Thursday, December 6, 2012

Haiku Death Match, 5th December, 2012

I took 2nd place in Poetry In Motion's inaugural Haiku Death Match last night. The phrase of the day was "death match!" shouted over and over whenever the pair of haikuka went up for a 3rd and final Haiku in the best of 3. Unfortunately, in the first round,  I went up against my lovely wife and I know her Haiku were so kick-ass. I was amazed I got through to be honest. She would have gone all the way to the final knowing the other haikus she had waiting!

These are the ones I used last night:

Round 1

To love the ocean
And enjoy your time at sea,
Vomit and move on
I work in IT,
a daily desk disciple.
Dilbert’s the prophet
Always remember,
there are two types of people
and I don’t like them

Round 2

I’d like to agree
with what you say, however
then we’d both be wrong
nudes framed on the wall
at the new art gallery
are very well hung

Round 3

Quantum physicists
understand the universe
Better Children’s toys.
Anatomically correct
Ken and Barbie dolls
Both sex and pizza,
even when they're pretty bad
are both pretty good.

Round 4 (these were written on the night - from subjects supplied by the audience. The subjects were "tampons", "cat food" and "dinosaurs").

 Do I see tampons
In that treetop over there?
Do cats like cat food?
No, of course they don't. They just
don't like anything.
According to science
When dinosaurs ruled the earth
there were no haikus (this was SO lame, but I had nothing!)

And, for a final Haiku (to the shouting of "ONE MORE HAIKU!)
A bad recession
May even make the saintly
Sell their hearts of gold

Unshared Haiku that I had in reserve:

It is what it is
A cliche is a cliche
We need new cliches
For love eternal
Romeo and Juliette
Should have stayed alive
Socialists and communists
at the same party
ghost observations
they’re restricted to houses
and don’t get out much
The difference between
Christmas here and Christmas there
Pohutukawas (sound familiar?)
When she smiles at me
it's like a punch in the face
pugilistic love
Repeating yourself
Repeat yourself to be heard
Repeating yourself
You can have your cake
And possibly eat it too
Not me, I like pie
New novel idea.
It will take the world by storm.
Vampires AND werewolves
Modern pirate fact
roger isn’t so jolly
anymore is he?
The stories are true
aliens live among us
disguised as sculptures
Shut the fuck up you
If you don’t, I will cut you
And scatter your bones

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nanowrimo update

Of course, Nanowrimo is on again this November.

I have been suspiciously quiet on this front and I've been exceptionally flat this year. An interview with Steam Press Editor Stephen Minchin got me interested in a specific genre. When asked what excites him and what he would love to find in his submission box, he replied, "STEAMPUNK! Good Lord, what I would give for a brilliant steampunk novel which was set in colonial Wellington. I'd have kittens."

So I thought - easy-peasy, I'll do that. I have an idea of a novel set in Wellington in the 1890's with New Zealand inventors from the time featuring as characters, maybe with a superhero thing thrown in (since I love superheros) and I could get something written in November that would be a start for a submission.

Facts: Nanowrimo, for success, requires 50,000 words written in 30 days (1667 words per day). I'm sitting at around 9,000 words at day 20. This means in 11 more days, I'd have to write 41,000 words ( 3727 words per day). Doable, but do I want to? I'm not sure.

As an ML (Municipal Liaison) for Wellington's Nanowrimo crowd, I have to admit that I'm showing poor form, especially after failing the 2011 novel (see previous post on the subject). In my head, any novel writing is better than no novel writing, so I will continue. I don't know if I'll finish or not, but the attempt MUST be made.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Flash fiction - first attempt

I've never tried flash fiction before, but there was a NZ contest discussed here. This was all back in June, and I have to admit to being too slow/slack/lazy to actually produce the flash fiction in time for the contest

However, Tim Jones suggested a gathering to discuss flash fiction informally, so I went along and managed to finish a small piece that I'd started for the contest but never finished in time. My piece seemed reasonably well received and I was pretty happy that Janis Freegard, whose "Elephant" was a runner up at the contest said she liked mine enough to read it twice. Her "Elephant" is brilliant and I was happy she shared it around with the group.

Here's my first attempt at Flash fiction. The only rule - it has to be 300 words or less.

The Love of a Woman

In the words of a great man, my father and Lord of the Eastern Marches, the love of a woman is the greatest thing and after that, all other things are a distant concern.

While I have never doubted this before, I admit a hesitation at the moment. It is a great concern that she holds a knife to my throat, right here, in my bedroom as I have just awoken. I think she is here to kill me, but I can't help but love her.

She is wrapped in black silk, the traditional garb of the Ismali assassins. Only her eyes are visible and what eyes they are! They are obsidian, black pupils on black irises. And the fierceness! Oh... it is like a tiger watching its prey.

I don't know what I have done to deserve that look, but if I knew, I would do it again every day of the rest of my life.

I imagine our life together and meeting her family. I wonder which parent she got her eyes from. I hope it is her mother, for two angels are better than one. I KNOW I will get along with her parents. I will make every effort.

If a client pays extra, they can request the most blatant show of contempt and the assassin will remove their mask before striking the killing blow. It is a slow ritual, a removal of the mask as they hold the knife to your throat. I wait in anticipation, so hoping that the client has paid the maxium sum.

Yes, she begins to unwind the silk strip, slowly, with utmost precision and control, anticlockwise, so I always remain in sight. It comes away revealing what is sure to be a glorious face.

No... she's not really my type.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Time and Space
re: tribute to the preposition

Once in a while, I think I’m over the hill.
I rarely sit on the fence, but
You’re continually putting me under the hammer
and I’m regularly stuck between a rock and a hard place
so I’m often besides myself.
You almost always put me behind the eight ball
And sometimes hit below the belt.
Again and again, I’m along for the ride.
Over and over, you’ve sold me down the river
and I’m constantly swimming against the tide.
My respect for you is about to vanish into thin air
Remember, you’re never above the law
In no time, you’ll find yourself outside the circle of trust.
Your motives are frequently beyond my understanding
So now I ask, off the top of my head
That you immediately stop being a boy among men
Before I go out of my mind

The Zoo

A woman never knows how beautiful she is
The thought almost always foremost on her mind?
Losing the extra weight she doesn’t even have
It’s seriously on her mind, all the time
The trap is clever, a modern world snare
It catches her common sense, and puts it in a zoo
So she can visit every now and then
And see it from a distance
Through solid metal bars

In a similar grotty cage right next door
Sits her self esteem
Not far away is her integrity
Which sits next to her bravery
The will to make the world a better place
Is across the central path where visitors walk
The zookeeper loves to keep his animals well tended
But in their cages, always in their cages

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One of my favourite poems - from Stanislaw Lem's "The Cyberiad"

I don't have very many "favourite poems", more now that I'm writing poetry, but this has been my favourite for many years.

Stanislaw Lem's book, "The Cyberiad: Tales from the Cybernetic Age" is a series of short stories about Trurl and Klapaucius, two robot inventors and good friends who quite often play practical jokes on each other and test out each other's inventions.

Trurl creates an Electronic Bard which can compose poetry and music and wants to show it off. Klapaucius is more than happy to help and his first request of the bard looks like this:

"Have it compose a poem about a haircut! But lofty, nobel, tragic, timeless, full of love, treachery, retribution, quiet heroism in the face of certain doom! Six lines, cleverly rhymed, and every word beginning with the letter "s"!"

Trurl is about to protest, believing that it's an unreasonable request, but before he says much at all, the Electronic Bard comes out with this gem:

Seduced, shaggy Samson snored.
She scissored short. Sorely shorn,
Soon shackled slave, Samson sighed,
Silently scheming,
Sightlessly seeking
Some savage, spectacular suicide.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Billy Collins poem: Pornography

I have recently been reading "The Poet Laureate Anthology", with a complete list of all the US Poet Laureates from the beginning (Joseph Auslander) to 2010- (W.S. Merwin) and found myself stopping at Billy Collins, who was US Poet Laureate from 2001-2003. His poem Litany, which I happened across on youtube, is brilliant and funny. Most of his poetry is whimsical and mocking and so, so clever. This one, I found particularly funny. I don't even know the reasons why, I just do.


In this sentimental painting of rustic life,
a rosy-cheeked fellow
in a broad hat and ballooning green pants
is twirling a peasant girl in a red frock
while a boy is playing a squeeze-box
near a turned-over barrel

upon which rests a knife, a jug, and a small drinking glass.
Two men in rough jackets
are playing cards at a wooden table.

And in the background a woman in a bonnet
stands behind the half-open Dutch door
talking to a merchant or a beggar who is leaning on a cane.

This is all I need to inject me with desire,
to fill me with the urge to lie down with you,
or someone very much like you,

on a cool marble floor or any fairly flat surface
as clouds going flying by
and the rustle of tall leafy trees

mixes with the notes of birdsong -
so clearly does the work speak of vanishing time,
obsolete musical instruments,

passing fancies, and the corpse
of the largely forgotten painter moldering
somewhere beneath the surface of present-day France.