Revenant Ego and the Ongoing Phone Saga

After a painstaking 18 months where my phone decided to play dead, trapping all my nonsensical jottings and poems, I took steps to try and revive it one way, and naturally and accidentally achieved this in quite the opposite way as if nothing had ever happened. Only when I openly admitted that I was ready to let it go did it come back to me. I want to proclaim that I killed my egotist, but I wouldn’t be so pleased if that were the case. I guess, to paraphrase the generational words of my appropriately ephemeral heroes, it all comes back in the end.

Now the pre-answered question arises of whether to edit these poems. Some were finished when they were sealed away from me in the ether (did they exist when they were inaccessible memory, both biological and technological? I can’t pretend to be philosopher enough to know); those completed poems (do not read ‘perfected’) are the snapshot of my trying to produce a snapshot of some moment, and I suppose that’s as human an experience as the intended moment itself or anything else that can be captured, and so I shall leave them as they are, as if they could be anything else anyway.

Now that I have grieved my vanity, buried my ego, and found them the same as ever, here is the first of my dead sea scrolls (O, dramas of personal technology), “Wounded Pride”.

Wounded Pride

You never saw the beauty in the sadness,
And with such pessimism you were missing out on a masterpiece;
That unfinished painting means more to me than you know.
You’re an unfinished sunset, fading into the canvas,
Blood drying on the brushes, the canvas stained in blushes,
Not committing to adrenaline rushes.
It was a barb that you never drew out.
And telling me to give up on that book was the rudest thing,
But I’m too proud to talk about it out loud.

Dissolved on other lips are kisses meant for you.
Weaving between scaffolding to escape,
Talking to my heroes and the devils we share;
Telling me to fall in love with something that can’t love you back in the slightest,
Because hopelessness never dies.
We’ve crooks to fit each other but,
We’re crooks and never lovers:
I pulled your fragile safety barriers down,
Without a home for you afterward,
But I’m too proud to talk about it out loud.

I get nervous of the silence at the end of the songs,
To think about everything I didn’t do and everything I did wrong.
I can’t listen to those songs again,
Without kicking myself,
And those words I sent your way,
Now live up on the shelf,
And echo in the corners of this room,
But I’m too proud to talk about it loud.


Possibly Evolving the Power of Speech

Let’s try something new, shall we? Like most things in my life, the original context to this is long-forgotten, and even if I remembered it, there is still a big chance it would make no sense.

Anyway, the story goes like this.

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine, and he challenged me to write a poem involving Venn diagrams. Heaven knows why we were talking about Venn diagrams, when we’re both biologists. Because of this, however, I also tried to write a poem with a biological theme throughout it. As a result, evolution crops up repeatedly, in an organismal sense, but also with respect to changing relationships, family, and attitudes.

So far, nothing’s new. Biology wordplay is something that I already churn out to my nearest and dearest; the bigger the groan at a forced pun, the better. However, as I was spinning this poem, it had a bit of a rhythm that I wanted people to hear; I wanted people to feel it the way I felt it.

This is my first attempt at anything like spoken word poetry. I had recorded it but, dear deities, it was too much to watch myself reading my own poetry. Nonetheless, I hope there’s enough structure and natural rhythm to guide the poem without needing me to recite it.

So here is “Venn Diagrams”.

Venn Diagrams

We were mindless, we were protozoan,
Until some wanderlust guppy said, “Fuck this, I’m going”, 
With no way of knowing all the trouble he’d cause,
Just an utterance, our brother since looking for more. 

So the options weren’t an option, no organism left behind,
We set forth and wandering, only brothers and sisters on our mind,
And a promise to steel us til we find,
One another and reunite.

But my brother left me, my blood is spread round the earth,
Millennia tick past, blood ties lose their worth,
When it all boils down tell me what’s worse:
That we’re all on our own, or that the loneliness hurts.

To be a lone lioness, with injured pride,
To ache for another on the inside,
It’s not a case of soulmates, it’s cellmates, seeking for my kindred,
mitochondria, my beating hearts that have long since been splintered,

And we’ve wintered wide apart but I’ll make sure that we recover,
Throw our hearts together until we become each other,
It’s human nature, it’s nature’s nature preying on another,
And changing only like before a lover.

I wonder if the worries are even worth the while,
Of whiling away time just to try and find a smile,
That slightly mirrors mine after however many miles,
Will they recognise their home after all these trials?

I’ve been on dates, each one the same, in spite of my decaying,
When did carbon copies become carbon dating?
When did the sake of romance become forsaken,
And when was the sole use of love just to have the piss taken?

I’ve been mistaken, take for granted now I know we’re not the same,
But to be one in a million seems a shame,
Instead let me be your centurion, recognise my name,
In a list of lovers taken for the sake of playing games.

Individuality is critical, it’s key,
We’ve evolved too far to just be,
So let’s be complicated, and complement whatever family,
We choose to adopt and embrace and sew into our tree.

Cause it’s a tapestry, it changes, and I’ve changed my plan,
All that I can ask is to meet mine again,
And when we come together, with my spent diaphragm,
I say, “Let’s just lie like Venn diagrams”


Ghosts, Jealousy, Dreaming, More Synonyms

Here’s something else from the archives of the computer, in a folder I don’t often go to. Something of a word dump to get things out of my brain at the time. Usually I’m a stickler for structured poems rather than disjointed images, but those disjointed images slapping you in the face is how emotions happen. This isn’t an attempt to work through something, but a snapshot of something; just an expression in all its rawness. This is jealousy, and “The Ghosts of Who I Want to Be”.

The Ghosts of Who I Want to Be

I feel the ghosts of who I want to be scratching at the back of my eyes,
and my every mistake drifts sidewise through me.

The guilt sits pregnant on my gag reflex, and I’d spill my guts before I swallow another missed opportunity.

My skin pricks in ways only extinct passions create, and I imagine succubi with younger lovers now,
Basking in jealousy that takes me half way to an orgasm of discomfort.

Welcome draughts wander in to whisper bittersweet nothings,
And convince me I’m less alone than I need to be.

My jaw aches from biting my tongue, and I drift off to dreams where I can pretend I was biting hers…

Returning to the Wandering Road

Hello, world!


Doing the science! Climbing trees, trying to find the lemurs.

I have just returned from five months in the wild. Well, five months in Madagascar. It was the furthest I’ve ever been removed from the life I know. Actually off-grid for big chunks, though partly self-imposed. It’s been an experience, a test, and one of my biggest adventures. Anything that wasn’t an amazing experience at the time became a hilarious story once it was over. Many absurd stories.

Also, it was with a bunch of absolute nutters, which is always a huge bonus.

By coincidence, I just found a poem I had written a year ago (53 weeks, to be exact), when I had similarly returned from an adventure and was looking to the future and bigger things to come. I don’t really remember writing it, but it’s certainly a poem that still resonates with my feelings a year on. I’ll share the poems I wrote out in Madagascar, but for now this is one that’s just as relevant.

Every line or couplet holds a significance that captures a certain interpretation of the poem, and using one for a title would possibly divert away from other layers, so I’ll just be using the first line for now.

It’s a Roman road,
Going straight and narrow.
Feels like broken bones,
Flying like an arrow.
If roads lead to Rome,
But it feels like bad aim,
It’s not going home,
Only going insane.

I’ve an altered gait,
Means I’m prone to wander,
Altering the straight,
Heading straight o’er yonder.
Home is where I’ll end,
Though I’ll journey prior,
Making arrows bend,
True enough when fired.

Roads for queens and kings,
Straight and with intention.
Puppets on their strings,
Bound to never question.
Curious as cats,
Driven on by query,
I will hang my hat,
When resolved and weary.

Make Your Heart At Home This Holiday

It’s Christmas time! Time to love one another, as always, but also to love yourself and be happy – also always, but many people need a nudge for that one too. Here’s a poem that was written for the people needing just a bit of love to feel good about themselves, and a suggestion that such love can come from yourself. So, friends, “Make Your Heart At Home” and make yourselves happy. Happy holidays.

Make Your Heart At Home

The home is where the heart is,
Your heart is in your self,
So make yourself at home,
And make yourself at health.
Be kind to your own body,
Your skin deep to your bones,
And love yourself quite wholly,
And make your heart at home.

For home’s the only place,
To be just as you are,

Where you don’t need directions,
Nor need you travel far.
So make your home accepting,
And give yourself a rest,
Please know and love your home and heart,
And know, Love, you are blessed.

Celestial Bodies and Termite Mounds

There are two types of writing. Sometimes you’ve got to labour away at something and force it out, and other times the idea forces itself out of you, and all you had to do is put pen to paper. As Sarah Kay charmingly describes it, writing a poem is like pooping; if it’s in you, it has to come out, whether it’s easy or difficult.

Free-writing has been brought to my attention on several occasions recently, and I found myself increasingly appreciating the idea of the technique. Writing without thinking for a period of time will inevitably spout the words of your subconscious. But then, all my early poems tended to be similar to a first draft of free verse. Uneducated technique aside, there was something in those poems that relieved me. Clearly, writing to write was doing something.

In addition to being a useful way of siphoning through one’s foremost thoughts to important things underneath, free-writing is a great way to pour out everything in your head about a certain topic. This is particularly true when a theme for a piece of writing is floating around; it creates a mass of words, phrases, images, and essentially the building blocks with which to construct a poem.

When I was in Namibia, the full moon and Milky Way was so bright that you could walk through the night without any artificial light and find your way. In fact, I stayed in a place with such little light pollution that shooting stars became a common occurrence to me. When these two realities coincided on the same night, I threw myself upon a termite mound at 10PM, opened up my notebook, and poured out my heart. I’ve since decided that it was this bad idea that led to me needing glasses, but who knows!

The result came out like free verse. However, there was a beginning to my thoughts, a middle, and an end, and some solid themes. Shortly after, I re-wrote that mass of words and ideas into this poem that I’ll share with you. This second version had a more structured approach, an iambic rhythm, and ABABB rhyming scheme, but still flowed relatively easily from me. I never wrote it up as I assumed I would edit it, but I haven’t done so because it’s a snapshot of my thoughts at that time. It seems that it was something I felt deeply, though perhaps consciously tried to avoid. Anyhow, this poem is called “This Shooting Star”. Hope you enjoy.

This Shooting Star

My heart is lost amid the night,
As every star must soon depart,
For love does fly when borne so light,
When fishing deep among the stars,
Oh woe, my sorry, senseless heart.

The darkness now is not so deep,
Tonight my shadow bears no harm,
This sleeping scape I beg will keep,
For if the third time has its charm,
I’d wish upon this shooting star.

Desires have died where nothing grew,
But here the flowers grow from storms,
Therefore tonight I dream anew,
Of sleeping ‘til my own new dawn,
When both my days and heart are warm.

I beg these sentinels take heed,
As, falling, now my heart is found,
And open to my lonely need:
To catch it as it plummets down,
Before it dies upon the ground.

Indulge me, will my tree not bloom?
My sorry heart have gladness known?
My only friend remain the moon,
Who followed me here, far from home,
Pretending he too is alone?

His kind and kin nearby reside,
Some old have cleaned themselves, I see,
Though new have pushed them far aside,
This hardened, wary company,
But still my old friend welcomes me.

His wintercoat welcomes my words,
And smile illuminates my page.
I bleed the while he grants me nerve,
He reads for pleasure all my pain,
Then fades ‘til I can’t read again.

So grant me that my tree may bloom,
If ink and blood may fuel this heart,
Indulge me, my old friend, the moon,
And heed what can’t these deafest stars,
Let not this be the way we part.

I know dreams must away with light,
And though I know I’d hold her fast,
I’d let her go as ends the night,
For nothing good can truly last,
So at that time, I’ll let her pass.

But cruel clouds rise to join the moon,
Eclipsing him and all his light.
I know he will return quite soon,
And this he will with all his fight.
Until then, there is only night.

A star can only fall so far,
‘til it cannot be seen at all,
And disappears into the dark,
To live on, hushed, invisible,
So how far then can my heart fall?