(Hour 11) 08.30-09.30am. TEXT PROMPT: laughter poem without using laugh words

not funny

all five of us
holding it in
as best we can

despite feeling
slightly mad
under the strain

they’re so close
we hear their
near silent hum

intelligent machines
hunting half blind
but ultra alert

to life forms
they consider
a threat

the trouble is
Milky just farted
& we are all

shaking silently
fit to bursting
at the absurdity 

of a flatulent dog
potentially costing us
               our lives

 

(Hour 10) 07.30-08.30am. VISUAL PROMPT: looking up at a couple touching foreheads from below

chins +

it’s a long time : since i’ve thought about : being 7 : if i ever did : when i was 7 : i think i just was : no thinking required : but today i gained insight : into how the boy : ( we really do : need to work out : a name for him : sooner ) must feel about : his spooky upside down : new world

while kneeling : to retie : one of his laces : again : despite my best : double knots : they’re repeatedly coming undone : Stella & Rueben had one of their : allegedly harmless : disagreements : on which is the better film : Frozen : or : Tangled : my opinion : neither sought : nor given : following my (again “allegedly”) unhelpful remarks : in earlier iterations : of this oft-repeated argument : despite : the answer : obviously being : The Lion King : (original version) : i saw what the boy sees : a forest of strangers’ chins : & up-inside-nostrils : & long-way-off-faces : looking alarmed : alert : & apprehensive : all at once

so while we are : essentially : all looking skywards : anxious of AI pods : & drones : & god knows what : other death-dealing : monstrosities : he’s doing that too : plus with chins : & pimples : & boofheads : & meaningless arguments : about Disney : blocking much of the view 

(Hour 09) 06.30-07.30am. TEXT PROMPT: kitchen cupboard memory

tinned soup

Sunday nights long ago
when mum had passed out

would make my own tea
canned soup & toast soldiers

heat soup in pan on stove
lightly toast bread buttergold

tomato was my favourite
diluted with a little milk

soldiers dunked in the mug
till soggy & exquisitely moosh

tonight straight from the tin
cold & without buttered toast

— i’m struggling to recall its appeal

(Hour 08) 05.30-06.30am. VISUAL PROMPT: Mancala game

stones

in tonight’s house : the boy finds : a Mancala set : wordlessly demands : instruction : i teach him : it doesn’t take long : the beauty of it : & probably the reason :  it’s lasted : thousands of years : & may be : one of our earliest : boardgames : the rules : are so simple : as I watch : the boy & girl : play : she is rapidly : collecting : all the stones 

i try not : to see : the symbolism

(Hour 07) 04.30-05.30am. VISUAL PROMPT, old couple on bench in silhouette 

Lookout

Ryan wants to detour to Septimus Hill
Where there’s a lookout overlooking
Half the plains to the sea
Been arguing about it for hours

He wants to get a lie of the land
Like he imagines himself a kind of General
His words: foolish, a nonsensical notion
But since he’s driving we do regardless

I worry we’ll be too exposed on bare rock
Why take any additional unnecessary risk?
But we do. Park partway up the hill
While there is still tree cover of a kind

& hike. Twenty minutes of thigh-crunching
Slog! The did I get so unfit? I play netball.
I run. But right now I burn. Whereas my oddball
Ironman has barely cracked a sweat.

Finally arrive at the summit & wish I had water
A couch, & a masseuse who knows acupuncture
Amazed just how much dust there is
Between here & the blurred horizon

& for the first time — I realise — how quiet
No insects, very few almost hesitant birdcalls
(no song) & no sign of movement on any roads
In any paddock in any direction

The stillness is sublime. Until we see a car
Slowly trundling along a distant road.
Almost instantly a drone roars in from the south
Two quick bolts of light & the car’s smoking.

The sonic boom hits us a few seconds later.
Shit Ryan remarks drily. Might have to rethink our approach.

(Hour 06) 03.30-04.30am. TEXT PROMPT, letter from someone no longer in your life

absences

Beloved brother

i remember 

i.
spending endless hours trying to teach “I love you”
in Russian: Ya lyublyu tebya without success
if only I’d tried Yellow blue tibia I might’ve succeeded

ii.
walking round the cathedral after midnight in mist
looking for the cross you’d dropped earlier in the day
we were unsuccessful in that — but it’s still a favourite memory

iii.
talking to you about the car crash that killed him
& how i’d hit the bottle so fucking hard afterwards
it wasn’t fair to find — then lose — eternity so quickly

now you’re gone, how, how to go on

(Hour 05) 02.30-03.30am. TEXT PROMPT: write a poem using 5 of the 10 words

halluc:nogen 

my hardback is : too heavy to hold

so i half-dream : of sunflowers : knitting cheddar : cheese satchels : for their favourite gardeners : to keep seeds in

there is no space : on the pavement : for my wine glass . this angers me : more : than it rightly should

if i could nail my protests : to an old oak door : i would

(Hour 04) 01.30-02.30am. BOTH PROMPTS combined: 100 years from now & old piano in the forest

old pianos

when i was a girl visiting
my grandparents in Tassie
i came across an old piano
in the forest flaking veneer
like the shoulders of a sunburnt child

there was an old hut nearby
& i wondered if the owners
had been moving the piano
either in or out of their home
(i could never decide which was saddest)

when they just up & left
what could cause them to
abandon something which
was clearly once so precious
why were they drawn away so suddenly

wait! the reason i ask does connect :
will that be all left of our world
in a hundred year’s time — just
old odd bits of junk being eaten
by rain & washed away by chords of wind?

 

(Hour 03) 12.30-01.30am. VISUAL PROMPT, red tree in pink field

Agent Orange

all this red dust in the sky : gets in your eyes : doesn’t irritate or itch : but plays tricks : on what you know is there: but feels like it isn’t : or can’t be 

for instance : that crop : can’t : just can’t : be pink : nor the leaves of that tree : bloodred : yet that is what your head tells you : you shake it : worry you’ll break it : it’s all a toxic shock of neon colour : & you’re brain’s in pain : & you wish your mum : would come back to life : again : or that it would rain : not necessarily in Spain : but on this astral plane : it’s no fun guys 

& as i start : to understand : what’s happening to me : Stella has thrown : a shoe full of water : in my face

thanks i splutter : as my thoughts : stop rhyming : resume some sense : some ability 

i think that dust : is a drug : like LSD : or magic mushrooms

you don’t say : i snake bite at her : even though it’s not : at all : Stella’s fault : suddenly feeling hungry 

(Hour 02) 11.30-12.30am. VISUAL PROMPT, Man looking round white edge

L-plate hitch-hiker

not sure what
Ryan thinks he’ll do
now he’s clinging —
to the edge of
one of those things —

while it might’ve seemed
an excellent idea
inside his scattergun brain
we never discussed —
now — this moment

as white metal
— rises —
with him hanging on
& no obvious way inside 

i tell the little ones
to turn away
they don’t —
understandably

he should let go now
before he’s too high
— to fall

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