Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Tattoo, Lithe, Opera, Elephant.

The first set of poems listed today was inspired by the word “screwdriver, tattoo, print” by my girl Adele Wearing (@Hagelrat) of Un:Bound (amongst other things, including the completely brand new and shiny Exlineal). Here goes.

A line of people walk next to each other
out of the station towards disaster.
Armed with the remnants of already looted stores,
they carry a hammer, file or screwdriver for
the few short blocks they walk,
the living and their machinery failing together.
Four tired men sit at the bar in a diner
across the street from a tattoo parlour,
of dried ink and forgotten customers
where the permanent no longer lasts.
Street signs faded and battered.
The only signs of new life are the
distressed missing-persons posters
stuck on street-lights and boarded up windows
that they had to print out, or give up.
A storm and fallout seen everywhere
except by the eyes of a vanished people.

Poem number two is based around “lithe, confidence, stone” which was given to me by my friend Stevie Horton (@TheKingofWessex) via Twitter. I’ve known Steve since Uni. and he’s a very smart cookie so I had a lot of fun playing with these words.

A long living tribute to myth
built in the arrogance of empire
when a confidence in strength
mattered more than individual will.
A contrast to the great men in theory
who built this lost world, stone by crumbled stone.
Tumbled blocks of memory are
worn down – eroded with interest.
The sanctuaries are far from safe places in a noisy world.
A trade of past and present riches lectured loudly
by a legion of unadventurous holiday makers
standing where speeches were once given meaning.
A silent dusk allows the lost battles
and lithe loves to reveal themselves
And the true history we all miss.

The next on the list was suggested through Adele again but this time from @Thanna_ZK on Twitter who had some fantastically brilliant ideas. I love getting more than one set of ideas from people and I’m taking note of all of them but I’m going to work on ones from new people before I go to repeats. I’m not sure if it was the first suggestion posted but the one that jumped out at me first was “yodelling, architect, opera”.

The clattering attack of feet on a wide cattle grid
rings a yodelling cry into bright storms
held off with anoraks and leafy shelters.
A careful wall of rock built steadily into a range
of mountains – made to last by an internal stone architect.
A maker made from lava and layers of 
Human history stacked up against each other
walked over by the living to keep it alive.
The wind calls around at all hours
creating an emotive opera with a pause
between each recitative as the land relaxes and waits for the next.
New telephone wires record a conversation
between ancient trees and April-new leaves
as the technology finds a way of linking us with nature again.

The final poem in this group is from Steph (@booktrunk) on Twitter. She gave me a bit more of a challenge (because I clearly wasn’t working hard enough…) and gave me a phrase instead of three separate words: "love your elephant". It was a very different process. Rather than trying to find something that inspired me and tied all of the words in, I created a story around the phrase.

“New Start”
One first day a reminder of another
so long ago and yet all blending now
into an amorphous past. Then and now.
Back at the tall gates she held on tight
to a dark green elephant
as they were all herded into a classroom
full of low tables and red plastic chairs.
A tall teacher, young beyond her years
crouches down to talk to my worried face
"I love your elephant" she says
and I'm not afraid. I fastforward a lifetime.
Boxes packed into the car alongside
small appliances and a clothes horse.
Out of the top of a bag a green elephant peeps.
Still there. In no time he's seen again
a new conversation in a new place
repeating the same words and once again I'm not scared.

So that was the latest four poems - I am close to catching up so will be on the look out for more ideas soon!


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