The bins have been emptied,their silver bellies linedand sprayed to quell the stinkfrom last week’s puddling condensationtack dried at the base.In the background the washing thumps,thuds, thunks,throws itself around drum wetand clinging,till the spin cycle sticks it tightto the very edge of a whining whirl.Clementine clouds each counter,cloth swept of crumbs so they shine when the clouds part,sun splitting through the greyand spilling onto the tiles,knuckled into a gleam on hands and knees,so your face stares back up at metight lipped and furious,about to speak till the sponge cuts you off.I can soap over those featuresbut eventually it all dries outand there you are watermarkedsprawled across this floor,elbows and knees against the tiles,and the dishwasher bleeping that it is time. Tonight’s DVerse Challenge is to focus on adding a ‘turn’ or a ‘window’ into our poem. I’ll admit my focus has drifted slightly at the end of this, as something keeps beeping down in the kitchen and investigation is probably in order.
So many orphaned sorrows,I gather the castoffs,pluck stories by root,dirt clotted,waterlogged.Old tears still bloomwith dark, thickened flowers.In the potting shed I ease themone by one into terracotta bassinets.Pack soil round tight,to keep them from weeding outinto the garden proper,before their time.From the window, half-light,slips between the shelving slatstrips over spiderwebs and drip trays.Safety among the looming gloom,safe from the unearthing grief. Tonight’s poetics challenge was to take a line from Paul Dunbar’s The Paradox, and to build a poem around it. My choice was “I am the mother of sorrows; I am the ender of grief;” which has led to this rather odd piece.
On the very edge,where you go to curl your toesinto prayers.Ten tiny bodies bent shoulder and hipheads tucked in tightas if curved spines can protect themfrom the weight pressing forward,you’re so wind washed of expression,clinging on.
Salt stiffened, her wings don’t liftexcept pinwheeling featherscaught helter-skelter by sea breeze,sun bleached and lichen lined.Watches for the hands rising,faces breaking among shallows,hope and desperation.She sings for them.Caged in her cove, she sings.
Each day there seems less of me.Folding in on myself,there is a sense I can crisp my edges,find the perfect bend,turn blemishes in and under,tucked away out of sight.Any tattered edges can be smoothed,rebound into coverstight enough to stop my spilling out.An ache tells me that I use to spreadall these pages of myself out across open floors and tables,revel in how much of me there was.When did it become a shrinking,less is more,best kept out of sightand out of mind?
I can knot myself into a kaleidoscope.Pull in every shade of my beingtill I flicker out of sight,be whole in my absence. Still, a Muse will find my reflectionin the ripples on a lake,a shivering blade of grass,half a note of birdsong.Some such poetic nonsense always betrays me.Reveals the stress fracturesscattering from my joints,the places you will press into meto dig out meanings.To understand me you must dismantleall the elements within these limbsthen jigsaw them into your own creation.Redefine all the colours in the prism,and leave none to belong to me.
‘What did you just say?’ Selwin asked, leaning his body through the open doorframe. He squinted past the greasy smoke and spotted Jak crouched by the hearth, hands out to the spluttering flames.‘I went out to the hazel wood, because a fire was in my head,’ Jak muttered, his scalp mottled and pink in the gloom.‘It wasn’t in your head.’ Selwin crossed the room to open the back door. ‘You messed with a bad spell and set the world alight.’‘It needed to be let out.’‘It needed you to mind your own business.’ He waved a hand in front of his face, the air clearing slowly. He frowned at the shadows across Jak’s features.‘New worlds rise from ashes,’ muttered the broken wizard.‘Not from these.’Selwin sighed and sagged against the doorframe. ‘Your just lucky enough not to see it.’ Tonight’s DVerse Prosery prompt takes inspiration from the poem ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’ by Yeats. ‘I went out to the hazel wood,Because a fire was in my head’.
Normally people take stock of the old year in January, me, I wait until the middle of February, and I’m not even going to beat myself up about it. I had other things to deal with, and if it took me an extra six weeks to get things straightened up, then it took an extra six weeks. I managed a total of fourteen writing submissions in 2020. Out of those fourteen, three were accepted, nine rejected, and two are still lurking in the ether waiting for spring and longlists to be announced. However, it’s important that we celebrate the small victories, to I’m going to use this post to cheer myself on for those three accomplishments. My poem ‘Credit Card Gal’ was accepted for publication later this year by ‘The Fieldstone Review’, my poem ‘When Mudesa Goes Shopping’ was accepted and published by ‘The Daily Drunk’, and my short story ‘Of Sharks and Jellyfish’ was selected as a finalist in the London Independent Story Prize’s fourth quarter. Yay me! Aside from submissions, I also managed …
These are not my grandmother’s mushroomstheir blotched white skins mottled in the grass,a hand tucked beneath the umbrella meat,bone handled fish knife soft to the stems.These are a different kettle of spores altogether,ruffed collar about a shortened stumplips pursed on top of each other,sour sucked expression rolled in on waves.Extravagant, and no good to anyonethese are the dangerous sort. This afternoon has been a delight of migraines, so I’m having a quick go at tonight’s poetics prompt and then turning in for the evening. I used to go picking mushrooms with my grandmother quite a bit, but I can’t remember why we stopped… I think they just stopped growing quite as much in the fields around her house.
The size of a lemon,which reminds me of a fruit tree,miniature,leaves buttered up and greenas the unripe citruses berried in-between…and this is much the same,this slow uncurling as you ripenmy own belly thickening till I peeloff my layers,test the softness around my middle,squeeze the fruit flesh.You feel all this apparently,spin like a top, end over endbecome a flicker in a whirlwind. Still hidden by your smallness,little lemon pip blooming. I’ve missed quite a few DVersePoets night over the past couple of months, and that’s mainly been because I’ve spent all my free time napping. The little Gremlin above is due this summer, and I’ve had all the fun of pregnancy sickness to content with, so my writing took a bit of a hit. My husband and I are very excited to welcome our little human into the world, and I thought what better way to tell my poet friends the news, than with a poem for the Open Link Night!