18 December 2012

Tuesday Poem: I Would Rather..., by Laurice Gilbert

I would rather…

·         cut my toenails in the dark with a machete
·         slash my wrists and lie bleeding in a puddle of leeches
·         self-diagnose a suspicious lump by looking it up on the internet
·         roll cheese at Coopers Hill, run with the bulls at Pamplona,  swim with the sharks in Shark Alley
·         trek across Central Australia in bare feet and a black crushed velvet Goth dress
·         answer an online dating ad for an outgoing, intelligent and well-travelled professional man with his own successful business
·         visit Liberia without anti-malarial tablets, climb Everest without oxygen, hitch-hike in Afghanistan in a mini-skirt
·         recite poetry naked in Manners Mall on a Friday night in July
·         drink water from the Ganges during a cholera epidemic
·         go back to university to study accounting
·         have the soles of my feet tattooed

than write another funding application to Creative New Zealand 

Credit note: This poem first appeared in Valley Micropress (May 2010), where Laurice Gilbert was the Featured Poet, and is the final poem in Laurice's first collection, My Family & Other Strangers (Academy Aotearoa Press, 2012). It is reproduced by permission of the author.

You can purchase My Family & Other Strangers for $12 by:

(a) PayPal - linked from this page: http://www.poetrysociety.org.nz/aboutlaurice

(b) Emailing Laurice at laurice.gilbert@paradise.net.nz to get bank account details for direct credit.

Tim says: I went to the launch of Laurice's collection this past Sunday. It was a warm and fun launch, filled with family and friends, and introduced by a witty slideshow compiled by Laurice's husband Wally Potts, with well-timed interjections from Laurice. The collection is full of lovely poems about family, and I had decided to ask Laurice if I could use one of them as my Tuesday Poem, when she closed the reading with the poem above. How could I resist?

But, since it's Christmas, I want to wish a Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to all poets and lovers of poetry; to the frustrated compilers of grant applications and the  inscrutable examiners of grant applications alike; to saint and sinner, publican and publicist; to the long and the short and the tall, and all the ships at sea. I hope everyone has the chance for, and enjoys, a lovely and well-deserved holiday.

The Tuesday Poem: Wonderfully rounds out the year.

10 December 2012

My Flash Fiction "Aftermath" Nominated For A Pushcart Prize

In 2012, I have been working steadily away on stories for a third short story collection, but I haven't yet got to the stage of making many subissions to magazines and anthologies.

I have, however, had several short-short stories aka flash fictions published by the excellent New Zealand-based monthly flash fiction magazine Flash Frontier, whose editors Michelle Elvy and Sian Williams have done a great job since starting the magazine in late 2011. They pulled together an outstanding lineup of authors for the international issue, as well as all the New Zealand authors who have been published in Flash Frontier since its inception - as shown by the list of contributors.

I was very pleased to hear from the editors recently that they have nominated my story "Aftermath", which was first published in the April 2012 issue of Flash Frontier, for a Pushcart Prize, together with five other stories from Flash Frontier. It's always nice to get this sort of recognition, and I hope to have further flash fictions in Flash Frontier - and, I hope, in other venues too - next year. Thank you, Michelle and Sian!


After the party we drove the last guests home down streets already filling with the desperate and dangerous. The return journey was arduous, our new armour plating proving its worth more than once.

Sir Charles, manning the machine-gun nest at the gates, gave us a cheery wave as we swept into the driveway. Our path from the motor pool was lit by the fitfully flaring skies. To our left, the men under Tompkins were taking up the croquet lawn, ready to plant kale, to plant leeks, to plant the seed potatoes long tended in secret by O’Brien. No varietal rights lawyers would trouble him now.

Mother was surprisingly chipper. She gave me a peck on the cheek and sent me upstairs to help with the blackout curtains. “Everything’s going like clockwork,” she said. “Like clockwork.”

Standing watch in the upper gallery was tedious. I will not deny that I had fallen asleep at my post when the first wave of attacks began. We heard the chattering of Sir Charles’ machine-gun; we heard it fall silent. I learned later that only the massed charge of the under-gardeners, who had been concealed in the ha-ha for such an eventuality, repelled the attackers from our gates.

In the morning, we dragged Sir Charles’ body to the petunia border for burial. We stopped for a minute’s silence to mark his passing. Then Mother blew a single, mournful note on a party favour, and we returned to the task of further reinforcing the gates.

04 December 2012

Tuesday Poem: Delegates


Storm stuffed with snow
stomps the sky’s boots
through hallways, conventions.

Delegates register, scatter
to the four sides of the square,
to the Four Seasons.

A corner suite. Storm
thrums the windows. Each year
they re-enact the ritual:

her hands meshed in his hair,
his stubble chafing her thighs.
She arches on the wardrobe door.

Next morning, at the plenary,
they sit apart. Each time they vote
a secret warmth escapes their hands.

Credit note: "Delegates" was first published in my third poetry collection, Men Briefly Explained.

Tim says: I can't remember why, but the idea of a couple who conduct a secret affair at an annual convention they both attend popped into my head, and this is the result. For some reason, the idea only works if the annual convention takes place in winter.

The Tuesday Poem: Keeps getting better