Grandpa

Wow. It’s been so long since I was last here that I mistyped the web address to my own blog. Er… oops.

But Good News, Everyone! My deadlines for my Masters program are UP. All (!) I have left to do now is my thesis, and the final deadline for THAT is February 2013.

That’s not to say I’m going to leave it to the last minute. I will try and get as much of that done as I can during the summer… which is roasting out here.

But it IS to say that my timetable just opened up, big style. And I plan to fill the time with some writing. I’ve got a proper formal writing group that I’m going to go to almost every Thursday. I’ve got at least four other friends who want to do some creative writing this summer who can encourage me and keep me going.

And… I haven’t written anything YET. So to kick myself off I’m going to post for you…. the first poem I ever read aloud at a poetry night. I re-read it this morning, and I still like it. I wrote it a couple of years after my grandfather died, and I like the… childish voice of it. I hope you’ll see what I mean. I also consider it a bit of a tribute to the man, as my grandfather was the man who introduced me to the beauty of poetry.

I should also say that, in an unfortunate way, this has kind of become a companion piece to Jigsaw, which I guess is a more mature version, so I recommend you check that one out afterwards.

Grandpa

You could tell he was up to something
By that naughty twinkle in his eye.
He cheated at football, moved the goalposts closer,
And took his ‘goal kick’ from our penalty line.
He’d send us to sleep with tales of talking sheep,
And wake us to chase us mid-morning-shave,
A grizzly foam monster in pressed brown pyjamas.

He wrote us poems about bunnies
Who loved to eat honey
Which we found very funny,
And he taught me chess.
And we could never do quite well enough to please him at school,
We could always do better, try harder, and we did,
To please him. I loved his smile.

You don’t smile. You look confused.
You don’t laugh, you talk gravelly and slowly,
You sit in bed, and Gran gets tired, and thin,
And the nurse whispers to my Mum,
And your eyes –
Staring, coldly, trying, oh how desperately trying,
To place me, to know me, to tell me –
“How are you getting on?”
I can’t answer.

No, you’re not my Grandpa anymore.

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Jigsaw

Hey guys.

Getting off to a good start this fine February. And it is a fine February – bless Barcelona’s weather. This time last year, we had 5 weeks of rain… but were coming out of a drought, so we grudgingly accepted it. This year, it’s mostly luvverly.

Personal news – booking my return flight to Japan – I plan to stay there for an extra two and a half weeks after this contract finishes. Something along the lines of:

Arrive – 29th April.

Finish work – 18th July.

Fly back – 4th August?

Anyway, here’s today’s poem. I’m quite satisfied with this one, having jotted the initial notes, turned into a loose poem, left to stew, massively rewritten, sought advice, made a few revisions…. final product. I was talking to my flatmate about it, and I think I’m finally starting to appreciate myself as a poet. I know some of you guys have been my fans for a while, but I’ve never really thought myself good enough to submit them to magazines or anything like that. I’m starting to get how my brain works and writes, now, so it’s getting easier to write… and maybe it’s time I started getting myself out there.

Jigsaw

Bought for your lonely hours,
it seems instead to be Our Project
Together. Piece by fractured piece,
we build my painting of your stroke,

a shattering of disparate particles,
rooting for edges in the box,
drawing you closer to the centre,
a slow rebuild to match the old lid.

Luckily for us, it’s true of your mind,
though your hand wilts in your lap
and your eye can’t match the shapes,
nor your former independence –

helped limping to the loo,
you hold court on “when I’m home,”
and “when I cook” and “in my car”
– “these old people here don’t talk”.

Though you don’t hear it,
it cuts us all to know;
some pieces lost
when this worn box was shaken.

Haiku and “Save Point”

Hey all.

It’s the weekend, and I’m locking myself into what has become my “office”, where my desk is some big planks of wood across the snooker table in the room that has all our old games and books from childhood. Still, it works quite well – I have internet, but only JUST, so I can check my emails but any silly TV shows would take hours to load, so I mostly don’t bother.

While I’ve been more productive at my 1,500 piece jigsaw and trying to get my head around cryptic crosswords than I have writing, I have done a bit of work. However, most of it has been on as-yet unfinished works. First off on my catch-up day is a little riddle haiku I came up with in Bristol last weekend. It only works, unfortunately, if you pronounce “ordinary” “ord-en-ree”… you know, the ordenree pronunciation of ordenree (ordinarily). “ord-en-airy” messes the rhythm. Admittedly, I could choose a different word, but now I’ve typed all that, I won’t bother.

abig clue that I couldn't resist

Haiku

a

Searching ordinary art

for spatters of irony;

sneaky graffiti.

a

a

As before, answers in the comments. Not sure, but I think this one’s harder than the last, and I doubt American readers will get it…. but we’ll see.

a

Second up – computer games. This poem has gone through quite a lot of incarnations, and hopefully, it’ll go through a few more soon. Somehow, it’s managed to turn loosely into a sonnet today. Don’t know how that happened. Anyway, here it is:

aDungeon Siege

Save Point

Here, I retreat from real life (RL)
to realistic, from decisions to
return-to-last-save-point.
I swap chores for quests and
homework for spellbooks.
Here, the people are glad when I come.
They ask for help, I oblige;
I raise one point of Charisma.
It’s not quite happiness, not quite
an answer, but a stall for time –
life goes on hold as the game does,
a pause button for a sullen dinner,
then I escape into the fantastic
to gain valuable experience.

http://uk.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/dungeonsiege2/index.html?tag=result;title;0

a#I

If I do make up that final backdated post today – and there’s a reasonable chance of that, by the way – I think it would be better in a separate post. So it’s easier to find things when you’re going back through my old posts. See you soon, and feel free to comment.