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Sunday, 22 November 2020

6 POEMS BY ME IN THE GALWAY REVIEW (2016)


From The Galway Review, July, 2016, 6 of  my poems:

WHEN ELVIS PRESLEY DIED, THEY DIDN’T EVEN TRY TO BREAK IT TO ME GENTLY (1977)

Huge capital letters on a newsagent’s board:
ELVIS DEAD – handwritten in black felt-tip –
And I gasped as I headed to Chadwell Heath railway station.
“What? WHAT!” I thought in my own capitals,
“How can this be true?” Beyond moody blue.

I felt like throwing a sickie, going back home,
Smashing an LP to pieces, finding a sharp end
And slitting my wrist, I was that pissed.
They didn’t even try to break it to me gently,
Just BAM!! Right there for all to see. Heartbreak.

Later, after work, watching the news and pictures
Of scrawny Elvis, beautiful Elvis, fat Elvis,
I saw the beginnings of him, the wonder of him,
The decline of him, that rotten rock and roll thing,
A complete and utter waste of a king.


WHEN JOHNNY WEISMULLER DIED, TAKING HIS TARZAN YELL TO THE GREAT BEYOND, MY SON, DAVID, WAS BORN (1984)


They cut the cord and you didn’t fly
Like a deflating balloon because you were anchored,
First in your exhausted mother’s arms
For a welcome kiss and a baptismal teardrop,

Then to me, David, (“beloved’), for my moments,
My turn to gaze and smile and weep
At a beautiful, scrunched-up face, at flickering eyes,
At the tiny sounds of breathing, at new you.

They wrapped you like a tortilla, full of goodness,
Delicious and more than good enough to eat,
And a mariachi band played a Tex-Mex jig
Before fireworks spelled out “HELLO”.

At least that’s what I heard and saw
Under that strange hypnosis.

Ahhhhhhh…yee…ahh…ee…ah…yee…ah…ee…ahhhhhhhhh…


BOOK SIGNING (UNRELIABLE MEMOIRS)


We exchanged hellos,
His half smile,
My shyness.

Cover open,
He wrote “Clive James”
In midget writing.

Cover closed,
We exchanged thank yous,
Half smile, shyness.

I met my hero,
Seconds only.
Selfridges, 1980.

But he won’t remember that.


CLUMSY


A small piece of white paper,
coarse-cut and raggedy-round
falls from my young son’s fingers
and floats slowly to the ground.

He looks down, then up to me,
shocked because he dropped the moon.


LAUREN BACALL TAUGHT THE WORLD HOW TO WHISTLE


You know how to whistle, don’t you? (Bacall, the sexy teacher).
You just put your lips together and blow.

Learning to whistle, harder than learning to shake hands, the grip,
To tie shoelaces, the bow, to sew on a button, secure,
To knot a tie, neat, to iron a shirt, smooth. Stuff of real life,
More useful than complete works of Dickens and Shakespeare.

Sweating over homework, learning by heart a speech or poem
To recite aloud in front of the teacher and the class,
The hole in your sock and the ripped trouser seam unmended,
Standing up, delivering a performance, looking a mess.

Once, help was at hand to deal with this practical trivia, this stuff,
Then Lauren Bacall gave up whistle teaching and became a goddess.


AN ACCIDENT ON THE GLEN ROAD


It was long before they built the footbridge on the Glen Road,
Just up a bit from the primary school but well before
The brewery. We were playing tig, chasies as we called it,
And stopped dead in our tracks when we heard a skidding car squeal
And a thump. Us nosey kids always up for excitement ran
Like the clappers to the scene. A car askew, onlookers,
A crowd growing by the second and a boy lying still.
“Is he breathing?” “Call an ambulance?” “Any witnesses?”
Various shouts from different people, two kneeling down.
A folded coat for a pillow, a thumbs up: “He’s alive”.
Spontaneous applause and cheers as the boy’s eyes opened.
Step forward a teenager: “Here, give him a sip of this.”
“What? What the hell? Don’t be stupid. Take that bloody shandy
The hell out of here. The damn peelers will be on their way.”
Care, compassion, community spirit, kindness, anger, our world.
Back to our chasies, a bit miffed we missed the thrill of a death.

Saturday, 14 November 2020

A DOZEN QUESTIONS - 12 OF 12 - SPECIAL GUEST: BYDDI LEE

 


A DOZEN QUESTIONS - 12 OF 12

SPECIAL GUEST: BYDDI LEE

The Pivot Questionnaire comprises 10 questions. I have seen it used on the television show Inside The Actor's Studio, presented by James Lipton. Apparently Proust was the original inspiration. The modern questions originated on a French TV show called Bouillon de Culture, hosted by Bernard Pivot. I have expanded the questions to 12, and left room at the end for encouraging words.

This run of A Dozen Questions is by invitation only - 12 writers (of many) I admire. And then there's me at number 9!



Byddi Lee is the author of “Rejuvenation,” a speculative fiction trilogy, published by Castrum Press. She has published flash fiction, short stories and her novel, “March to November.” Byddi co-founded and manages Flash Fiction Armagh, shortlisted as Best Regular Spoken Word Night in the Saboteur Awards. She co-edits “The Bramley – An Anthology of Flash Fiction Armagh.” Along with two other members of the Armagh Theatre Group, Byddi co-wrote: “IMPACT – Armagh’s Train Disaster” which was staged for the anniversary of the tragedy in June 2019 in the Abbey Lane Theatre in Armagh. She co-wrote “Zoomeo & Juliet” and “Social Bubble, Toil & Trouble” – live plays performed on Zoom by the Armagh Theatre during the lockdown. Byddi is an Arts Council Northern Ireland supported writer.

Website: https://byddilee.com/

 

http://smarturl.it/RejuvenationOne

 

http://smarturl.it/RejuvenationTwo 

 

http://smarturl.it/RejuvenationThree

 

http://hyperurl.co/MarchToNovember

 

https://twitter.com/Byddi

(Book covers at the end.)


Byddi Lee's's Dozen Answers, and 

some encouraging words in conclusion.

 

Q: What is your favourite word? 

 

A: Plethora – I love it! It’s deceptive because I think it takes much longer to say than it looks. It has a plethora of syllables! 

 

Q: What is your least favourite word?

 

A: Apocalypse – For the exact opposite reason I like ‘plethora’ – it seems to lose syllables. I keep adding an extra ‘pop’ in after the ‘A’ and wind up having difficulty pronouncing it… 

 

Q: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? 

 

A: Nature and kindness… I love the colours of the sunrise and sunset. I love frosty mornings, and mist in the hollows of the fields, and a silvery full moon reflected on the ocean, and rainbows, and all that malarkey. But I also love watching people be good to one another in simple ways, like when a car stops to let another out. Or someone holds a door for another person, or the random compliment to a stranger… I love those little moments that sparkle in life.

 

Q: What turns you off? 

 

A: Cruelty, bullying, selfishness. It’s just simpler to be kind, isn’t it?

 

Q: What is your favourite song?  

A: Ennio Morricone’s ‘Gabriel's Oboe’ is my absolute favourite song ever, but I find it so emotive that I can hardly get through it without crying, so I tend to listen more often to the close runners up, Bon Jovi’s ‘Living On a Prayer’ and Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.

 

Q: What is your favourite film? 

 

A: Gone With the Wind has always been my first love movie-wise – I’m a bit embarrassed about that now. I fell in love with it as a child, focusing on the romance and the dresses and the feisty lead female, Scarlet O'Hara. But now I’m better educated, I understand the issues that people have with how it portrayed slavery, downplaying the injustice and cruelty that black people endured. Being a ‘product of its time’ is not an excuse, in my opinion, and now, I’d like to see it used as a discussion point to highlight white privilege and the power of story and truth in our real-world narrative.

 

Q: What is your favourite curse word? 

A: Feck! Because I feel I can get away with it even in ‘polite’ company (though apparently not in video calls when my friend’s seven-year-old is in the background - Oops my bad!) 


 

Q: What sound or noise do you love? 

 

A: Birdsong and bees buzzing when I’m working in the garden – it’s so life affirming and hopeful. It was especially comforting during lockdown this summer. 

 

Q: What sound or noise do you hate? 

 

A: The noise of the extractor fan in the kitchen. When it’s on full power it interferes with my brain! It seems to overload my sensory input and I can’t think straight so I kind of short circuit and can’t concentrate on making the dinner. Which is unfortunate because that's why the fan is on to begin with – vicious circle.  

 

Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

 

A:  I sometime wish I were a midwife or vet – or better still a midwife and a vet at the same time - just birthing baby animals. Imagine the cuddles!

 

Q: What profession would you not like to do? 

 

A: Traffic Warden. Either I’d be rubbish at it, 

‘“ah give him another five minutes, he’ll move then. Sure he’s not doing any harm. Just nipped into the shop for a wee minute.’ Or the power would go to my head and I’d be a complete jobs-worth and ticket anything that didn’t move! 

 

Q: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

 

A: You were right about heaven – it’s just like you imagined!

 

Q: Any words of encouragement for writers and writing?

 

A: Just write. Write anything. Keep writing. It’s a long journey and success is not measured by the number of books you have published or the number of awards you win, or the fan base you have… success is measured by the number of mornings you wake up with the urge to keep writing and then do.

 

******


Thank you Byddi for your dozen answers

and words of encouragement. 





















Friday, 13 November 2020

A DOZEN QUESTIONS - 11 OF 12 - SPECIAL GUEST: ZOE SIOBHAN HOWARTH-LOWE





A DOZEN QUESTIONS - 11 OF 12

SPECIAL GUEST: ZOE SIOBHAN HOWARTH-LOWE

The Pivot Questionnaire comprises 10 questions. I have seen it used on the television show Inside The Actor's Studio, presented by James Lipton. Apparently Proust was the original inspiration. The modern questions originated on a French TV show called Bouillon de Culture, hosted by Bernard Pivot. I have expanded the questions to 12, and left room at the end for encouraging words.

 

This run of A Dozen Questions is by invitation only - 12 writers (of many) I admire. And then there's me at number 9!


 

Zoë Siobhan Howarth-Lowe is a Poet and Mum from Dukinfield. She has an MA in Poetry from Bath Spa University. Her first pamphlet 'Love is the way bark grows' came out with Half Moon Books in June 2019 and her second 'I have grown two hearts' with Hedgehog Press in Autumn 2020. Her First Collection is forthcoming with Indigo Dreams in 2021.

Her work has appeared in Anthologies and Journals including For the Silent, Atrium, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Picaroon, Algebra of Owls, Bonnie's Crew and Here Comes Everyone.

 

Twitter: @ZSHowarthLowe

 

Website: www.zshowarthlowe.com


(Zoe's book covers at the end.)

 

Zoë Siobhan Howarth-Lowe’s Dozen Answers, and 

some encouraging words in conclusion.

 

Q: What is your favourite word? 

 

A: This is such a difficult question! one of my ultimate favourite words has to be 'Ruckle' (as in a wrinkle in a carpet) I just find it a delicious word to use. 

 

Q: What is your least favourite word?

 

A: Nice. 

It is such a cop out of a word, just a really boring, magnolia thing. I think the word 'nice' shows that the speaker doesn't really care as there are so many better more evocative words to choose from. It is just a bit lazy. 

 

Q: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? 

 

A: Movement, Trees, Dusk and Stillness. 

 

Q: What turns you off? 

 

A: Noisy, bustling crowds & taxidermy. 

 

Q: What is your favourite song? 

 

A: At the moment I keep playing Imagine Dragons, Believer. 

But I also love 'Leaves from the vine' from the animated show: Last Airbender. Its the lullaby I sing to my children. 

 

Q: What is your favourite film? 

 

A: I might have to be greedy here. I love Lilo & Stitch, Sense & Sensibility (with Alan Rickman as Col. Brandon) and the tv show Firefly. Firefly is just an amazing show, cowboys in space with such vivid characters. 

 

Q: What is your favourite curse word?  

 

A: I have never been a fan of curse words, I tend to go for alternatives. My most used has to be Smeg. 

 

Q: What sound or noise do you love? 

 

A: I love the sound of thunderstorms. I find the rain noise soothing.  

 

Q: What sound or noise do you hate? 

 

A: I love most animals, but one sound that I really don't like is the noise Peacocks make. I am not a fan of anything super loud or repetitive and I really hate the sound of people arguing. 

 

Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? 

 

A: I have worked in Administration and in a Library, both of which are jobs I loved. I am mainly tempted by jobs involving books and writing things down. I used to tell myself that if everything went wrong I'd run away and join the circus. I would love to be graceful enough for the trapeze but I do have a talent for clumsiness. 

 

Q: What profession would you not like to do? 

 

A: I would be hopeless at anything high stress or requiring any sort of authority. I have a tiny little mouse voice that I struggle to get my own children to listen to so I doubt I'll be signing up as a CEO or Town Crier anytime soon. 

 

Q: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

 

A: I think I would most relieved to even get an invite to the gates as I've always assumed I'm more of a fields of Asphodel, wandering soul type. I would love it if they just pointed me in the direction of the book corner. 

 

Q: Any words of encouragement for writers and writing?

 

A: The best advice I ever got was to aim for 100 rejections a year. Since I started chasing rejections I've been lucky enough to have so much work accepted. Give yourself permission to fall because it also gives you the freedom to soar. 

 

 

******

 

Thank you Zoe for your dozen answers

and words of encouragement.  













 

Thursday, 12 November 2020

A DOZEN QUESTIONS - 10 OF 12 - SPECIAL GUEST: ISABELLE KENYON




A DOZEN QUESTIONS - 10 OF 12

SPECIAL GUEST: ISABELLE KENYON

The Pivot Questionnaire comprises 10 questions. I have seen it used on the television show Inside The Actor's Studio, presented by James Lipton. Apparently Proust was the original inspiration. The modern questions originated on a French TV show called Bouillon de Culture, hosted by Bernard Pivot. I have expanded the questions to 12, and left room at the end for encouraging words.

This run of A Dozen Questions is by invitation only - 12 writers (of many) I admire. And then there's me at number 9!

(Personal note: Isabelle has done a few editing jobs on my work. She is supportive, efficient and very reasonable re fees. Highly recommended.)


Freelance Editor and Book Marketing Consultant

Managing Director of Fly on the Wall Press www.flyonthewall.co.uk


Isabelle Kenyon is a northern poet and the author of  chapbooks: This is not a Spectacle, Digging Holes To Another Continent (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, New York, 2018), Potential (Ghost City Press, 2019), Growing Pains (Indigo Dreams Publishing Ltd, 2020) and one short story with Wild Pressed Books (Short Story 'The Town Talks', 2020). She is the editor of Fly on the Wall Press, a socially conscious small press for chapbooks and anthologies.

 

Poetry Book Growing Pains: https://www.indigodreams.co.uk/isabelle-kenyon/4594877493

 

Short Story - The Town Talks: http://www.wildpressedbooks.com/the-town-talks.html

 

Poet Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/isabellekenyonpoetry/

 

Plus www.flyonthewallpress.co.uk


 Isabelle Kenyon's Dozen Answers, and 

some encouraging words in conclusion.

 

Q: What is your favourite word? 

 

A: Discombobulated! Almost identical in Italian which amused me even more. Scombussolata(feminine)

 

Q: What is your least favourite word?

 

A: Probably ‘nice’. It doesn’t have anything definitive about it. A vague, nondescript word!

 

Q: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? 

 

A: A: In a piece of writing, it might be two ideas working at the same time, so that the reader arrives at something surprising. In music, something which makes me want to dance! 

 

Q: What turns you off? 

 

A: People. No, I joke, kind of, creatively I’d say individuals who are against collaboration and fail to recognise the importance of that.

 

Q: What is your favourite song? 

 

A: I don’t think I could have just one – only 50 at least! Two Doors Down by Mystery Jets is a dance one, but I listen to a lot of latin and bachata-geared music.

 

Q: What is your favourite film? 

 

A: When Harry Met Sally – i’m sure it will never get old. 

 

Q: What is your favourite curse word? 

 

A: Numpty! Golden Northern word.

 

Q: What sound or noise do you love? 

 

A: My dog snoring is pretty funny, he has a big personality!

 

Q: What sound or noise do you hate? 

 

A: On a dog theme, he bites his ball and if he has been playing with it, it makes a squelchy saliva sound - disgusting. 

 

Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? 

 

A: I decided not to act anymore at 19, but maybe I’d go back to that! I think studying law could have worked for me, be a long one though...

 

Q: What profession would you not like to do? 

 

A: Boris Johnston’s coffee maker.

 

Q: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

 

A: “Would you like to see Maureen, Olga or Misty first?”

 

Q: Any words of encouragement for writers and writing?

 

A: There are no rules on motivation and when it will hit you, so be kind to yourself. 

Literary journals are super important if you want to have a book out in future – trust in their abilities to judge your work and then to lift it up 😊

******


Thank you Isabelle for your dozen answers

and words of encouragement.