Monday, 23 March 2015

Spring update - 2015

Hello and Welcome to the first update of 2015! 

It's been a funny old year so far and I've certainly had all the writing time one could wish for as I convalesce from surgery. After eight weeks laid up I'm well and truly on the mend. The plus side being all that time to make use of (and another six weeks yet by the looks of things)! 

So what have I been up to? 

Firstly I've had time to thoroughly revise the whole back catalogue, right back to the first work from 2010. A little judicious pruning here and there, getting rid of that word I was never quite happy with and more drastic revisions of poems where I had a sound idea but it really needed more work. 

I've also been updating the individual pages for each poetry "collection" to give some explanation at to what each is about starting with Minutiae. 

End result: 

Reasonably happy with everything going forwards and determined to do something with this writing bug in the future. I'll try to push the work "out there" much more in 2015 and we'll see what happens. It won't push itself, so I need to be prepared to take a few knocks and be brave! 

Meanwhile as I psyche myself up for the "great out there" how about a few poems to be going on with?

Firstly here's where it all began, where the writing journey started. I didn't have the words to say what I needed to convey to a family that lost a full term baby on the day of his birth and wrote this, April 2010. 

I removed the dedication as I never sent it to the intended recipient, circumstances and a more appropriate consolation won the day (and beat me to it). But I realised the power of words, how they can express and heal, articulating what would otherwise remain trapped within. The floodgates opened and the rest as they say...

From Minutiae  

The Mayfly Baby

And love held so loosely in the arms
As life it fades and shades of darkness dawn
Who shall know the fresh born babe
And where shall rejoice his form forlorn?
Ascend on wings of innocence
Fresh skin with bitter tears adorn
Of such loss a struggled sense to make 
A mother’s beating heart remains…
With pain it breaks 

Interestingly this poem also represents my first rejection (2010) from a group that welcomed input from all comers for their web site. The words were something like:

"Thank you for submitting The Mayfly Baby, it is obviously a very heartfelt and emotional poem. We are sorry not to be using it"

Secondly three updates from The Body Curio;


She inhales a swirling flock of words
From the soiled roost of the past
That rises, circling far above us
Before alighting in startling patterns

Her eyes roll back in their sockets
Until only their whites show
As she rescues reality from chaos 
Lassoing prophesy from black holes

Slowly she exhales filling the future
With vapours from the Kerna spring
Birthing herself from a crack in time
Poems breaking over her lips.  

Many Summer's Past

If I have ten thousand lovers
You’ll always be the first

The fragrance of youth
Framed by fading memories

I try to recapture the moment
Experience the elusive perfume

See you reflected in someone else
Always failing to connect

You fall across my thoughts
Like passing summer rain

Unfolding yourself
Like the petals of a flower

Genie in a Bottle

Spin the bottle; see what personality emerges
What kind of character climbs out of its neck? 

As the snow falls and the hands numb
As the sun shines and the flowers grow

The “bon viveur”, the maudlin bore
The fool, the cheat, the whining boy

Spin the bottle; see what personality emerges
What kind of character climbs out of its neck? 

As days become months and years
As dice roll and words flow

As the spider spins its habit web
As deceit becomes our daily bread

Spin the bottle; see what personality emerges
What kind of character climbs out of its neck? 

Until I can look you in the eye
Pleading honesty, telling lies

A couple of updates from Venus Veins;


I’m skating on blades again, sharp steel blades, gliding over ice

Like glass, a window pane, a droplet like a tear, shed when friendship dies

Running slowly down the liquid in suspension, fired mind and crystal

Walking on blades of grass, a green baize called lawn, it’s raining hard

This late summer’s day, the droplets cold, run down my cheeks

The back of my neck, I’m shivering now, I think of you, as if you were here

Hugging your black cardigan, damp, it clinging to your fragile frame

Your soft pink toes, sinking in the grass, mown cuttings on your soles.

I nuzzle the scene, imagine your taste, your smell, the tang of salt

Is just rain mixing with my tears, near silence, the swifts have gone. 


I was happily dreaming, when you interrupted me, shooting words into my ear

You pulled me to the event horizon, where everything, even time slowed

I looked over a shoulder and saw life bustling in the cosmos

I looked before me and remembered your smile

I watched your mouth rhythmically opening

As you engulfed me, crushing me

Into a dense cube of matter

Reducing me to a


And newbies in the preparatory phase for a project I call "Jackelope"


Rot ridden flesh stitch-sown
Festering at the seams
Odd ears and tail
My legs like springs

Speak to me
To the ears in my chest
The mouth in my groin
Cross fertilising

My hermaphrodite bones
That rattle in your dreams
Head held low
Stooping down

As I fill you with fear
Garlanded with the stench
Of taxidermy
My formaldehyde eyes

Occasionally I pause
Savouring you
On the barb of my tongue
For the sheer thrill of it


Blood-red heart exposed
I fall before her
Clasping her knees 
In supplication
Praying she will 
Part herself for me
But it is she that eats
Cracking me open
Greedily lapping up the yolk

Kingdom of the Saguaro

When you have finished your sojourn
In the distant lands of summer rain

I will be here waiting, an ageing sentinel
Presiding over a thorn strewn kingdom

When you eventually decide to return
Use the old familiar opening in my chest

Lodge in the space where sap once rose
In the deepest emptiness of my being

I will be here with my arms outstretched
Myriad spines clawing at the desert air

Uncertain roots grasping at shifting sand
That slips between them as once you did

Whenever you need a safe haven
I will always welcome you home

I am become an echo chamber for love
You are become an unslakabe thirst

Parody of the Self

The monster in the mirror
Leaking anger
That old thing staring back
Glass eyed and hollow
A war of words raging
Inside a ransacked skull
Slack jawed with excess
Both sides of the argument
Struggle, die, re-birthing
Every empty morning
Looking for a rope to climb
And leave this face
On the outside looking in
While the foolish heart
Paints a picture of itself
I christen “parody”

Utrecht in a Suitcase

An origami week
Folded into neat
Regular shapes

Dreams replaced by
Mundane considerations
Sadness still

Bubbles inside
As summer fragrances
Fill my lungs

Barren years removed
From a musty memory
That lingers in my mind

I still wait patiently
For your exquisite finger
To press the rotting doorbell

Without Hope

I honey the hemlock chalice
Drink a bitter distilment
That numbs my feet
Climbs the ladder of my spine

Completing the work
Capturing on canvas
The raiment of my pain
Brush-bristle rough

I smear bright pigments
Into a raw retablo
Whilst the Sybil sings
Days of future past

Driftwood Crowns
A bell tolls, a seagull cries
For an audience of one
Grey and melancholic clouds
Roll down to restless seas

Summer has long flown his nest
I've no flowers left to bring
Our golden beach is empty now
Wearing driftwood crowns

If moments could be lived again
What different paths we’d take
The sun has set on Shangrila
Across your cold and empty bed

That's enough to be going on with for now. An important lesson I've learned is not to worry too much about writing, about acceptance from others. It is a personal journey we make and if we enjoy the process and it heals us, putting things that might otherwise remain internalised, contextualises them, giving them a relatable form, the work is done. If it helps anyone else, if others like it, that, for me, is a bonus. 

Writing can touch us in a unique way. It seems appropriate to leave off with one final poem written as a tribute to someone who's writing and story touched me. 

Daughter of the Beat

At first, like everyone we ever see, she’s an image, an assumption
Gazing from the page at me, from a time before I’d even heard
Her name, let alone stood on the cusp of these innermost thoughts
Lain bare as words for all to read.

I know my walk in this garden of candid prose will be unique
Seeking more than others seek, I'm following a path only
Mine to find, revelations from between the lines leading to

On the day the photograph was taken, if I’m not wrong, her eyes
Reflected more than a cameras lens. An energy reaching out
Decades on – a fragile being, aware of her mortality
Knowing she’ll soon be gone.

Smiling, I'm enjoying alternating shades of light and dark
Finding depth beyond a perfect face, colour beyond
Black and white, happy knowing words can endure death
Making more than fitting epitaphs – they tell a story.

It’s through her words the beat goes on, she herself
Has gone but if eyes are indeed the gateway to a soul
I wasn’t wrong.  Turning the final page I also offer words
Hoping she’s found the peace that she deserved.

Until next time

Kind regards

Mark Harris has asserted his right under
Section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
To be identified as the author of this work.

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