And now Zsa Zsa’s gone
Darlink, a ray of sunshine!
Year ends. As it starts.
See also: Goodbye 2016. And good riddance.
See also: Goodbye 2016. And good riddance.
For 200 years. No, 400. Make that a round 700.
She has walked this street.
The same small, bent woman.
Separated from herself only by the inconvenience of birth and death.
She wears black. Her husband died decades back.
Lost at sea. Killed by the Turks. Hanged for thieving.
Shot by the Nazis. A cigarette heart attack.
And still she walks. Up and down.
Back and forth on this one long endless street.
To the tomatoes.
To the salt cod.
To the rooms she cleans for pennies.
And then home.
Hello to a friend in her window.
To the quiet room, and quiet dignity.
At the end of her street, at last.
For another 200 years. No, 400.
Make that forever.
THANKS, FACEBOOK. I NEEDED THAT.
Now I get anxious when I look at pictures of babies on Facebook.
I do not understand. I think we should be told.
One minute they’re on the breast. Or gurgling cutely. Rolling on blankies,
eyes bigger than berries.
Next they’re pulling the wings off flies, beating up the kid down the street, and one in umpteen thousand turn into serial killers.
How do you tell? Why one and not the other?
You can’t really “Dislike”. A baby.
Can’t say, “Honest injun’
I reckon you’ve got a little nutter there.”
Don’t like the way he’s staring.
People will be upset. Understandably.
But not in Hawaii. Not so much.
Hardly any at all, in fact.
Must be all the Pina Coladas.
Hard to be all screwed up when a Pina Colada is just a
swim-up bar away.
You’re pretty safe in Hawaii.
Bad in Washington. Way bad.
Everyone has a 0.025% chance of being strangled – strangled, or shot
– most likely.
By a nutter. In Washington.
Maybe it’s the politics. CSPAN is driving all the babies mad
left watching TV, while Mum fixes breakfast.
But you probs won’t be dead by poison. That’s exaggerated.
Agatha Christie is responsible for a lot of misconceptions.
So if you’re sick after the lox and cream cheese bagel
it’s probably just the fish.
The fish has gone bad. Not the baby.
So now you know.
Who did you lose?
Was that your husband lying there? With half his head missing.
The one who held you in those strong arms for the first time, all those years ago.
The face which gave you a weary smile after work every evening. Sharing food.
The man you moulded yourself to, every night, and fell asleep, safely.
Who did you lose?
Was that your son, lying there?
Arms entwined with the airport trolley he was blown into.
Was he leaving to study abroad? Or just a vacation?
His first time away from home.
That crooked, shy smile you will never see again.
Look: his jeans are torn. He would have hated that.
Who did you lose?
Was that your daughter? Is that your other daughter?
You were just there to wave her off.
On her way back to her husband, and her two small children.
You never wanted her to move away.
But just yesterday she smiled at you over coffee and said “You’ll always be my Mumya. Where would I be without you?”
Who did you lose?
So sorry to broadcast your grief, but we need to touch it. Need to ask. Need to know.
Because they weren’t “41 dead”. They were your family.
Your blood, being washed away. Blood of your blood.
Cannot hold your gaze, but must. All must.
All humanity has failed you.
And next week, we will fail another, again.
Another Mother. Father. Son. Daughter.
ONE NIGHT OF MANY
I lie beside you, a long wait into tomorrow
and listen to you gently snore.
Whoever invented that phrase
~ gently snore ~
they knew. There is ungentle snoring,
when I nudge you in the back and roll you
half awake into silence
but that is not this. This is a soft rhythm
like the sea carressing white sand.
The rain on the new tin roof
syncopatedly changes tempo
as if to accompany you.
For a while there, it rises and falls
in time with your chest
in time with your dreams.
And the life in your breath
and the life in the rain
Without warning, I am assailed by images.
Unbidden. What would happen
if you were taken out of our lives?
A truck, a tree branch, your heart.
Police at the door, our daughter’s face.
I could manage the days, I think.
But not the nights.
I listen for the gentle heave of air.
And again, and again, there it is,
that gentle heave of air, and I am stilled.
Do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Not yet. Not yet awhile, at least.
Go to sleep.
The rain falls on the world like balm.
And by the moonlight of the clock
I see your perfect calm face and think
how you would hold me, if you knew.
To buy a printed copy
of my collection of
poetry, “71 Poems and One Short Story”,
(there’s a download, too), please go to:
There are days, when I can smell the sweetness of death.
Please do not be alarmed.
I do not seek death, nor wish it.
But as one gets older and friends drop off you cannot help but think, what is that like? Eh?
Did it feel like anything? Or nothing?
And am I afraid of dying or being dead,
or am I simply afraid of leaving,
and being left out of what comes next?
And sometimes, I think
How calming it must be
To put down the cares, the day by day, the grinding
and simply sleep, deeply. Deep. Dreamlessly.
Less … dreams.
And if I am welcomed to a place
where all fears are stripped away well,
then that will be nice too.
So either way, it’s OK, I guess.
Sometimes, I can smell the sweetness of death.
We may as well. No one’s come back to complain.
I don’t think I am odd.
Or maybe, I am.
And that’s the longest headline we’ve ever put on a post – hope it flagged you down.
Savannah Brown is a young American poet from Ohio living in London. She is articulate, anxious, honest and charming.
She is brutally frank about being a woman, being a writer, self image and awareness, and the human experience generally including how we relate to each other. She is also something of an internet sensation, with millions of views of her channel, making her one of the few poets in the world who actually make a living from their work, we suspect. And she’s only 19. Ye Gods, what might she achieve in the next 50 years?
You will be aware, Dear Reader, that we have complained before about the ludicrously different standards applied to women and men in our society. The difference, for example, between the way we view the public display of our bodies.
Anyhow, Savannah has fired off about the difference between men and women when it comes to sexuality, the total disconnect between expressed male attitudes and male desires, and it is raw, and truthful, and stark, and utterly convincing. “I am a Slut” is also damn good poetry, and a breathtakingly impressive performance.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for her work from here on in.
And Sav’s new book “Graffiti (and other poems)” was launched just half an hour ago (as we write) and can be pre-ordered here for under ten pounds plus postage. Looking forward to reading it.
Yesterday was White Ribbon Day, to protest against violence against women, and domestic violence especially. We are not 100% sure if that is what this excellent and thought-provoking poem is about, (it’s a poem, after all, and therefore open to interpretation), but that’s how it speaks to us. Strongly.
We love the way the poem builds in intensity through a repeated motif. This is very skillful writing.
CREAKS IN THE FLOORBOARDS
Oh but to shudder at the hands of a lover
Is no fun
No no no
It’s no fun
Mmm and they say she’s oh so clever
Got some charm, keenness about her
They keep proclaiming
Yeah he’s alright,
So let them keep on livin’
Don’t intrude on others’ business
Just keep dancin’ in that darkened corner
She just fine,
Keep on peeling those potatoes
and tossing that great salad
Keep on sending out those letters
Telling everyone about
How wonderful it is
to be around her,
Don’t let them see the secrets
Buried deep beneath the floorboards,
We’re all just fine,
Quit losing sleep over this duo
It’s their battle
We shall not intrude, no
Regardless of what we hear or see, no
She’ll be alright,
Look at her beaming,
Great big grin
look, now they’re kissing,
They’re just fine.
DO NOT WEEP FOR THE DEAD
Do not weep for the dead,
They do but sleep. See?
See. They float on a river of dreams,
gently rocked by ripples and currents.
Warmed by sun, cooled by zephyrs.
Do not even weep for their lost futures.
For their future is peace. And
when they awake, it will surely be to you.
Weep now for the sisters, leafing sadly through albums.
Touching a face, here and there.
Weep for the mothers, who hold their empty bellies.
Rocking with horror, a life unraveled.
Weep for the fathers, lips bitten through in inchoate rage.
Weep for the brothers, with no one left to tease.
Weep for the grandparents, dreams of second carings shattered.
Weep for the friends, struck suddenly dumb.
Weep for family celebrations with one chair always empty.
Weep for all who are
mesmerised by pictures,
strangled by sirens,
crying in bathrooms,
staring into emptiness,
fearful for the children,
casting this way and that,
in case it mattters.
Do not weep for the dead.
They would not wish it.
Think on them, because
you know it is true.
Weep now for the living.
The left behind.
Bind their wounds.
Listen in silence.
And weep for the world.
Wash it clean. And cleaner, still.
Make that their memorial.
And let it stand forever.
Hating war – arguing for a pacifist position, even one that is not utterly purely pacifist – does not mean we cannot weep for and celebrate those who fight wars on our behalf.
With the tragically costly conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, Remembrance Sunday – just like Anzac Day in Australia and Memorial Day in the USA – has assumed a new significance, and a new enthusiasm from the young.
For ourselves, remembering a father who died at 46 worn out by terrifying six years of naval service, a cousin who endured tropical diseases for his entire life after incarceration in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp, a Grandfather who served in the trenches in World War 1 and another Grandfather who received the DSC for trawling up mines dropped by Zeppelins in Portsmouth Harbour, we have always paused for two minutes at the appointed hour, bought our poppy to wear in our lapel, and subscribed to war casualty charities.
In our view, despite that, we are convinced that the very best way to show our respect for those we commemorate is to state, unequivocally, the old an unarguable truth.
“War will continue until men refuse to fight.”
This list of current conflicts, worldwide, makes very depressing reading. Are we really doing the best we can?
Listen to any old soldier, and simultaneously, along with their sadness felt for their injured or fallen comrades, and their quiet pride in “a job well done”, you will almost always hear them explain how the horror of war was worse than anything they could have imagined. How they often felt they had more in common with the foot-soldiers opposing them than they did with their own leaders. And always, how anything must be tried, and done, before humankind responds to a crisis by turning to arms.
Even the most significant war leader in 20th century history, Winston Churchill, who through sheer force of will saved the world from fascism and rescued democracy in its darkest hour, remarked, “Jaw-jaw is always better than war-war.”
From their graves, the dead of countless wars cry out to us for attention. “Don’t do it again! Don’t do it again!”
If you are interested to purchase my collection of poems called Read Me – 71 Poems and 1 Story – just head here.
I have taken a decision.
I am going to live until I die.
is far too horrible to contemplate.
LODGE ROAD, SOUTHAMPTON (1-3)
Determined, the bus belches its way up the incline.
Inside, cold white faces stare at me, unseeing.
They look at me but don’t watch.
(I take care not to stare
as they pull up at the flaky green bus stop
But I do watch).
Out from the bus steps the girl with the long, greasy-blonde
hair. I have seen her often. The sort of girl
you really shouldn’t fancy
(so, of course, you do).
This morning she pressed her body
into an envelope of black plastic,
stuck down the edges with a gash of make-up,
and posted herself to another pointless day.
Tonight she puddles her way home again.
Scuffed red shoes perilously splish-splash their way
past my heart.
A tight little ball of sex
and lost dreams, no longer hopeful,
and not pretty enough for her clothes.
On the corner of the road with the playground in
Pepe closes up Pepe’s Italian hair-dressers.
Winds back his shiny new awning
and gazes with smiling satisfaction at the light streaming
from his windows.
Lighting up the pavement.
Everyone will see what a warm inviting place his little shop is,
as they crawl home in the wet.
They will look at the bright lights and Panther hair tonic
and the piles of unbought faded yellow Durex packets
(“Something for the weekend, Sir?”)
and remember they needed a haircut.
(Pepe learnt all this from his father.
so it must be true).
As I pass him, he looks straight through me.
He does not recognize wet people in anoraks.
Only dry, springy heads of hair in need of
conditioning and cheerful chatter.
Next door at the late night grocery store
the till-girl who wouldn’t be working for the Indians if she had
any choice, but you know how work is,
reaches new heights of indifference.
As we all drip politely on her recently straightened pile of
Evening Sports Echos she is already in her lover’s arms.
Proud and defiant, she stares down confidently at all comers
in the local disco.
“He’s mine,” she sneers, “All mine!”
Rich without money, a coarse, virile possession in an
26p pint of milk kiss
74p curly smoked sausage groping urgent hands
62p Mother’s Pride Thick Sliced last Saturday in his car
it was the first time with him
won’t be the last
She doesn’t even see me as her mind on automatic pilot
calls out my bill.
Well, why should she?
I press my nose to the drizzly window of the video shop,
waiting for the crush inside to die down.
Wonder if they’ll remember I owe them a quid?
The little tubby girl is serving, all stupid shy smiles and
dimples. She’ll let me off even if she remembers.
Little black boxes of freedom from thought stacked neatly
row upon row. Boxes of dreams.
Don’t get that one, it’s rubbish. Saw it last week.
(Can’t tell you though.
Don’t want to be thought the sort of
bloke who talks to folks in video shops.)
Trot home clutching our escape route for the night.
Never mind what it is, dear.
(Not that we do anymore anyway).
You stare at him, and I’ll watch her, and when they do
(as they always do)
we’ll clear our throats self-consciously
(’cause we don’t, so much, anymore.)
There was a time when we did.
Watching them at it would
probably have sparked us off.
But the spark went out.
(Should we have got a comedy tonight?
Always should when it’s raining. How come it’s always
Now, out there in the street,
the dirty old bus putters his way home,
leaving a last late commuter cut up on the kerb.
Impervious, inexorable, the great yellow Leviathan trundles into the middle distance,
unaware that my TV screen has turned to a little white dot
that seems to want to suck me in.
As you quietly wander up to bed
I listen sadly to the occasional late-homer,
full of the desperate cheerfulness of a
drab pub where at least someone talks to him.
Very excited to let all followers of the blog know that I have just started a new Kickstarter project to bring a whole new Variety show to the stage in Melbourne. Poetry! Music! Clowns! Improv! Circus! Theatre! Comedy! Dance! Stuff! Yes, all of that.
The show will focus on unearthing new talent, or giving a boost to established talent that need an outlet.
It’s a bit scary, but you know what? If you don’t do, you … er … don’t do.
This has been my dream for as long as I can recall, and I’ll be frank, a recent health scare (all is well, never fear) has made me realise time is passing.
I will post more news of the project in a few days when Kickstarter hopefully approve it. Watch this space!
PS! Performers in the Melbourne area, don’t delay, signal your interest to me by emailing me on email@example.com now.
A fellow blogger, the wonderful Miss Snarky Pants, challenges the world to create something meaningful (or just good) in just Four Frigging Lines.
Needless to say, we could not resist. Can you? Just put your effort in the comments section of one of her (so far) five uniformly excellent efforts.
In the gutter, on its own, a single empty can of tuna in lemon and cracked pepper.
Mouth open, like a gasping fish, staring at the sky.
I hardly know whether to rail at its former owner for his callous discard
Or to take it home and bin it safely, like burying the dead goldfish no one wants to hold.
And as we constantly remind you (the house reno is expensive) to buy all our poems (well most of them), plus a short story, head to 71 Poems and One Short Story, available in soft cover or as a download.
This is how I want it to be when I go. Beautiful, and apposite.
I posted it on Facebook this morning, and later on got a message from one of my oldest friends saying he was about to fly home to his mother’s funeral. His distress was somewhat alleviated; he now felt all is well.
God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform.
I was so taken with the words that undertook to find out who wrote them. The writings are actually a poem written by Victorian churchman and academic Henry Scott Holland.
Holland (27 January 1847 – 17 March 1918) was Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford. He was also a canon of Christ Church, Oxford. The Scott Holland Memorial Lectures are held in his memory.
He was born at Ledbury, Herefordshire, the son of George Henry Holland (1818–1891) of Dumbleton Hall, Evesham, and of the Hon. Charlotte Dorothy Gifford, the daughter of Lord Gifford, and educated at Eton where he was a pupil of the influential Master William Johnson Cory, and at the Balliol College where he took a first class degree in Greats. During his Oxford time he was greatly influenced by the philosopher and political radical T.H. Green.
In 1884, he left Oxford for St Paul’s Cathedral where he was appointed canon.
He was keenly interested in social justice and formed PESEK (Politics, Economics, Socialism, Ethics and Christianity) which blamed capitalist exploitation for contemporary urban poverty. In 1889, he formed the Christian Social Union.
In 1910, he was appointed Regius Professor of Divinity, a post he held until his death in 1918. He is buried in the churchyard of All Saints church, Cuddesdon near Oxford. Because of his surname, the writer, secretary and political activist Mary Gladstone (daughter of Prime Minister Gladstone) referred to him affectionately as “Flying Dutchman” and “Fliegende Hollander”.
While at St Paul’s Cathedral Holland delivered a sermon in May 1910 following the death of King Edward VII, titled Death the King of Terrors, in which he explores the natural but seemingly contradictory responses to death: the fear of the unexplained and the belief in continuity. It is from his discussion of the latter that perhaps his best-known writing, Death is nothing at all, is drawn: the frequent use of this passage has provoked some criticism that it fails to accurately reflect either Holland’s theology as a whole, or the focus of the sermon in particular. What has not provoked as much criticism is the affinity of Holland’s passage to St. Augustine’s thoughts in his 4th Century letter 263 to Sapida, in which he writes that Sapida’s brother and their love, although he has died, still are there, like gold that still is yours even if you save it in some locker.
Which is another sweet thought to end on.
For more of the same, head to: paltrymeanderings.com. We like.
In a cell, or wandering the yard, the two wait.
Soon, they will be taken to a field.
Their choice. Blind or clear eyed:
one last look at the moon?
Stand, sit, or kneel? A thoughtful touch.
Tense as they hear the barked command
the three bullets will tear through the night sky
like eager dogs let off the leash.
Into their heart
or near it.
If lucky, they die instantly
if not, they will bleed
until revolver bang just above the ear
cup of tea home to wife.
High above, the seagulls will whirl,
squawkingly, suddenly, disturbed.
A child stirs down the road in a hut.
Then all is silent, ambulances
remove the bodies. No need for sirens.
No need for more fuss than is
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Love, loss, friendship, fashion, teaching and pain.
Creative Writing- Melbourne
Wondering how God could have got all this into such a short Tale
The name of the blog says it all, really. My take on interesting stuff + useful re-posts :-)
"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are" - Anais Nin
It's the thin line between reality and fantasy. It's the thin line between sanity and madness. It's the crazy things that make us think, laugh and scream in the dark.
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So when the world knocks at your front door, clutch the knob and open on up, running forward into its widespread greeting arms with your hands before you, fingertips trembling though they may be. Anis Mojgani
Rosie Waterland is a writer based in Sydney. She finds her own jokes particularly hilarious.
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Aligning Execution With Strategy
...Still Taking Roughly 25 Pills a Day. Boom I guess.
Writer, social activist, a lot of Israel/Palestine, and general mental rambling
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