I'm labelling these as thought-provoking for the form rather than the content. (Which doesn’t mean that they don’t invite thinking about what they say!) It's a new form, which I thought might interest you as much as it does me.
there’s you reminder of a past run back
on ghost feet too wild
in longing for far
spaces hung and drawn now
dried as salt eel
stiff as the wind off the sea
you still able to prick
the water out of eyes
as dry of love as the linen
worn thin hung warm
out on the line
from Elevensies (Newcastle, Puncher & Wattman, Slow Loris series, 2018.)
This can be bought directly from the author (email: kezshying at gmail dot com).
Sunday I learned about potatoes
hidden dirty grown in tyres
winter fruit of blazing sunshine under
withered tops gathering the handfuls I’m
childish with delight would the
garden of Eden have been a different story
If Eve had offered Adam the potato
sat roasting round the fire
skin cloaks pulled tight for warmth
heavy bellied after carbs curling up
for sleep spuds born innocent and free
from Knitting Mangrove Roots (Macau, China and Markwell, Australia: Flying Island Books, ASM, and Cerberus Press, 2019. Pocket Poets series).
Kerri Shying, an Australian poet of Chinese and Wiradjuri family, is the creator of this form. The blurb of Knitting Mangrove Roots says "The elevensies form was invented spontaneously in conversation between Kerri and Kit Kelen" (Australian poet and visual artist, formerly Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Macau) "who noticed that this was how things were tending for her, and that an eleven liner could become a respectable form in its own right: a form any poet might attempt. Five lines either side and the middle line’s the title, that’s all there is to it."
In each of these books, the titles in the contents page act like another poem. (And yes, the pivot lines / titles are displayed differently in each book, as shown above. It's merely a typographical difference, but I thought it would be interesting to show you both possibilities. Visual presentation matters too.)
I recently heard Kerri read some of her elevensies at a session of the local Poets Out Loud poetry readings – currently presented on Zoom, which means we can get to hear poets like Kerri, who lives a long way from here (in Newcastle, near Sydney). I fell in love with the form and hastened to buy these books, which had me love it all the more.
As she is eager for other poets to give it a try, I did. (See here and here.) And I encourage you to do so too. (They could be your offerings for the next Writers' Pantry.)
Here are two more from Knitting Mangrove Roots – contrasting pieces, equally satisfying.
sex is for the poor amid the rubble
of their earthquakes fleeing from
the death squads one last shot at
heaven off-chance tomorrow comes
substitute consumption with
life's untaxed little luxury
so far away my memory of morning
you woke me flew us both to Paris
walked me on a whim hand in soft-skin
hand the blue-stone cobbles made love
in gold sunlight saw colour anew
sex is for the rich the taking
to places of woo the beds
strewn like sets with rumple
impoverista cry for sleep
a pillow partner silent
lacking snores the recipe for love
you made me a cuppa before
you went to work it was
with one sugar I didn't mind
maybe I needed one
big day on the plate so sweet
Magaly recently mentioned the new book, Riders of the Tempest, by our frequent contributor H. Hennenburg, so I grabbed a free copy from Kobo. (It's still available free there, and from Kindle and iBooks.) What a thrill to see that she has included us in her Acknowledgments.
Thanks, Heather; lovely to be appreciated. You're awesome!
Everybody, this acknowledgment is for all of us. Please take a bow and/or give yourself a pat on the back, knowing that by participating here, and turning up to read others' writings and leave comments, it is you who build this community. We all have a part in developing not only our own writing but each other's too. You're all awesome!
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