I’m not creative

I’m not creative,

except in the sense that every human being is creative,

and, if every human is creative,

the word is fairly useless.

I’m not a creative writer,

except in the sense that every writer is creative,

and, if every writer is creative,

the word is superfluous.

 

I am simply

a person who writes,

a person who writes frequently

a person who writes in a certain style.

 

(I used to write letters every day and thought my letters were attractive.)

 

I’m cheesed off by the quantity of left-handed people who are ‘creative’.

I know the word has colloquial meanings –

people with original ideas

people who find brand new ways

artists, designers,

theatre, television, radio, film people

engineers, architects

marketing people

people who get their work exhibited

many more I can’t think of.

(As if dentists & grave-diggers weren’t creatives)

 

How useful is creative as a distinguishing word?

How often do you wish to say

you’re a creative person, a very creative person

and, by implication,

that person over there isn’t creative,

has barely a creative bone in their body’?

(I like ‘creativity means not copying

Feran Adria from elBulli said that)

 

When I write something people call creative,

I don’t know what they’d label ‘ordinary’.

I don’t know what criteria people use.

(I fear the lowest common denominator is ‘creative’.)

 

If I knew what standards people used

to describe a writer as creative

I’d understand.

 

The one thing I’m sure of,

I don’t dream of myself as a creative being.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Death & Life matter to people who read poetry

A new poetry collection by Paul O’Mahony will be out in time for Xmas.

(Big secret) He has a publisher.

I discovered Paul has a problem he hasn’t solved.

He’s composed the poems.

He’s even compiled a short-list of poems, from which he’ll select no more than 40 (next week).

The trouble is he doesn’t have a title – and “Selected Works” won’t do.

I asked Paul What’s in a title?”

“A theme – and an invitation. The theme determines which poems make it into the book – and how the poems are clustered.”

“For example?”

“‘Rage’ by my friend Patrick Stack [published by Revival Press] suggests you’re offered pretty strong emotions in every poem. But the title doesn’t reveal the poems are about survival of darkness within.

Rage could be about 

the loss of friends and would-be lovers

madness & beauty

terrorism

or abuse

or something.

The poet used the title to help him decide the order of the poems.”

I asked Paul

 “How is the title an invitation?”

“Only certain people are invited to the book. Not everyone’s invited by ‘Rage’ – the blurb on the back puts many people off. That way the book appeals to a select group of people who don’t fear to buy & read ‘Rage’ – and welcome ‘Rage’ into life.”

 I couldn’t resist asking the obvious question  What’s the name of your next poetry book?”

“That’s the death and life of me.  I can’t decide.  I’m stuck in mixed feelings. It better be better than the last one.”

“Oh… What was the name of your last book?

“Irish Epic Poem in 33 Cantos – wasn’t that a stupid title? Thank goodness my mother bought so many copies.”

I didn’t believe him, couldn’t solve his problem, left him looking blank and wondered which book I’d read next –  ‘Rage’ or ‘Irish Epic Poem’?

If you have any suggestions for Paul, I’m sure he’d gift you a copy if the book sells well.

The gift of life

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My little egg,
you precious shell of life,
within you dwells all you need ever grow
into your spirit,
into the finest silk.

My little one,
you petal from a flower
that blooms wherever nectar’s found,
life’s your spirit
along the fruitful way.

My little seed,
you’ll germinate and sprout
so many glorious dreams each day
beyond your spirit.
The gift of life is born.

__________________

Note:
Special thanks to my good friend Bobby Kountz – and his first grandchild in honour of whom this was written

The total eclipse of Donald John Trump (work in progress)

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He looked directly at the sun
and the sun shone back.
He felt the smile flood his Queen’s eyes,
stretch ruddy pink skin,
the slightest suggestion of dimples.

The sun god Ra rose from the bed
naked.
A fire in Ra’s eye raged,
falcon’s feathers flowing
in celebration.
This was the day.

This was no ordinary man
Voice of his people
taller than warriors
big in boots
staccato words
triumphant
bombast
Jamaican Infante.

The sun god’s cobra curled …

A fistful of stories

 

A fistful of stories

The journey began in a January made cold by depression.
Two secrets lay with pressure at the heart of a new year:
We were to have a baby, and it too soon to reveal,
too early to celebrate, but not to seal the drink.
Profound gloom gripped my every artery, flowed
freely from a well of loneliness that never dried.
The shadowside returned and taken over
robbing me of capacity to uncork joy of girl or boy.

Unfit for work that month, my memory let pass each day
without recording the slightest smile: what was worthwhile
in the time? How was the pregnancy to be seen
with energy? How was the man to rise to the occasion,
when what was at stake was for a lifetime?
Fearfully, un-tearfully, I slipped back to work in February.
Five weeks before I screamed without sound,
before I burst without breaking.

I threw a self on the mercy of my beloved.
She held me, firm throughout March. The doctors too.
Together we broke the news on phone to family:
we were expecting a baby. It was our greatest joy.
We wished for another surprise, called it Itsy,
Beyond gender, we took the scan,
made an altar by the bedside. It was still
freezing. But the thaw began and never let up.

In Seville, there are little girls in long dresses
striding along narrow streets in the old Jewish quarter.
Vibrant yellow, flourishing pink, you’d think
a bunker of golfers had come to admire the Spring.
I’d begun to sing a melody only I could hear,
while unflown tears grew dry. Back
from the rack, a training manager again, I began
“A diary for Itsy” – before the rising of the birds.

Dawn broke, sunlight across the Moravian Church.
across the road Blossom Cottage bloomed, our wee treasure sprouted.
Her conception celebrated in song, verse and sandcastles.
I remembered Kilkee, picnics by the sea, periwinkles,
short bent pins scooping slimey shellfish out.
Cobblers in the Pollock Holes, Rackets and swimming in salt.
Piece by piece, I painted warm colours all over my childhood.
Unknown to me, I was getting ready to go home.

June came, the air of redundancy
re-discovery of Jimmy Webb, uncovering
David Whyte, and poppies by the road to Oxford.
I sat with Marie while ducks played past Flag Iris.
We talked of generations and making fun in Cork.
We imagined what the stork would bring.
There was time to sing when July arrived:
two job offers for Edel, a ticket to move.

Grace flooded out onto the Royal United Hospital maternity bed,
Thirteen hours and thirty minutes after the first contraction.
Violetta her middle name, and she wide awake.
For her sake I’d dipped into “The Bloke’s Guide to Pregnancy”
swatted-up on nappy re-cycling, bought a Stokke Sleepi.
She blew away the luxury of sleep, fed her way into our lives.
fragile bundle of need we had to feed. Sluggardly,
the puzzling for patterns predominated. Grace made her space.

I left the job and went to work with my two wonderful women,
slipping easily from Bristol city buses to domesticity,
revelling in the art of slinging her up the Cotswold Way,
or round the Circus, up Milsom Street, even past the Crescent.
There was Cork waiting with harbour, taking newcomers
into Douglas. The present is a strange land, and I’m ill-prepared,
an innocent abroad in native hands,
ready to stand on my head to fit in suburban woods.

There goes the year, you know it well.
It had a fistful of stories to tell.