Very chuffed to have some work appearing in this anthology of poetry inspired by computer games, covering everything from Pacman and Zelda to Altered Beast, Resident Evil and Bioshock. In an inspired move, each set of poems is arranged into a Sonice The Hedgehog style “stage”, with an end-of-level boss poem to top it off. It’s difficult to describe just how lovely the book looks in reality, so hopefully this picture will suffice:
As you can (just about) see, the book comes in two different versions – a black and a white, much like Pokemon! But the cover art is only the start – everything inside is exquisitely produced, from the pixellated contributors right down to the arcade-style rendered typography. Editor Jon Stone’s introduction about the relationship between poetry and computer games always makes very interesting, illuminating reading.
As well as my own poem about Shadow of the Colossus, I collaborated with poet John Clegg on a few poems inspired by Final Fantasy-style RPGs, in which a party of characters (though not always human) is amassed. Very excited to have my work appearing in a book for the first time!
Coin Opera II can be purchased here.
“To be human, you must bear witness to justice. Justice is what love looks like in public” —- Cornel West
I’ve two new poems published at Fit To Work: Poets Against Atos. When disabled and vulnerable people are effectively being murdered by government policy, I felt the need to just say something. While I’m not convinced that simply talking about things gets anything done, writing about these issues might. Could a poem change anything? Who cares? All you can do is bear witness, to be willing to point at a massacre and say “I don’t agree with this – this is wrong.”
Having spent a good week absolutely not writing, I’m just updating this to say I completed the NaPoWriMo challenge. 30 poems in 30 days. Done! I would say the first 15 poems were enjoyable to write, and the second 15 felt like passing something bulky and painful out through my brain. Time to hermetically seal myself in bark, and leave you momentarily with an adorable picture from Mystical Ninja.
Over half way now! My latest poems encompass lost children, infatuated snipers and space mums. Have a look:
Unlike any liquid you’ve seen. It does not lollop
or ooze in effusive, realistic
pools but quakes like solid gelatinous blocks;
shaded in onion cells of aquamarine.
It gives no dance or sluggish pull
but hangs, still as glue or glass,
only the jerking chalk squiggles drawn across
its blue skin to mark it real.
Surely, it was the artifice
that excited us – the strangeness of water
witnessed when made crystalline by some designer’s dream.
It was a hole in my face,
for sure, but the mashed potato globlets
I deposited into the ready box
left no feel upon the viscous walls
of the vacuum funnel, the salami coloured
head pipe, the slick, oozy viaduct;
in effect my mouth and its apparatus
was entirely, jaw-wobblingly, numb,
was in truth more like the doll’s mouth a young child
willfully spoons tepid porridge into,
the lack of an actual cavity
meaning the porridge ends up shmushed against
the mildly perfumed, fuchsia rubber
that mimics the gullet hole,
but is the puckered mouth’s own fakery.
It then seemed possible that my own mouth
might be faking, might be a thin lie
producing synthetic spittle,
polluting itself with an ulcer or two,
regurgitating rehearsed platitudes
in the voice of a listless secretary.
It may wish to unhook itself from the lips
that would bind it, to search for other mouths
into which it might push its pretend tongue,
its tongue bloated with lies and generalities,
because it knows that we are all just things
into which other things may enter
and out of which other things may pass;
and the face’s blackened coin slot resisting
is the telltale sign we’ve malfunctioned.
It is true that when your parents invented you
they were half-mad, drugged up on each other’s glutinous faces.
Your mother, she rolled the day’s honeycomb,
thus forming the flue down which you’d shoot
nine months on. Your father, with his glass ant body,
snowballed his tart and lucrative juice
round the flue’s lip, dropping your possible pinball
into the pint-sized barrow, mother’s soup,
coagulated and coconut-white
as the far-off lake on a winter’s morn.
Now when you were born your body was quite cylindrical
and they chipped you, tooth and nail, from the ice;
there you stood, syrup-stuffed and bare arsed to the world.
Of all the other pinballs pinged about, you wanted it most.