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.
A series of thoughts obeyed blindly, he knew misfortune well.
Glass and knives in the parking lot, crowbar clashes, whatever’s
on hand. Fights climbing up from the gutter for a fix, rage fueled
and ready for knuckles, tornadoes of fists many against one, to our
knowledge he never killed but fought underground for cash
high on power, the absence of guilt, staggering. Across the
Cross, trawling for hits, governed by a certain code, he never punched
a man who wasn’t looking. Never with guns but he faced one
screaming “Kill me! I have nothing!” and never faltered once, wanting so much
to avoid becoming the coward father he never knew, face flowering angry blues,
one eye swollen shut, he met a mixed martial arts champ on the train and
almost lost, jumping platforms, running the stairs, a thought in the mind
rolled over twice, perhaps he’s not the Invincible Man.
In off-white stained briefs he scratches himself
out the front of the half-way house
as the girls giggle by, stomachs stacked with shots,
he watches them pull up every windscreen wiper
to the sky, leaving all the cars paused in prayer,
their hoods shining in the dewy early hours
One of the girls squats behind a car
rolling up her tight red dress to pee.
The man picks up a ukulele, hisses
“Excuse me, some people are trying to sleep!”
before humming Thunderstruck and plucking
the only remaining string.
Ahhh Sunday morning.
I have a new bookcase. It’s chocolate coloured, tall, and begging for books. The walls of my room are freckled with mold that looks to be making a home for itself (the joys of living in an old damp apartment), so I’m frantically moving all my prized books out of its reach. As it is with these things, I couldn’t help but read some of them.
Now it’s late (or early) and I’ve had my nose in some pages by the likes of John Tranter, John Forbes, and August Kleinzahler. So now I’m messing around with words. Here are some I prepared earlier.
Coral lipped, she had her tongue split
down the middle, now she talks strange
She likes to stick it out at small children
declaring that she never saw herself as a
concentrating on the red man, he changes
green and we walk to the movies, she hates
romantic comedies and so do I, so we catch
some Nicolas Cage disaster. We’re not there
for the popcorn.
In the park in the early hours she hands me
a can of Coke, we do the whole look
at the stars and contemplate our lives shit. She feels
Athena is misunderstood – her manager – not the goddess
she tells me,
though the goddess has a right to be mad
too, if you ask her, which I didn’t, but to watch her is heaven
and the night’s too cold for me to move.
I think the ending is a bit too weak. But I’m still mulling over what to replace it with. Maybe a detail about the other persona? I don’t know, it’s kind of her show, so… I’ll have to think on it some more.
Wild Saturday night/Sunday morning alone at the keys. I know what you’re thinking, “how does she maintain her extravagant lifestyle?”. Coffee and meds, my friends, coffee and meds.
Why, what are you doing with your Sunday morning?
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?
So I’ve had a bit of writer’s block recently. For a while I lost the motivation to write. So I’m trying to kick-start my muse again by trying something new. Comments welcome. If you love it all up in your ear holes I might do some soundscapes as well.