The Wheel Moves On…

Hi, it’s been a while… everyone good? … The last time I was on here, I was encouraging you to submit poems for a charity anthology, Diverse Verse, organised by Richard aka https://skaggythepoet.wordpress.com/ . Well, I took my own advice, and am now officially a published poet!

Richard invited me along to the launch on Saturday, so I caught the train over to Walsall to join him and a number of friendly, local poets for only my third ever open mic poetry reading… you wouldn’t believe how much preparation I put into a six-minute open mic slot! I’m planning a post on this in the near future. For now, check out Richard’s report on the launch here, and please support the book if you are able: diverse-verse-2-is-launched It was wonderful to finally meet Richard in person – he was exactly as I expected, although taller! He is the first blogger I’ve had the pleasure of meeting offline. Hopefully not the last 🙂

For those kind enough to have asked, I haven’t gone away completely, although it’s fair to say I’ve lost my love for blogging for a host of reasons, not all of which I want to share. I’m still writing, now performing too (!), and intend to be back here with the odd tidbit now and again. Who knows, maybe I’ll even find the “moderation in all things” approach that everyone keeps talking about!

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The poet in full-on “action mode”

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A gratuitous bribe

One way to win people over is with the power of your words… another way is bribery… another bit of January fun to #banishtheblues !

Oopsy me, how careless
I don’t know what to say
You said there was no charge…
But I thought I had to pay

So here’s some rhyming chocolate
A piece of poem pie
Left down on a table
With a winking of my eye

And just in case you do not love
Those words what I have wrote
You’ll find beneath this poem
A crisp new ten pound note

 

🙂

 

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Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/dysanovic/197527093

 

 

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Sleep In Beauty

One way to #banishtheblues is through humour. There are other ways…

My beauty, my love, my heart’s desire,
Curls up beside me, in front of the fire
Sleeping so soundly, peaceful, serene,
Enjoying the deepest and softest of dreams.

I snuggle in behind her, cuddle her tight,
Whisper so gently, what I’d do tonight,
If only she’d wake and kiss me right here
Imagine the sounds those ears would hear…

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Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/cuppini/622856689

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Then There Was One

To help us all get through the dismal dirtsack we lovingly call January, I’ve started a #banishtheblues hashtag. I’d love it if you joined me! Just write, or draw, or photograph, something light, or fun, or happy, or even joyous… anything to #banishtheblues !

This is another that was written as part of an (unsuccessful) application to join the funeverse, a children’s poetry collective. It was inspired by Jion Sheibani’s sharktastic image of a shark looking hungrily at eight teeny tiny fish…

There’s eight of us, and one of him
No need to feel afraid
If we just stick together,
He’ll need First AND Second Aid!

Oh, we’re down to seven,
Mikey’s wandered off…
He had been feeling peaky,
With that ticklish, wheezy cough

But still, we’re strong at seven!
Err… has anyone seen Jill?
Six is plenty to beat that shark
We’ll not end up like those krill!

There’s six, sorry five, of us
He’ll be quaking in his boots
There’s plenty here to scare him.
No need for new recruits.

Us five will hold the line…
Oops, we’re down to four.
I hope that shark can’t count,
That he isn’t keeping score!

Still, four’s a goodly number…
Now where has Betty gone?
We only need to stick together,
Stay with me, come on!

Three will see us right…
Err… guess it’s just us two
I reckon we’ve got his number,
We’ll take him, me and you!

Simon? Simon? Where’ve you gone?
No time for playing games!
Well, if you want me Sharkey,
You’re going down in flames

What d’you mean you’re full?
I think you’re full of it.
If you won’t face me, coward,
You’d better run off quick!

 

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The Monster of the Swamp

Happy New Year everyone! I say “happy”, but it’s January…
…it’s cold
…it’s wet
…it’s dark most of the time
…we’ve all put on weight over Christmas and are feeling it
…not to mention feeling super-broke…

Time to #banishtheblues !

Don’t torture yourself with resolutions. You’re not going to keep them anyway!

So join me this month with anything light, or funny, or happy, or joyous… anything to #banishtheblues !

To get this started, this bit of fun was written as part of an (unsuccessful) application to join the funeverse, a children’s poetry collective. Inspired by Kate Pankhurst’s wonderful picture

The Monster of the Swamp
Was preparing for her date
She’d spent hours in the mud-bath
And now was running late!

She combed her thick hair gently
So as not to wake her nits
Shaking off the clumps of mud
Which fell away in bits

She put on her monster make-up,
Made from bugs and flies,
Crushing up a beetle
As mascara for her eyes

She picked her favourite perfume
It had a pungent scent.
No matter where she wandered,
You knew just where she went

A heady mix of armpits,
Mixed with cheesy feet
It smelt of rotten swamp slime
And twelve-day rancid meat

To finalise her outfit
She picked a pretty bow
Tied it neatly to her fur
Now it’s time to go!

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Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/16643636 (this isn’t the one that inspired this piece, but it’s in similar vein 🙂 )

 

 

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The Night Before Christmas, 2016

I wrote this as my entry for the Amazon competition, for a modern take on The Night Before Christmas. I’m guessing I didn’t win, so here it is for your seasonal entertainment, from this Grinchiest of writers 🙂 Merry Christmas everyone!

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all over town
A sprinkling of snow began to come down.
Few could remember the last time it snowed
But on this night of enchantment, soft magic flowed.

A gentle white blanket, a snuggly sheet
Covered each house, every flat, every street.
Inside each bed, wrapped-up children slept well
As their hopes and their dreams started to swell.

They’d been good this year. Perhaps an X-Box
Would be under their tree, and not silly socks!
Maybe an i-Pad, or mobile phone,
Some books or some films, maybe even a drone!

Anything but socks would bring them a smile,
…Or Gran’s knitted jumpers, in her own special style!
So the children slept on, and their parents did too
(Mum dreamt a long list of jobs she must do…)

Then out in the garden, a hullabaloo,
Awoke one small child, who took in the view:
Santa and crew had been riding too fast
Racing the Space Station as it flew past!

They’d landed too hard; a crash and a bump:
Santa collided with reindeer rump!
His big belly wobbled. He laughed and he said,
“Time for mince pies. Time we were fed!”

Santa – with help – filled a sack up with toys
Whispering softly to keep down the noise.
The boy in his bedroom was straining to hear,
But didn’t want Santa to know he was near.

He peeked around curtains, moved barely a muscle
As Santa continued his sack-filling bustle.
Then stroking and feeding each one of the team
Using the light from Rudolph’s nose-beam!

Santa greeted each reindeer, from Dancer
To daredevil Dasher, and Cupid, and Prancer.
To red-nosed Rudolph, Donner and Blitzen
To cranky old Comet, and tricksy young Vixen.

The boy held his breath. He dared be no louder!
As Santa got out the pink magic powder,
Sprinkled a little to enter the house…
The dust made him shrink to size of a mouse.

(Santa liked chimneys, despite soot and ash,
But moved with the times as quick as a flash.)
He popped up in the house, next to the tree,
With his sack on his shoulder to spread Christmas glee.

He placed the presents for every good child
By the sparkly tree; carefully piled.
Helped himself to a mince pie or two,
And picked up some carrots for his reindeer crew.

He drank up the milk, and licking his lips,
Took a quick look around, his hands on his hips.
With a stroke of his beard, he spied by itself,
A cheeky but lonely, elf on the shelf.

He greeted the elf like a long-lost old friend,
And made sure to move him along to the end.
Between Advent chocolate, baubles and lights
Wrapping blue tinsel all ‘round his red tights.

With a rub of his tummy, his work here complete
Santa sprinkled some dust to make his retreat.
Back to the reindeer, waiting outside,
And hopped in his sled to continue this ride!

Santa took the reins, but before taking flight
He turned to the boy, winked in the moonlight,
Beamed him a smile, so happy and bright:
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

 

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Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/3124443099

NaNo – Hell Yeah!

I mentioned on here last week that I’d committed to the NaNoWriMo challenge. For those who don’t know, this is the National Novel Writing Month, where a bunch of writers needing less caffeine in their lives commit to writing 50,000 words of their novel during the month of November.

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My novel stalled at an early stage. I have written (what I think is) a great prologue, and I have (again, what I think is) an original and funny idea, but actually getting my butt in the chair and getting a draft down… a different matter. So, with reckless disregard for my previous lack of writing of any decent word count, I signed up to knuckle down, shape up, get grafting, and all those other metaphors that should grace a reasonable montage sequence at the end of all this.

My aims are twofold.

First, to develop a style of writing where I can turn off the inner editor. I have no ambitions to actually attain the word count target, but if I can stop editing as I go, allow myself the freedom to write in a more stream-of-consciousness style, and GET SOME WORDS DOWN FIRST! then this will be a huge step forward for me. At present, I am such a perfectionist that only poetry and short forms of fiction are reasonable goals. (Quiet at the back – if you think my writing’s bad now, just imagine how much worse it would be without that commitment!) I need to change my style to allow for this expansion into the longer form. Having just re-read this section a half-dozen times, the scale of this challenge is not to be under-estimated…

Second, to instill more discipline about when I write. I have agreed with my wife a timetable for when I’ll be writing. This will include a few hours BIC time every day (with extra time no doubt for planning and plotting… not that I’m much of a plotter), with an extra top-up session at the weekend. On top of a full time job and family commitments, this is not inconsiderable, and I need to get maximum return from that BIC time. This means, adios internet. Bye bye blogging. Piss off poetry… you get the idea. Focus. I’ll be a lean, mean writing machine. I’m just going to have to miss out on catching up on anyone else’s blog for a month, park my own, and hope that the latest cat videos and memes aren’t as cute as they used to be…

So, that’s me. Will it work? Who knows… but I have to try 🙂

See you in December!

 

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Al! Al! Where are you going? I’ve just uploaded another video onto my youtube stream…

Halloween Haiku

Dark Halloween night
Ghosts and goblins roam the earth
Demanding candy

Those grinning terrors
Knock on unsuspecting doors…
TRICK OR TREAT they cry

But they don’t mean that.
Try offering them a TRICK
And see what happens!

 

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Picture credit: flickr.com/photos/partymonstrrrr/4003308412

A Halloween poem – deconstructed

Trying to write a scary poem
To get things off my chest.
So many ways to start,
I wonder which is best.

Do I go for ghoulish,
Or something more refined?
Do I make the horror clear,
Or leave it to the mind?

Then there comes the rhyming
Of all those scary creatures.
Zombie? Vampire? No rhymes.
Do I focus on their features?

And how to make things scary,
In the structure of the rhyme?
It’s hard to make the reader jump
When they can guess ahead in time.

Maybe I should back off.
Leave this one to the writers.
Poets are tender lovers
But terrible monster fighters!

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