Morning all

This week’s guest-blog is from the desk of the inestimable Mike Rose-Steel, philosopher-poet, proofreader extraordinaire and many other pertinent things starting with p. He has kindly left with me for your delectation a small slice of personal abuse and three of his carefully sculpted poems… so read, enjoy and remember, never trust a man who can use the word “poikilothermic” in anger. I’m talking to you, Mr Rose-Steel.

Blog follows:

JAC

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Hi folks,

thanks very much to Josie for inviting me to fill in a blank space on her blog.

I’m writing this at my desk at home when I should be in my office, because the accelerator pedal on my car fell off this morning, half way up the A30.  This is normally considered to be a bad thing for pedals to do, so I have decided not to drive the car anywhere again for the time being.  This is probably a suspiciously neat metaphor for life, at some level.

I’m Mike, I mostly write poetry and short stories, and split my time between proof-reading, editing, office work, philosophy research and any other activities I can do without having to stand up.  I’ve been published occasionally (partly because I’m very lazy about sending things off), but unfortunately the marvellous Heaventree Press, in Coventry, don’t appear to have a functioning website at the moment, so I can’t link to them.  If you are in Coventry, check out their open mic nights at the Tin Angel – a really friendly, cosy event.

To fill up the remainder of this post, I’ve included three poems suitable to Josie’s general way of doing things.  Two of these were sparked by Josie sending me a random set of instructions on poems to write, so she is at least in part to blame for them.

If you want to play the game yourself (and why not post the results?) here are the restrictions that applied to each (you will notice that I have broken at least some of the rules, because police enforcement in these matters is notoriously inefficient):

On Rough Tor – write a 12 line poem, rhyming ABAB etc, on the theme of someone being in a field in the very early morning and the reader not knowing why they are there.  Mention Last of the Summer Wine.

In the waiting Room – Write a poem that includes the word “formication” (the condition of sensing or imagining that insects are crawling about under your skin) – one of Josie’s favourite words to mumble in the company of strict moralists – employing half-rhyme and at least one stanza break.  Must feature a famous TV naturalist.

Have fun!  I hope this helps you to survive during the dark night of the soul that is Josie’s temporary absence.  I am assured that this is her only seal clubbing expedition of the year, so normal service should be returned and maintained shortly.  Hand-made mittens for sale by mail order, usual contact details apply.  Wishing you an excellent weekend,

Mike Rose-Steel

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The trouble with not liking spiders


is that they creep up on you like

                                this

                on

spindly

                                legs made of

needles and rust.

 

If spiders were as big as elephants,

you could look them in the eye

and ask them to stop skirting about

in such a shifty manner.  You could say

“Why are you always running everywhere?

Why not slow down and enjoy the scuttle?”

 

But because spiders are made

of coal dust and coat-hanger shavings,

everything they see is a delirious dream

dreamt eight times, reflected in a fairground mirror.

 

The whole world wobbles

and blows bubbles on itself

when spiders try to look it in the face,

as if it were floating away, laughing itself apart

on a joke

with a terrifying punch-line.

 

So spiders don’t want to stop and chat.

They swoosh past sofas and carpets and wellington boots

and only glance at them

out of the corners of their eyes,

in case a chair lollops across the room and eats itself.

 

Being a spider is very hard work

and they never wear hats

because hats fly off when you run,

or knock against the ceiling where you are creeping

through narrow cracks in the floorboards.

 

And that’s why they coruscate about the place

as if planning to jump down your collar

like

this

and are never civilised company.

= = = = = =

In the Waiting Room

 

Full to his belly in twittering hairs

Our David is covering himself in scratches,

Red and long and straight, like a plough

Making its blind way north and south.

It itches, under thick skin and arms like branches

Cracking bones and sneaking in between each breath:

Ants! What if they make it into your brain?

 

Two nervous people sit watching this strange dance

In which David’s partner swims unseen

Out of pores and into the fatness of his eyes.

Night terrors, in a blue bright sky, his screams

Scatter like buttons across the emptying room.

 

= = = =

On Rough Tor

 

I am trapped in a tutu, heavy in fur and grasping a banana.

I am alone in wet grass, on a cold moor morning, getting far

down into my primitive soul.  The world is slush, slush,

a grey formless skein, unravelling into the empty hush.

 

This is the worst maze yet devised; it has no walls, no bars,

and I have a string to follow that leads into the murk and briars

tied to my left shoe – a loose unbinding messenger cut mute

by distance and my blank memory.  I am overheated in this monkey-suit.

 

I am left no bone but to follow the string, walk its wet path

in slippers of mud, hearing my own breath, rounding on air

and hope not to meet the Devil on the way, his weak eerie laughs

like dead balloons, skittled by an east wind, drowning on air.

 

= = = =

= = = =

So there you have it! Thanks to Mike for his word-smithery, to you lot for dropping by, and watch this space for news of next week’s blog; in the coming weeks we hope to have guest-blogs from writers Lisa Hinsley and Mary Maguire, along with playwright Julia Lee Dean, among others.

In the meantime, take care, have a great weekend – and do drop by again next week!

Regards;

JAC

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