A golden shovel takes an existing short poem, and uses every word as the end of each line for a new poem
Watermelons, by Charles Simic
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.
Golden Shovel, after Charles Simic “Watermelons”
I lazed on the lawn, summer green
Calm and peaceful, an urban Buddha
Eyes closed, nothing on
My mind, just enjoying the
Moment, this day, this sun, the fruit
Of nature. Feeling its rays, I stand,
Arise without thinking, realising we
Are one; nature, earth, people; we eat
Of the soil and feed the
Soil; reaping what we sow, every smile
Breeding a dozen more, joy spreading and
Growing, an infection of hope that spits
On salty pavements, letting out
The poison of doubt, and the
Self-constraints of “can’t”, through newly-revealed teeth.
Alistair Lane performing at The Maze…
For those who hadn’t already noticed through other channels, I’ve put a couple of videos of my poetry performances up on YouTube, and have more to drip-feed out over the coming weeks.
I’d really appreciate it if you could check them out, maybe even subscribe to follow me on YouTube… if you like it, feel free to share!
This is the latest one I’ve uploaded. It’s my first ever live performance (aww!), at a Crosswords night in a cave in Nottingham (still my favourite place to perform). The first poem, Memory, has been rewritten substantially since this performance… one of the benefits of testing material in front of an audience. Hope you enjoy 🙂
Alternatively, you can subscribe here
They say that pets look like their owners… This is called “my cat’s a sexy motherf*cker”
Your dachshund may be a darling
And your terrier drive a truck
You may think your pet’s amazing…
But mine’s as sexy as f*ck
So your gerbil’s got some game
And your schnauzer isn’t a schmuck
Your pets each have their qualities…
Mine’s as sexy as f*ck
You may really dig your degu
Think your Pekinese is full of pluck
I couldn’t be any happier for you…
But mine’s as sexy as f*ck
Your ferret may bring you good fortune
And your black cat carry good luck
I’ve won the bloody lottery, mate…
‘cause mine’s as sexy as F*CK!
My cat, this afternoon
A poem about my Grandfather – “Grampy” – written for and performed at the Nottingham Poetry Festival, at the Crosswords Sue Ryder open mic night. I’ve attached the recording below on YouTube, with another poem from last night too. I’d love it if you checked it out 😀
Grampy died when I was young.
Young enough to remember,
but not old enough to know him.
He was a baker by trade, always
bringing oven-warm buns,
the three minute walk back to
his front door.
He’d served in North Africa
in the Second World War.
This utterly fascinated me,
the reality of war.
The notion of “service”. The grit.
But we never spoke of it.
The closest we came was him buying me
“Commando” magazine from the newsagents,
next to the bakers. Those pocket booklets of
heroism, jingoism. Derring do. Reality
safely sanitised into periodic pieces
where the good guys always win.
I never really cared for them –
I preferred when he
bought me “Buster” comics –
but I never told him that.
He thought I’d like them,
so he bought them for me.
Maybe he wanted to say more.
I wanted him to say more.
But he never did.
ate through him
In those final days.
A Brylcreem skeleton.
A shadow of sallow skin,
sunk in his favourite chair.
Unable to manage even that
short walk to the newsagents,
now knocked through into the
bakery, selling undertaxed coffee.
No more Commando magazines.
No more unspoken words.
There are no cat puns in this poem,
No feline phrases flowing.
Don’t have kittens with anxiety:
That would be a cat-astrophe
This poem is far from purr-fect
With apologies to George Michael…
Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
You bought me a Lynx deodorant gift set from Boots, £4.99.
I’m not a materialist
But that feels a little one-sided to me.
I don’t even like Lynx.
Happy Halloween everyone! The poem below carries a huge health warning…once read, it cannot be unread. The images it will leave you with cannot be wiped (a score of witnesses will testify to this)… If you are easily offended, or have any ounce of self-respect, taste or decency, DO NOT READ ON! You have been warned!
It started as a joke
Then grew into a dare
It *may* have been the alcohol
When I agreed to wear
… the mankini
Now, for those who do not know,
A mankini’s quite the thing
(Picture me in a posing pouch
Pulled up tight with bright green string)
My abs are long since absent
The six pack’s more a barrel
And without getting into fat shaming
There’s too much padding in this saddle
… the mankini
…It barely hides my wedding tackle
But bares the rest for all
All this hairy flesh, all this…
And an unmanly spread of balls
You see, I’ll never be a swordsman
No Don Juan legendary lover.
If your body’s a lethal weapon,
I’m more like Danny Glover.
But a dare’s a dare and that’s that
You’ve got to live by a code.
Well, you’ve got to tell yourself something
When your ass cheeks are on show…
So, a distinctive Halloween outfit…
But it’s not easy trick or treating
On a cold, dark night in autumn
With cock and balls retreating!
This is the second in what will inevitably form a Halloween trilogy, concluding tomorrow… I am going to perform these poems, with others, at my first ever poetry performance (excluding open mics) this weekend. Wish me luck!
I met her in a graveyard
On a dark and stormy night.
Wrapped in blackest midnight
She was something of a sight.
Her skin was pale as moonlight.
She’d dark circles round her eyes.
Her countenance was serious :
Quite incapable of surprise.
Her long black skirt hid her feet,
She seemed to glide across the ground.
Made no mark upon the floor,
Moved without a sound.
She made a beeline for me,
As I was drawn to her.
Mesmerised by each other,
Quite forgetting who we were.
Neither dared to touch the other,
To break this moonlit spell.
This eeriest enchantment
That makes two hearts compel.
Standing, still not touching,
We danced upon the mist,
The tangled trail of eddies,
The only evidence of our tryst.
Our bodies now moved closer,
I moved in for a kiss…
But I fell and passed right through her
Denied that mortal bliss.
For though I was but the ghost
In a delicious irony
I fell so hard in love with her
It’s her that haunted
So if you’re sat there lonely now
Sad, and praying for a date
Remember well this poem’s words:
It’s never too late
It’s never too late
I was born a bonny zombie baby
It’s the only life I’ve known
But years and moons have passed since then
How I’ve zombie-grown!
Growing up sure ain’t easy
Juicy brains don’t come for free
And there’s no chance those screaming humans
Will ever let me be!
See, I’ve never craved attention
I just want an axe-free life
Somewhere peaceful in the country
Where I can find a loving, kind, decaying wife
I never knew my zombie father
Spent no childhood catching ball
No mother there to catch me
When rotting limbs would fall
And I don’t know if you’ve noticed
But zombie role models are lacking
We’re just used in films to show off
The hero’s muscles as they’re hacking
And don’t you see the irony
In claiming we love brains
Then trying to bash our heads in.
It’s prejudice ingrained!
I don’t wanna fight you.
Set aside your sword.
Quit swinging that bloody baseball bat.
Let’s sit, and have a word.
I know my tongue’s necrotic
But there’s a message ‘neath my growling
If only you would listen, really listen,
We could end this midnight prowling
Our demands are very few:
Just leave us all alone,
In basements, malls or graveyards,
Where we can rot and roam.
We’re the next step in evolution:
These are Darwinian growing pains.
We don’t want to harm you…
We just want to eat your brains!
I’ve been feeling a little down lately… but with my muse in the sky, I’ll keep trying to #banishtheblues 🙂
Sluggish salmon dawn
Pure parallax paradise
Tease through her layers