped infinity, not limited

to any single name, identity or gender,
not always tender, not even always undoomed,
but although infinities can come in different sizes,
my subset of the multiverse is precisely
the same size as the whole.  I can choose,

if I wish, only to live the lives
where I'm with this lover,
and infinity again, is still as large
after this dissection.
It is the working of affection

to compute the intersection
of every possible world where there's a you
with every world where there's a me
and love the result
and if I now take one more step,

I can kiss the stars.



2018-05-12

NaPoWriMo - 2018 - Postscript...

Hi all,

Sorry I disappeared without a word before the end of NaPiWriMo.  The explanation is that I was just running a bit late, but still planning to do the last five days...  However life caught up with me and it never happened.  As a goodbye, I just want to post this which wasn't part of NaPoWriMo but which I created in the Nov/Dec/Jan just gone.  I'm rather proud of it and I hope it might encourage others to greater efforts in the areas of recording and audio editing their poems.

I entirely did this using the kindness of friends and freely available free tools, the total production costs were £0.00 ($0.00 at the current exchange rate...)  If anybody wants to discuss how it was done please contact me...

NaPoWriMo has, as ever, been glorious and thank you to all who created prompts, read poems, wrote poems, set up discussion groups etc etc and so on...

You are all stars!

Love,

Ian



New Muses for a Posthuman Age



(Original link with credits...)


2018-04-28

NaPoWriMo - 2018 - Day twenty-five - And should the unknowable come...



And should the unknowable come...
"These facts few psychologists will dispute, and their admitted truth must establish for all time the genuineness and dignity of the weirdly horrible tale as a literary form."

— H. P. Lovecraft
— Supernatural Horror in Literature

We've sealed off the whole street and pulled folks out
as best we can.  The isolation zone
is the red edge on this plan and note there are
just two corners of less than sixty degrees

which brings me to these: the cell phone shots from Smith
he got about a dozen off before...
well in fact we do not know what made him fall
silent but his phone continued to upload

from somewhere in there on the road... although
its GPS believes it's miles away
and out in space.  Look! the first corner:
a face behind that window?  But the eyes...

and, see?  Bare seconds later gone and here...
another one.  And we think this is the steps
at number four, according to the plans
they are supposed to go up just one floor

and to a door, not to whatever that is there.
The second corner.  It's darker here and the ground
does that look like frost to you?  Nearly twenty-two
centigrade here in the world outside.  Two bodies

lying there.  It may be Mr Wilson and
the WPC, no injuries
I wish he'd shown the faces, I mean I'm glad
he didn't but wish he had...  We're going round

the corner now and night seems to have come.
It was half past one in the afternoon.  Smith moves
much faster now, we don't know why.  And look
ahead.  Another corner, the third of two...

This the deepest he got in the zone—
Hang on!  I've got a call.  It's from Smith's phone...