Buttons

imageI was semi-engaged once. I say semi because we never had a legitimate ring or a party to announce it. We used my late grandmother’s dress ring and it turned my finger green. That should have been an omen in and of itself. I decided that my wedding would be alternative, with lots of handmade touches and second-hand items turned chic. I decided as so many brides-to-be do to feature blue prominently and my bouquet would be made of buttons not flowers (this doesn’t look as kitsch as you think). Each bridesmaid, family member or friend would choose some blue or white buttons and I would fashion them into a bouquet using my best straight-from-Pinterest DIY skills. Above are two buttons one designated bridesmaid gave me. The designs are etched into some sort of shell material.

After the relationship disintegrated, I kept the buttons in an old teal lockable make-up case along with some of my late grandmother’s things and other painful or precious items. Somehow they have migrated from there to a pen organiser beside my desk. Today I found them and cleaned them up a bit. They don’t arouse bitterness or pain in me now and they are the most gorgeous shade of blue.

We also received an expensive Japanese bowl set from one of my friends and once after a fight I was cleaning and dropped some of them, sending triangles of bowl all over the kitchen. If believed in omens that would have been the rooster’s second crow. We also had an orchid that we decided was a symbol of our love (yes, I was that ridiculous. Oh to be young and blindly infatuated). We got it at a seaside market and always laughed at the fact that it wouldn’t grow, despite being re-potted and fertilized and what have you. The rooster’s third crow?

After the relationship ended, and I was alone in my moldy one bedroom apartment during a particularly rainy May, painfully broke and slowly losing myself to depression, I looked out of the window and saw that the orchid was had a single shoot growing up through the cream-white bulb. I laughed.

I wish I could say that this was the time of a great epiphany. That this was the moment that I pulled myself together, became strong and fought against my madness to emerge victorious and build my life anew. But it wasn’t. I continued to fade into the shadows of myself until I was admitted to hospital.

When I moved house I threw out the ring, the orchid, and the remaining bowls but I could never bring myself to throw out the buttons. They were too pretty. I could never use them either. Because despite not believing in omens, I still associate those buttons with that man, not in a negative way, just as a memory. Who wants to carry around the ghost of their ex-lover in their pocket? Or sew their memory to your favorite shirt. Forgive me, but that’s like recycling a wedding ring. A bit creepy.

What do you think, my lovely chums? Have you ever recycled any of your ex-lover’s possessions?

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Wild Saturday night, poetry, and mold.

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
mother

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?

Valentine’s Day Scrapbook

What did you suckers do on Valentine’s day?

Did you make a valentine’s day scrapbook? Well you should have, and it should have gone something like this:

Read passionate love notes.
Read passionate love notes.
Be relentlessly pursued by your hot date.
Be relentlessly pursued by your hot date.
Chronicle said dates uncontrollable excitement at the chance to go out with you.
Chronicle said date’s uncontollable excitement at the chance to go out with you.
Go for long walks on the harbour with your long suffering roomate.
Long walks on the harbor with your similarly single long-suffering roommate hot person of interest (cameo by ghost knee).
Send a picture of flowers you found in the mall to your lover friend.
Buy, pick, borrow, or steal send a picture of flowers you found in the mall gardens to your friend workmate studybuddy lover.
Kiss hold hands stare awkwardly at the romantic harbour lights.
Yawn Kissing and stare awkwardly hold hands while you look at the romantic harbor lights.
Romantically watch rabbits stuff their tiny faces with lush grass metres away from the certain death of a busy road.
Romantically watch romantic rabbits stuff their tiny romantic-furred faces with lush grass metres away from the romantic certain death of a busy road.

There are rabbits there. If you squint. Look, I can’t do all the work. Use your imagination, romantic parasite-infested beasts of fluffy destruction – small enough and cute enough to make you regress to infantile exclamations of joy. Imagine it. Get involved.

Romantically
Romantically race a romantic leaf down a picturesque water feature in the mall in some fantastically classy place.
Romantic shit
Squat precariously in the dark to take hipster photos of a seed, some bird shit, a slug, or other romantic subjects while your long suffering roommate hot date laughs at your bizarre behavior marvels at your artistic genius.

That, dear friends, is how you have a glorious Valentine’s Day.

Table-Talk Tuesday: Fishing out the French and gettin down with old English men.

Ennui Remedies gets Nostalgic.

Today’s Table-Talk Tuesday is brought to you by the French. Specifically 13-16th Century french poetry forms. I know what you’re thinking, “that bastard’s tricked me into clicking her link again. This has nothing to do with boning old men”.Roundels & Rondeaus“. Ohmahgawd you’re right. You cultured little hipster you.

The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms & Literary Theory describes a Rondeau as  french, and totally cool before Swinburne liked it ironically¹. He is credited as ‘experimenting’ with the form in the 1880s, making it popular again¹, and by experimenting I mean mixed it up a bit and re-naming it a Roundel². Kinda like a 1883 version of The Black Eyed Peas.

Having said that, I like both versions (as well as another, similar form called the Rondel which is also worth checking out) and in 2008 I wrote a bunch of my own back when I thought end rhymes were better than sex.

First published in Five Bells vol. 15, No. 3, Winter 2008.
First published in Five Bells vol. 15, No. 3, Winter 2008.

I really love the sing-song nature of this type of lyric poetry. They’re short, like me which really suits my attention span makes them easy to remember and once you get the pattern right, they’re easy like your mum.

So if you’re interested in learning some new poetry forms, you should check out ShadowPoetry. They have a long list of different forms, from the popular Sonnet to not-so-popular Terzanelle.

You can pick up a copy of Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory on Amazon.com for around $12.

                                                                                                          

¹Cuddon, J,  1999, ‘Rondeau’ in Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, Penguin Books, London, England,  p772.

²Cuddon, J,  1999, ‘Roundel’ in Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, Penguin Books, London, England,  p773.

Text Thursday: Mash-up, Shaw, hidden narratives and page X

Quick Lit shake up

This Text Thursday is brought to you by literary mash-ups. A mash-up, much like Austin Kleon’s Black out poems or Dada‘s cut up technique is about taking a pre-existing text and finding new narratives within it. Kleon’s poems are born of crossing out all but a few words to create a new text. The Dadaists cut up texts, re-arranged the words and formed new sentences. The mash-up takes a text and stretches it, filling the spaces between words with new words to form a narrative. It was first introduced to me by one of my poetry lecturers, Gareth Jenkins. He also pointed out that it’s a good idea to use non fiction texts as they are often the most unintentionally poetic (much like Kleon’s newspaper’s eh?).

But for copyright reasons because I happen to have a copy of Bernard Shaw’s Back to Methuselah (1945), I’m going to use that as an example.

I picked this book up from a second hand bookstore for $2 a couple of years ago. Check out the cool inscription.

So, page x (10) of the Preface – ‘Political Inadequacy of the Human Animal’

Ten more years elapsed. Neo-Darwinismin in politics had produced a European catastrophe of a magnitude so appalling, and a scope so unpredictable, that as I write these lines in 1920, it is still far from certain whether our civilization will survive it (Shaw 1945).

and then stretch it, add a few words (and in this case I’m taking a few out) and it might become:

“Ten more years elapsed. Darwinism drove men to politics, lovers curled themselves around a European bouquet of love, catastrophes, explosions of hearts; petals on the cobblestones, a tapestry of such magnitude, so appalling, the scope of their spirits, the trickling sound as they slip their way through the gutters, unpredictable, a doctor, a wife, gushing out the lines of pavement into storm water drains, into 1920. Still and far from the certainty of each others’ pockets, a civilization of lovers, survived only by the city.”

It’s a lot of fun and sometimes you can even get some usable lines out of it, if not a whole poem.

Other great mash-up texts might include: religious texts, pamphlets, instruction manuals, menus, bills, and so on.

Lots of seemingly un-poetic texts contain narratives, you just need the tools to find them.

                                                                                                       

Shaw, B, 1945, Back to Methuselah, Oxford University Press, London, p X.