Archive for April, 2012

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.

30th April

 

A Safebreaker’s Quatern

Phew!  Last day of April, and I’m limping over the line with my final ‘poem a day’ for NaPoWriMo.  Taking up a challenge from Robert Lee Brewer’s excellent web site, I’ve written a Quatern.  My first ever Quatern in fact.

A Quatern, according to Robert, is “a French poetic form that incorporates a refrain like in the villanelle, and eight-syllable lines like in the kyrielle….

  1. (It) has 16 lines broken up into 4 quatrains (or 4-line stanzas).
  2. Each line is comprised of eight syllables.
  3. The first line is the refrain. In the second stanza, the refrain appears in the second line; in the third stanza, the third line; in the fourth stanza, the fourth (and final) line.
  4. There are no rules for rhyming or iambics.

The refrain, in my example, is “finding the right combination”.

The Safebreaker

Finding the right combination

was trickier than expected

two twists to the left, four twists right

still no sound of turning tumblers

 

They’d put together the best crew

finding the right combination

brains, brawn, safe breaker. The target:

fifty grand in the old bank vault

 

Had to sack the last ‘box cracker’

high on booze and cocaine. To him,

finding the right combination

meant mixing whiskey, dope and speed

 

Turn the dial. Clink! Open the safe

Just a note in a booze bottle:

Smashed! But still quicker than you at

finding the right combination

copyright Mike Hopkins 2012

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.

29th April

I moved to a new place 3 months ago. Some friends recently came round for the first time.  In Korea, it is traditional to bring toilet paper to a new house – with its endlessly long spool of paper it represents long life, happiness and all things good, or so he told me.

House Warming

Visiting my new place

for the first time

he brought me

a six-pack

of toilet paper.

(It’s traditional

in Korea

apparently)

To help me

get to the bottom of things

wipe away bad memories

see through a tissue of lies

paper over the cracks

begin a new sheet

get on a good roll

help 2 ply a new path

copyright Mike Hopkins 2012

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.

28th April

A modernist piece, inspired by a fragment of a song I heard on the radio this morning. No idea what it means. Perhaps you can tell me.

Strands

Hear

the ebb and flow

a thousand lonely

 

Watch

how restless

drift in the tide

 

Heed

the crash

rip of spirit

 

Feel

the undertow

grieving souls

 

Trust

the surge

new life

copyright Mike Hopkins 2012

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.

27th April

insult

When running short of inspiration, there’s nothing like an insult to get the brain moving. Thankfully, I don’t know anybody who deserves this:

Insult Poem

Your face is like a bag of boils

your hair is like Medusa’s coils

your feet are like two fishing boats

your skin hangs like an empty coat

 

Your brain must be extremely small

it rarely gets much use at all

thinking’s not your cup of tea

you’d rather stroke your vanity

 

Never seen when things get tough

avoiding blame, inventing stuff

supposed crimes and violations

Machiavellian machinations

 

Your face is like a wrinkled prune

oozing puss like a seeping wound

your teeth are yellow, your breath smells foul

your voice evokes a banshee’s howl

 

You dwell in cracks and under rocks

you’re welcome as a dose of pox

emerging in the dead of night

to seize your prey, inflict your bite

 

You’re welcome as a plague of mites

you’re known to give us all the shites

a rocking horse is more astute

you’re as appealing as a newt

 

So now you know the state of play

this is the parting of the way

before you lift your arse to flee

prithee, what thinkest thou of me?

 

copyright Mike Hopkins 2012

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.

26th April

When you have to generate a poem every day, you search for inspiration in the most unlikely of places. I’ve belatedly started watching The Wire, said my some to be the greatest TV series ever. I’m hooked. HBO have done some great work : The Sopranos, Deadwood, Treme, all hooked me, and The Wire has done the same.  This poem comes from the famous “Tap, Tap, Tap” incident in the first series.

Too Late

Tap, Tap, Tap

pulling her from sleep

so deep, so deep
dreaming?

There.  Again

the kitchen window
pulling on a robe

stepping lightly

feeling her way
down the hallway

deep, deep dark

a familiar outline
at the window

Tap, Tap, Tap

pulling on the light cord
just a shape

pressing her face

close to the glass
to see that face

to see her fate

the barrel of a gun
Tap, Tap, Tap

pulling her head away

too late. Too, too late

 

copyright Mike Hopkins 2012

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.

25th April

Another something completely different, inspired by a friend’s experiences on the Oasis dating site:

Oasis Translator

Oasis Talk: “I’m looking for a soul mate to share my life, to hold my hand, to walk with me on sunset beaches, to love me unconditionally”
Translation: “I’m a narcissist. This is one of my less dangerous delusions. Believe me, I have many more”


Oasis Talk: “Little extra weight”
Translation: “Finalist in The Biggest Loser


Oasis Talk: “I am what I am”
Translation: “I am a slob and have been told so on numerous occasions”


Oasis Talk: “I’m down to earth”
Translation: “I talk in cliches ad nauseam”


Oasis Talk: “I’ve been through the school of hard knocks”
Translation: “I talk in cliches ad nauseam”


Oasis Talk: “I graduated from the university of life”
Translation: “I talk in cliches ad nauseam”


Oasis Talk: ”39 years old”
Translation: ”49 years old”


Oasis Talk: “49 years old”
Translation: “59 years old”


Oasis Talk: “I’m not a fitness fanatic”
Translation: “I’m a couch potato”


Oasis Talk: “Sorry you’re not my type”
Translation: “I get off on rejecting people”


Oasis Talk: “I’m a professional person”
Translation: “I have a Jim’s Mowing round”

copyright Mike Hopkins 2012

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.

24th April

And now for something completely different. This one comes with a language warning.

Things you never  hear an Australian politician say:

I’m not sure.

I am racist, and ….

Yes, I am a chauvinistic pig.

Compassion is not a dirty word.

Yes, I did have sex with that man.

Yes, I did have sex with that woman.

Why would we want to be like America?

Yes, we faked the story to win the election.

I think many people are willing to pay more tax.

Morality can fuck off, power is more important to me.

I am compassionate, but I have to hide it to keep my job.

The economy can fuck off. Morality is more important to me.

I am pleased to award the Australian Father of the Year award to Mr. Terry Hicks.

No, we felt it was more important to be honest than to appeal to the redneck vote.

I will refer the matter to some real experts, and I will do exactly what they recommend.

No, most of us are not doing it tough. Most of us are in clover compared to many other countries.

I’m doing this because 5 billionaires took me out to dinner and promised some very large donations.

Yes, I do keep repeating the same old slogans, over and over and over. It’s because I really have nothing worthwhile to say.

I know there is no evidence to invade, but every time I think of war I get an erection. In fact, the only time I get an erection is when I think of war.

My wife loves me dragging the family out for a photo-shoot every time I’m in trouble – it’s the only time I hold hands with her, and kiss the children.

copyright Mike Hopkins 2012

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.

23rd April

Always Keep a Poem Handy

 

stow one in the car boot

like a spare tyre

 

fold one inside your wallet

like a lazy fifty dollar bill

 

stick one in your hat band

like a bookie’s runner

 

slip one in your pocket

let it jingle with the small change

 

hide one in your underwear

like a stash of dope

 

conceal one in the heel of your shoe

like a secret map of the camp

 

wear one under your belt

the way a pirate wears a cutlass

 

store it in your brain

like a pleasant memory

 

ring one onto a pigeon’s leg

send it homing

 

bake one in a cake

like a prison breaker’s file

 

drop one into fresh cement

like a Mafia victim’s body

 

hide some in the fridge

under the cold beers

 

seal one in a glass case

by a small hammer on a chain

 

copyright Mike Hopkins 2012

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.

22nd April

A list poem drawing on my I.T. background

Ctrl Alt Delete

Time

to reboot my brain

refresh my memory

 

internalise my external drive

repair my registry

empty my recycle bin

 

review my root directory

modulate my communications protocols

prune my social network

 

locate new hotspots

let go of old favourites

re-route my router

 

remove stale cookies

uninstall unused programs

clean my cache

 

empty my buffers

flush my streams

refill my cartridges

 

clean my head

firm up my firmware

pull down my partitions

 

examine connections

to my peripherals

find the escape key

 

copyright Mike Hopkins 2012

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.

 

21st April

 

Mumbai is … (part 3)

The washing

of a million people

hanging out to dry

under a polluted sky

 

a city touting

tours, ferry rides

garlands, pashminas

snapshots of you in front of a temple

 

a woman in a sari

motorbike side saddle

clasping her shopping

tighter than her husband

 

cricket on every ‘madan’

watched intently

by young men

under hessian shelters

 

a city unboundaried

unrestrained

undreamt

a city of perpetual motion

copyright Mike Hopkins 2012