Zombie Zombie Zombie!

Yes, that’s right, Halloween’s coming, so it’s time to talk zombies… And the value for money in this post is incredible. Not one, but two, yes a whole two!, zombie items to share!

First up is a plug… long time readers may remember an A to Z challenge I completed some time ago, on the theme of surviving the zombie holocaust…in haiku form… Well, I’ve written a bunch of new ones and collected them all together, and will be publishing these on Amazon IMMINENTLY (ie when I get a spare few hours in the next week) as … THE HAIKU OF THE DEAD….

Here’s the cover reveal, for those who like that sort of thing…

haiku of the dead cover pic

And to whet your appetite for all things zombie, here is a NEW zombie poem. Over a few drinks in a bar, I joked to some fellow poets that most of my stuff in my first collection was either about cats or zombies… so they challenged me to write about zombie cats… This was the result. I hope you like it. 🙂

Zombie Pet Store

Went down to the zombie pet store
To pick myself a pet
(There’s not the widest choice of these,
So you take what you can get)

A zombie goldfish seemed too lame:
I wanted something cooler!
Some creature that could scare my sis,
Lure her in and fool her…

A zombie guinea pig could be fun
With their amped-up feral nature.
As long as it’s fed some daily flesh,
It’s never gonna hate ya…

Or a zombie hamster spinning ‘round
Within its blood-stained wheel?
Perhaps a zombie bunny
Trying to make you its next meal?

Zombie dogs are a big no-go:
Too strong to be man’s best friend.
Even with a muzzle on,
Spot will eat you, in the end.

But zombie cats? That’s where it’s at,
On this, can we agree?
They’ve the same sense of superiority
And indifference to humanity

Although the purring and the miaowing
Is now more like …growling
After brutal night-time killing sprees,
There’s the same old midnight howling!

So, it’s time to make your choice:
Buying a zom-pet is no game.
But whether a cat’s alive or undead,
Its behaviour’s just the same!

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Golden Shovel, after Charles Simic “Watermelons”

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

Green Buddha
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.

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Alistair Lane performing at The Maze…

YouTube

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

Thank you!

 

 

Pets and their owners

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!

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My cat, this afternoon

 

Me, Me, Me

I attended a poetry workshop on Saturday, as part of the Nottingham Poetry Festival. I’m barely home this week for going to various poetry gigs (sadly not performing, but am hoping that will come), and consider myself blessed to live in such a poetry-hungry city!

At this workshop, I wrote a number of poems that will eventually see the light of day on this blog. This was written for the opening exercise, to write a tanka to introduce ourselves. I wrote two… the second explains why!

Really a rhymer
Who then got hooked on haiku.
In recovery.
I’ve been clean for a year.
Damn! I’m back on the wagon!

I love a challenge.
Stupidly competitive.
Fitting these words in
Gives me great satisfaction,
When the syllables all fit

🙂

 

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Grabbing 2018 by the B&lls!

Let’s be honest, 2017 as a year was… a bit shit. Too much hate-filled terrorism, too much idiocy-filled Brexit, too much asshole-filled Trump… even the celebrity deaths looked a bit shit compared with the previous year (RIP David Bowie and Alan Rickman). Not to mention that The Last Jedi was also…a bit shit. (Sad, but true. Feel free to fail to convince me otherwise below…)

But this isn’t the “a bit shit” blog. (Quiet at the back.)

I’ve had a poem saved in drafts for over two years now. It’s about feeling low in the new year (“the calendar moves on/ I remain still”)… it’s not going to get published here this year either. It’s just not what I want to share. Life is “a bit shit” enough without me releasing my faintly whiffy poetry into the air. It would be as welcome as a fart at a funeral. (As I’m fairly sure Geoff Le Pard would/has put it!)

I’m also not one of those annoyingly cheerful positive types. I know some of my American readers lap that stuff up, but us Brits don’t really go in for that either.

Modesty.
Awkwardness.
Self-deprecation.

Those are our “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” equivalents.

I digress.

So… a middle way. A smidge of positivity, without the odour of negativity. A sustainable, splash-free course through the swirling turd-hills of terror, Brexit, Trump, #this-year’s-evil…

In terms of my poetry, things are starting to move along… I have joined a supportive poetry collective, DIY Poets… I will continue to attend open mics (am back to The Cave next week)… I have a brief slot supporting the brilliantly funny poet John Hegley in March… I got my first publishing credits last year (in a charity collection – Diverse Verse – and then in a wonderful local Christmas ‘zine through Mud Press)… I have collated poetry for at least three different collections I intend to self-publish (pending me arranging some cover art)… I hope to soon be sharing a few videos of my poems on youtube…

In terms of my other writing, I am currently developing an idea I have for a sitcom, and am trying to get to grips with screenwriting… I may even go back to a novel I started in 2016… plus some unfinished business with drafts of a handful of children’s picture books…

A few different options!

So… back to grabbing 2018 by the balls (or throat, if you prefer a more violent but less sexual image)…

I have volunteered to help organise the Nottingham Poetry Festival in April. I will be the official blogger in the build-up to and during the festival. What this means in reality, I can’t yet tell you (not because it’s secret, but because I don’t yet know either!), but when the call went out for people to help a month ago, I took an afternoon off work, got the tram into Nottingham, sucked in my gut, and said to a room-full of strangers “err…anything I can do?”

I am very excited about this one!

I hate “takeaways” (unless being used in the British sense of food delivered to your door, obviously), but if there is a takeaway from this, it’s just this:

When whatever-your-thing-in-2018 sends a call out for people to help (and it will)
– Get on the bus/ tram/ boat/ unicycle
– Suck in your gut
– Say “err… is there anything I can do to help?…”

To your success!

 

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Last Christmas

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.

 

 

Merry Christmas!

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What a performance…

I’ve been meaning to write a blog post for some time about me branching out into performance poetry, but never quite got round to it… largely because I’m losing what little free time I have due to… you know… being out, performing!

I reached a point with blogging my poems where I wanted to test them in front of live audiences. There is a vibrant open mic/performance poetry scene in my home town of Nottingham, and I decided during the Nottingham Poetry Festival back in April that I would use an opportunity at a library reading to take the plunge myself.

I’m not an extrovert.

I’m not a naturally confident performer.

I’m not someone who seeks the limelight, in any shape or form.

But you have to test yourself to know yourself, right… So I tested myself. In my local library, in front of thirty or so mostly elderly people, I read a poem, “Memory”, that I had written especially for performing. It didn’t even rhyme, which is a big thing for me! The reading went well. Really well. The host, Henry Normal, complimented me (I’m a huge Henry Normal fan… this was dream territory for me…) Old ladies came up to me afterwards congratulating me on my poem, saying that they connected with it…

Well, I was hooked!

I pressganged a Babbity friend into attending an open mic with me, for some much-needed moral support… (In fairness, he had suggested, probably a year ago, that we give performing a go… but you know that thing with your kids where you have to plant the seed of an idea, then let them go away and think it’s their own?… yeah, that!)

Next, there was an opportunity to head across to Walsall for the launch of Diverse Verse 2 (reminder – submissions for DV3 are still very much sought ), and for me to meet up in person with a poet blogger – Richard Archer – whose work I’d always enjoyed. For me, it allowed me to build up my confidence on “foreign soil”, where no one could report back to Nottingham how nervous or awful I was! Well, maybe not awful, but definitely nervous. But again, it went well, and everyone was so welcoming and warm it helped set me at ease.

This Walsall reading was a little different. The open mics tend to be a two-poem affair. The Walsall reading gave five minutes per performer… for someone who writes mostly short poems, this gave me some extra opportunity. Five minutes… that’s all...

…any guesses how long I spent preparing for that 5-minute slot?

It was easily an hour… seriously!

I picked a batch of poems I thought would work well together, then practised them in my bedroom, recording myself on my cameraphone, to see how it worked, and to check it went to time.

Yeah, I have problems…

But I was nervous, and needed to go through this to have the confidence that when I got there I knew what I was doing, and could relax a little and maybe even enjoy it.

(I don’t need to do this any more, not to this extent anyway, but I do still like to be prepared…)

I joined an amazing local poetry collective, called DIY Poets. To do them justice, I’d need to write a separate post, but suffice to say it is a group who have been bitten by the same performing bug, and encourage others to join in to share their words. I’m no longer a lone wolf…

There is a monthly open mic night in Nottingham called Cross Words, run by the lovely Leanne Moden (she’s written better poems, but I – predictably – love this one! ). Now, this open mic is truly something special. Moulded around Moden’s personality, this is as warm and kind and talented a crowd as you will ever get. Everyone gets the same opportunity, with a featured headline poet to top the night off, and best of all, it takes place in a freaking cave! An honest to goodness cave, with performers standing beside the well… Well, I’m in love. This is the open mic of choice for me. There are others that I have yet to check out in Nottingham – and I will do in good time – but unless any of those are also set inside a freaking cave, then I know which will remain my favourite!

After attending a couple of these, getting a feel for things, and enjoying some amazing poetry and performances, I realised that I wanted to truly test myself. All of these crowds will give any poet a warm welcome, and a congratulatory round of applause… I could play it safe, and read some emotional, or descriptive, or romantic, poetry, and be guaranteed the same reaction.

Clap clap clap, thanks for coming. This isn’t to diminish anyone who performs, not at all, but the nature and quality of the audience ensures a polite reaction…

But I didn’t want a polite reaction.

I wanted to make them laugh.

to be continued… tune in next time for actual footage of me performing!

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Man In A Cave… a freaking cave!

Are you a poet looking to get published?

My friend in poetry, Richard Archer, is compiling a collection of poetry for charity – Diverse Verse 3. I contributed to the book 2, and will be rustling up something for book 3 too – it would be great if you could join me!

Here’s how you can get involved and see your poem in print

All you need to do to be involved is to email a poem to the email address below and it will be considered for the book based on the following rules. Please note entry is free.

  • All poems must be the authors own work, please don’t submit something that isn’t yours.
  • Poems are welcome from anyone, anywhere in the world.
  • Please submit no more than one poem.
  • A submitted poem must be in arial font in a format free word document. If you are unable to do such then just paste your poem into the body of your email.
  • Poems on any subject and theme are welcome, however sexually explicit poetry and poems with extreme bad language will not be considered.
  • Poems should be no longer than 400 words approx.
  • Previously published poems can be submitted as long as the writer holds the copyright.
  • When submitting poems please include your full name for inclusion in the book’s contents, an alias is acceptable.
  • Email your poems to Diverseverse@aol.co.uk
  • The book will be published via Lulu the online publishers.
  • Closing date for submissions is 31st December 2017.
  • Anyone who is in the book will be notified after submissions close.
  • Poems that do not conform to the guidelines will be rejected automatically.
  • The copyright of any poem selected remains with the author.
  • Richard hopes to have the book out in 2018 by the spring at the latest; money raised from sales of the collection will go to Cancer Research UK.

Further details and links to the previous books can be found here

Happy writing!

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This was me reading at the launch of Diverse Verse 2… just realised how often I wear this t-shirt to open mics!

 

Halloween HORROR!

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!

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