Donald J. Trump: My Part in his Downfall (update)

I have been inspired to update my previous blog Donald J Trump: My Part in his Downfall by three events.

Firstly, there has been an actual update in relation to the Poets Against Trump anthology which took two of my poems, both of which were reproduced in my previous blog Donald J Trump: My Part in his Downfall.

I previously advised that the anthology was online only and provided you with this link https://sendwinenow.co.uk/poetsagainsttrump to access it.

Since November, however, it has been available as a rather glossy paper publication. If you are interested in getting your own copy you would have to order it through Amazon (£11.99)

As you can see from the photographs included here it is a colourful and bright coffee table type volume. As there weren’t sufficient funds to provide contributor copies I had to put my hand in my pocket to get my own but I don’t regret it. The illustrations by Billy Nomad, which appear throughout the book, reward the purchase and I’m told any profit made will be donated to an animal charity. 

rear cover

The second inspiration for this update arose from the continuing dispute of the election outcome by the defeated Trump, exemplified by the revelatory recording of an hour-long telephone call he made to the Georgia secretary of state a few days ago, which confirmed the gangster-ish techniques to which he was prepared to stoop in his efforts to hold onto power following his defeat in the most secure election in American history. 

However, before I got round to putting pen to paper, his refusal to accept defeat was on 6th January 2021 taken to another, even more drastic, level. Like me, you will have watched incredulously the coverage on all media of the Storming of the Capitol. This was my third and final inspiration to compose this blog post.

I am shocked, yet in another way not shocked, by this escalation and consider it appropriate to do three things in response.

Firstly, to remind you that the Poets Against Trump anthology can be referenced or downloaded as a PDF at no cost using the link in the third paragraph of this post.

Secondly, to publicise the paper version of the anthology, and how to get it (paragraph 4 above).

Thirdly, and finally, to go one step beyond that and publish below the poem I withdrew from publication in the anthology. By all means take a look at the two poems which I allowed to be included which might be regarded as somewhat subtler, especially in comparison to those by the other poets who contributed.

Then, if so inclined, feast your eyes on the somewhat rougher and more controversial piece below which was originally accepted for publication in Poets Against Trump but withdrawn by me, partly because it was slightly crude in its content, partly because I included within it a serious allegation made in other publications that P45 (should that be Pee 45?) was compromised by his behaviour on a visit to Russia some years ago. 

And, if it isn’t obvious already, the reason for my change of heart is this. Whether or not he was compromised as alleged, whether or not he acted at the behest of Putin, he most certainly has assaulted democracy and caused division and chaos in the most powerful country in the western world.

He has certainly done everything he could to render the transition of power to President-elect Biden as problematic as possible, and Putin is sure to be delighted in any case to see the nation so divided.

Accordingly, in my opinion he deserves this low-quality poem from my pen as well as all the other ‘tributes’ to him which appear in Poets Against Trump.

Vladimir’s Latest Purchase (Allegedly)
 
 I bought a present for myself today
 - the President of the US of A
 He isn’t perfect but he’s lots of fun
 and useful for some things that I need done
 He’ll say whatever I want him to say
 
 I taught him to call Europe his foe
 and threaten withdrawal from NATO
 He called Kim little rocket man
 and I’ve got him in my pocket. Man,
 he’ll go wherever I want him to go
 
 How much did he cost? ’you having a laugh!
 Just a compromising photograph,
 an HD video of special sorts
 featuring non-Olympic water sports
 and an item bearing his autograph 
 (Allegedly)

Advent Blog Day 23: Writing – as opposed to writing

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A few years ago I was fortunate enough to stop working for ‘the man’ (a local authority actually) and, amongst other things, was able to renew my on-off affair with writing. I won’t give you too much detail about that affair, which at times was pretty sordid.

Hoping this will be useful to someone reading this I want to select just one negative and one positive from my experience of office work and management, in relation to transitioning to the world of writing, or creativity in general.

So that I can end on a positive, I’ll start with the negative example.

For many years I worked in an office environment and got plenty of practice of formal writing. Written court pleadings, contracts, conveyancing and ultimately ‘house style’ management and Council reports. Pages full of ‘management speak’, persuasive words to articulate and support the wishes of politicians, to explain staff reductions, cost savings, how we may learn with fewer staff to work ‘smarter’ etc., sometimes demonstrating the ability to justify one side or another, depending what employers or clients required. I’m sure you get the picture without me boring you with further explanation.

Having spent so many years doing this, having only gone to a writers’ group for a few months back in the 90s, my brain had got into a non-intuitive mode where ‘telling’ invariably overtook ‘showing’. As a result, when I did become free to write whatever I wanted, I found it difficult to do so in an attractive creative way. I reckon it took me three to four years to re-train my brain and start writing anything that was worthy of submitting for publication.

Photo by Digital Buggu on Pexels.com

Now the good news!

While the creative area of the brain had to be muscle-trained to write more attractively, the complex problem-solving part was well-developed over the years. I learned that there was such an area of the brain through my experience at work. As I got more responsibility the technical problems I faced increased exponentially. I sometimes found myself spending many hours on an issue, exploring it from every angle, but failing to find a solution until I put the file away for a few days and focused on something else. Then, unexpectedly, a resolution of the insoluble problem would start to form in my mind. 

Although unexpected, this was not in any sense ‘out of the blue’. The three necessary elements were: (1) the work that I had done analysing the problem in detail; (2) the area of the brain which I now know to be called the prefrontal cortex which works even when we are not consciously thinking about our problem; and (3) the anterior cingulate cortex which assesses potential solutions and determines whether they are successful.

And guess what! I have found this works for me with creative writing. Some of you may not associate creative writing, especially poetry which is my main interest, with solving complex problems but others of you will understand immediately. For example, having an idea of what you want to say but having to find an effective and original approach which will land a punch or touch gently or please intellectually or artistically – or ideally do more than one of these things – is a challenge if you wish to remain true to your art. 

Sometimes you may feel exhausted to the point of giving up on what you are writing (or indeed completing whatever type of artistic work is yours). If you have worked hard, tried and re-tried, but still apparently failed, it may be that you do have to give up, but only for a little while. 

If the work does have a potential successful outcome there is a very good chance it will come to you when you are doing something else. I base that view partly on my own experience (in creative writing, as well as formal writing) but also on the functionality of these areas of the human brain, as described above.

All I can say is – try it for yourself and I wish you great success!

Advent Day 22: Obstacles

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Broken Washing Machine, Late Receipt of Christmas Card Order, An Unexpected Visit, Winter Warmer. 

These are not new poem titles but four actual happenings which I could claim prevented me from writing a blog today. Obstacles. Excuses, if you will.

Over time I have learned that apparent obstacles are often about whether your attitude or inclination is positive or negative. Are they something you stare at with despair accepting them as signals you should turn back? Or are these things over which you find a way to climb, things you try to overcome, with the possibility of bringing a smile of achievement to your face?

On a short post such as this there is no time nor any desire on my part to make a detailed analysis of how to deal with obstacles, so I’ll just use these four issues of an everyday nature to illustrate the point in a straightforward way. 

Each of these situations by itself would operate as a distraction which I could blame for a failure to post my blog. The fact that four did in fact occur on the same day would, in some views, absolve me entirely and give me a free pass.

To convince you of the time-consuming potential of the four setbacks, I’ll provide a bit more detail.

Situation 1. On the last two occasions I washed a load of laundry, the spin cycle did not work and I was left with a wet load for the tumble dryer. I do have a maintenance agreement but, before booking a repair, you must follow certain troubleshooting steps to check whether the washing machine can be fixed by the owner before calling out an engineer. This is particularly important because there is a strain on technician resources at present and a repair booking may not be available at an early date. I started to foresee the Festive Season as a probable laundry pile-up period

Situation 2. This year I decided to order 40 Christmas cards directly from a charity I support, and sent an order and cheque to the Freepost address of the supplier on 21 November. The cards finally arrived yesterday afternoon, a full calendar month later, just as I was going out shopping.

Situation 3. In the early part of today I had many other routine things to attend to and when I got those out of the way, I had decided to have a shower before tackling Situations 1 and 2. Just then the door bell sounded. Thinking it was just a parcel delivery, I went to the front door in my Covid leisure wear (Pullover and PJ bottoms). To my embarrassment it was an unexpected visitor with a Christmas gift. She asked if she’d got me out of bed. I had to ask her to wait for a moment outside of the house because Covid rules meant I could not ask her in. I quickly got changed, tidied myself up a little then joined her outside for a chat. Given her generosity it was incumbent on me to give her my time which I was more than happy to do.

Situation 4. I had booked a Zoom ticket for a special Cheltenham Poetry Festival Zoom Event called Winter Warmer with a number of poetry and musical contributions, and John Hegley as the Featured Poet.

Situation 3, as you will have noted, sorted itself out at the expense of a bit of embarrassment and some time. Having a proper chat and catch-up was the right thing to do and we both enjoyed it, but it did eat into the time available to accomplish the other matters.

You’re probably thinking I should have given the Zoom Event a miss to take the pressure off but I decided that would only happen as a last resort.

Instead I just focused and took the proverbial bulls by the horns, telling myself to relax and everything would work out fine.

Situation 1 resolved itself fairly quickly. It did not take long to find that the necessary repair to my washing machine could not be done except by a trained engineer. I went through the booking system and arranged the repair for Christmas Eve.

Situation 2 was more time-consuming. I just had to knuckle down and write out the Christmas Cards as efficiently as I could, take some to the Post Office and deliver a few locally, getting back home just five minutes before the Zoom Event was due to start. 

Situation 4. I joined the Zoom Poetry Event on time but with the video off so that I could complete a few other tasks and get changed into an Elf costume (don’t ask!) before being seen.

So all the situations were dealt with, the perceived obstacles were overcome. I felt happy and satisfied at the end of it all. 

I offered myself no excuses, and ended up enjoying all of the experiences which had felt like obstacles.

That is also why I’m writing this post very late!

Advent Day 21: The Great Conjunction

 

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Today has many significances. 

It is Solstice Day. It is the shortest day, the day of least light.

It is the 32nd Anniversary of Britain’s most deadly terrorist incident, the tragic on-board explosion which claimed the lives of all the passengers and crew of Pan Am Flight 103 and eleven people on the ground in Lockerbie, a total of 270 human beings.

It is also a time in ancient and more recent religions and philosophies when we say goodbye to darkness and think ahead to increasing light, hopefully increased enlightenment and optimism too. 

This year and this evening we are allowed to witness the planetary wonder of the Great Conjunction when the solar system’s two largest planets come so close in the night sky (from an earthly point of perspective) that they appear to be one large bright heavenly star.

Depending who you listen to, this last happened about four hundred or eight hundred years ago. From what I have heard it happens in a less dramatic way every twenty years. However, given the year we have all experienced, it does not seem appropriate to say anything to take the shine off this special astronomical occasion. If you are in a location where you can see it clearly, enjoy this phenomenon, perhaps view it as a beacon in the lead up to Christmas and a hopeful torch as we approach the unknown of a New Year.

With that thought in mind, I’ll leave you with a poem I wrote about a series of lunar events which manifested between December 2017 and January 2018. It appeared in an online magazine Until the Stars Burn Out in September 2018.

Supermoon Trilogy (3rd December 2017 to 31st January 2018)

is it ominously awesome, this repeated perigee?

uncommon perhaps but purely astronomical?

signifying foreboding or even miracle?

spanning the death of one year

of the next its birth though 

how often this on earth

occurs I do not know

or even pretend

to begin to 

know

so

is it history?

a supermoon once

then a supermoon twice

the moon appearing of extra size

during the bimester thrice seeming to grow

with fulsome lucence in winter skies spell-casting 

her fluence over Advent, Hanukkah, Solstice 

and Christmas, visiting the New Year 

a wolf supermoon rampant before 

and blue blood supermoon 

rising far beyond

Epiphany

so 

does it 

a mystery

disclose that 

when revisiting she 

with constant hypnotic 

glows upstages pyrotechnic 

show-off meteor shower shows?

instead of seeking portents in the sky

which some would label lunacy let us for now

declare in time of gloom enlightenment is truly rare

be it mind or heart or supermoon, welcome every steady beam

Advent Blog Day 20: Please Support Talent and Hard Work

Whoever would consider beginning advent blogs on Day 20? – Yes, me!

Okay, there’s many reasons for this, one of those being the prediction I made several weeks ago in my blog Dance Jealousy, that someone in Strictly called Jamie, previously unknown to me, would not last long in the contest. Week after week I was proved wrong. He made it to the Final!

I had to know the outcome of that Final – and see how embarrassed I could possibly be – before composing this post.

The Final took place yesterday with four celebrities remaining. Frankly I was a little conflicted. For me the winner should have been Maisie or HRVY, though my third choice Bill Bailey (the eventual winner) was partnered by my favourite professional, Oti Mabuse.

Jamie (Laing) made it to the final but, in my humble opinion, was easily outshone by the other three finalists, so not too embarrassing for me. Okay, that’s the last about dancing for a while!

There have been lots of other things happening in my little world during the last few weeks when I have not been posting. Some of these are very personal and will not be disclosed, but others will appear in Advent posts 1 to 19 which will pop up in rapid random fashion between now and Christmas alongside the posts appropriate to days 21 to 25 of December.

At this late stage it will be a demanding task to do all of this in such a short period of time but I have been inspired by recent examples of others working so much harder than I do, to put together things quickly and efficiently when a job has to be done. There are many instances but the following are three December examples that spring immediately to mind. 

Mark McGhee (Mark Mywords) ‘buildin’ a hing’ with You Call That Radio and putting together a live Covid-safe ‘Christmas at Captureworks Show‘ brimming with entertainment from 3pm till late on 19 December. He did this while continuing to fill almost every other night with YCTR live broadcasts on YouTube featuring a broad range of guests and a wide array of subject matter. Find him on Facebook, subscribe to the YCTR YouTube channel and if you’re impressed, consider donating on PayPal or becoming a patreon.

Jack Caradoc of Dreich (https://hybriddreich.co.uk) publishing , calling out for and selecting submissions for four themed Chapbook anthologies of poetry with super efficiency during a period of only two weeks, simultaneously getting on with other publications.

Damien B. Donnelly putting together his Christmas ‘Eat The Storms‘ podcast with a very large number of contributing poets, and some musicians, whose pre-recorded contributions were blended and edited skilfully along with Damien’s words into a very satisfying final product. 

So, shame on me if I fail to put in the hard work to put together another 24 blogposts in the next four days or so!

Final words on this little post are very straightforward. Forget anything I have said about Strictly. The BBC are well able to look after themselves. Instead I strongly recommend that you support the three parties I have highlighted above for their current contributions to cultural life and entertainment in the year 2020. 

And wish me luck with putting together another 24 posts in four or five days!

Review: Venus in Pink Marble by Gaynor Kane (published by Hedgehog Poetry Press)

 

I am glad I delayed writing this review. When I first received a copy of this poetry collection a few weeks ago I dipped in and out of it, savouring individual poems for themselves, not attempting to take in the effect of the whole collection. On a more recent day I sat down and read the work cover to cover, while taking the occasional break to read a Novella in Flash (of which I shall post a review shortly). That’s just the way my brain sometimes works! The delay however has made me appreciate Venus more.

I had already viewed a couple of videos and attended a number of online events in which Gaynor Kane read poems from this collection before I decided to purchase a copy, and having now seen the entire context on paper I realise that there is even more to her work than these recitations promised. Venus in Pink Marble is a substantial collection containing 61 poems covering a breadth of subject matter which work well and sit well alongside each other. 

Although it comes relatively early in her poetry career, this publication feels like an attempt to set down an opus for future reference, a work which will reward study by others. For the author, it must give a sense of satisfaction that she has succeeded in including so much she wanted to document and opine.

As well as the warmth and humanity infusing many of the poems, there is research and authenticity in those which portray technical matter or historical episodes. There are word lists and word pictures which take the reader with ease of authority to a period or a place. Many of these are poems to inhabit or at least to visit frequently. There are stories of people, notable, mythical and everyday but all are given equal care in Gaynor’s skilful hands. 

In order to encompass the broad subject matter the collection is divided into three sections – The Lock, Letter to Me and A Life Drawn

It is invidious, and would anyway take too long, to select particular poems for praise, especially as I keep spotting ‘new favourites’ when re-reading. Some of your favourites will differ from mine in such a varied selection. However, in an attempt to give a flavour, I shall pick a couple of examples from each section.

From Section 1, Dead Short on the System, Belfast, 1923, just four stanzas long, recounts the story of a rat chewing through power station cables bringing trams to a halt throughout the city. Some of the text suggests a nervous humour about the incident but the killer words are found in verse two –

Those tram-trapped, fear the curfew more than the rain

Whereas most of us would think about the inconvenience of getting home on a New Year’s night that was ‘dark, damp and sticky like a new born’, in the midst of a civil war other considerations apply.

Also from Section 1, From Benin to Belfast sets out a quite unique perspective and is a remarkable and original piece of work which took my breath away on first reading. I still get a chill when the ‘ivory masks’ to which we are introduced in Benin (modern Nigeria), having travelled the bloody way of Imperialism, in another form are represented in a Belfast church in troubled times. The significance of the word mask and the colours ivory and red in this piece, which I see was long listed in the 2018 Pendle War Poetry Competition, create themes holding together a work which otherwise may have had to be explored in three separate poems. 

From Section 2, the poet’s more personal pieces, I have picked The first time I saw him cry and Polyester. 

The first time I saw him cry – a title which is a narrative in itself. In less skilful hands this might have been a cheap effort, building the image of a strong male just to describe his vulnerability. Instead, it is a matter-of-fact telling of receiving news of loss within the context of everyday events. It is made all the more authentic from its accurate placing in an earlier time when telephone landlines were not universal, mobile phones non-existent, and there was great dependence on public transport and walking.  Told from the point of view of a child hearing one side of a conversation, nothing is said within the text of the poem about her father crying but only implied in his curt imparting of sad news to her.

Polyester is a Christmas-related story of near-tragedy prevented by the quick-thinking and actions of a mother. Like The first time I saw him cry this poem is written in first person from a child’s point of view and I assume it is autobiographical. The first stanza lulls the reader into a cosy state ‘Slippered…/feeling the glow’ but the second stanza travels from ‘drowning in heat, like a Christmas /pudding drenched in brandy’ to ‘fire /licking my hair, hugging my back’. By the end of the third verse the child is rolled in a saving mat and, referring to earlier metaphors, ‘brandy-snapped and smoke-smothered’.

The poem concludes with a calm Christmas morning, almost as if nothing untoward had happened, but presents include a replacement dressing gown of cotton rather than the flammable material.

From Section 3, relating to art, I have selected A Life Drawn and The Vampire of Lazaretto Vecchio.

A Life Drawn is inspired by the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition – A Life in Drawing and is told from the perspective of a naked artist’s model, standing still in a room in a man’s world kept cold deliberately, being exposed to an artist kept warm by ‘tunic, robes, headscarves’. Her position is due to poverty, lack of opportunity and necessity rather than choice. He does not appear to acknowledge her living humanity –

Our eyes do not meet. He inhales me.

The Vampire of Lazaretto Vecchio is an exercise in beautiful expression, tenderly cadenced, expressive poetry with a Gothic quality which suits the subject matter. It is a joy to read and re-read and I am delighted that the poet was able to achieve this atmospheric work, inspired as her Notes reveal by hearing the story of the discovery of a skeleton with a brick lodged in its mouth on an Italian plague island. Just a couple of extracts here (from verses one and three) to provide a sense of the quality of description –

……sailing to the sanatorium

in the white boat. White for the uncontaminated

the blessed and clean.

Rancid heat retreats at dusk, the sick wards weep

like religious statues, infecting the air with howls for help.

At the end of this review, it will come as no surprise to you that I recommend this work without reservation. If I was the sort to indulge in puns I might call it a Venus in Pink Marble-ous first full collection.

Instead I’ll just say there’s still time before Christmas to secure your copy as a gift for you or someone you know who appreciates honest and skilful writing. For your copy go to Gaynor Kane at http://gaynorkane.com/bookstore

11.11.2020: different kinds of Remembrance

November is a month which has a special significance for many people. It is also a time of contrasts – thoughts of those lost to us often take place in rooms infused with exceptional light, of a quality seen at no other time of the year.

The following poem is a Tanka, the shortest of my four contributions to Words from Battlefield – an anthology featuring exceptional poet A.C.Clarke – launched on 24 October 2020.

For some, remembrance relates more to matters of war. This year the focus has been mainly on World War 2 but I am going to finish off with a poem which relates to one of the horrific battles of the First World War. The message is the same. This was one of my contributions to the 2018 Dove Tales Anthology A Kind of Stupidity and is also featured on the Dove Tales Scotland website.

memorial (passchendaele 100)
 
 bugle notes intone
 the hundred millionth earthly post 
 
 commemorating
 how easily 
 men who would not wish to 
 be enemies
 become
 cannon fodder
 in the cause of power
 
 muddied and bloodied and mostly youthful 
 conscripted or seduced by words untruthful 
 lambs slaughtering lambs as they are slaughtered
 all as ordered, all as ordered 
 
 dignitaries come
 from ivory towers
 
 commemorating 
 hundreds of 
 thousands of mud-swamped 
 casualties 
 sacrificed a hundred days under boot 
 as trade for five miles 
 so-called advancing 
 
 muddied and bloodied and mostly youthful 
 conscripted or seduced by words untruthful 
 lambs slaughtering lambs as they are slaughtered
 all as ordered, all as ordered 
 
 inherited wealth
 and ceremonial garb
 
 commemorating 
 loss lest we forget,
 always knowing 
 that those who govern 
 will once again choose 
 the farce of war
 as the way forward  
 
 standing by the latest of a hundred million wreaths
 into the horn the solemn bugler breathes
 what is nevertheless 
 never the last
 post

Awful Audio-Visual

Pre-Pandemic I was one of many poets, and a fair number of prose-writers, who enjoyed performing work to a live audience. I even had the gall to think I was fairly proficient at it. I’m now putting that down to the generosity and common feeling of others in the writing community who appreciate how hard it can be to expose yourself in that way. 

Since the Pandemic Zoom boom and my taking part in written/spoken word events by this medium, I have become more self-conscious and self-critical. Hearing and seeing myself back in some of these events has been revealing and made me question whether I even have the capacity to step up my game.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Though I haven’t yet pursued this option (and probably won’t) I seriously considered getting a voice coach or tips on controlling one’s facial expressions during video presentations.

At the other extreme, the simple solution would be to restrict myself to the page, safe from potentially awful audio-visual. However, it appears to be the reality that, unless one is already a well-read writer with a large and loyal following, there appears to be only one way at the moment to promote new literary work.

So, here I am; continuing to brave the lesser-known cyber-byways, trying to convince myself that it will all come across okay.

Currently, I am involved in two Soundwalk Projects, which at least avoid the visual aspect of performance.

The first of these is a Langside, Glasgow Soundwalk project featuring the untold stories of some locals involved in World War 2. Many of these, including my own What Doesn’t Go in the Letter, are pieces of Creative Non-Fiction (Prose or Poetry). This Soundwalk can be experienced on location at Langside or can be accessed from anywhere via this link https://www.guidigo.com/Web/Langside-Walk–Untold-Stories-from-WWII/gt0rISHO_LA/Stop/1/Welcome-to-Our-Tour

My prose piece is the third contribution at Stop 21 of the walk (introduced at 5 minutes, 44 seconds in).

I understand this will be available for a limited time but am not sure how long.

However the second project to which I contributed, the Grenfell Soundwalk, is a permanent installation. I provide a link here which gives some information, including a list of the contributing poets and brief biography Giovanna Iorio, the sound artist commissioned to complete the installation. Unfortunately the audio from this installation is geolocated so that it can only be accessed by visiting the relevant location.

https://explore.echoes.xyz/collections/R551kid3kYG3Ex4k

In these circumstances, I’ll finish off this blog post with the text of my poem Carnival as it appears in Poems for Grenfell Tower (The Onslaught Press)

(Note: the Notting Hill Carnival is celebrated in late August on the streets of the London Borough which includes the site of Grenfell Tower. In 2017, just two months after the tragic fire, the organisers of the 51st Carnival decided to proceed but held a respectful minute’s silence on both days of the event)
Carnival
 

 Enjoy but
 

 samba slower
 

 passing the Tower
 

 Briefly remember when 
 softly beating samba drum 
 not the crematorium become
 but the wretchedness of this destroying
 the lost and damaged, all deserving more
 

 Black box skeleton looms
 (no more photos please today) 
 charcoal-sketched into multi-grey 
 darkly-etched against the blue of summer  
 contrasting with your brightness and colour
 

 When a festival 
 becomes a tribute
 on an out-of-season
 dia de los meurtos
 

 just samba slower
 

 past the Tower
 

 samba slower

Donald J Trump: My Part in his Downfall

Now that the Vice-President has been declared President Elect and the Fake-Tan President of Vice has been found wanting and given his marching orders, thereby becoming President Evicted, I think the time is right.

Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

Modesty forbids… well it almost forbids, but not quite.

I am going to go ahead and own up to the significant contribution this little-known poet from a small country made in bringing down the most powerful man in the world. Personally, I’m not the sort to boast but I’m just telling you that’s what ‘some people’ are saying. And they are ‘very good people, the best, very bright people I’m told’.

You probably heard P45 (just before he got his P45) declaring his puzzlement that at one stage he was in the lead, then later ‘magically’ there appeared all these votes for his opponent.

I can now reveal the inspiration for those additional votes. It was to be found in a poetry ebook , readily available free of charge online, to anyone who wished to flick through its virtual pages. Two of my little poems lurk within its digital covers.

The ebook was put together by Stephanie Lunn, a wine writer who, with Billy Nomad as illustrator, launched Poems Against Trump before the 2020 election in a bid to defeat potential fascism in the US of A.

In the Year of Plague it would appear her efforts have contributed towards removing the Orange Plague and hopefully, in 2021 and beyond, this will also lead more quickly towards the prioritisation of Coronavirus control, Healthcare in the United States and that other plague upon the earth, Climate Change. With a little bit of Irish luck it might also have a positive impact on Brexit, particularly in relation to the GFA, Internal Market Bill etc.

It truly is amazing what a little free ebook can do. Indeed Democrats could have saved so much campaign money by just promoting this book!

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

If you currently have an image of me with tongue in cheek boosting my part in all this, that would not be far from true. Indeed, if you go to this link, https://sendwinenow.co.uk/poetsagainsttrump where you can peruse or download the whole volume, you will notice that the other contributions are much more hard-hitting than mine. I guess it’s not my style to use such direct language. In fact I was so cowardly that I withdrew permission to print a poem I originally submitted titled Vladimir’s Latest Purchase (Allegedly). I quickly wrote and sent Trompe-l’oeil as a replacement.

For ease of reference I’ll finish this blog post with my two poems from the ebook. The first was written prior to Trump’s first visit to the UK as POTUS. At the time there were demonstrations against the visit taking place but I thought it was best to allow him to be seen for what he is. Swallow was first published in online zine I am not a silent poet.

Swallow
 
 Allow this man 
 and others of his kind
 to visit this land of yours and mine
 if that’s what they really want
 
 When they arrive
 we shall carry our children and grandchildren
 aloft upon our shoulders so they can see for themselves
 that these people look deceptively like us 
 generally human in appearance 
 
 And when they speak
 our offspring will hear the sound snakes make 
 to sanitise their decisions and the steps they take  
 in the name of narcissistic whim or profit
 regardless of impact on people or planet
 
 Our precious ones
 will this way learn
 whom to avoid 
 whom to distrust
 whom they must 
 not allow themselves to become
 
 Allowing 
 the vile to be here for a while
 putting their poisonous ideas on trial 
 should not increase their following
 but will teach us that 
 when the venom is spat
 the secret is not swallowing

Trompe-l’oeil

Trompe-l’oeil 

Sounds a little like

Trump lies

Trompe-l’oeil

Means a trick upon

Your eyes

Note what the

French coincidence

Implies

Donald J.

Monsieur Trompe-l’oeil

Arise!

Dance Jealousy

Hey, I watched the introductory Strictly Come Dancing show!

As usual for me, there’s lots of folk there I don’t know, including someone from Made in Chelsea (shrugs shoulders) who was in Strictly before but departed prematurely due to an accident or something. Didn’t know him then and still don’t know him now. Sorry but I don’t think he’ll last long this time either (though I reckon he won’t be the first to go). But that’s not what this post is about.

It is however partly about a general jealousy which grabbed me as I watched in the context of Covid-19 and the following details unfolded. 

All the professional dancers got together for four weeks, subject to very strict testing, to rehearse and record their group dances. Then another testing procedure got them together with their celebrity partners. So these guys, because of their admitted talent (or celebrity), have had the opportunity to do what the rest of us have not and cannot – be physically close with people. 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What, you may legitimately ask, is my interest in this, as a writer? I have to admit that my interest in it goes beyond writing but there’s a couple of things I can say in response to such a perfectly fair question, so here goes.

First of all, a big reveal – as a teenager I learned, and even competed in, Ballroom and Latin! Please don’t tell anyone I disclosed that – it would shatter any ambition I may have had to be treated as a serious writer! 

Secondly, if you seek a direct connection between dance and writing, it’s complicated but a good starting point may be found in one of my earlier posts, ‘Humans and Dancers’. Check it out!

I had considered finishing this post with a WIP poem in Glasgow dialect called Dad Dancin’ but will spare you for the moment, partly because it needs a bit of finessing (even for a work in progress) but mainly because it is the kind of low-quality semi-humorous doggerel that works better in performance at an open mic (with an inebriated audience) than on the page. 

If you’re really unlucky it’ll turn up as a video on this site…or somewhere else…and perhaps you’ll start thinking that, by comparison, Strictly Come Dancing is fairly high-brow after all.

As indicated earlier this little blog relates to jealousy, not so much of dancing per se, but of a group of people having physical contact, something which seems so alien to the rest of us these days. 

I have written a couple of dozen poems relating to Covid-19. Four of my short poems on this topic were published in Pendemic, an Irish site for writers on the topic, and I shall finish off with a couple of those which relate to the loss of physical closeness (the first slightly tongue-in-cheek).

 
CV-19: sexual distancing 
 
 O what a time to be alive!
 To appreciate platonic
 Resist relations intimate
 By order of the government 
 
 Assisted by technology
 To do your loving best
 Transactions during this time
 Confined to contactless
 
Father’s Day
 
Sunday witnessed a miracle
 Previously unheard of 
 In this time of plague
 Though small mercies
 Rare have sometimes
 Been distributed and received 
 This Father’s Day my son
 And family could let me come
 Visit them within their home where
 Legally-permitted hugs may be