After a short break in another hostelry while The Leopard Hotel was undergoing refurbishment (many thanks to the Duke William for their hospitality on 15th July), the Stoke Stanza returns to its former haunts at 7.30pm on Tuesday 21st August. All welcome. Please bring 15 copies of a poem or short story to share or else simply enjoy a drink and listen.
There are some decidedly non-cheesy poems from The Leopard this month …
First up an ‘hommage’ with some ‘fromage’ to John Ashbery from Stanza regular, Paul Freeman.
SOME FLOWERS SOON / REMEMBERING HIS OWN IMPERFECT MODE OF DRESS
in memory of John Ashbery
Ignoring all the sentences creates
its own restaurant/restroom.
July, the people with voices dissembled
less on the beaches than in the observatories,
we and they addressing northern cousins,
or so we honked.
Coast to coast, toucans play at his game
as scarlet dreambirds flock patternfully,
for a time, long enough to be noticed as such,
disappear into the electric trees disappear.
Let’s pull over to the pull-overs
and see how the dandies dress this fall/winter.
Slacks a little tight around the balls
these days but that shouldn’t stop our appreciation
of them or ourselves.
Still orchestrations of imaginable complications remoan,
even when we hold hands. A particularly pleasant place always seems
so far away and beyond our transportation, but at least
we’re sailing and the weather’s out.
And the wretched president sleeved me aside,
addressing me by half. What – you’ve
resigned from the earth summit?
Just when we’d made a breakthrough
in automated doubt management? Those evening illocution lessons?
You probably don’t mean that,
so neither do I. Hey, Capitan Blasé,
I didn’t mean it first!
Or should we just dangle foot-loose
in the fluvial grooves
or who should do the hand-wringing?
But with the setting on ‘miraculous’
why peck at words that spin like a cockatoo’s mirror, returning our eyes
to our own, oh, friendlier misfortune?
Take what you can
and make we joy with the rest.
Back beside the blacktop,
our hero pants
in his going-away pants.
Over the windowed skyline
wonders the flamboyant rose.
A city streams. Hello, Metro.
And the green man is flashing,
Malcolm McMinn stretches to Australia and the Dreamtime.
The earth and sky create a fiery brew
Created by the setting sun at Uluru,
A massive ochre coloured monolith
So crucial to dreamtime’s creative myth.
At last the blazing disc slips out of sight,
The sun now giving way to moonlit night.
The Milky Way, with countless stars aglow,
Illuminates its own nocturnal show.
As if on cue the flies all disappear;
This is the time for ice cold beer
While taking in the dreamtime atmosphere.
And now across the burning, arid sand
Is heard the deep bass notes and haunting sound
Of didgeridoos, primitive and raw,
The instrument of ancient myth and lore.
It’s clear that here we have a special place,
Beloved and priceless to the native race.
Songlines converge and dreamtime comes alive:
The tribes respect, observe the law, survive.
On walkabout men sing their sacred song,
Record each tree and hill and billabong.
This is a law the native won’t defy:
If not obeyed the land will fade and die.
He knows which life he may not kill nor maim
And to this new born land he lays his claim.
In the beginning was the sacred song
And from the song all lands were then created,
Then from the land sprang all the living things:
The book of Genesis, Australian style.
Geoff Sutton appears to have been in a different pub, The Bullet Makers Arms.
Or was he?
in the bullet makers arms
on a field tent was
near a footpath orange bright
no beauty spot too close to
a sheer metal fence
where armed guards patrol
I M OFFICIALLY SECRET
she breathes WE JUST SELL
CLEAN DEATH NO RUSTY
CLUSTER STUFF FINE CORDITE SMELL
BUY ME ANOTHER
her mouth tastes sweet juniper
next day charred circle
of sick wounded grass
plastic melt billy can black
no orange at all
only scattered pegs
to recycle from the endless
mystery of scorched earth
We hope to see you at a Stanza session soon!