PUBLISHING THE DEAD

I’m splashing about in Kindle Direct Publishing, making a mess, trying to keep it light and dismissing stress – don’t think I’ve used any real swear words, yet. Doing April-poem-a-day this year sent me down this path; I sat up one sleepless night with the idea of settling the best of my old previously published poems in a book.

These poems are set in their decades, the 60s being full of childish memories and teenage troubles with a hint of the history of the time. The collection is thick with memoir but there are oddities thrown in; it’s a bit like a packed suitcase where other minds might boggle at the mix. In the 70s and 80s innocence meets up with experience and discovery, and the 90s are steeped in those nasty political upheavals. My intention was to paint a picture with old published poems so there has been a lot of dragging in and chucking out. I think these poems should live together, forever, and hope readers will feel the same.

Some of these poems were written almost thirty years ago, when I was an energetic and wild woman – impulsive. I’m a different being now and most of my recent work doesn’t blend into this picture. If I don’t allow them space in the light they might languish in a document deep in a file system forever. There’s just something about swimming in nostalgia; here I am writing thirty years ago about the previous thirty years, loving the images and characters. That carnival is well and truly over and all the songs sung, but selective memory is a fantasy in itself. The dating of these poems (in this setting) relates to the time in the poem not the time of writing, except when it does.

Of course I forgot to include the copyright notice in the first attempt, and made such a mess of the paperback process that I decided to make a few changes. It’s good to have a little space to see how a project works out before seriously advertising the product; I nipped away one and added four re-formatted poems…and changed the cover. I know poetry won’t pay the rent but the poems are better out than in, lying around like old sloths, and, I seem to be in tidying mode which, apparently, has me re-writing, re-formatting/structuring old work…and it is interesting fun. I have achieved something and think that satisfaction will be guaranteed.

…and, here is the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071NPRZP8

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Just a Pop-in

Obsession has climbed on my back, wrapped itself around my shoulders, my head – which is lost inside a huge fiction…yes, thirteen books one after another will do that to you. I’m back in True Blood land, living in Bon Temps with Sookie Stackhouse, hanging on every word, to the extent of sometimes going back a bit to re-listen because my attention had strayed to the real world…of just one of my other fantasy places. It’s a nasty addiction, this audio book trail, this reading with your eyes shut…this falling in love with the deep south accent of the same reader through the books. I’ve only escaped for a little while to skin Facebook, Twitter, and to force a scribble for WordPress. The last book is calling me so I think I might have time to make a quick cuppa after I post this before the walls close in. outside I hear the rain running foul of the wind and am glad to be imprisoned in this wee flat, in this cosy bed.

PROJECT SOUP

This was supposed to be a writing day and I cannot be too surprised that I only dragged a thousand words or so into the net, but I’m not complaining. There were a lot of very interesting thoughts being pickled on the inside. I am full and brimming over with projects, and they just keep coming. Right now, the one taking over is the creation of a pack of tarot cards to use in readings in a book I’m writing about how to read the cards…so all of last night was captured by the search for the tarot people in my photographic pile, and then there was the manipulation and artistic doodling. My version of the Chariot is a dump truck grumbling along the expressway out of the city on a wet Monday morning. I can’t wait until I get to the printing and gluing together stage…I have even chosen the print for the backs.

So surprise didn’t catch me when procrastination dragged me into themes to change the look of the place here, and I found this lovely blue with the swirl on top, but it might be time to attempt sleep. I’ll be back with photographic evidence of the crafting. Meanwhile, here’s a wee link to the blog that covers the publication of an anthology of short stories including one of mine.

 

 

Endings

There is something very satisfying about using up the Xmas leftovers; my last meal this year is plated, sitting in the microwave, waiting for my stomach to bang the gong. I am bathed, hair washed and teeth brushed, musing on last things. As always, everyone hopes the new year will bring a better life – these last hours count down empty promises…actually, that isn’t what I was going to say but I lost the thread because I’m watching Hemlock Grove while writing this. Blood n guts, vampires and werewolves mingle in my mind with cold broccoli, chicken n stuffing, and mashed potatoes. When I sit down with that steaming plate I’ll remember the mad meal-choices coming out of my kitchen to the blaring sound of Doctor Who and number-1 son’s gaze held fast to the screen. Shannon and Peter had kebab-meat in pita, Zander’s cheeseburger pizza rocked his world, and Susan could only manage a mug of broth…ahhh, Christmas in all its glory.

On the arm of the sofa beside me is a small selection of chocolate…and there’s a big bag of crisps in the kitchen cupboard – so are they the last of their kind in this flat? Oh and there is a tub of ice-cream in the freezer, a squeezy bottle of chocolate sauce in the same cupboard as the crisps…when will this end? I think about changing my shape but my head won’t let me or my body follow through with the necessary actions, yet. Maybe next year.

Next year – Tuesday, I will be forcing this body through the dentist’s door…what a way to start the year..but I will be starting a new life with my teeth in better condition. I wonder if one day I’ll be able to eat toffee again.

Fare-thee-well 2015

Thinking that I should be planning deadlines and being all resolute about what I want to achieve in the coming new year…also must go soak my hands in hot water so I can cut my fingernails and type without my nails skidding and clicking all over the place – see that ole bugger Procrastination still hanging around?

I could hook out a partly-used notebook and whisper penned promises in it, ramble until my handwriting disintegrates into a straight line, but if I started that I might actually come up with a real plan of action. Right now, I have completed all my chores, and accidentally swept others out of the way too – I kind-of cleaned the kitchen drawer, again, but left a wee heap of stuff on the counter that needs to find homes…and I scrubbed up old jewellery to be taken apart and be reborn in new pieces. But, I haven’t finished rebuilding that story or written any more on the others in that collection…or written anything other than xmas cards for weeks.

Space has been created, yes, in a passive way, in between other jobs – I’ve even hung the earrings I’ve kept on a jewellery stand, a big white owl, and it’s watching me from the re-cluttered desk…though its clutter that will soon pop off somewhere quite easily, soon. The force is with me; I feel the power winking at me…ye old gods – I was supposed to sort out the printers ages ago and haven’t done it yet but the force is forcing me to pay attention now and I’ve pinky-swore to do it tomorrow.

Whichever way I swing first, things have changed and some work has been done and the way is almost clear for me to…and then there are the tingles in my ancient teeth demanding I take them to the bloody dentist, but what a way to begin a new year! There is no dare here – it has to be done ’cause I’m at the end of the road, just like a 7 month pregnant woman, and there will be pain down every path but at least the dentist has better drugs than the local chemist. So, this means goodbye Procrastination…and don’t come back.

 

PLAGUED

I am surprised to find that I am not myself: this sodden soul is blowing herself to bits, has driven her nostrils red and crusty, and now owns a deep, sexy voice…except when she’s coughing – though is not yet fit to bust. Number4 grandson was hardly in the house six hours before my sneezing fits began – he’d been coughing up his lungs and deeply sniffing a million snotters…I thought about telling him that everything he dragged up there would be sliding down the back of his throat some time soon, but I settled for telling him to blow his brains out. Why don’t boys like blowing their noses? Number2 son has a little line on his nose from that palm-to-nose sniff in his childhood.

It might be going on for twenty years since I had a cold – does this mean I’m getting old, really decrepit and will be sinking into the bog sooner rather than later? I want to be 108! Of course I’m still working, and only the loss of voice can change that unless I learn to tap intelligently on the phone and, that clients could understand what I was saying. Wednesday is my day off, and I have a cinema card, and was planning to go this week but coughing through films is considered reason enough for murder; I’ll stay in, out of the rotten rain, and cook stovies, followed by custard and bargain/reduced raspberries. All hail winter.

CROSSINGS

So, here is my poem for the referendum:

CROSSING

We are poor bosses; poverty stricken
and weak at managing our minions,
those creeping vines with politic voices
who take and take and talk a foxtrot dance
around our floors, demanding expenses
for cushy cushions and homeless housing.
We are not in the Fortune 500
or the 25 and yet we keep them
above our needs. So lets chop its head off,
and let it fend for its own luxuries.
We are laying down the swords, preparing
for the dance of the century.

ABSENCE

(for my daughter)

Cosmetic junkie, social drinker, and
breakfast don’t live here; there’s no lover, pipe
n slippers or ritual sex to grind
my bones; no Sunday lunch, afternoon naps,
praying, confessions, and no eating of
hosts. My life wears different hats, salts its own
ideas into food…lunch and dinner took
a walk some time ago. I’m not obsessed
with plumbing or counting fat content, carbs
or calories so don’t be worrying
about me. I’m lost in happy hours, and
skinny people die too. But, I might
invite a vampire in for a drink, though
forever could be a tad traumatic.

COWARDLY MEMOIR

My most shameful moment (or the only one I’ll admit to) happened sometime in 1974, I think. I was working in a golf club as a barmaid-come-waitress-come-slave but I quite liked it and the boss was an attractive older man with streaks of white hair at his temples. Jo Fitch (who must be dead by now so I will use her name) and I were waiting ’til the last car left the parking lot so we could lock up – sometimes these golfers would stick their heads round the kitchen door and sweet-talk us into making them toasted cheese. It was black dark but must’ve been warm because the window was pulled right down from the top. Nobody asked for anything. We sat at the table finishing our coffee, our bags and jackets beside us. Something came in the window.

Before we knew it, a clicking had set up as hundreds of black beetles landed on the table, counters and floor. Of course I must’ve done the dance of the get-it-off-me-crazy-woman as I raced to the door into the back corridor. I don’t remember having any of them in my hair – this was forty years ago! But I know I would’ve still been doing the dance as I dragged the door closed behind me. Yes, I held onto the door, and no, I wouldn’t open it again to let Jo out too. But I don’t think she was as scared as me…she was about thirty years older, with grown-up kids. So yes, she was probably a lot more sensible than my dumb twenty. I vaguely remember her telling me it was safe to come back in just a few minutes later, that they had all gone. I peeked around the door as if I didn’t believe her but they had gone. I’d never heard of flying beetles before, or seen any since – thank the gods. And, after all these years I remember the clicking; it was like black rain.

I am tough, and can stand up to anything…I’d take a bullet for my kids and grandkids, maybe even friends, but throw insects at me and I melt out the nearest door.

 

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