LEADERS - not followers

Monday, December 13, 2010


For We Write Poems - The Pursuit of Happiness
And posted to Monday Poetry Train Revisited


You'll always be at least one step behind
Don't ever let it out of your sight
You'll never get ahead of it
So aim to catch up with it
And if, and when, you do
Grab it with both hands.

With all your heart
Cherish it...

Own it...

On your marks...

Get set...


Tuesday, November 30, 2010


For We Write Poems


Wake up O-seven O-O

Bathroom, for a number one
Or maybe a number two
Then four minutes in the shower

At forty five Centigrade

Breakfast – bet you can’t eat three
Cup of coffee, zero milk
One sugar… stirred to the left

Twelve paces to the front door

Into my four door saloon
A sixteen hundred cc
Five forward gears, one reverse

Some take the ninety nine bus

Arrive at work eight thirty
Day starts at nine on the dot
Ends at five, or thereabouts

Then back home, to Number Nine

Takeaway dinner tonight
Chinese, number forty two
Pork in green pepper, black beans

Two or three glasses of wine

Then up thirteen stairs, to bed
And I don’t mean forty winks

Morning, back to the grindstone
Five days a week, forty hours
Fifty two weeks every year

Until I reach sixty five…

Then, one day… my number’s up…

Saturday, November 27, 2010


For Writer’s Island prompt #31 2010


Although not American
On this day, especially
I have reason to recall
And reasons to be grateful

Funny how you remember…
(Some things, you just don’t forget)
Must be fifteen years ago
… Seems like only yesterday

You didn’t ask me for it
But I knew you wanted it
You didn’t even say it
But it was clear you meant it

Just an item of clothing
But you folded it, neatly
Tucked it into bed with you
Probably dreamt about it

It was such a privilege
I’m eternally grateful
For having witnessed such an
Expression of gratitude

Thursday, November 25, 2010


For Big Tent Poetry – wordle


Only just awake if truth be known
Still hung-over from last night’s session
Pen in hand, and a freshly inked nib
I check-in my pal, another lush
so the boss won’t know he’s passed out, drunk
We blame the clunk and thud of presses
(and the Coalition Government)
for a condition that resurfaced
when we thought it was under control
We’ve both spent time at de-tox session
Been named, shamed and dragged over the coals
Forklifted from the ash-pit, hand washed
and hung over the boiler, to dry
Still we don’t seem to understand why
the consumption of alcoholic
beverages is prohibited
while operating machinery

Monday, November 22, 2010


For Writers Island #30 2010 – Peerless
And We Write Poems – Swimming
Ans posted to Monday Poetry Train Revisited


Morning, bathed in rays of golden sun

Met her for a sink or swim showdown
Hoping we could pool our resources

Shall we synchronise watches? I try
Should have gone to greater lengths than that
Am I in her thoughts…? Won’t hold my breath

Learn to crawl before you walk; she laughs
That would take a stroke of luck; I think
One of us may have to take a dive
Which will send me right back to square one

Passing on the water; ships – that’s us
In her presence, I’m out of my depth
She’s aloof; Madame’s a butterfly
Floating freestyle through a crowded room
Clutching secrets to her heaving breast

Saturday, September 4, 2010


For Writers Island prompt #19


State of the art premises
Cutting edge machinery
Microchip technology
Computer Aided Design
A world class management team
And a highly skilled workforce
A winning combination
A recipe for success

One ingredient missing
… The Mother of Invention

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Poems hang out where life is.

For Big Tent Poetry

This week’s prompt
Poems hang out where life is. – Susan Wooldridge
So you’ve spent most of the summer at the pool (or the lake or the beach) and you’ve hardly written any poems. (Or maybe that’s just me). Maybe you’ve been working too hard at your day job and you’re just not feeling the poetry. Whatever the cause, if you are feeling your well is dry (or even if you’re not), it’s high time to make a word pool!
For this week’s prompt you’re going to need a little notebook, something you can carry with you in your pocket. And you’re going to need to, as I say to my young art students, open your artist eyes and ears. Because before you write your poem this week, you’re going to look and listen and gather all the words and phrases your world has to offer.
“Pick me, pick me!” you hear the neighbor kid shouting. Write it down. “… no reading required,” you spy on your child’s Memory game. Write it down. Step outside your door and write down the first five things you see: cracked stair, beach towel, empty bird bath, overgrown garden, green plastic watering can. Go back inside and raid the pantry: cumin, ground pepper, canned spinach, lazy susan.
The idea of a word pool is one I originally learned from
Susan Wooldridge in her wonderful book, Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words. As she describes the process in her second book, Foolsgold,“Gather words at random, sloppily, aslant, in circles, even upside down on a page.” Once I started really opening my eyes and being in tune to all the amazing words and phrases just waiting to be used in a poem, I couldn’t stop writing them down.
This week, give yourself permission to eavesdrop and steal. Take words in the name of poetry and call them yours. Then weave your favorite words into a poem. It’s like a Wordle, but more personal!
Then come back, starting Friday, and share* your poem!
*When posting, it might be nice to tell everyone a little bit about where and how you collected your words!


Hopes seemed dashed at breakfast time
What to do? Four souls to feed
Fridge is empty, shelves are bare
No frozen, processed, powdered
Conveniently pre-packed
Early signs suggest a need
For vital kitchen upgrade
Improvement for little room

A fresh approach is required
Open window raises hopes
Outdoor edible menu
Organic, free-range produce
Vegetables, spices, herbs
Bounty hunter's net result

But what’s on today’s menu?
Fresh fruit salad for starters
Main course cock-a-doodle doo
Sticky staple; just dessert

Bill of fare, no price to pay
Bob’s your uncle; problem solved

Notes: Kitchen, bare shelves, empty fridge, window
‘Edible menu’ lifted from this post
Sights: banana, papaya, mango, coconut, tamarind, men fishing, rice fields, chickens, sugar cane, honey
Life: vital signs; walking, crawling, swimming, flying, growing all around
Hope: dashed, raised, Bob ‘your uncle’ Hope
Improvement for little room; twist on room for improvement
Bounty hunters net result = fish
Sticky staple = rice
And it’s all free!

Sunday, August 29, 2010



Nicole Nicholson brings us this week’s prompt, which is to Wordle yourself. She says,
“For this week’s prompt, we’re going to do a little something interesting. You’ll make your own Wordle from one (or more) of your own poems, and then write a new poem out of the resulting Wordle.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1. Visit
http://www.wordle.net/ and click on the “Create your own” link near the top left of the page.
Step 2. Paste the text of one of your poems into the first text box at the top of the “Create” page.. If your poems tend to be under ten lines or if you wrote a bunch of really rockin’ short form poetry (like haiku, haynaku, lunes, or tanka) then you can use several of those poems for this exercise.
Step 3. Click the “Go” button right below the text box. You will be taken to the resulting page where your brand new Wordle will appear! (Note: you can monkey around with the color, font, and layout as you like using the menu options shown above your brand new Wordle.)
Step 4. Write down between six and twelve of the largest words in your Wordle and use those words to write a brand new poem.
Here’s an
example of a Wordle that I did this with my poem, Backwards. You’ll have to come back Wednesday for the Post Your Poems post to see my resulting poem.
If you can’t do the Wordle for technical reasons, then here’s another way to approach the prompt: take a poem (or two, or five) of your own and pick out between six and twelve of your most frequently used words, and then write a new poem.
Feel free to post your Wordle image with your poems. And have fun with the prompt this week

Wordle from this post


You moved in circles populated by important men
To centre your attention on your own self-serving needs

Conflicting images, provoked by indirect, free thought
Compel you to explore the words that issued from your lips

As ready as you’d ever be to face up to your flaws
Your weaknesses exposed, revealed the depth of your self-doubt

Decreasing popularity, a rapid fall from grace
A half-truth half uncovered and a hasty exit made

The tightly-woven web of lies surrounding your affairs
Displayed a calm exterior; concealed a troubled mind

Unguarded overnight, the rusted gateway to your past
Saw souls forgotten breach the threshold; dominate your dreams

By morning light, decaying fibres frayed, dissolved to dust
A solitary strand survived intact; remained untouched

Saturday, August 28, 2010


For Writers Island prompt #18 2010
And Monday Poetry Train Revisited


The vastness of space
Is not nearly enough
To contain all those gifts
Or returned unopened

To name but a few

In favour of thought
Ignorance is bliss
Apathy prevails
Cynical attitudes
And self-serving greed

Only if we take
Of what’s rightfully ours
But wrongfully spurned
And only then
Can we realise
Our full potential
Certain in the knowledge

All things are possible

Thursday, August 26, 2010


For Three Word Wednesday
And Friday Flash 55


Not two seasons into his leadership, the once popular captain had allowed his halo to slip, triggering a decline in form.
The team’s ability to recover and mount a serious title challenge now rested on a wing and a prayer.
A collective decision was made to abstain from voting him in for a third season.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


For Big Tent Poetry

This week’s prompt
We are going to start this week’s poems with our hands. Really. There is a — forgive me, ahem — “hands-on” portion of the prompt and a writing part. My hope is that if you attend (mindfully, of course) to a manual task it will influence the poem. Maybe it will provide the action. Maybe it will impact the pacing. Maybe it will suggest an image.
So here’s part one: Do something with your hands and really pay attention to the motion of your hands and arms and to the movement of other objects that may be involved. Open something: a dresser drawer, a bottle of wine, the garage door. Fold something: the laundry, a letter, a paper airplane. Scrub something. Touch something. Pack something up: a game, a suitcase, a box. Braid something. Plant something. Chop something up. Make shadow puppets.
Anything will do. As long as it is a manual task. As long as you really, really, really pay attention. It may also be wise not to read ahead to part two; it will make the first draft of the poem more spontaneous if you don’t plan too much or think too hard.
And here’s part two (and it’s brilliant): Write something.
OK. So maybe that wasn’t so brilliant. Unless part one was enough inspiration for you. If it was, get writing. If you need something more, however, hold the task you just completed in mind while you write about one of the following: a kiss, a dance, a swim, a burial, a sacred space or something that’s been injured physically.


At first clumsy, hesitant
Words wouldn’t come easily
Until a single-digit surge
Under pressure, from the Right
Delivered the message LOUD – unclear
Syllables s-s-stuttered across the screen

Middle finger soon joined index
And later thumb....... for spacebar
Later still, five fingers were tapping
Was it the sound of one hand clapping?
Or was it just a classic case
Of the left hand never really knowing
What it was the right hand was doing?

At every opportunity then
I practiced my new-found skill
The only thing I could ever do
With one hand tied behind my back

Day after day
Night after night
Time after time
Time and again

Again and again
Repetition, refrain
Repetition defined
Definition refined

Never relaxing
Often head scratching
Sometimes nail biting
Always typewriting

Left hand going through the motions
Playing an occasional cameo role
But even two decades down the track
The left hand still doesn’t really know
What its partner, the right hand is doing

Monday, August 23, 2010


For We Write Poems

If you haven’t come across this site yet, you should have. It’s an initiative by SMITH Magazine asking people to write their life story in six words. There are now expanded sections with categories to base your memoir on, such as Childhood, Travel, or Revenge, but my favourite is the original life story six-word memoir.
Click the link to see examples from famous people and unknown names alike, and spend the week trying your hand at six-word memoirs. See if you can write one for every category on the website. Possibly one will inspire you to write a longer poem–will it be one of your own, or a stranger’s that you read on the site? This prompt doesn’t require you to write many words, but it does involve some deep thinking and manipulating of words. Let it inspire you to write more, or less, than you usually do in a given week. And definitely come back on Wednesday to share your favourite six-word memoirs (or other, longer material you’ve written out of this prompt) with your poeming-friends!


Yesterday; a day of broken promises
Ineffective guarantees, followed immediately by disclaimers

Same old same old Rat Race
Old too soon? Long time Dying?

Life is tough; deal with it!

Today, I choose a different path
No short cuts; always scenic route

As sure as day follows night
Tomorrow follows today, bringing fresh hope

The best is yet to come


For One Single Impression
And Monday Poetry Train Revisited


I’ve been trying hard
Not to think about
All I am

I’ve been trying hard
Not to think about
All I have

I’ve been trying hard
Not to think about
All I know

I’ve been trying hard
Not to think about
All I see

I’ve been trying hard
Not to think about
All I feel

But the more I try
The more I think

The more I think
The more I feel

The more I feel
The more I see

The more I see
The more I know

The more I know
The more I have

The more I have
The more I want

The more I want
The more I get

The more I get
The less I need

The less I need
The less I feel

The less I feel
The less I see

The less I see
The less I think

The less I think
The less I know

The less I know
The less I have

The less I have
The less I am

The less I am
The more I try

To understand

What I know
What I think
What I feel
What I see
What I have
What I want
What I need

What I am

Saturday, August 21, 2010


For Writers Island prompt #17


The story of my life… so far

Still just forty six years old

Seen fifty eight, spanning

Two Millennia

Three Centuries

Eight Decades



Thursday, August 19, 2010


For Three Word Wednesday
And Friday Flash 55


The final phase
of the celebration.
In keeping with tradition
One more for the road.
Double shot of single malt whiskey.
Brace yourself
Down the hatch
Shudder… Grimace.
Short walk home transforms to marathon stagger
as cold night air triggers full effect of the alcohol.
Pocket, keys, door, lock – finger fumble
precedes stumble into bed.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010



This week’s promptThis week’s prompt is a Wordle. The words are taken from one of a well-regarded poet’s published poems, which will be named (and linked to!) in Friday’s Come One, Come All post.
Hope you enjoy this week’s challenge to use any number of the words in your Big Tent Poetry poem this week!


Deep in the Isan heartland
Beyond banana, pineapple
Across untended rice fields
Baked hard by the summer sun
The unforgiving landscape
In cynical dry-season mood
Questions the wisdom of cars
That risk its impassable route

Our focus zeroes in on
The slow trickle of a stream
Where once flowed a full-blown river
Supplying diesel-driven pumps
Used to moisten rice in plant
Via discarded rubber hose pipes
Or home-made earthenware pots
Hand-crafted by silk-clad women
Deep in the Isan heartland



What do you see in this photo? Do you notice the plates on the wall, the curtains on the window, the roosters on the bottom shelf? Whatever draws you into this photo, use it as a starting point and write. Write a new piece each day based on this poem, or just write one piece for the week. How long you spend with the photo is up to you. Whichever route you choose, be sure to come back next Wednesday to share what you’ve written and to read the work of your peers. See you then!

Mom's House by Sarah Regnier (www.cameratakesphotos.com)


Return from another world
Re-entry takes one small step

An Alien atmosphere
Until signs of life are seen

Wall of china monument
Visible from inner space

Welcomes me to planet earth

Monday, August 16, 2010


For Haiku Heights – Struggle
And Carry On Tuesday
It was love at first sight


Or was it love at first sight?
I strive to discern

Saturday, August 14, 2010


For Writers Island prompt #16 2010
And for One Single Impression - Beginning
And Monday Poetry Train Revisited


Before the beginning – a mind
Exists in the ferment formed
By the dust of the first Big Bang

Creativity is created
And concepts inhabit the mind
Original concepts all

This mind, alone in the void
At some point before Space and Time
Devoid of fear of theft of thought

Inexperienced in matters of matter
Prone to the occasional mistake

In the beginning, a need
A need for survival
For continuity

Ambition, achievement
…things of the future

Life is in the early stages
Of evolving intelligence

Revolving around the light
The light the mind has seen

Mind over matter; actions occur
As fast as the speed of thought

No need to plan ahead
In subconscious reality

No process, no control
Only cause and effect

Without consequence
Or accountability
Until several Big Bangs later…

A story for another Time…

Thursday, August 12, 2010


For Three Word Wednesday
And Friday Flash 55


I needed help.
Being a rookie, my inexperience left me in a tricky situation.
The remedy was to delegate responsibility upwards.
It seemed like a joke at first, but the more I thought about it,
The more I realised I could use my position to gain leverage.
After all; if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


For Big Tent Poetry

This week’s prompt, by guest maestro Cynthia Short
Many of us live lives acquiring — or attempting to divest ourselves of — possessions. From the cars we drive, and the antique bowls our grandmas gave us, to the house we once loved but now need to sell … often possessions help define our lives.
This week’s prompt is to think of something you possess. What are your feelings about this possession? Do you possess it, or does it possess you?
Some of the things I possess, but that haven’t yet made it on the page as a poem include: a scar, my mother’s laugh, and old suitcase that I traveled with extensively. Mementos of an important part of my life, an old photo of relatives that died before I was born, a horrible gift that I must display because I love the person who gave it to me … you get the idea: most any thing in our physical worlds are possessions that might just have an impact on our lives.


Introducing Kuhn Chaidee
As you can see, he’s in good shape
That’s on account of his diet
All he can eat grows freely
Or it swims, or crawls, or flies

Kuhn Chaidee realizes
The value of possessions
Is something that’s relative
Emotional or intrinsic
Nevertheless he takes pride

His single-roomed residence
Is a permanent work-in-progress
Although a temporary construction
Built from salvaged timber, bamboo
And recycled cement sacks

He has access to running water
That he can’t afford to run
Electrical connection
Via a single plug socket
Feeding a single light bulb
Though he retires at nightfall

And a refrigerator
To store his drinking water
As well as a black and white TV
He never has time to watch
Even his ancient cell phone
Only takes incoming calls

He could never afford a car
But he can afford to smile
At his accumulated wealth
He measures in modesty



This week’s prompt is brought to us by Neil Reid:
List poems are a very elemental style of poem. (And I simply adore list poems!) They can be item by item very precise and succinct, or broad and more encased in other related poem text. That’s also part your choice. The list items might be tightly related, even sequential of a sort, or more generic and broad. Also your choice. They may be ruthlessly honest and introspective or even abstract, extending themselves into unknown territory (they can be truthful or fanciful as you choose). These are all possibilities of list poems – a simple concept, yet with unlimited chances to invoke or provoke new understandings and relationships. Play!
For this prompt let’s define the topic to be a list of “things you’re afraid of”, or alternately, “things you’d never do”. Of course if you’re just all inspired about another possible list, please, go ahead, have fun and share your result with us!



Bloody Sunday, 2002
Stormy Monday, 1988
Tuesday, 2008
Ash Wednesday, 2002
Monster Thursday, 2008
Friday The Thirteenth, 1980
Saturday Night Fever 1977



The 30 word wordle is displayed on Man Ray's famous photo. You vill use all of zee vurds and you vill not vinje and vine (Barbra Seville)This is the first of the SPOTLIGHT SERIESThe SPOTLIGHT POEM requires you to answer questions about the meaning of your poemand its origin. If the subject is one you do not wish to discuss best not submit it for a spotlight poem. Please be mindful that this is not a critique exercise.I understand that most of us do not wish to explain or analyse our work. I am opposed to this concept in theory as individual interpretation can be just as valid as the poem's intention. And, of course the more imaginative you are the more off course and wild your interpretations can be. However just occasionally to satisfy the curiosity of certain poets (Viv) I thought it would be fun to know the intention of the poet and how wildly off course our interpretations may be.Before asking the questions you might like to state what you think the poem might mean to see how connected or disconnected you are to the original poem. For those of you who like to write or read cryptic poetry (Francis) this should be fun!

I made it 32…
I spotted a couple of f-words in there…


Sparrow song greets Monday morn
The little bird gives the boy
an anniversary tip

“A bud flowers on this day
Whiter than white innocence
abandons its girdle grip”

Hallway promise awaiting
removes peach stone from dry throat
brings joy to the heart; a glow

Maiden voyager’s frisson
Fingers wobble nervously
Logs on… Lap-top trickle… slow

Rude twaddle, f-words ensue
… The kid is known for his lip

Slowly the tulle-like haze lifts
Net confusion just a blip

Feeling light as a feather
Happy to know he knows he
Rose above anxiety

Burn to compact, smooth as silk
High time – High tea, teatime high
Do we know the reason why…?
Nine years old on August nine
Complete with home computer
Happy birthday to Changnoi

It couldn’t be more simple
Now a disc-burning demon
Downloading first for the boy

Note; Changnoi doesn’t swear… in English…

Monday, August 9, 2010


For Haiku Heights


Drought-depressed rice fields
Harvest hopes raised by rainfall
Salvation in sight

Saturday, August 7, 2010


For Writers Island prompt #15 2010
And Monday Poetry Train Revisited


Sheltered, not isolated
Village Isan life goes on

Influences, attitudes
Filter through at their leisure

Nature’s barriers exist
At all points of the compass

Pu Khao and Pu Pan ranges
To East and West horizons
Converge at a point due north

While the Southernmost defences
The waters of Ubol Rat

Reservoir that fills bellies
With its rich, living harvest

As well as helping to feed
Technological habits

Hydro electricity
Surges unpredictably

Into our cell phone chargers
And Personal Computers

Isan’s own influence spreads
To the South and to cities

With a gritty-edged northern
Border region tone of voice

As it fuses traditions
With more modern attitudes

Providing a wider choice
Reflecting changes in taste

That Morlam girls know about
And can’t dance their dance without
That their writhing gestures shout

Bridging the culture divide
They’re casting the Isan spell

Isan - North Eastern Thailand
Pu Khao - Eastern range of hills
Pu Pan - Western range of hills
Ubol Rat -Reservoir to south
Morlam - Traditional Folk Dance

Thursday, August 5, 2010


For Friday Flash 55


“Spock, The Federation wants to award you for a lifetime of genius”

“Illogical Captain.”

“But to be called a genius means you must possess…”

“…Insufficient data Captain.”

“Refusal will destroy them… You’ll have to be subtle.”

“Phaser on stun…?”

“What will you say to them, exactly?”

“Live long and prosper.”

“Beam me up Scotty…!”


Wednesday, August 4, 2010


For Three Word Wednesday


Teetotal party
By invitation only
Predict feeble drink

Monday, August 2, 2010


For Big Tent Poetry

This week’s prompt
This week we’re going to try to mix up our writing life
and we’ll start the process with a little poetic introspection.


During the course of my investigation
I didn’t leave a single book unread
I left nothing to the imagination

I gave the subject my full concentration
Took in every word my tutors said
During the course of my investigation

I took to the task with full concentration
Knowing I’d have to go from A to Z
I left nothing to the imagination

It may seem a complete exaggeration
But I never let it go to my head
During the course of my investigation

Some chose theory for examination
I opted for the practical instead
I left nothing to the imagination

She didn’t want to discuss medication
Just took her clothes off, and lay on the bed
During the course of my investigation
I left nothing to the imagination


For Carry On Tuesday
Does the road wind uphill all the way ?


I Hurt…
how cLose
are we ?

it’s Another
sloW climb


I shaLl
not Let
it Anger me

my Will
and unDefeated

no roaD
can hArm us
as lOng as
we Respect it

we Test
our Honour
to thE limit

the Summit
oncE reached
prOlongs our

Sunday, August 1, 2010


For We Write Poems

Irene Toh bring us a different sort of challenge this week,
one that will prove to be quite fun I suspect.
Irene says, “Write a poem that revisits the Red Riding Hood fairy tale.
You can change the story, or question the assumptions behind the fairy tale,
eg why doesn’t the wolf eat Red Riding Hood in the forest when he first met her?,
why does the author allow fantasy, such as that the wolf can be cut up
and the grandmother and the Red Riding Hood emerge unhurt,
or wonder what Red Riding Hood stands for, such as if wearing a red hood is significant,
or question the innocence of Red Riding Hood,
eg why does she not go straight to grandmother’s house as her mother instructed
but chose to wander? Or you can revisit another fairy tale altogether!”
Spend the week on this prompt, then come back on Wednesday
to post your links to your poems.
See you there!


Don’t forget, we’re having Gran here for dinner
She likes flowers on her dining table
And she’ll be expecting you home… for dessert

She’s so sick now, she’s hard to recognize
So don’t ask her about those new dentures of hers
Or she’s likely to swallow you whole

You know how snappy she can get

And I’m so hungry; I could wolf down a pig
Though the thought of it makes me huff and puff
Because pork is so overrated

And besides, those little chicks are easier
They tend not to disagree with me
But perhaps we’ll sit down to a fat old bird

Which reminds me – I’m spitting feathers

And my stomach hangs heavy as a stone
Is she listening? Where has she gone now?
I hope she’s hunting for the Evian

No…? Oh well, at a push I could get my own…

Saturday, July 31, 2010



This is the last of the Language Sprinkle Series..Spanish
Here is an extract of a poem by Pablo Neruda.
Write a poem with a few Spanish sprinkles based on Neruda
or another Spanish poet of your choice.
As always please provide translations.

Statue of Federico Garcia Lorca
in Plaza de Santa Ana, Madrid

Click to hear Spanish Bombs
by The Clash


It takes both feet
Left as well as Right
To obey marching orders

Am I Right, or am I… wrong?

Command given
Rapid, the response
Left, right; left, right; left, right; left…

Halt…! That sounds a bit too fast

Right here, in Spain
The pace is slower
Iz-qui-er-do, De-re-cho

Izquierdo, Derecho

…But we have wings
Right-wing and Left-wing
Falange – Republicano

Who’s Right…? And what’s left?

Left for Madrid
Right at the wrong time
Three days before it began

The Spanish Civil War… right…?

Just one month in
My brother-in-law
Shot dead by war criminals

No summertime siesta…

‘I realised’
The very next day
‘I had been murdered… They looked…

But they did not find me… No’

‘Verde, que te quiero verde’


Inspired by the death of Federico Garcia Lorca
At Fuente Grande – Fountain of Tears

I realised I had been murdered… They looked…
But they did not find me… No

Extracts from Jan Morris, describing how
Federico Garcia Lorca foretold his own fate

Verde, que te quiero verde
Green, how I love you green
From Ballad of the sleepwalker


For Writers Island prompt #14 2010 The Journey
And One Single Impression - Cocoon
And Monday Poetry Train Revisited


The Jasmine-like (though much more intense) fragrance of the ดอกราตรี (Dok Ratree - Deep Night Bloom), fills the air throughout the cooler nights of Dec-Feb, when it flowers.

Downwind of the Deep Night bloom
that doesn’t love the heat
of a summer afternoon
preferring instead the dead
of night at cooler times
when thoughts turn the other way
to those that come from upstream
of the swollen river bed
fed by the flash flood falls
that form from the overfill
of underground reservoirs
high on the mountainside
as the valley mist rolls low
obscuring the silhouette
on the eastern underscore
till dawn when the rising sun
chases the fallen shroud
back to the space between
its golden glow and the earth
that harbours its one night stand
tolerates its presence
welcomes with open arms
its life-sustaining moisture
before showing it the door
in order to allow
thoughts of the Deep Night bloom
and those that come from upstream
of the swollen river bed
to conjugate and bear fruit
of morning mountain slopes
that tastes of distant dreams
and hopes and fears and thoughts
of men and women who
inhale the fragrant air
of the valley veiled in mist
that descends with the setting sun
on evenings such as this
when the Deep Night bloom awakes

Thursday, July 29, 2010


For Big Tent Poetry

This week’s prompt
We all have heroes — icons whose greatness we aspire to,
whose larger-than-life personalities (or pretty faces) we are drawn to.
Fresh out of graduate school, filled with feminist fire, I wrote several poems re-imagining
the life and times of Barbie. (Denise Duhamel has an entire collection devoted to this blond bombshell.
You can check out Kinky
here). A few years later, never having seen an episode of “Leave It To Beaver,”
I nonetheless began channeling June Cleaver when married life didn’t turn out the way I imagined.
This week, start with a list of pop culture icons that interest you. Imagine one of them in a mundane setting:
Marilyn Monroe doing the dishes, Elvis mowing the lawn, Lady Gaga carpooling the kids to soccer practice.
Poem an icon into a situation they may never, in real life, appear.
Need some inspiration? Check out Tony Barnstone’s
The 167th Psalm of Elvis,
David Trinidad’s clever
Chatty Cathy Villanelle or Kate Durbin’s haunting prose poem
Marilyn: Leftovers, chronicling Marilyn Monroe’s personal effects.

I put a Rock ‘n’ Roll superstar
(take your pick)
to work in a factory


Strange town
Longsight M13
What difference does it make?

Working 9 to 5
Money for nothing
A means to an end

The hardest thing in the world…

Something better change
I don’t like Mondays

I wanna be sedated

(Yeah, yeah) Industrial estate


WORK SONG – Cannonball Adderly

Strange town – The Jam

Longsight M13 – Ian Brown

What difference does it make? – The Smiths

Working 9 to 5 – Dolly Parton

Money for nothing – Dire Straits

A means to an end – Joy Division

The hardest thing in the world - The Stone Roses

Something better change – The Stranglers

I don’t like Mondays – The Boomtown Rats

Help! – The Beatles

I wanna be sedated – The Ramones

(Yeah, yeah) Industrial estate – The Fall


For Three Word Wednesday
And Friday Flash 55


“You took a lot of stick from the crowd,
but still won the man-of-the-match award,
despite being replaced after going down with
severe cramp as early as the fifty fifth minute.”

“Yeah… they gave me some abuse, alright…
but you know Derby Matches…
Rivalry between opposing fans
can often turn into hatred.”

Wednesday, July 28, 2010



Marta Argerich and Anoushka Shankar are two brilliant musicians
who share similarities and striking differences in both culture and art media.
Let their magical performances inspire your next POW poem.
May the Musical Gods ring in your ears all weekend!


Digits dance along the fingerboard to match the speed of sound
Mesmerising the spectator with a rhythm to astound
Bengali family tradition in a Ravishing display
Of a master class sitar performance – takes your breath away

Half a world away Evita’s husband was responsible
For a choice of diplomatic post that made it possible
For a talented piano prodigy to win acclaim
Captivating global audiences; while she shunned the fame

Be it by inheritance or divined by intervention
Music lives and breathes and prospers long after its invention
Three in one the composition from Prime Numbers One Two Three
Fathers, daughters, spiritus conspire; revered - a trinity

Sunday, July 25, 2010


For We Write Poems

Today’s prompt from Mary is a simple one:
Write a poem of three stanzas.
Begin the firrst stanza with the word “Yesterday,”
the second stanza with the word “Today,”
and the third stanza with the word “Tomorrow.”

I added a fourth verse, to write:


Yesterday I changed my mind
Not my decision; my mind
Yesterday I knew nothing
My attitude gave me strength
Educated me anew
Today I know so much more

Today all knowledge is mine
Not yours, not ours to share; mine
Today I know everything
My arrogance gives me pride
Questions my education
Tomorrow I will know less

Tomorrow my light will fade
Not switch off completely; fade
Tomorrow I’ll know… something
My loss will give me wisdom
At an educated guess
The next day I’ll know for sure

The next day will be my last
Not penultimate; my last
The next day I will know what’s next
My God will take me away
No need for education
The next day God will know best

Saturday, July 24, 2010


For Writers Island prompt #13 2010
And Monday Poetry Train Revisited


Interstellar overdrive
Cigarettes and alcohol
Sex and drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll
Magical mystery tour

Sunday morning coming down
Every day is like Sunday
If God will send his angels
Happiness is a warm gun

I am the resurrection
The man who dies every day
Someone saved my life tonight
Hiroshima, mon amour

The girl with the dirty shirt
Lady with the spinning head
To know her is to love her
Everybody’s everything

I’ve got my mind set on you
Twentieth century fox
Can you feel the love tonight?
I will never be untrue

Believe that I understand
Only love can break your heart
Stay a little bit longer
Let’s spend the night together

In the future when all’s well
Whenever God shines his light
Take good care of my baby
Shine on you crazy diamond.


MORCHEEBA: Put everything together
PINK FLOYD: Interstellar overdrive
Shine on you crazy diamond.
OASIS; Cigarettes and alcohol
The girl with the dirty shirt
IAN DURY: Sex and drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll
THE BEATLES: Magical mystery tour
To know her is to love her
Take good care of my baby
JOHNNY CASH: Sunday morning coming down
MORRISSEY: Every day is like Sunday
In the future when all’s well
U2: If god will send his angels
Happiness is a warm gun
Lady with the spinning head
THE STONE ROSES: I am the resurrection
ULTRAVOX: The man who dies every day
Hiroshima mon amour
THE DOORS: I will never be untrue
Twentieth century fox
SANTANA: Everybody’s everything
GEORGE HARRISON: I’ve got my mind set on you
ELTON JOHN: Someone saved my life tonight
Can you feel the love tonight?
MAGAZINE: Believe that I understand
NEIL YOUNG: Only love can break your heart
UB40: Stay a little bit longer
THE ROLLING STONES: Let’s spend the night together
VAN MORRISON: Whenever God shines his light

Thursday, July 22, 2010


For Three Word Wednesday
and Friday Flash 55


“Have you caught anything yet?”

Have I? Take a look in that big bucket.”

“Wow! What bait are you using?”

“Just bread…
With a ‘special’ luring substance.
It makes those fish jump!”

“Well, I know what we’ll be eating tonight.”

“I just have to land my next victim.
Then we can set up the barbecue!"

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


For Big Tent Poetry

This week’s prompt
This week is my birthday week, and one of the things I’m hoping to do to celebrate
is to host a living room salon in which some IRL poetry friends read their favorite poems.
So I thought we could do something with favorite poems here, too.
What is your favorite poem? What about it makes it your favorite?
Does it contain an image that rocks your poetry world? Does it provide a realization that changes you?
Do you admire its poetic devices (metaphor, alliteration, repetition, form, etc.)?
Whatever it is you like about your favorite poem, try to use that in a poem of your own.
(Remember, when you post to your blog — or here — do not paste the entire text of someone else’s poem.
Try to find the text online to link to, if you would like. It’s not necessary to quote the text of the poem;
we’re most interested in a description of what attracts you to your favorite poem.
And if you borrow something significant from the poem — like a line or an image —
be sure to give credit by saying “a poem after ______” or “with a line from ________.”)


Click to hear ‘The Stranger Song’ by Leonard cohen

What words could best convey
What voices never say? Should they
Compare a woman to a rose
A summer flower?

Without the metaphor, the rhyme
The memory gets lost in time
Like friends forgotten, words become neglected
And repetition makes our words effective

The repetition makes our words effective

And time spent changing plans
Perfecting formats, rhythm spans
Internal rhyme; worth every dime
Each patient moment

The finished product on the page
Like finest wine, improves with age
Uncorked, its complex balance never tires us
In years to come, its image serves to fire us

In verse to come, our homage will inspire us



Surrealist automatic writing works like this:
“Sit at a table with pen and paper; put yourself in a ‘receptive’ frame of mind, and start writing. Continue writing without thinking of what is appearing beneath your pen. Write as fast as you can. If, for some reason, the flow stops, leave a space and immediately begin again by writing down the first letter of the next sentence. Choose this letter at random before you begin, for instance, a ‘t’, and always begin this new sentence with a ‘t’. Although in the purest version of automatism nothing is ‘corrected’ or re-written the unexpected material produced by this method can be used as the basis for further composition. What is crucial is the unpremeditated free association that creates the basic text.” (from
Surrealist Games by Alastair Brotchie)
So for this week’s prompt, do just that. Choose a letter of the alphabet at random, then sit down (either with a pen and paper, or with a blank page of your word processing software), clear your mind of any preconceived thoughts/notions/images, and just start writing or typing. If you get stuck, then stop and jump down to the next line: begin writing the next sentence with your randomly chosen letter. Write for about ten minutes.
Now, you have your written material. You have the choice of either a) posting your unedited poem, b) turning the raw material into a poem by only modifying minor elements such as punctuation and line breaks, or c) using the raw material and modifying it as much as you need for a new poem. If you like, you can post your unedited writing session along with your finished poem if you do either b) or c).


My mind trickles
Undeveloped thoughts
It’s a dripping tap
Keeping me awake

I don’t want to waste
A single drop
So I won’t try
To pull the plug
On the dripping tap
Keeping me awake

But the trouble
That always comes
With a dripping tap
Keeping me awake

Is this:

As the drops begin
To accumulate
The noise that comes
From the dripping tap
Keeping me awake
Strengthens to a thud



Serves only to prolong my insomnia



I hear

Each one


The sounds

They make


On touchdown

My concentration
Is diluted
As distraction
Becomes annoyance
At that dripping tap
Keeping me awake

A paradox
At distraction
Triggered by
Dripping tap
Keeping me

I’m still no closer
To the solution
To the dripping tap
Keeping me awake

Tuesday, July 20, 2010



POW has been up and running for three months already. So, for a treat and for being such nice poets you can write a prompt to ' What's On Your Mind?' Let us know what you are thinking. Are you thinking about?a childhood experience joining a choir aphids in your roses your wife's family getting a tattoo learning to ride a camel changing your image redecorating learning the tango finding God becoming a hermit falling in love again broken spectacles getting a gold fish reinventing yourself starting a cult something you have read ditching a friend learning to meditate becoming a vegan a scene from a movie sending your kids to boarding school environmental issues or anything at all
Hey, I think I have just written mine!I look forward to your meaty, juicy, personal poems next Wednesday.


Click to hear What Goes On

The thing on my mind is thought
The most fundamental of functions

Thoughts may be triggered by words
Perhaps a current event
A previous encounter
An action now in progress
An action already completed

Thoughts may have influences
They may be original

A thought may enter the mind
And dwell in the consciousness
Waiting to be joined by other thoughts
When the Thought Process may begin

Equally likely it may take
Residence in the sub-consciousness
Where it may lie dormant, or
Just remain under-developed
For any period of time
From a fraction of a second
To years, or even decades

When a single thought develops
Into a cohesive
Series or sequence of thoughts
Then an Idea is born

This idea may become a plan
To do, or to use something
Or to make available
The knowledge of some thing

Putting a plan into action
May be relatively simple
Or may be extremely complex
Requiring extensive research

But once put into practice
And made available
To the general public
Private organizations
Or individuals
Every idea or concept
Is subject to repercussions

Ranging from; popular acceptance
Approval and gratitude
Rejection, disappointment
Or even opposition
- To official recognition
Endorsement by authorities
Or criminal proceedings
For any number of
Potential technical infringements
From someone who thought of it first

Sunday, July 18, 2010


For Carry On Tuesday
Lightning first, then the thunder.
And in between the two…

And posted to Monday Poery Train Revisited


Lightning first, then thunder
In between the two... a gap
Counting down the seconds
Till the mighty clap

Time to concentrate
On the need of the masses
And forget about
The greed of upper classes

It’s that time of year when rainfall

Brings the precious gift of life
And without it, hardship
Poverty and strife

Spare a thought for those poor souls
Who keep your bellies full
When, on holiday
The sky above turns dull

Saturday, July 17, 2010


For Writers Island prompt #11


Six weeks of separation
Spent in a hospital bed
Comes to an end at Morchit
Bangkok’s Northern Terminal

Lack of communication
An undelivered message
A misinterpretation
A look of indifference

A display of evidence
Hospital wristband, pictures
Adjustment of attitude
A family reunites

A sharp intake of fresh air
Such as it is in Bangkok
Precedes a sigh of relief
And an embrace of welcome

Apologies accepted
For inadvertent blow dealt
Injuring a woman’s pride
Hurt, but not beyond repair

In place of accusations
Complaints, recriminations…
“I’m sorry for my doubts, but…
You have to show me the scar ;)"

Friday, July 16, 2010



This week’s prompt, by guest maestro Nathan Landau
Recently I’ve become enamored with the concept of steganography, a form of ‘security through obscurity’ in which a secret message is sent via an innocuous medium –– an image, a letter –– and decoded using a method known only to sender and recipient. The beauty is in the message being truly hidden in plain sight.
(You can read all about the history and uses of steganography on the Wikipedia article
Steganography can be incorporated into writing in any number of ways, from specifically coded poems, to inside jokes and key words, to concealment of one concept within the conceit of another, but this week try keeping something in your poem hidden in plain sight. You can share your decoder ring with the other circus-goers if you please, or decide to keep the secret all to yourself and your recipient, it’s your call.
Alternatively, if secrecy isn’t your style, you could try and find the hidden in an already written poem: take your hand and place it vertically over half or three-quarters of a poem –– preferably one of your own pieces, though someone else’s works just as well (remember to credit the author!) –– and see if a hidden message leaps from the remaining uncovered line fragments.
Encoding or decoding, be sure to come back with your poems on Friday (and through the weekend) and let others in on the secret.
About our guest maestro
Every once in a while we’ll be sharing prompts offered by some of you, of our circus-goers. (Thanks for your generosity!)
This week’s prompt is Nathan Landau’s, who blogs at
Poems About Nothing in Particular and is currently studying creative writing at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin. Be sure to stop by and visit his blog, okay?


The quest for knowledge begins

Expecting a manual
Received a sheet of A4
Handwritten, vague instructions

Take a digital device

Such as a calculator
Liquid Crystal display
Light Emitting Diode

Enter a number sequence

Viewed from revised perspective
Tree Of Knowledge is revealed
Once-forbidden fruit is served


The combination number

Three, seven, six, oh, oh, six
Inverted reveals a word
Familiar to us all


For Friday Flash 55

55 IN 1


I met one of those crazy people the other day,
you know,
the type who has to get all his words out in a single breath
without pausing for air, like an auctioneer on speed,
while you just stand there, nodding and grinning
because you really haven’t got a clue
what he’s going on about.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010




Write a poem in the style of Prevert with some French sprinkles.
Please provide a translation if you are going to use big chunks of French .
I look forward to some very varied and interesting poems next week.
A toute a l'heure (See you later)

Prévert wrote about life in post-war Paris
I wrote about life in pre-millennium Manchester.
I also included my second-favourite French song
(after Voulez Vous, by Abba)
Dans le port d’Amsterdam
In French by Jacques Brel
And in English
(In the port of Amsterdam)
By David Bowie


Click to hear ‘Dans le port d’Amsterdam’ by Jaques Brel

“Voici comment je le vois…
Perte de temps
À mon avis
Elle est une perte de temps
À une supposition éclairée
Elle le voit… différentes
Mais je sais comment elle fonctionne
C’est comme ça…
Je ne perdrais pas mes temps
Je n’ai pas la patience
Mon parti est pris
Je suis déterminé
Comment sera-t-elle prendre?
Le temps nous dira
Je n’ai pas la patience
Je n’a même pas de soins
Vous voyez?
On doit penser
On doit observer
Gardez les yeux sur la balle
Et si elle était là
En face de moi
Bien en vue
Je ne perdrais pas mes mots
‘Je vous aime bien’
Et je dirais
‘Je veux que vous’
Et je dirais
Super chouette’
‘J’ai besoin de toi’
Et je dirais
Vachement chouette’
‘Je t’aime’
Et je dirais…
...'N’importe quoi'…”


Click to hear ‘In the port of Amsterdam’ by David Bowie

“Here’s how I see it…
Waste of time
In my opinion
She’s a waste of time
At an educated guess
She sees it… different
But I got her sussed
Right out
It’s like this…
I won’t waste my time
I don’t have the patience
My mind’s made up
I’m determined
How will she take it…?
Time will tell
I don’t have the patience
I don’t even care
There you go
You see?
Gotta think
Gotta observe
Keep your eye on the ball
And if she was right there
In front of me
In clear view
I wouldn’t waste my words
She would say
‘I like you’
And I would say
She would say
‘I want you’
And I would say
Well cool’
She would say
‘I need you’
And I would say
Really cool’
She would say
‘I love you’
And I would say…


For The NaiSaiKu Challenge?
And The American Sandwich


I do care… don’t I?
I do remember… don’t I?
I do know… don’t I?
I don’t know, do I?
I don’t remember, do I?
I don’t care, do I?


The World Cup, now over, will always be remembered for just one thing.
Not the re-opening of the debate on goal line technology.
The Vuvuzela; soon to become a thing of the ever-present.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


For Writers Island prompt #11 2010


An open-minded attitude
A positive perspective
And a logical arrangement of each thought
An analytical approach
To complex problem-solving
Guarantees success in ways that can’t be bought
Correct decision-making
Comes from understanding tasks
Objectivity; unhurried route to goal
Your patience is rewarded
Once you crack the combination
Gaining access to the secrets of the soul

Friday, July 9, 2010


For Friday Flash 55


He really wanted a brand new car but,
given the current economic climate,
he decided he’d have to settle for used.
This meant ready cash, and he was short.
“I need forty quid for a new car.”
He knew he could rely on his friend to bail him out.
“Here’s eighty… buy me one too…”

Thursday, July 8, 2010


For Three Word Wednesday


Tepid; lethargic
Acrid by definition
The bane of my life


For Big Tent Poetry

This week’s prompt

Way back in April I received a lovely poem in my inbox.
It was “The Love-Hat Relationship” by Aaron Belz,
sent by those wonderful folks at Poets.org for
National Poetry Month as a part of their Poem-A-Day.
I have been thinking about the love-hat relationship.It is the relationship based on love of one another’s hats.The problem with the love-hat relationship is that it is superficial.[...]
Go read the poem
here, on the Poets.org website.
For this week’s prompt why not try a similar idea?
Think of a few well-known word couples and let (or compel) one of them go a little sideways.
Then set your mind free and write a poem.
It might be realistic, it might be surrealistic; it might be funny or serious.
But whatever it is, you will never see that word couple in the same way again.
Nor will your readers. And that is a fine thing for poetry to do!
Come back on Friday (and through the weekend) and let others read what mischief your words got into.
(Want to know about Belz and his poetry? Go to
his website, which includes lots of links to places you can poke around,
including reviews of his latest book, Lovely, Raspberry.)


Up North
where I come from
where, when it’s not raining
it’s overcast
and people say
what they mean
and they mean
what they bloody well say
eating out means the Chippy.
Not Fish Bar
or Fish Shop
or Fish ‘n’ Chip Restaurant
We’re talking real Fishing Chips
(are fishing chips, chips that catch their own fish?)
They don’t do
French fries
pommes frites
Nouveau Cuisine
Not our cup of tea
They don’t do
mayonnaise dip
they only do
salt and vinegar
Economy gastronomy
cheap at half the price
cheap as chips
If it’s a big fish you’re after
for the larger appetite
they also do
double portions
twice the chance to catch that fish
twice as many fishing chips
(Should have seen the one that got away!)
Fishing chips catch
Haddock, Cod
(complete with rod
hook, line and sinker?)
Or, if you’re feeling flush
even Plaice
Mushy peas can be added
Bread and butter
and a mineral
Tea is served every night
at six o’clock
(Unlike the Americans
we eat dinner
at dinner time
Fishing chips for Friday tea
wrapped in greaseproof
and newspaper
up North
where I come from
where, when it’s not raining
it’s overcast