On Poetry Writing: The Abject Failure of Composing The Ultimate Poem in Celebration of Love

On Poetry Writing: A Reflection on A Totality of Failure to Write an Exquisitely Wonderful Love Poem

I do not know first hand the suffering of other poets. I know my own defeat too well, particularly my recent attempt to compose a love poem . Perhaps I suffer alone? I share my angst to cleanse my racked soul, stretched to misshapen dimensions. Is it not fortunate the soul of a poet is so stretchy?

To commemorate the Olympic Year I hoped to pen, er, screen an Olympic love poem. I had the intention to celebrate the gloriously ruckus braying of the ecstasy of being immersed in amore, immersed like a shot of whiskey in a beer to fashion a boiler maker. Perhaps love and poetry are alike in the shared state of intoxication which expands the very idea of infinity?

Do textbook templates exist for the writing of love poems? If so, I have found them not. Or is a poem just a response to an inner stirring which ignites desire to slam words onto screen in much the way one thumps pucks into a wide open hockey net? There is always the initial adrenalin rush of inspiration. Words, at times, flow like water at the rapids of the Saint Lawrence River at the site of Montreal, Quebec. At other times, words crawl like molasses down a silk cravat. At other other times, words float like ashes above a crematorium. Then again, words trot like polo ponies zooming towards fresh buckets of ice cream on a summer’s day comparable to a flat-iron pressed against the earth.

How often words fail me.

As I scanned the drafts the entire episode felt too raw. The opening lines read well. It read: ‘Love made clownish entrance/like a freight train through/a stained glass window,/which measured 18 feet in height and 7.56 feet in width’. I sensed the intro combined all love’s elements of unexpected surprise, humour, religion and modern transportation.


There is in the writing of a poem the omnipresent optimism that the words will plonk into place and a poem of sense and sensibility will emerge like treasures from an archaeological dig. Such was the case as I wrote and rewrote, writing as if in a rapture which borrowed generously from my lived experience as beloved, lover, bereft and stalker. The writing was a labour, er, well of love, actually. After hours of days broken pen nibs gave evidence to a ravage of words. The words did not line up like pigeons on a telephone line. The poetic essence was present. Yet it felt not quite enough.

Uponst one A.M. as I swept the hearth and freshened the lavender in our sawdust-filled pillows, I re-examined the poem and thought to tinker with a line or two.

Perhaps you fellow poets have also been drawn to rewrites?

Perhaps the line ‘love as true as true love true’ was too obscure? I rewrote as: ‘love as smouldering/as a snagglepuss of a cyst/upon the buttocks of the empire of our love’. The visual elements seemed more colourful. Yet? Does love smoulder? Or just bubble? Broil? Deep fry?

I also toyed with the line: ‘love as reckless as a moped through the streets of Rome.’ This became: a gasping cow, puffing penguin, asthmatic race horse, and, finally, a shivering amoeba stuck on a slide under Love’s microscope. I was dissatisfied. Too literal?

I retitled the piece several times.

After turtle waxing the tractor, I felt inspired to rewrite the line, ‘love is never ever lost’. This became, ‘although our love was tossed/ into the Lost&Found like a pair of hockey skates/I knew our kisses would rebound/forswear and yet who keepeth score/in love matches, which ignite like marshmallows dropped in campfires?’. There are times the poet’s words do reach.

Almost effortlessly the poem kept unwriting itself. In this case, well beyond the hours of midnight Valentine’s Day 2014. Love, I found, could be likened to blue suede shoes, a Kiss concert, a distillery, a monastery, an averted helicopter crash and a mismatched pair of twins.

What was a poem became a muddied road, a road as muddy as a byway in a monsoon drenched in torrential rains obliterating the moonlight. I assessed the damage and recognised that the poem resembled rotted fish or contents of a disposable diaper. Hence, no epic of ecstasy was available to celebrate a day dedicated to the saturation of lovers’ glazed gazes. Ah, love’s labour lost.

Perhaps not? I recalled Percy Sledge’s, When A Man Loves a Woman and skated into the poetry of pairs figure skaters, Martini and Underhill.

I close with much love. Happy Belated Valentine 2014.


~Happy Flower

© S. Calliou, February 16, 2014

Aging: Unexpected Surprises

A chronic health narrative has more plot twists than the maze at Hampton Court. I was minding my own business at the mid-month of October, 2013, when two events reminded that I possess a rather frail body. [Cue violins and trombones.] At the start of the month of October, 2013 I was recovering from a crochet injury.

One sun-brimmed Saturday I strolled the neighbourhood carefree as a prisoner released from Death Row. In one of my most favourite shoppes I espied a drawer marked ‘Yarn.’ I love a good story, am an avid nibbler of stories. I especially adore a good tale. When I opened the drawer, I discovered the most gorgeous wool in variegated green. Immediately I was seized with a desperate desire to knit or crochet.

‘Why?’ I yelped, ‘Why do I no longer work with wools?’

Memories of items I had crafted wafted into view, wafting much like bats around a barrel of in-season pomegranates.

I scooped up the wool. I was jubilant. My friend inquired, ‘What are you doing?’

I pronounced, ‘I return to the rootedness of hand-made gifts for this Christmas season thus barking in the face of the crass commercialism of the season.’

Once home I took the polo ponies to Polo Pony Daycare and then in a flurry of furiosity I cancelled all appointments. I went on a crochet binge. Magically I discovered the joy of crochet work. I was awash in delight at the knotty creativity. I felt this Christmas would be a bumptious homespun yarn of peace, goodwill, prosperity and joy [Cue harps.]

By the third evening I found my right wrist to be swollen and painful, as painful as a grizzly stuck in a Volkswagen. Also my fingers were somewhat bratwurst in size and shape. My hand did not look like a hand of my own.

With the suddenness of a winter squall, I remembered there is a reason I once abandoned crochet. I have rheumatoid arthritis.

I can laugh now. I wasn’t laughing for a few weeks. How fortunate I had a goodly supply of frozen foods in the freezer.

Aging is not, it seems, a team sport. My brain is not always connected to my body. The laughter prepared me for the adventure to shortly arrive.

I do hope you are all well as can be. I am grateful to be able to keyboard once again, although the fingers do not trot [Cue trumpets.] Oh, dear look at the time. I must go and unravel some thoughts.

© S. Calliou a.k.a. Happy Flower, November 26, 2013

Courage of The WannaBe Blogger: A Mostly Canadian Mixtape Post


Le/La Courage Du Wannabe Blogger

I am feeling tempestuously motivated to post. I studied the WP Dashboard today, using my high-powered trifocal lenses. I was unprepared for some of the statistical information blighting my blog as caterpillar poop might blight a rose petal. It seems statistically obvious that my ratio of spam to post is deplorable. In fact, I had to use my Texas Instrument Calculator to verify that the ratio is 853,251.9711:1.01. This is not good. I thought I was making heroic efforts to beat out the blog posts. However, before I impetuously rant&roll, I must – scusa – first develop a necessary Post Playlist. [1]


1. For the blogging novitiate, the Post Playlist is often overlooked as a source of motivational mojo necessary for the grinding of metal keyboards while pounding out of a post. In this case, I seek songs with a forcefully driving beat and proficiently sufficient guitar solos to ensure that writing does not lose passionate pulsations as I rant about the omnipresent potency of Le/La/LahLahSpamm. [2]

2. If I wished to write a more gentle post, I would retreat to the Waterfall Room, located in the SES sector of Le Chateau, situated on acres and hectares of land bordering the mountains, some lakes and a glacier. The Waterfall Room is a room of saintly serenity designed by four German engineers we held hostage, er, guests. We located them in the Back 39 of the property feeding the polo ponies bratwurst and cabbage pies. There is a sign which clearly states, ‘Do Not Feed Polo Ponies Pies.’ Whilst the engineers were guests we requested they design and build a waterfall room. Now with a flick of a remote the sounds of water tinkle, sprinkle, rush or roar. I believe this is where the ponies are sequestered this evening. For American readers, I apologize for use of the term: sequestered. Absolutely no offence is intended. However: the playlist. [3]

3. I believe a strong opening is required. Let us put on our air guitar scarves, jammies and slippers and begin the blast with Canada’s rock anthem, American Woman, which did reach Billboard’s Hot 100 in January of 1970. I was but a mere go-go booted babe back then. The song was written by Mr. Burton L. Cummings, born December 31, 1947 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The song was born in a live jam in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. [Gotta love WikipediA lore.] Anyhoot. The song is ripe with potential to slay spammmers.

For example [With all necessary apologies to Mr. B.L. Cummings.]

[Sound of rock ‘uuhh]
Spam-o-cheena say get away
Spam-o-cheena lissen wut i say
Don’t come knocking’ round my blog
All those adds can hypnotizzzzeee
Spam-polah sparkle someone else’s eyes
[sound of forcefully driving rock beat]

There is a diverse discourse about American Woman and the obvious and hidden meanings. Let’s just say this is a 45 record of patriotism plus in favour of Canada. [2/a/]

2.a With no hint of criticism, I have to admit that these days I am partial to Mr. Lenny Kravitz’s version of American Woman. The performance at Rio, Brazil, 2011, gives any air guitarist ample time to beat that axe. However, when watching Mr. Kravitz, I just lay my guitar down and observe mastery; and, then sob wishing that my fingers did not resemble blocks of hardwood, [ 2.b]

2.b. I believe Devil’s Train début with AmWom, is a passable snack but début with a Guess Who song? Come on, there’s a few of us know the original. ‘scusa, a snare drum fell over onto a tub of ice cream. Who let the pet badger back in the Rock Anthem Room?

3. The second song? Well, I found the BTO album’s just a little too bouncy. Kinda easy to rework You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, a tribute to when the cow bell held a huge instrumental presence in rock music. However, not this time Mr. R. Bachman, Mr. Turner and Mr. Overdrive (Just kidding re. the latter.]

4. No, for the second song, I have to haul out the hard rock power trio, Triumph. One view of Lay It On The Line – the performance of July 21, 1979, – is just chocked full of sentiment, stinging nettle guitar work and serious dude lyrics. Triumph was formed in 1975 in Mississauga, Ontario and is known for performances in heavy metal, progressive rock and, or course, Canadian rock. This song speaks to the soullessness of spam:

Same old story
all over again
You turn a blog
into an advert
data mine
This blog is mine
Go ahead, lay it on the line
Don’t waste my time
[Astonishing air guitar solo here.]

5. Third song? Gotta be Ms. Carol Pope, born August 6, 1950, outside of Manchester, England. She and Kevan Staples formed the Canadian band Rough Trade in Toronto, Canada in 1974. The song, All Touch, just screams a rant about spam-a-junk-o-lah.

I pushed the tense spam away from me-eeem
I pushed the tense spam away from me
The harsh links, spam going on
Like a razor blade on glass
All touch but no contact
Spam-o-cheena, spam-o-cheena
Hit me like slap - all touch
[Grinding guitar work here.]

6. How to close out an evening without resorting to pharmaceuticals? Some West Coast talent? I think of Mr. Bon Jovi’s, It’s My Life. Yes, am aware Mr. Jon Bon Jovi was born in New Jersey on March 2, 1962. There is a supergreat version of the song with fighter pilot accompaniment at YouTub. I use the song to declare, It’s My Life.

it’s my blog
It’s now or never
Ain’t no spam-mer
Gonna live forever
I just wanna blog
When I’m alive
It’s my blog
My blog is like an open highway
[Superior air guitar moves here.]

7. Ah, last dance? Anything from The Last Waltz, a concert by the Canadian Rock Group, The Band, held on November 25, 2976 (American Thanksgiving) at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, CA, USA. A mega-night of mega-Canadian talents. This was advertised as the end of The Band’s touring career. ‘scusa, gotta go and hear Ms. Joni Mitchell sing Coyote,

8. I ‘heart’ YouTub’s dedicated team of uploaders. Thanks for an evening of memories for The Playlist.

© S. Calliou, October 5, 2013 except for the artists’ original songs/lyrics, of course.

Please see the Daily Prompt for a mixtape, http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/daily-prompt-music-2/


The Clothes Dryer and The Cycle Of Life

The Clothes Dryer [A Haibun]


Laundry tumbling in the dryer. Heat and centrifugal force remove moisture at speeds up to 1420 rotations per minute. Whirling fabrics intersect, entwine, entangle. Unlikely collaborations: an oven mitt hugging a bed sheet and a bra stuffed with socks. The twirling of the materials fascinates. Am I so bored I am prepared to observe laundry dry? A swath of fabric stretches and for a moment I see the ribbons of the aurora borealis cloaking the night sky as I walked in a cold, crisp night. A teacher in a northern community where the cold air stings the surfaces of the eyes. The silence of bush country undisturbed by the few burps of humanity venturing to make the north a home. The north sky aflame like crazy tie-dye. For a moment, fabrics are squished against the dryer’s port-hole. The glass an odd thickness, framed in chrome. What prompted an engineer to design a window to view laundry spinning, twirling, leaping? This port-hole does not grant view of an expanse of ocean. There is no need to peer and check for icebergs at the starboard. For a moment a pair of socks splash against the glass before inhuman forces whisk them upwards. Without this appliance what would I do today? Once upon a time, laundry was a wilderness experience. I would be steeped in the elements of nature. I would have no worry about an errant sock making exit into the twilight zone. My only worry would be badgers and wolverines in need of pillow cases or aprons. I would fight for my linens. Perhaps, not now. I am older. Arthritis gnaws at me like beavers lazily snacking on trembling aspen. Arthritis would not permit I balance a load of laundry as I sashay to a scatter of bushes beside a gurgling creek. I would fling cloth on bush, allowing the natural dry cycle to exact a natural process of evaporation. This would occur at the natural speed of the Earth’s rotation at 1670 kilometers per hour; that’s like 1,826,334 yards per hour. That’s like ridiculously faster than this dryer’s spin cycle, an appliance purchased just after the invention of the coal oil lamp. In olden, prehistoric times the sun- and wind-dried laundry returned water to the water cycle in a natural way. Now my appliance forces superheated air and, perhaps, a dollop of moisture into the water cycle? A favourite scarf tangos by with a plaid shirt. The port-hole reminds of a space ship. I do not recall where I put Mr. B. Fuller’s Operating Manual For Spaceship Earth (1968). Are we all astronauts Mr. Fuller? What setting required for my deep space gloves? The Earth glides in an orbit around the Sun, with an orbital eccentricity of 0.0167. The Earth transits around the Sun an approximate speed of 67,000 mph. I hold my breath. I do not stand as still as I would like to believe. A bell ‘dings’. A cycle ends.

sunlight strikes keyboard

thoughts whirl, spin, twist, leap, lie.

words hung out to dry.

© S. Calliou October 4, 2013

Emeralds [A Poem]


Emeralds [A Poem]

dawn's lips kiss the tips of trees.
i wish to do the same:
kiss the hollow of collar bone,
slide tongue along the curve of neck,
place lips upon closed eyelids.

i wait. please awake. gaze upon me.
gaze and scatter murky clouds
storming within. choking my throat.
gaze. liberate me from this
enslavement which petrifies blood.

awake. gaze at me. let your gaze
linger, fertilize me with newly
planted blessings. gaze upon me
with newly found reason that repels
the churlish terrors bloating my heart.

gaze upon me. let a sweet gaze tell me
that the fury of last night is but fleeting
ill-tempered pantomime. an illusion of the weather.
but. o. how eyes did flash with flame;
agleam like stones stolen from Lucifer's crown.

gaze upon me. unbind me from
this particular hell. awake. allow
your gaze speak ritual incantation to
heal the nightmarish hours while you slept;
hours which brayed like 
animals caught in rusted leg traps. 

awake. let sweet wisdom
hidden within those emerald eyes
bless the hours to come. let not
our love be undone.

awake. gaze upon me. now.

© S. Calliou. 30 September, 2013