a diversionary blog post

October 29, 2007

This is what you’d call a diversionary blog post. No other word for it. I’m trying to avoid work.

Funny how workload can creep up on you though, isn’t it? I’m sure this isn’t an uncommon experience, but with me, work has a distinct rolling wave pattern. I’ll be working on loads of things at once and their deadlines will all seem to terminate at around the same period. Then they’ll be over and I’ll have a bit of space, and then things will start to build up again.

It’s quite like that at the moment. Loads of things I’d been stressing about just came to an end: a big poetry submission I’ve been working on for a while, a big funding application involving lots of partners, some lecturing at my local uni. All done. I’ve even done this months Leicester Arts in Health Newsletter.

So, here I am, basking in the glory of completed-ness, secure in the knowledge that whatever happens with any of the said above-at least they’re over with, except…dammit-things are ALREADY starting to build up again! Grr. They don’t usually come around this quickly.

I should be working on another funding application-so we can hopefully do another Brighter Side (poetry project) this time involving Amber Valley and Notts aswell as Leicester. And I will do it. I will. I promise. Just not now…and I know I’m just storing up work for myself. I’ll only end up having to spend some of my evening on it…sigh-why does my job involve doing such things!? Needless to say, I bring them on myself…

What else can I use this post to procrastinate over, rather than do…I know, I’ll list them:

Signing on for the exciting sounding Apples and Snakes Courses, recently publicized
Picking the poems I’m going to do at Friday’s Tripod Mag Launch
Doing any of 3 small funding applications
Doing any of 3 long letters
Doing my Brighter Side Application…

Well now. I feel much better for listing them like that. Almost like I’ve done them. You know, in the time I’ve spent writing this post I probably could have done one…so that’s got to count for something, hasn’t it?;)


October 26, 2007

Stomach made of heated tin,
cooled, heated, cooled,
quickly till the fibre’s been contracted,
stretched, contracted,
till the body’s just a ball of brittle,
frozen aching,
made of snapping,
made of broken knives –
broken stabbing kitchens –
cutting quickly,
stomach made of liquids,
made of cells and stitches,
coal pit secret scars,
stomach box of noise
box of freezing, boiling, fire.
Box of tangled knots.
Want to rip
them out.


October 24, 2007

Both an hour old.
Tuesday stub,
ember star
balefully winking at the
Wednesday dawn –
still a league away,
but only getting brighter.
At one o’clock they look the same
but now the line’s been drawn
and everything’s decided.
One won’t last the night.


October 24, 2007

I am a poet, because I am not
a painter, sculptor, photographer,
drug taker, mother, anorexic.

While some combine these roles
with the writing of poetry,
I can’t.

I write because speaking isn’t enough
In writing I can collect
the stranded bones of words, turns

of phrase, things I’ve seen,
or heard, or said,
lay them out to reconstruct.

I write because I’m not
a paleontologist. I do not have
the small brush, lens,

box of light
to turn its wheels,
make the world.

I do not write:

when air has drained of oxygen
then I must use
my pen to breathe.

When the thing can read
the thing I’ve made,
to make the thing on paper.

When an hour
is a tall clay vase, empty,
smashed against my skin.

When things
are entirely broken.
When things are perfect.


October 23, 2007

Well, today has been an incredibly difficult day – for reasons I wish I could go into, but which I can’t, and probably wouldn’t do me any good if I could, or you;)

What I can go into is nablopomo, the annual blogging challenge. Like the write a novel in a month/poem everyday challenges of last year, Nablopomo is another stamina/attention thing, this time challenging its participants to post a blog a day, throughout the month of November.

I found out about it thanks to the fantastic Ceridwen. We were the first to read each others foundling blogs, way back last year, and I’ve continued to have enduring respect for her work ever since.

So, I’ve registered. And I’ve also registered for Ceridwen’s special group, read-write-poem which focuses on using the nablo challenge to focus on poetry. I’m a little worried about getting to grips with the process, not least because I can never remember how to get on to the site, and in order to do it officially, I think you have to actually post on it-rather than on your own blog. Hopefully I’ll work it out…

Now, brace yourselves. Looking at the read-write-poem group earlier today, I came across a post from one of it’s members, Polkadotwitch who referred to a challenge she and a friend of hers (Jillypoet) had come up with on a site that they started together – called fertileground.

See my responsible crediting of links!

Anyway, here’s another link to the prompt on fertileground – suggested by Polkadotwitch as a kind of head start on the main November thing. I think I’m going to have a go at it.

D’know, there’s something very much like starting at college about these sorts of things. Lots of groups and societies you can join. Lots of people it’s possible to make friends with, deciding which ones to approach, balancing shyness verses positive outcome. God it’s all so nervewracking!

Had a go at redrafting my mother on sofa poem earlier today. Can’t decide if it’s better or worse. Will perhaps come back to it after a longer break.

What now? Now bed. Now book. Nownablopomoblahblahblah…

Sunday Afternoon

October 21, 2007

My mother use to fall asleep on Sunday afternoons.
I only know, now that I have done the same.
She use to lie down on the sofa,

fully clothed and hands like roots around her face-
fingers pink from doing dishes, washing windows, lifting bags
without her gloves. On arriving home from church,

my mother would remove elasticated waists,
carefully fold her floral tops, swap for T.shirts,
threaded bare about the breast.

My mother used to fall asleep on Sunday afternoons,
but she would leave her stockings on –
the thick, black nylon, cloaking legs.

I think my mother sometimes dreamt.
We’d sometimes hear her murmur through her teeth.
Once I drew her – Art coursework, Foundation Degree –

coal feet, clubbed and crushed from Sunday heels.
Years ago I showed the pictures
to a tutor at a college,

found out later he wanted to fuck me.
I never went there in the end.
I fall asleep on Sunday sofas,

wake to mumble what the time is,
light dimmed, limbs stiff, frozen up
in locked down shapes.

I wake remembering I’ve dreamt of sex,
my body that was born from hers.
I wonder if she ever did the same.

Women with Attitude

October 21, 2007

Friday night saw Women with Attitude strut their stuff down at 27A. It went remarkably well.  After a day and a half hanging the stage set (with the very clever John Kirby) then further hours running around (buying up large quantities of wine, folding up and removing tables, then realising they’d be needed for the planet load of performing artist’s books and c.ds, lugging ’em back in again…then writing up my compere notes, then working out my compere poems, then rehearsing with the performers and oh god just don’t get me started, but after all that…) it went remarkably well.

When, at approximately 6.50 only a handful of audience had shown, I did get a bit worried. Apparently, poetry audiences like to add an hour to the start time of events and there was a weighty trickle right through the first half. I’m not especially  complaining though. By the end, we couldn’t have physically got any more people in-and the atmosphere was really lovely.

The Famous Word! Raffle ( this was afterall a Word! supported event) was particularly strong. Thanks to one of our performers (Linda Hart) it contained amongst other things: a job lot of Guinness and a bulk box of teabags. Women are complex creatures…

D’know, I can’t actually find enough words to say how well it really went. It just did. It went really, really well 🙂 I think it would definitely be good to do another one. Next year sometime. Might be good to use different female performers-just to give the largest number  of artists a chance at developing what they’re doing.

The ones who did it this time were just great. Rai Studley (the singer/songwriter) did these really lovely, well crafted pieces, that reduced the audience to putty. Jenny Woolman had some real moments of hilarity and did some very thoughtful pieces that a couple of people remarked on to me at the end. Linda Hart was the eponymous Women with Attitude. I will say no more. She was fab though…

One of the nicest things to happen, happened right at the end. This really cool, sassy women came up to me. She said how she’d found out about the thing through seeing a flyer at a local venue. She lives with housemates and that evening they were all off out to  a house party – she could have gone with them but she came to WWA because she’d been looking forward to it all week. She came on her own and she said she was really glad to have made it.

That was just one of the moments that made it worth all the effort:)

Finally though, must thank all the staff at 27a. They were more then lovely. I know I’m gushing , just let me, I can’t help it, they were. They did so much for us and we will think of a way to repay them…

Hope everyone else’s weekend is going well. Night till the next post:)

Day Trip.

October 20, 2007

In Oakham I suggested you purchase
a crewcut kharki pullover – suede
patches at the shoulders,
flying pheasant insignia.
You said no.

pointless post

October 17, 2007

Just done that meeting I mentioned earlier. Not sure why I feel the need to update you on that score. Glad I made it though.

Sitting in Ice Mango now, catching up on work stuff and clearly writing this post. It’s bloody cold in here. Mustn’t forget to go buy toothpaste. And milk.


October 17, 2007

Well, this whole being ill episode is starting to get quite tiresome. It’s been nearly 3 weeks. It’s ridiculous. I’m thinking, maybe I should just go to the doctor..but that seems a bit foolish now-like if I’ve stuck it out for this long, it’s bound to clear itself up. Can’t decide if it’s any better than it was. Though, have spent the morning in bed. Working a half day this aft, so will leave for meetings soon. That’s generally how it’s been going. Not had to take any time off yet as I only work part time and the nature of my work is flexible. Still, maybe this mornings sloth has been my body’s way of telling me to fuck off and let it have a break. Maybe.

Been writing something new and tempted to put it up, but it’s a long way off done, so think I’ll leave it a bit longer and continue to work on in private. I think it called ‘A History of Hair’…other possibilities are ‘A Pressure of Hair’…like a murder of crows? but not sure. Will probably post again about it.

Meanwhile, gotta work out what the fuck I’m doing about Friday. I’m compering and running an event ‘Women With Attitude’ – which certainly comes with it’s own pressures. Hung the stage set yesterday, did the last of the publicity earlier in the week, now need to actually think about what I’m doing as compere..?! Guess I need to come up with a couple of poems myself…dilemma is whether to do older material that some of the audience will have heard before..but will suit the event..or do different work..less heard before…hm. Then there’s that bit where I say interesting thing about the acts and whip the audience up in a reassuringly competent way. Oh dear : /