Poem 96: Self-portrait in still life

(Today there is no story, but Poem 96. This is the second “Self-portrait” poem – the first one was “Landscape” and this one is “Still Life”. This poem is probably not to everyone’s liking. I try to cover as much territory as I can and sometimes feel a bit strangled by the expectations of the occasional some. So if I don’t follow myself I end up in some quagmire of  uncreativity and consumed by self-doubt. Sorry if this didn’t make sense. For those who prefer to be warned, there is a swear word in the poem).

Today I pulled out weeds in the garden.
I don’t have a clue what the weeds are called.
I s’pose they have names.
I have a weed book (with illustrations) called
“Weeds”. All the names inside

are Latin, like Taraxacum officinal
which is just an antediluvian nomenclature for dandelion.
A friend of mine once made tea out of Taraxacum officinal and got the runs.
Yes, I have friends.

(Fa la la la la).

One of the weeds was all tanglely and sticky.
Another had roots so deep it snapped underground.
Yet another was prickly
and another slimy because of spit beetle spit.
Anyway, I couldn’t help but think –

I am a fern frond stuck in a vase in a still life painting
– not that a fern is a weed –
stuck in a vase with a couple of dowdy dead flowers,
and next to a banana.

(Fa la la la la).

I am a fern frond stuck in a vase.
I am a fern frond stuck in a vase next to a banana.
The frond reminds Mabel up the road of the most intricate lace.
But it’s the same all the way up.
It’s the same all the way down.

Everything’s the same.
It’s the same fa la la la la.

(Fa la la la fucking fa la).

Some days I feel the need to escape
the picture.

If the above link doesn’t play, then try clicking HERE!

44 thoughts on “Poem 96: Self-portrait in still life

  1. badfinger20 (Max)

    I think it’s excellent Bruce…my goodness…you have me reading poems and it’s not a lyric sheet…and I like it!

    The hell with the expectations of some…Fa la la la fucking fa la

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
      1. badfinger20 (Max)

        Mrs. Sharon my 10th grade English teacher would be proud…rest her soul…and a “bless her heart.” to boot.
        I do like Dorothy Parker and Robert Frost…and now Bruce!

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
              1. badfinger20 (Max)

                No that is not. A friend of mine wanted me to help move an old air conditioner a few months ago…bad idea as I walked like Groucho Marx for days after that.

                Liked by 1 person

                Reply
  2. João-Maria

    This is not a poem I’d like purely written, I find. Verses such as “Yes, I have friends.” are as distant from poetic form as the word “fisting”. Though Alt-J has a song with fisting with it that I adore, named “Hit Me Like That Snare”. That’s the thing. Listening to you read the poem aligned the whole thing for me, and I liked it then. That’s a very special thing, I think.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Bruce Post author

      Thanks João-Maria. I said a week or so back that I’d like to be a pub poet or a Nordic Bard. That’s why all my poems on this blog have an audio because they’re meant to be read aloud. Also there’s a New Zealand voice for the last 100 years or so that is colloquial and banal that I like very much.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. João-Maria

        You have a treacly voice. I’d picture you easily as a bard singing the courts of love. I don’t design my poems for loud reading, and I don’t even know if they would sound well. It must be an interesting experience to design free verse to be spoken; I’ve always been curious of slam poets and beats and the such.
        I’m jubilant that you’re back to poems. It’s important.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        1. Bruce Post author

          It’s interesting because I always read your poems out loud (in fact I read everyone’s poems like that!) and I find your poems beautifully musical. I have always written with my ear – I suppose it’s helped by the fact that I wrote a lot for the stage. Incidentally, my accent is not a typical New Zealand accent. I don’t know why not – but since a little kid I’ve always been teased about my accent. For this poem I purposely started the rhythm at “I am a fern frond stuck in a vase”. Before that, I was trying to sound colloquial and prosey. Your comments are always greatly appreciated João-Maria and I wouldn’t have written this second one without your encouragement on the first one.

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
            1. Bruce Post author

              I didn’t know them at all – in my sheltered life – but I started with “Hit me with that snare” and am kind of getting into it! You are full of surprises João-Maria!

              Liked by 1 person

              Reply
                1. Bruce Post author

                  I shall try to check it out. My internet is playing up off and on like anything. I still can’t believe your poems were not per se written for reading out aloud. They may not need a soundtrack! Just goes to show how good you are!

                  Like

                  Reply
  3. Andrea Stephenson

    This one did definitely come to life when you were reading it – I could feel frustration in all those ‘stucks’ and the way you spat out ‘spit’. I’m most certainly feeling fa la la at the moment can could do with escaping the frame.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  4. arlingwoman

    I like this a lot. Of course, you were speaking my language of weeds, but then the fern frond and getting out of the picture. Yup. I feel like that as well. Not often, but enough to recognize that feeling. I did like the beat of the words, and after reading all the comments about hearing it I’m going back to play it now. Oooh, just played it and everyone is right. What comes through is the kind of punk/new wave disgust (no wonder someone thought of the Talking Heads). It’s a much more powerful experience to listen.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Bruce Post author

      Ha ha! Uma! Glad you settled on the banana. It stands there in the still life – as does lots of fruit in still lifes – and it’s so mundane! It was my attempt at humour!

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply

I delight in having my dull life coloured by your intelligent perceptions, your wit, and your vivacity.

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