Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesday Poem: Word has it

The opening poem at a poetry evening, held in Dunedin to celebrate poetry day last Friday, was an artful reminder of the weird stuff that goes on in people's heads at poetry readings. We - well certainly I (and she seemed to know it) - make use of such events to take a wander inside my immobilised body. I un-focus, drift in a meandery way, let the images brush me, poke me, hum gently, run me over. There are periods of time where I'm sunk deep in the cushion of my head, oblivious to the offerings. Others where I'm off and running, triggered by a turn of phrase, writing my own soon to be forgotten first line of a poem. It's gorgeous, and no-one asks me where I've been.

Then there's the odd occasion where the weird and wonderfully unexpected takes place outside of my head. The following poem was inspired by an encounter at another poetry reading here in my city.


Word has it that she’s 70

But the woman on my left

Is bah phooey

The way she lives it

We’re starting out

So we go for topics

That sit safely

Between us

I say: this bag

Is a cow’s stomach

And I open 1,2,3,4 soft black

Openings in evidence

I am elbow deep

Foraging for glasses

She says: look

It’s like a vulva

Glee takes hold

flickers without a sound

(It is a poetry reading after all)

Our mouths ripple

My complicit arm comes out

From the dark folds

There in hand is a

Firm ripe tomato

The G spot! we splutter

There's no holding back

We are simply delicious

Decorum is undone.



  1. Nice poem. You bad girl. But you do get wildly different worlds intersecting... your head is freed up but your bum is anchored, there's a definite decorum, and you can't whoop and holler if you like something, and howl them down if you don't. At least I thought you couldn't till I heard Steve Braunias groaning loudly and drunkenly through the reading of a local poet's desperately opaque offering one famous night...

  2. VERY nice, pam! same free-floating thing happens when i find myself in church (and i use the word 'find' advisedly, as in 'where am i'?) or a classical music concert.

  3. Thanks you both. I'm comforted to know you can relate. (This posting felt retrospectively like a confessional, linked as I am to a number of wonderful poets and writers...)

  4. Yes! This drift/sink/oblivious/hum/spark etc. happens to me too and I miss a lot of the poems! I'm glad I'm not alone. Thanks Pam, enjoyed this fun poem.

  5. A delicious romp through an open field of language, ideas and associations! Great fun to read - and to write too I expect!
    (and re what John B said, poetry readings seem so tame these days compared to those days ... sigh) ;)

  6. Thanks for coming by Mariana, and great to get your comment. (Whew - you too).

  7. Yes it was fun to write Kay - fun at the time too! Re behaviour norms at poetry readings, perhaps the odd one could be set up where the rule is no holds barred. Sort of a southern black church affair, where vocalising is part of the deal? hmmm ....