Sunday, 31 January 2010

re POEM 8

Small talk

is what fills the rooms
these days

punctuated, forced;
hours spent keeping up

appearances of fatigued
dreams stretched

across too many years.
We have become a card-

board cut-out of an original
ideal. The traffic light

no longer green, but
a pulsating amber.

Between the bowl
of milk-soaked muesli,

the baby monitor goes off.
Looking up our gazes meet,

hang in mid-air and I rise
to attend to the bundle

gurgling in the only room
that makes sense.

Catherine Mark

Saturday, 30 January 2010

re POEM 7

... feeling physically, emotionally and mentally fatigued today... it's been an ugly stressful week at work... anyway, I still managed a poem today, trying to maintain my momentum :)


Blood drips
off knife edge
with clarity
in sleep’s windmill,

a screen of smoke apparent,

or revelation of what?

silent red

lost in hours
given to sorting out
recycling bins, de-cluttering
cupboards, washing out stains
on beddings, ironing out
wrinkles in waning relationship

circumcised between crisp linen.

If only dripped blood
did not stain sheets,

if only I could google
our memory map
to find the point of schism.

It is as if the bloodied drops
have accumulated to form
a pool the span of this windmill.

Catherine Mark

Friday, 29 January 2010

re POEM 6


In Aberdeen
or a coastal Welsh town,
I imagine it to be a sanctuary
for the weary and wanderlust
traveller –

where after organic Full English
the eating area will function
as a literary lighthouse
where transients saunter
in to muse over Larkin or Muldoon,
perhaps linger (a cuppa in hand) with Coetzee
or Murakami;

while a subtle chime
sounds above doorway, making
way for footfall rhyme; a stream
of cold-blushed clientele
wrapped in fleece
and wool.

In the late evening: among
sagging book-shelves, a local
poet weaves simile and metaphors
in poetic effervescence; pattering like
soothing summer rain

until an Open Mic session evolves,
evolving to create a world
within itself, as I have
done in the wilds of a Welsh
or Gaelic landscape.

Catherine Mark

Thursday, 28 January 2010

re POEM 5

(a coffee house among many)

Yin-yang haven
hidden among industrial scars
of dearth and dirt…

Inside: inviting sleek-chic graffiti-style
artwork greets; the aroma
of fresh coffee, herbal teas
and home-made cakes tempt

an assorted collection of people:
stout Greek-looking woman
with a Maria Callas headscarf;
two lanky lads engrossed
in a game of solitaire; a brown
lady with a short afro laughing
at full volume with her awkward friend.

Unassuming music ripples
in the background, temporarily
washing away the crystal truth
lodged in my mind;

‘It is over.’

Catherine Mark

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

re What's going on?

Hello all... for those wondering at my sudden flurry of poetic activity - well let me explain - after incessantly moaning about my lack of writing space in recent months and in view of a fast-approaching portfolio deadline... in a bid to stimulate some writing (any writing), a friend has decided to sponsor me if I write a poem a day for 30 days. The money raised will go to charity re Haiti. Wish me luck. And thanks to all those who support my efforts by reading and/or commenting on these poems (do keep in mind that they are all first pennings, hence WIPs :)

re POEM 4

Accordion man

sat on the south-east side
of Piccadilly Gardens,
under the stern silence
of what were originally
Victorian cotton warehouses, now
obscured slightly by contemporary
glass and steel.

clothed in second-hand pass-me-downs,
and a slim scar, only an onyx ring
on his index finger seems
out of place on this forty-something face,
though might be younger,
if life had not dealt him a bitter hand;

handed him a royal flush
or a full house of cards,
a better hand to play
his gift in a London
orchestra. Instead,
head tilted sideways, he maps a fanciful
world with wiry fingers, as shadows
pass without a thought, journeying
towards perfectly stitched lives.

Catherine Mark

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

re POEM 3

Trapped moth

moth-powder trail
on glass pane;

a grey smudge
circles naked candle

fleck, then retreats
again. It reappears,

travelling a parallel
circuit with eye-line;

now a sudden cerulean
as if searching for nature’s

sweet sap along cob-
webbed corners of barren
nuptial box.

Catherine Mark

Monday, 25 January 2010

re POEM 2

Scents of Identity

hair gelled
in signature boy-band

permanent pout
from apricot

She is dressed
in French-chic,
a replica of haute
as if she’s walked
off a Chanel show
in Paris;

her glassy stare
through severe designer
frames catches my gaze
briefly as she unzips
pointy boots…

balanced on one foot,
then the other

she slips both off,

before sauntering
towards the kitchen area,
hollering: “teas, coffees…”
in thick Mancunian twang;

a togged-up faux-pas
of cultural conundrum –
she is no different from moi.

Catherine Mark

Sunday, 24 January 2010

re POEM 1

Cloud 23

From lofty Hilton heights,
floor-to-ceiling windows
reveal urban lights
flash and fade,
resembling space-capsule

circling feast of nightfall

mirrors the sparkle
of frothy Fosters
grasped by weary
fingers that betray fingernails
needing a trim -

Tomorrow, tomorrow,
perhaps I’ll get around
to doing the million and one
things scrawled on my ‘To do list’
now the length of a full month
of not dones:

... pay car insurance
... catch-up call with Elise
... make appointment with dentist
... visit mum at Hathersage
... cut finger and toe nails

Another sip
from near-empty pint,
as my companion
returns to his place

He smiles a smile
which seems to have been
stitched on from birth

I allow the corners of my mouth
to twitch upward, despite
the dull mechanical ache
hammering the seat
of my spine

“You look beautiful” he says

I turn away,
look out into the glittering
page beyond the muted black
and wonder how life
became so confused, complicated.

Catherine Mark

Sunday, 17 January 2010

re Poem


Hybrid moralities

rend through this Northern

nest nuzzled

between Piccadilly

and Ancoats...

Distracting vinyl

and garish plastic

displays in off-beat vintage

boutiques, a new cool

dotted along

enduring cobbles...

On pliant breast,

this nipple of Manchester

cityscape titillates

with its neon milk

ducts along streets running off Victoria

station down to Shudehill...

Feeding senses

like a ubiquitous Babylon.

Catherine Mark

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

re Talking Walls

Another snow day here in Manchester today so cooped up at home... giving me an opportunity to catch up with a number of things including updating my blog. Thought I'd post some pictures that have emerged out of a recent 'Photography as Contemporary Art' six-week course I did at the tail-end of last year. The images reflect two briefs given by the course tutor - 'the every day' (images taken around Manchester city centre) and 'portraiture' (of a friend willing to be my muse-of-sorts... lol). I have titled this project (for an exhibition) 'Talking Walls' - very much with the idea of a poem in pictures (or poetry in imagery) in mind. Very amateurish but it's my offering. Would love to hear your thoughts...