Poetry Pals

Hello!

You’ve probably landed on this page by following a link from Twitter. If so, howdy.

When I joined Twitter a few years back, I did it with the express desire to make some new friends. Especially some literary buddies who enjoy reading and writing poetry, essays, and all-sorts as much as I do. I work from home, I’m quite an introvert, so it’s hard to make new friends. Perhaps you’ve experienced that too?

Although I have had some nice mini-chats with people in their Mentions, I haven’t really made any poetry pals: people who might like to share newly-penned work with me and vice-versa, people looking for feedback, support, encouragement, accountability for submitting stuff to journals, whatever.

The tricky part of finding people to vibe with this in this way is that you need to broadly speaking enjoy whatever groove your poetry pal has got going even if it’s somewhat different to your groove. So with that in mind, I thought I might post here a couple of poems I’ve been working on in the last few days to give you a sense of the poems that currently seem to be arriving at my door.

I usually write every day and so the two poems below are not necessarily my most publication-ready. If there’s something in these drafts that speak to you, please do send me some of your own work (heysteveklein AT gmail DOT com) and let’s be poetry pals! I promise as your poetry pal not to hit on you, or be insensitive with my feedback (which I think are two things stopping people on Twitter from communicating more off the platform- especially with men).

As you can probably tell from my @poetrykoan feed I love all sorts of poetry from Mary Oliver to Mary Ruefle to Jenny Xie and Emily Skaja, and lots of non-English speaking writers too. Your work/tastes in poetry don’t have to be the same as mine. But I do think it helps if we like something about the other person’s writing, and maybe have some writers in common that we enjoy.

As difficult as it is to share raw, new work as I have done below (I am literally squirming at the thought of anyone reading these recently-written poems), I think one makes friends by being a little bit messy and open-hearted rather than presenting a good or polished “front”, so I’ve held back on sharing published stuff or stuff that got commended in competitions as I’d like you to decide to be a friend based simply on your fleeting intuition and nothing more than that.

Look forward to reading your poems if you fancy sharing!

Steve

Oh, and my Twitter handle (Steve Klein) is the name I’m currently using for writing purposes as I feel squicky about my clients reading my stuff. But if we’re gonna be poetry pals, I do also exist in the real world as this guy too.

A PERSON WHO CARES ABOUT A PIG IS A RARE THING

“It is pleasant to own something, but inanimate objects are enough for me. I don’t insist on flesh and blood and minds and consciences.”

-Isabel Archer in Henry James’ Portrait of A Lady

I cannot look at a painting without hunting
for pain in the thing it shows. I cannot see the sky
blue silk inlay of a rabbit stole hanging over
a chair without thinking of some carcass hung
up to dry or a red velvet neckerchief spoils
of the kill a cloth used to wipe bloodied hands.

Not her hand we avow the one gripping an arm
rest like a rifle the other fidgety in movement
so as to appear on inspection as flayed fingers
caught by needles in a carding machine
swiftly degloved while the other sharp siblings
continue to brush raw cotton into alignment.

She crosses the channel with an unused bar
of soap from her Paris pension stamped
with her name like a small pink haiku
FANNY FABRIQUE A MARSEILLE
tugging the edges of mouths into a smirk.

But only on this side of the Sleeve
where another flat surface reflects status
in coloured oils minified by double entendre.

I have seen freshly slaughtered piglets
displayed on a butcher’s counter in paper ruffs.
Sometimes the curve of her pillow finds itself

blotched by her cheeks or mascara a canvas
for unsolicited material leaking out of the face
whilst some thing shrieks in agony far far away.
NOTE: This is an ekphrastic poem, which emerged as a response to this image: https://jssgallery.org/Paintings/Alt/Fanny_Watts_b.html. The title of the poem comes from a line in Jenny George poem called “Notes on Pigs” (from The Dream of Reason, 2018).

OVER THE EDGE OF DOOM INTO THE MAW OF NULLIFICATION
(A Villanelle In Dialogue with Sonnet 116)

Rarely admitting or accepting the impediment
wanting proved and loved to always agree
builds up between them a maddening sediment.

Why should it not alter the evolutionary experiment
borne of alteration and sexual idiosyncrasy
rarely admitting or accepting the impediment?

Why wouldn’t the removal of costumes, props relevant
remove at the same time the heart’s hyperbole
built up between them a maddening sediment?

What kind of psycho is not shaken by the elements?
Someone on the Love Boat far out at sea
Rarely admitting or accepting the impediment.

Their bodies drone domestic now no longer eloquent
toys and scalpels battle the sickle of drudgery
builds up between them a maddening sediment.

Nothing that arises escapes the testament
blame’s error-choked heart beats a diastole
rarely admitting or accepting the impediment
builds up between them a saddening sentiment.

(12 December, 2019)

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