We need a commission or a committee


[Cartoon by Martyn Turner]

Somewhere in Dublin…

“If we’re to avoid being blamed for this shambolic fraud – we better get a retired judge.”

“Surely that’s asking for trouble?”

“Never, sure won’t it all have blown over before there are any findings.”

“You mean til after the next election?”

“Hasn’t that always worked?”

‘Is there not a better way?”

“To get at the truth?”

“The truth is we have to kill this – did you hear Joe Duffy today?”

“Oh I know. That fecker’s always stirring shit.”

“Maybe we should make him a retired judge. That’d keep him quiet.”

“Joking apart, where’ll we find a judge?

“Noel or Patrick will sort it. They’re good guys.

“Where are you going now?”

“I’ve a statement to make – and after that Drive Time.”

“I’ll tell the lads.” 

“Mind you don’t leak this to Micheál.”

“Hah, ha – that’s a good one.”

To select poems for a reading requires courage

I’m feeling the fear.

I have to decide which poems to read on Friday evening in Ennis County Clare.

I introduce the reading in Poet’s Corner at 8pm.

By then, I must reject most of the poems – especially several with which I’m besotted.

Sitting in my kitchen in Cork, staring at pages, wielding a scissors,

reluctant to plunge pretty poems into recycling

– I need to procrastinate.

Crowd-source the problem.

Ask the opinion of others.

Be open-minded.

Let the Universe decide.

Out-source the angst to my Guardian Angel.

Wish I had only 13 poems fit for human ears.

Maybe I’ll drop a pile of pages over the bannisters – and pick those that land on top.

How the hell can I tell which ones the audience might love?

I’m not going there to please the audience – surely?

It’s not as if I have a book to sell.

[Let them go to Kindle Store]

Integrity, authenticity, veracity

I am an artist – that means I must ignore the urgings of others.

I must purge myself of any impulse to avoid personal responsibility.

I must be true to my self.

Welcome indecision, welcome mixed feelings, hug the living daylights out of discomfort.

Think of all the brazen bastards who’ve never held a haiku, nor snogged a sonnet.

Maybe I’ll crumple 50 into a sack and get a blindfold woman to sink her fingers in?

Trust anything other than myself.

At least it’s only Tuesday.

I thought I had a plan.

Poets don’t write in a vacuum 

Poets don’t live in a vacuum.

Poetry is not written in a vacuum.

There is always a context, a social context, and always a biography.

I’ve been thinking about this in the context of this blog. Here I publish some of my poetry.

I started sharing some poems here in 2006.

Then the poems were put in a context.  They were displayed in a context because, at the same time, I wrote about my experience of coming back to Ireland from the UK.  I wrote blog-posts about what it was like to have an infant daughter.  I expressed my take on several political issues.

The poems were never displayed in a vacuum.

It’s bothered me now.  Since I relaunched “From Bath to Cork with baby Grace”  [in its second form] the poems have been published without any context.

There’s no writing here about big social issues. I don’t write about my family, nor about housework, golf, podcasting, social media, nor my paid work.

You meet the poems as you would meet them in a poetry book.

And I don’t think this good enough.

I think readers are very interested in the context of a poem – as reflected in the other things the poet is doing in her or his life – how the poet sees things, how the poet reports on what is noticed.

I think readers of poetry – like everybody else-  are more & more curious about what goes on behind the scenes – in the behaviour, mind, emotions and imaginations of writers.

Also I may be enriched by writing about the “world”. I use that world to symbolise the Universe – as I’m capable or motivated to communicate about it.  Even communicate with myself about it.

So I’ve made a decision.   [I’m going to sleep on it.]

I’m going to add prose on this blog.

I’m going to write freely on any topic under the sun that interests me on the particular day I sit down to write.  They may be disconnected sentences. Pieces may be highly structured.  There might be a short story – even a vignette. Probably not a novella.

I may rant.

But above all, it will be me. It’ll be my take on something that’s much bigger than me.

[Reader’s can skip all that prose, or quasi- poetic stuff, if they’re not interested.]

The poems will be obvious. It’ll mean there’ll be more stuff here than before.

It’ll mean I can also put up photographs with very little commentary.  Many people are visual – rather than text lovers. The visual imagination  – or the imaginations of visual people –  is every bit as valuable as the imaginations of those who approach the world with preference for sound or text.

There’s a way in which it’ll do me good to write prose. There’s a possibility it’ll help me feel some issues I write about are vital enough to be encapsulated & addressed in poetry.

I’m going to sleep on this now.

For me, this is a very big issue.  Perhaps I’m I’m going to break & remake the character of this blog.

But it feels like the right thing to do.

However, you never know what a good sleep can do to a right thing.

Hello Grace

31 August 2010

Hello Grace,

Today is your big day. Your first day at what you call “big school”.  And you’ve got so big.

A tiny little thing in Mummy’s tummy, the smallest little creature ever born.  

This is the day you popped-out here to say hello.  And you brought a lovely little smile into my heart. It was the biggest little dream I’d ever seen.

You were a baby on this day, five years ago you came to stay, and you’ll never ever go away from me.

Because I love you like a star, you’re above me from afar, and this day’s another step in precious life.

There’s a slice of life you’ve eaten, a sweet you’ve partly touched.  But today you’re ready for another.

You’ve grown up & up the tree, so there’s more you now can see, I’m so happy you’re off to school  – as if ’twas really cool to jump into a green swimming pool.

Your uniform is green, the best you’ve ever seen, it’s a thrill for you to carry all those books.

You’re birthday’s also here, so you’ll never forget this day, it’ll be pink & gold across your mind.

There’s a fluffy little dog who’ll wag his tail, he might even bark goodbye
as you climb into the car.
You’re a star for everyone, as you set out on these steps,

but it’s your life you’re leading now, and I trust you’ll take a bow.Because you’ve done it big big girl, you’re the one who’s ready now,

you’re the leader of your life on every day. There’s no more I want to say,
I simply want to cheer you on today.  

May your teacher, Miss Nalty,  also turn into a star, and show you lots of lovely things that all ring true. 

May your friends be right beside you, every step along the way.  Together, may you love the school as much as any party.

It’s your birthday.
It’s your schoolday.
It’s a way, it’s a play.

You deserve it,
let’s observe it,
you’ve the nerve for all that is to come.

Welcome to this day. 

____________________________

Note:

This was first published on my blog on 31 August 2010. I don’t want to lose it. It means a lot to me and might mean something to her one day.

Walt Whitman on Thanksgiving Day

Note:  I found this (via Google) published on Every Writer (1 November 2010)

_____________________

THE PLACE GRATITUDE FILLS IN A FINE CHARACTER

by Walt Whitman

From the Philadelphia Press, Nov. 27, 1884, (Thanksgiving number)

whitmanScene.—A large family supper party, a night or two ago, with voices and laughter of the young, mellow faces of the old, and a by-and-by pause in the general joviality. “Now, Mr. Whitman,” spoke up one of the girls, “what have you to say about Thanksgiving? Won’t you give us a sermon in advance, to sober us down?” The sage nodded smilingly, look’d a moment at the blaze of the great wood fire, ran his forefinger right and left through the heavy white mustache that might have otherwise impeded his voice, and began: “Thanksgiving goes probably far deeper than you folks suppose. I am not sure but it is the source of the highest poetry—as in parts of the Bible. Ruskin, indeed, makes the central source of all great art to be praise (gratitude) to the Almighty for life, and the universe with its objects and play of action.

“We Americans devote an official day to it every year; yet I sometimes fear the real article is almost dead or dying in our self-sufficient, independent Republic. Gratitude, anyhow, has never been made half enough of by the moralists; it is indispensable to a complete character, man’s or woman’s—the disposition to be appreciative, thankful. That is the main matter, the element, inclination—what geologists call the trend. Of my own life and writings I estimate the giving thanks part, with what it infers, as essentially the best item. I should say the quality of gratitude rounds the whole emotional nature; I should say love and faith would quite lack vitality without it. There are people— shall I call them even religious people, as things go?— who have no such trend to their disposition.”

Binkie Braithwaite RIP

This morning – sipping coffee in Cafe Beva – I heard he’d died. News came via text message from my younger son.

It’s about 13 years since I’ve seen Binkie.

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I didn’t cry.  He’d have taken the piss out of me if I had.

He lived on the edge
all his life – aware he could be dead before he finished his latest project (or so I imagined ever since we knew each other in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, UK.)

No one’s a perfect fit to deliver the oration in memory of Binkie – he had so many sides. But I wish, I wish I could be there to stand in honour of his presence.  (He never entered a room without making an impact.)

It’s fitting that this is the first prose piece I’ve written on this blog.

Binkie Braithwaite funniest inventor I ever met.

He invented Gut Barging.  None of you have ever heard of gut barging – but many have in Japan, UK & North America (many “mad raving fans”).

There was much more to Binkie than Gut Barging.  He was an arch conversationalist, centre-wing stand-up comic, beard-grower and a host of other spirits.

No one’s ever met another Binkie – a true snowflake.

Let us celebrate the Life of Binkie (I’m not sure when this movie will go on general release.)

Thank you Binkie
for all  the smiles you brought into my life every time I was in your company, and every time you dwelled in my memory & imagination.

____________________

World class media reports
on success of the sport Binkie invented/revived from Sumo.

(1) The Sport of Belly Jousting (2001 by Wertperch)

“…a contest of skill and controlled violence…” – Binkie Braithwaite, The Independent

Honestly, I couldn’t have made this up. This is one of those sports which seem unbelievable, made up for April Fools’ Day. Imagine two ahem large people in a ring, using only their ample middles to oust their opponent – it seems too far-fetched for words. The truth, however is stranger than the fiction would have been.

According to Binkie Braithwaite, founder of the World Gutbargers’ Association, it is “…borrowing from the traditions of Japanese Sumo. Basically it gives fat, drunken people the opportunity to excel…” Some have tried to place the origins in mediæval jousting tournament sideshows, but there can be no doubt that it is growing in popularity in this 21st century.

The rules seem to be quite straightforward. The two combatants, stripped to the waist (male or female – there are no barriers here) face each other across a mat twelve feet by eight, and with bellies well oiled, attempt to force one another off the mat using only their gut. There are a number of moves which attract points. Two of the more colourful are the Full Johnny Turk (a single thrusting blow which propels the victim off the mat) and the Shunt or Full Blubber (a full-strength push over the line), each of which scores 15 Points. No contact is permitted other than the belly – arms are held out at the sides for balance, but no wrestling is involved.

The sport is taken semi-seriously by the athletes, the first championships being held in Trowbridge in 1988. Scotland seems to like the sport, and it has made its way into some Highland Games events, although perhaps viewed as less traditional than tossing the caber. Australia too, has organised events. ‘Binkie’ has even been called on to organise an event at the Royal Albert Hall, as part of the support for The Stranglers 20th anniversary gig.

There are already traditions, borrowed, as might be expected, from sumo wrestling. The combatants hurl Bombay mix (a spicy snack food) into the ‘ring’, face up and shout insults at one another, before being told to prepare for battle, with a cry of ‘Guts Up’ by the Balou (referee). At this point, the contestants adopt a position of readiness, their knees bent, shoulders back and guts out. On the command ‘Meet’ the contest begins, they meet in a cataclysm of blubber, grease and sweat, before one is hurled from the ring in disgrace. At least it is more exciting than darts.

 

(2) Games: On the trail of the abdominal showmen

From the pages of `The Independent’ to the stage of the Albert Hall, Binkie Braithwaite – `the Gutfather’ – explains the finer points of Barging to William Hartston in 2011.

Fourteen months is a long time in Gut Barging. Just over a year ago, few of us had heard of this ancient British recreation, but yesterday night it completed a remarkable return to prominence with its first high- profile international contest, “The Brawl in the Hall”, which formed a weighty part of the 21st anniversary concert of The Stranglers at the Royal Albert Hall… (read a lot more here and gut barging Royal Albert Hall)

(3)

Definition:

gut barging ‎(uncountable)

  1. (Britain) A sport (or slightly mock sport) in which two men with big fat guts (ie. their bellies) try to push each other off a mat, pushing only with their guts.

 

Mind, heart & imagination of the maker

 My hope for this blog is that it will (gradually) become a special place.

Where makers of art (defined widely) will share their stuff.

Where it won’t be an occasional guest blogpost.

Where (in addition to poetry) there will be virtual sculpture, video storytelling, cartoons, music, philosophies, manifestos – all introduced.

Big work, little work, work-in-progress, personal stuff

– all introduced. 

The maker speaks – not only through the work. 

As I’ve just written to Lars

“My wish is that every piece of creative work will be introduced by the maker. Any way they like – I think people are more & more interested in a behind the scenes peek into the artist’s way.”

It’s time I went back & introduced my own work. People will explore backwards.

____________

See: https://paulhomahony.wordpress.com/2015/10/14/do-you-need-a-computer-to-make-electronic-music/