Mr Polar Bear, I’m here for you
in this place that’s like an igloo

Fly home now, or not at all.

Every Saturday I bring my lunch,
I sit beside you, I quietly munch

Fly home now, or not at all.

I sit beside you in our usual nook
I wear my coat with it’s kharki hood.

Fly home now, or not at all.

I draw the attention of the security guard
arrange my gaze, hold my arms.

Fly home now, or not at all.

And here is the church and this is a pew
It feels so strange to be with you

Fly home now, or not at all.

And in this space that’s like a glove,
they’ve sewn your fur, removed your tongue

Fly home now, or not at all.

They’ve wheeled you out and made you tame,
brushed your fur, removed your name

Fly home now, or not at all.

Inside this place that’s like a zoo
where nothing ever, ever, moves

Fly home now, or not at all.

My Polar Love, with Polar thoughts
My Glace Bear, that money bought

Fly home now, or not at all.

I sit beside you in our usual nook
I wear my coat with it’s kharki hood

and every Saturday I’m here for you.

I draw the attention of the security guard
arranging my gaze, holding my arms

and every Saturday I’m here for you.

And here is the church and this is a pew
it feels so strange to be with you

and every Saturday I’m here for you.

And in this space that’s like a glove,
they’ve sewn your fur, removed your tongue

and every Saturday I’m here for you.

They wheel you out and make you tame,
they brush your fur, remove your name

and every Saturday I’m here for you.

Inside this place that’s like a zoo
where nothing ever, ever, moves

Every Saturday, I’m here for you.

I sit beside you in our usual nook
I wear my coat with it’s kharki hood

and every Saturday I’m here with you.

I draw the attention of the security guard
arranging my gaze, holding my arms

and every Saturday I’m here with you.

And here is the church and this is a pew
it feels so good to be with you

and every Saturday I’m here with you.

It’s the Northern Lights in a Council Flat
and when I’m here, I’m an aristocrat

and every Saturday I’m here with you.

But in this space that’s like a glove,
they cut your fur, removed your tongue

and every Saturday I’m here with you.

They cut your fur and made you tame.
They brought you here, removed your name

and every Saturday I’m here with you.

your picture taken in the zoo,
your body mounted like a moose

and every saturday I’m here with you.
And I don’t know what to do.

I sit beside you in our usual nook
I wear my coat with it’s kharki hood

and every Saturday I’m here with you.

I draw the attention of the security guard
arranging my gaze, holding my arms

and every Saturday I’m here with you

and here is the church and this is a pew
it feels so good to be with you

and every Saturday I’m here with you

and in this space that’s like a glove,
they cut your fur and took your love

and every Saturday I’m here with you.

They cut your fur and made you tame
They brought you here, removed your name

and every Saturday I’m here with you.

your picture taken in the zoo,
your body mounted like a moose

and every saturday I’m here with you

In this wooden warm musuem
In those stately homely prisons

and every saturday I’m here with you

In your head an arctic circle
in your bones an arctic murder

and every saturday I’m here with you
but I wish I could send you home.

Polar Bear Pantoum

April 18, 2009

Well, I’ve had another go. It’s a very, very weird form …

Polar Bear Pantoum

Mr Polar Bear, I’ve fallen in love
and every Saturday I’m there for you.
I bring my lunch, inside a paper glove
brown and crumpled, like for feeding birds –

and every Saturday, I’m searching words.
I sit beside you in our usual place
brown and crumpled, like I’m feeding birds,
and I wear the coat with the kharki hood,

and I sit beside you in our usual nook
and I draw the attention of the security guard.
Wearing my coat with it’s kharki hood
arranging my gaze and holding my arms,

I draw the attention of the security guard.
and I smile at him, ‘cause he doesn’t know
arranging my gaze and holding my arms,
hands like prayers, in a conjurers show

I smile at him, ‘cause he doesn’t know
how it feels to be with you,
hands like prayers in a conjurers show
and here is the church and this is a pew

how it feels to be with you
is the Northern Lights in a Council Flat
and here is a church and there is a pew
but when I’m here, I’m an aristocrat

Are the Northern Lights in a council flat
a thing you have seen?
when I’m here I’m an aristocrat
and you’re a bear, with a human-being.

And is this a thing you’ve ever seen?
a person frozen that isn’t moving
Here is a King and here is a Queen
a polar bear, with a human-being.

Mr Polar Bear, I’ve fallen in love

Pantoum Blues

April 17, 2009

Trying to rejig the below sonnet and sestina into a pantoum. I have a feeling it should work better (if only because it’s form mirrors the repetitive nature of the pathology!) but, at the moment, it’s losing it’s way. Anyone..let me know if you have any rescue remedies. I’m off for a run. When I get back I think I’ll find another rhyme for church, purse just won’t do it, or I don’t think it will…

Polar Bear Pantoum

Mr Polar Bear, I’ve fallen in love
and every Saturday I’m there for you.
I bring my lunch, inside a paper bag
brown and crumpled, like for feeding birds –

and every Saturday, I’m searching words.
I sit beside you in our usual place
brown and crumpled, like I’m meant for birds,
I wear the coat with the kharki hood,

I sit beside you in our usual nook
and I draw the attention of the security guard,
wearing my coat with it’s kharki hood
arranging my gaze and holding my arms,

I draw the attention of the security guard.
And I stare at your body, its glowing saint,
and your fur is shining, and I’m holding my arms
and I circle us mentally with red paint –

I stare at your body, it’s glowing saint
and I am a pilgrim and this is a church.
And I’m mentally drawing a circle of paint
I’m mentally searching a miniature purse,

…in progress

Mr Polar Bear

April 17, 2009

Mr Polar Bear, I’ve fallen in love
and every Saturday, I’m there for you.
I bring my lunch inside a paper bag,
greaseproof squared, like homemade food.

And I sit, like snow, in our usual place,
on the long wooden bench in front of you
and I eat my sandwiches and my cake,
the portion for one, but I bring us two.

And I know you don’t like to look at me,
pretend not to notice I’m even there
but I’ve brought you from Iceland some Scampi,
some frozen tea and a packet of pears.

Mr Polar Bear Love who I visit
My coming’s not weird, or is it?

The task

April 17, 2009

People who follow my blog will know that recently, I’ve become obsessed with Polar Bears. It’s something of a displacement activity, possibly, and a long story. Anyway, happily I’ve been able to tie this pathology to a course of formal study and my Polar Bear poems are currently forming the basis for my Creative Writing MA’s latest assignment.

The task is to challenge a weakness (don’t worry, not the pathology) but instead my past tendency to shy away from form. Actually, once we got into the swing of things I and my tutor were coming up with weaknesses like nobodies business … Mahendra, I said, I think we’ve ‘identified’ enough…

Anyway, back to my weakness for form…in addition to my Polar Bear fetish, it’s now become something of a fetish all by it’s self. In fact, I’ve become quite the bore… ‘oh yes [fellow poet who really doesn’t want to know] you must try writing SESTINAS – no, really – YOU MUST – let me force this one by Elizabeth Bishop on you..’ ecetera, ecetera…

But the task…

The MA task, as negotiated by me and the man, is for me to write THE SAME poem, AGAIN and AGAIN in as many different forms as I can get my hands on. Given this, the below should be in context.

It started out as a sonnet (so bad, I really can’t bring myself to post it) then it became the villanelle (posted on previously on this blog) – now, it’s the below sestina. Personally I think I prefer the villanelle, but then, I guess the sestina version is perhaps too different to compare. Unlike the sonnet (granted, you can’t see it but take my word) the sestina’s so much longer and therefore inevitably seeking to cover more content. The sonnet version was better as a villanelle because it had a refrain in it, and villanelles
work on refrains. The sestina doesn’t do that so much, repeat, so maybe, in that way, it’s it’s own animal…no pun intended, but wayhey anyway 😉 See what you think, if you can be arsed. . .

Mr Polar Bear

What must it be like to never be touched?
to never feel wind against your fur,
the ice packed snow, beneath your claws
your pink tongue click against your teeth;
to never see another bear,
to never feel another body.

Mr Polar Bear: now that your body
is only ever touched
by the eyes of people visiting Bears
inside of museums, how does your fur
feel? and the 42 teeth
inside of your muzzle – and your claws –

balanced on plaster, are they curled claws?
stiff and useless at the base of your body
not stroked by anyone, or touched
by snow, or held in the teeth
or another bear:
lovingly, passionately, their fur

bristling with electricity like fur
that has forgot its own name in the clause
of a contract? – Perhaps: they couldn’t even bear
to look at you, when they dragged your body
back from the snow – your teeth
exposed in a rictus grin. Perhaps – nobody touched

your corpse as it touched
the wagon. Perhaps you were their first fur
their first kill, first teeth –
and claws
and body
and bear –

or perhaps you were bear
number 50 – or 100 – and touched
by them all as they hauled your body
and grabbed at your fur,
your ice pick claws,
your razor teeth.

Mr Polar Bear, you’d have wanted to kill them
as they touched like they owned, your fur and your bones.
I can see it now: it’s in your claws, your frozen teeth.

It’s another bear poem. It’s a sestina. Not sure it works. I think it should be something else. Like a sonnet. Comments welcome..

Polar Bear Sestina

Mr Polar Bear, I’ve fallen in love
and every Saturday I’m there for you.
I bring my lunch inside a paper bag
brown and crumpled, like for feeding birds
and I sit in our usual place,
my sandwiches, like snow provisions.

And as they go they’re good provisions
so I hold back half out of love
leaving them safe in our usual place
just so you know that they’re there for you,
their Asda bread and their thin brown bag,
like this is a park and you are the birds.

And I like to ask you about the birds –
because I worry, they won’t get provisions;
still in the arctic, no children with bags,
no bread to be scattered by people in love –
did you both go hungry, both birds and you?
When you were still there, in that arctic place.

Are they here Mr Bear, in your inside place,
like a forest of wings, of ice carved birds.
Are they curled up frozen, like a picture of you,
like ice holed provisions,
or photographed love,
are they ice hard stones in your memory’s bag.

And in this circle of space that’s like a bag,
this warm and wooden museum place,
can love still be felt, can you still feel love,
it’s sudden rush like lifting birds.
And since you have left, have you made provisions?
for those who loved you –

and who were loved by you
back – for your young and your birds without their bags.
Or was there no time to make provisions,
when they cut you like paper away from that place
when they silenced the birds
and stripped away love.

Mr Polar Bear, you – and I may have provisions
and at least this bag round place, but I wish you could travel
back to the birds. I’d send you with love, if I could.

I want to be a bear:

a dense white house of a Polar Bear –
hunkered down on an icy lake,
with my back
like a carpet coated snowed on roof
and my paws –
folded underneath my ball
of a head.

I want to think of fish
and seals
and where to find
the thinnest panes
of ice.

I want to be a Polar Bear
that does not think
of emails –

or spreadsheets,
or diaries,
or applications
to various charitable bodies.

A Polar Bear
with a large black nose
like a bowl of tar
and half closed eyes
and no fingers
to type with.

I want to be a Polar Bear
that will never need clothes
but always feel warm.

I want my fur to stink
of sweat and musk
and blood and the north

and for it to be thick
and long and coarse
and for Immac –
to be irrelevant.

I want to be a Polar Bear
with black rubber skin
and a weight problem –
that is not
a weight problem;
heavier than a four by four and
capable of crushing cars.

I want to be a Polar Bear
that can run faster
than an Olympic Sprinter,
that will show up late
at the London Olympics
and savage
all of the contestants –
and destroy the podium
and smother the flame
and who the army
won’t be able to contain
or put down
for rampaging.

I want to be a Polar Bear

I want to weigh 1000 pounds
and be eleven feet tall

I want to speak in the language
of blood and snow
and guts and storms.

I want to be a bear
and not to care
about the 7 signs
of cosmetic aging.

I want to be a Polar Bear.
I don’t want to type emails.
I want to have webbed feet.