Thursday, 31 January 2019

Luigi finds a home...


Delighted to have this poem published in Acumen January 2019.
It was shortlisted for the 2018 Bridport Prize, so I'm very happy it's found a home in such a respected journal.


Luigi's Calendar


Thin Luigi stands next to me and points
at the sun's red arc settling on the ridge,
clocking out of its daily labour 
in the hot factory of summer.
He says that in the long days of June 
it sets further towards the Gran Sasso
then, as each day passes, creeps its way 
south along the far Morrone ridge.
But today is Ferragosto and the sun 
still has much travelling to do.
For now I'm glad its hot eye is closing
on another sweltering afternoon.
I offer Luigi a beer which he declines, 
as usual, and in my poor Italian 
try to say how a calendar could be made
by putting markers on the hills 
according to the setting sun.
He smiles, nods and speaks again.
I smile and nod too, feeling sure
neither of us have understood a word.
We watch the quick descent of the sun
the top edge just showing now...
                                  ...and now gone.
The bee-eaters are still chirruping, 
but in the trees the last golden orioles 
have calmed their fluting song.
Thin Luigi sighs and says "Ciao Marco, 
ci vediamo..." and wanders off up the lane. 
His dogs are barking in their pen.
I shake a mosquito from my ankle 
then look back at the dark mountain ridge
and the house lights coming on in Serra.
 
If I were constant like Thin Luigi,
I could observe all the sunsets I'd need
to mark down and make that calendar
then use it to count the fallow days 
which fall between you and me
each one like a flake of snow settling 
on the slopes of Monte Amaro.



 

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Fishing for Mahseer


We took a boat out for Golden Mahseer,
fishing the greedy Ganges, casting flies
across its race as logs and rags spun by.
It seemed a futile hunt until - what luck! -
a charred body neared, fallen from a pyre,
preyed upon by a shoal of roiling fish.

As this hellish vision drifted closer
my angling friend reeled in his lure and line,
remade his tackle with a pink ‘flesh fly’
then cast into the froth around the corpse.
I looked away. On the bank women washed,
above the trees a little minaret
shone through the smog framed sun. What can be said?
We fished for fish which fed upon the dead.



First published in Riggwelter magazine January 2019

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

I can't go out in the rain


Now please don’t think I’m disrespecting
those who fought and died in our name
but candy floss hair is a delicate crown...
and I can’t go out in the rain!


I know the fake news will all have a go -
they’ll say I’m self-centred and vain -
but I tell you my hair is a sensitive wisp
and I’m not going out in the rain!

Of course I’ve been caught playing golf -
but I’m an athlete who’s true to his game -
and crying round gravestones isn’t my thing.
Others can look glum in the rain.

And what if a gust caught my hair, blew it off,
left me standing quite bald and ashamed?
Is that how America wants me to look?
No!  I shan’t go out in the rain!

Sure I’m sorry for the poor guys who died,
it was dreadful, dreadful - but I’m not to blame
they chose to enlist (I dodged the draft),
so i won’t risk my weave in the rain.

Now I’ve told you five times, I think it’s quite clear
please don’t insult me by asking again -
you reporters are just a disgrace to your job,
but not me -
I have candy floss, fly away, sensitive hair,
and I’m not going out in the rain!



This little satirical verse rather surprised me when I posted it on Facebook on Armistice Day and it went viral with over 2000 shares and many likes.
Not really my usual type of poem but I'm delighted it connected with so many people!

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

October news - gigs etc


Back from a fortnight writing in California at the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods - an amazing experience and much food for thought. My thanks to Steve and Sarah for inviting me.

I’m pleased to have made the shortlist for The Bridport Poetry Prize (one of the big ones) - although the shortlist is far as I got, but hey, that’ll do - after all there were well over 5,000 entrants!

In other news - two upcoming book launch gigs:

Stanza Extravaganza at Artizan Gallery, St Lucius Street, Torquay on Monday 29th October;

and  Uncut Poets, The Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter, Thursday 29th November;

Thursday, 11 October 2018

News!


 On 21st September Hide Songs had its official launch at the Poetry Café in Betterton Street, London along with Green Bottle Press's two other new releases by Pamela Manche Pearce and Gail McConnell.
It was a lovely evening and we all felt honoured to see so many people there.
My thanks to Jennifer Grigg for organizing it all.

The following day I flew off to San Francisco to take up a two week Writing Residency at The Wellstone Center in the Redwoods, near Santa Cruz - which was a wonderful experience and gave me a chance to work on some editing and come up with first drafts of new poems.

Next up it's the Devon launch of Hide Songs along with my good friend Andy Brown's launch of his new book Blood Lines from Worple Press.

This takes place at the Oystercatcher's Café, in Teignmouth on Tuesday 16th October, 7.30pm for 8pm.
We'll both be reading and also playing a little music together. If you're around Devon please come along!

If you can't make it to any readings and would like a copy of Hide Songs please visit the Green Bottle Press website https://greenbottlepress.com/order-form/our-books/

Sunday, 22 July 2018

NEW BOOK!

So excited to announce my full collection Hide Songs will be available from Green Bottle Press at the beginning of August.

Please visit their website and, er, buy a copy! Thank you

https://greenbottlepress.com/our-books/
 
 

















"Sometimes witty, sometimes dark, often observant of nature and culture...  These are wonderful poems from a new lyric voice to watch and listen out for"  Andy Brown

Friday, 29 June 2018

Summer gigs

Getting out and about this Summer, come along if you can

* 29th June -  The Word Cafe at The Cott Inn Dartington, The Woodward Brothers (performing a mixture of poetry and music with my brother),  7.30 onwards, admission free;

* 7th July- The Woodward Brothers on the Pucker Poets stage at Glas-Denbury Festival in Devon around 2.30pm;

* 8th July - on the Speakers Corner stage at Ways With Words Festival, Dartington, around 2.30pm;

* 25th July - The Woodward Brothers at the Royal Seven Stars, Totnes 7.30pm onwards;

* 27th/28th/29th July The Woodward Brothers at  Port Eliot Festival in The Tiddy Tent;

Check my Facebook page for full up to date listings.






Thursday, 5 April 2018

Woodcock

I'm very pleased to have won First Prize in the 2018 Keats' Steps Poetry Competition held by Teignmouth Poetry Festival with this little piece 'Woodcock'.




















Warm in my father's palms, the woodcock lay
soft, its short neck lolling, head tilted down,
long beak scribing out a grave on the ground.

The cryptic bars and patchwork of freckles:
perfection, save for where the shot had ripped
through the fine curtain of its plumage.

Pluck downwards so as not to tear the skin
(not up against the grain like tougher fowl)
then draw, clean and truss the little game-bird.

From the top edge of the wing you can pull
the pretty pin feather for a hat band -
though artists like them for detail painting.

Later I went out walking in the scrublands
hoping I would hear a Woodcock whirr up
from the bushes to paint its own detail

across the Winter sunset and perhaps
its haphazard zig-zagging flight would say
It's not over, I'm still here, it's okay.

Friday, 2 March 2018

March 2018 : News!


I’m delighted to announce that Green Bottle Press will be publishing a full collection from me in July 2018. Title still to be decided. If you want to know when it comes out and how to get a copy come and find me on Facebook or Twitter (@marcomando ).

In other news: I’m looking forward to kicking off the Teignmouth Poetry Festival on the 15th March performing a poetry and music show with my brother Andrew playing hammer and Appalachian dulcimers as The Woodward Brothers

On April 26th I’ll be reading at Ocean Gallery in the Royal William yard in Devonport, then jumping onto a boat to sail around Plymouth harbour (reading poetry to a captive audience - well, unless they’re really good swimmers) as we voyage round to the Barbican to continue with a further reading in the B-Bar at the Barbican theatre.
Further details here: http://www.b-bar.co.uk/2018/02/thursday-26th-april-forked.html?m=1

The Woodward Brothers are also performing on the poetry stage at Glas-Denbury Festival in the green fields of Devon (7th July);

....and have just been booked again for Port Eliot Festival in Cornwall (26/27/28/29 July) following last year's successful if rather wet shows!
It’s a tricky thing to get right, the music and poetry combination, but we're getting some lovely feedback so it seems to be working pretty well...

Monday, 19 February 2018

The Strange Death Of Jenny Joseph

Happy to have this ekphrastic response poem for an image by Daniel Frost
published in Visual Verse 2/2018.