John Tranter

I’ve been reading a lot of John Tranter lately as part of a series I’m working on. It involves taking a line from a poem that speaks to you and responding to it. I’m currently working on a response to the line “love is endless oil” from the poem Benzedrine by John Tranter from his book Urban Myths. Here’s a draft of the first stanza.




I’m obsessed with this inscription in my second hand copy of Back to Methuselah. So I’m writing a poem about it.


Above is the first draft of the first stanza.

The Potter

The Potter
Fingers numb
warmth gone
like love receding
she stands outside the apartment block
drags a bright eye
into her cigarette
her dress
moth wings flirting
about her legs
betraying her figure
with glimmers of silver
he is late again

Parked up the road
he reclines the driver’s seat
two chopstick fingers
flick ash onto the bitumen
and when he drags
he holds it in
a few seconds
before releasing
smoke into the night
watching glints of silver
with a sigh
he forms the words
practises the rhythm
softening the edges
a potter spinning clay.

Chess Players

Losing my footing in front of the chess players belly laughing beside the waist-high chess pieces, a triangle of brick departing from the stairs under the trees of the make-shift mall arena, there were seagulls, I remember, their cry rotates round the head, a brutal halo to a fragile constitution or those sensitive to even the mildest noise pollution. Not the men at the chess board. Their carved lines from 9am to 4pm. Do they bet money? Who can tell, their language is foreign, a man in gruff jeans, stains folded in, disputes the previous move, he’ll dispute your shoes if you get close enough, the chalk-white gulls dive for a cheeseburger crust, the addicted congregate outside the mall entrance. One Thursday the players are gone. The chess board is broken up, yellow vested men with jack hammers shatter the bricks. I wonder where the men went, one Monday out running I see the same stained jeans in a park by the sea playing lawn bowls with a group of men. A beer, a cigarette in the hand, disputing the last throw.

I, like prayers, say too much.

Been fiddling with a poem for the last two days. I’m not feelin it. Themes get stuck in my head and I gag on the same metaphors over and over. Here’s the middle of it.

Walking by your bedroom
crumpled flowers of clothes
sleepy mouthed coffee cups, slug-like
used condom visible under the bed
you close the door, chin cradling a half smile
you shrug. Your leather couch is
peeling like the sides of a mushroom
the mountains are fresh between
your torn blinds. Your hands travel
my thighs, I am 27, you are not the first to sigh
with me and I, like prayers,
say too much.

annnnd the only lines I like are “Your leather couch is peeling like the sides of a mushroom” and “I, like prayers, say too much”.

Back to the drawing board. At least I’m putting font to Word screen. Right?




Coming Alive

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who come alive.” – Howard Thurman

But what if you lose that? What if you lose what makes you come alive?

No dirty jokes today. I haven’t written for a while, I know. But a little while ago I lost it. I lost the juice, the will to write. The thing that kept me going when nothing else did, left me. It’s been creeping up on me for a while. I don’t want to blame it on medication. I don’t want to go down that road and put off any mentally interesting writers that might have otherwise given medication a go. But I can’t deny that it played a part. A lot of things went down and I saw myself grow cynical and shun the writer’s way of life. Life’s necessities have woken me up to the fact that writing full-time can’t give me the life I want. I’m no writing superstar. I’m no academic. I just love poetry. It’s gotten me through a lot of really hard times and lately I’ve not lent on it as much as I’ve pushed it to the side to focus on paying bills and studying, and honestly? That makes me sad.

What does this mean for this blog?

It means I’m going to have to try harder and like a rough patch in any marriage, work to make it work. I’ll be posting little drafts here and there and maybe some pictures of places I’ve been. Just to try to inspire myself, kick-start my heart a bit.

So it’ll still be Ennui Remedies, just with a different flavor – a little more remedy and a little less innuendo – if I can manage it.

That’s all for now, lovely people.

– Jess