what is the what

May 28, 2010 at 5:50 pm (Uncategorized) ()

We had a very interesting challenge for this week’s Poetry Bus (visit here for more passengers); to take a sentence (at random or specially chosen), remove half, create new endings and then play about with the ideas that came from it. I started trawling through quotations looking for something clever. Then I looked at famous opening lines of books, still nothing. So I picked up the book I had recently started reading, it is called ‘What is the What’ by Dave Eggers and took the opening sentence, as soon as I read it I felt it had interesting possibilities. The sentence I started with is “I have no reason not to answer the door so I answer the door”.

I have no reason not to answer the door

I have no reason not to answer the door

even though it is late

and I had been waiting

my fingers pause at the latch

and I am scared.

I have no reason not to answer the door

where two shadowy figures

one tall

made taller by his hat

are visible through the frosted glass

waiting impassively.

I have no reason not to answer the door

but in that pause

in the silence of the hall

I can hear the rush of my own breathing

and the blood pounding in my ears.

I have no reason not to answer the door

that stands firm and solid

between me

and the world outside

but I take a step away.

I have no reason not to answer the door

through which I can hear

the scuffle of their boots in the gravel

and the muted murmur of conversation.

I have no reason not to answer the door

except something urgent tells me

I should stay here and now

on this side

in this suspended moment


I have no reason not to answer the door

but something hovers outside


I have no reason not to answer the door

when they knock again

it feels impolite

to keep them


I have no reason not to answer the door

so I breath again

reach up

and grip the handle firmly

I have no reason not to answer the door

so I answer the door.


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May 11, 2010 at 3:58 pm (Uncategorized)

(watching the clock

flick past the minutes)



she needs the bus times

I’ll look them up

or they will surely miss

like the time in Stratford

and I had to drive

even when I’d had half a glass

of vodka and coke

and why am I paying

for the damn insurance

when there are three people

using my car

I resent every penny

of the loan

to pay that solicitor

three months wages

for a single day

I will celebrate when I never

have to bother with him


ever again

take cake to work

not that any of those blokes will understand

just blokes

but not

now I think of it




have to think about

milk for the tea

no-one else remembers

and getting those boys

registered with a doctor

and her bank account to sort out

call mum

or the bad karma will catch up with me

is that our cat

fighting in the garden

time to get up soon

and I forgot the shoe polish



I wish

I know it’s silly

but one day

I wish

we might build our own place

and have breakfast together

instead of this

passing ships existence

maybe then he’ll tell me

I want a view of the sea

or the smell

at least

but what’s the use



what’s the use of promising

and then not bothering

only creates bad feeling



she cried down the phone

and it broke my heart

Jake in the dark

in the car

telling me secrets

I wish

I had stepped back from the brink

but try and imagine

what might have been instead

so sad

and so angry

I wish

it would all go away





buzzing round my head

making demands

imagine if

the letter might arrive


or next week

we could be all sorted by the summer



must put the bedding in the wash

in the morning

and write that poem

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Masinasin Post Office

May 10, 2010 at 5:28 pm (Uncategorized)

My picture for this week’s Poetry Bus came from The Galt Museum Archives which collects and preserves information of permanent value to the study of the human history of Lethbridge and southwestern Alberta. It shows Mrs Elizabeth Blust at the doorway of the Masinasin Post Office. I found this challenge very difficult but resisted the temptation to find a new photograph and stuck with the picture that I was ‘given’. i have tried to capture something of what I imagine to be a hard and unchanging life.

The shade offers no  relief

in the afternoon sun

she can almost hear

the desiccated scrub grass

crackling in the heat

dust coats her skin

heat dries her lungs

slowly suffocating.

She watches as days drift gently by

with the turning seasons

marked by crops failed

or newborn babes.

The outside world touching


distant messages,

as if from beyond the grave

bring news

that changes nothing.

She bides her time

and endures.

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May 6, 2010 at 6:41 pm (Uncategorized)


not like disciplined soldiers

standing in their regimented  ranks

these are a ragged bunch of unkempt revolutionaries

fighting for their land against

encroaching civilisation.

clothed in tangled lines of climbing ivy

old soldiers limping through the brambles

mossy and hollow with age

while fallen comrades lie in the undergrowth

new saplings spring up among the motley crew

eager to join the fray.

in the lengthening shadows

the chill of evening sets in

and after dark they hunch and forlorn

without the consolation of a fire

reminiscing of past glories and better days

then lie down amidst the blanket of wild garlic

to be consumed by sweet decay.

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