Saturday, 28 May 2011

Covering Tracks

My good friend Louise has recorded a poem for me. I like the recording very much. Hope you do too.


Covering Tracks

I make my mark
Deep wounds and burns
Fierce points of contact
A papertrail of cuts
Seconds of aggression
until the door slams shut
leaving heavy air

Slowly, quietly,
I run my fingertips back over the grazes
To erase
The traces
As if I had never been there

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Rainwater Tea

As I have recorded a few poems for him on his blog, the marvellous Scott Pack (follow him on Twitter here) has returned the favour and recorded one of mine - appropriately enough about tea. Enjoy...


Rainwater Tea

Bleak heat vanishes from the edge
Tendrils of steam
raised and shifted
disappear overboard

It blankets my heart
from the chill in the wind
But the breeze is strong
and cools my face, my hands
go red

shaped by storms, appear
to numb the sun
They split to soak the earth

What was once hot, strong, sweet
Is now nothing but
rainwater tea

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Albino Carmine

Ah, May on the Thames. Sounds delightful. IS delightful, but for the tiny issue of insects. The few of you who read my blog last year might remember the description of the mayflies both alive and dead sticking to the sides and bows of the boat, making it impossible to keep clean. The same is true this year, but we've noticed something slightly more unsettling in addition - spawn of these insects. Whether they're mayflies, dragonflies or another creature of that ilk, I couldn't say, but for the past couple of weeks we've been blinded and smothered (metaphors, don't worry) by screeds of minuscule pale white efforts all over the outside of the boat - windows, doors, everywhere. Only a few millimetres long, they have fully formed bodies and legs (undetectable wings but they may be there, or forming) and look like baby skeletons of whichever flying insect they are soon to become. En masse, quite disturbing on first glance. 

This evening I had settled in my cabin to read a book but remembered I'd forgotten to brush my teeth. We haven't had a sink installed in our "quarters" yet so Debbie and I need to head back outside to climb into the main part of the boat for that kind of thing. Anyway, I leapt up and tiptoed in my socks along the side of the boat, from the very back to the side hatch around halfway down (at night, this needs to be done on the water side, as James locks the towpath-side hatch from the inside). I went into the bathroom, cleaned my teeth and, since I was in there anyway, double-checked the kitchen for things I'd forgotten to do or needed for tomorrow. In the bathroom and along the hall I had felt my feet sticking to the floor. Did we forget to sweep and mop today? I wondered. I wasn't about to do it then, so I left again to get to my cabin. My feet were now sticking to the side of the boat, too. Odd. When I got back to the cabin I sat down and discovered the truth - scores of white miniature insect skeletons, crushed and squashed onto my socks.

Definitely the last time I go out without shoes on.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Into Worlds

My friend Olivia has done a grand job of reading a poem about daydreaming for me - thought you might be bored of me by now - hope you enjoy, and follow her (@babelfishwars) on Twitter, as she is ace.


Into Worlds

Into worlds I go
Vast landscapes
And eclipses of reality

Detailed in the darkness
Not before my eyes, behind
A moment's rest
A parallel place
To throw my mind

Nothing real could be so glazed
So bright
This floating possibility
Leaps and bounds
traversing doubts
with improbable energy

No life could be as strong

They knock
I wake
Not from slumber but
my reverie
sinks with only traces
on the surface of my memory

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Little Bird

A friend asked me to write a mean poem about her. I'm better at angry stuff in Scottish (writing, anyway - my accent sounds horribly English at the moment) so thought I'd give it a go..enjoy. You can listen below, if you can't be bothered reading.
Little Bird


Will she no' just shut her trap?
The wee infuriating nyaff
"Oh, I'm just a little bird," says she
Then stomps her muckle feet wi' glee

She canna take no' being right
She'll pout, and clamour for a fight
But in the end, she'll no last lang
As we a' ken the birdie's wrang

Bob, A Sham

Bob, A Sham

Bob likes a drink, he goes to bars
You can tell that from his avatar
But you might not know the glass is a sham
His favourite tipple is Babycham

He drinks it in the eventide
He drinks it quick, so he can hide
the label from his cooler friends
It breaks his heart that he pretends

So come on, Bob! Just tell the truth
And stop having to hide the proof
We don't mind that you like perry
As long as you're happy, healthy and merry

But Bob, he just can't take the shame
He's quit the stuff, with us to blame
The little deer makes him go red
So he's started drinking beer instead.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

La Douleur Exquise

Given a surprise hour or two off, I wrote a few poems about friends. This is Louise's. I'll post Bob's later, and more as and when...if I know you a bit and you want one just ask. I like challenges.

La Douleur Exquise

Her voice, it lilts
His heart, it melts
When first he sees
My friend Louise

She resists his hand
He cannot stand
La douleur exquise
My friend Louise

She wanders free
For it cannot be
From him, she flees
My friend Louise

She seeks true love
This isn't enough
One day she'll find peace
My friend Louise

Friday, 13 May 2011

The Coot

This is for Debbie.

The Coot

A coot just whispered in my ear
"Come sit with me, Kat, so you can hear,
I've got a story you might like,"
So we rested against my yellow bike
And he began to speak.

"You know the flat white streak we've got?
It's come from the sky, from quite a lot
of other birds who don't like us much,
so they poo on our heads, and as such
it always tends to stick.

"And our legs! Have you noticed our legs, Kat?
They started out tiny, but then we got fat
because of all you lovely humans who fed us
so they grew strong, and turned green from riverside meadows,
so it's mainly you to blame."

I listened and I understood
He wanted me to know; perhaps so I would
not mock them so on their strange features.
Only one thing puzzles me about my little teacher...
How did he know my name?

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Ghostly Birds

This happened, sort of.

Ghostly Birds

Did I tell you about the ghostly birds?
They appeared as we walked through the darkened city
Silent and white against the night sky
We listened out for their familiar cry
But none came;
We looked at each other, my friend and I
"Do you see them, or is it my eyes?"
They slipped in the wind as if made of paper
Lit from below, gliding and searching
Soon the pale ghosts taper off to leave us
in darkness again.
My lover then told me they were searching for me
He'd sent them with tales to tell from afar
When I saw them again,
if I stood still and listened,
A message would form in my heart

Monday, 2 May 2011

Sea Sick

I have been trying for days to upload an Audioboo, but for whatever reason (probably that the signal isn't strong enough, although even using a dongle with which every other website is fine, Audioboo won't load...) I cannot. Therefore you'll have to put your eyes to some use and read this instead.

I must admit I am a little uninspired to write about the whole boating thing, as it feels like a rehash of last year - do feel free to scroll down to 2010's entries if you want to find out about the kind of work I do, albeit now on a different boat! I decided to not stress out in the first two weeks and concentrate on relaxing during time off instead of working on things, so I could get back into the swing of this life. I have, though, written a little poem, which I hope you like, or dislike, or at least read.

Sea Sick

I stand on the edge of the boat
One hand on the rail
One foot on the gunwale
The other foot hanging, waving
over the dirty water six inches

We're going too fast, and
as we shoot through the water
at five miles an hour
(the limit is four)
we create a wash
Foaming waves which will erode the bank
And I'm back on the first boat on which I ever sat
The Greek blue sea, my sunglasses, sunhat
And I still have the same urge as when I was eight
To jump in, disappear

To dive, to float, to swim, to sink

To drown