Tag Archives: poetry

Hopeless Poetry videos

Craig Hallam, longstanding Hopeless contributor, pallid goth-boi and steampunk gentleman, has written some Hopeless Maine poetry for us…

Here’s the intro

 

Upon arrival in Hopeless…

 

Nightshade

 

Beneath the trees of Hopeless

 

My mind

 

Upon arrival in Hopeless

From

The ongoing works of Algernon Lear

(and Pulvis)

(Really Craig Hallam)

 

Upon arrival in Hopeless

 

A veil of mist covers the screaming shore,

smoke pouring into a drowning maw.

A sea of green glass

laced with antique foam

rattles the bones of the beach.

 

The sea tastes the shore and the beach bites back,

splintering hulls and breaking backs.

Hopeless’ dark beauty

looms like a threat,

and a dream sweat prickles the skin.

 

Crawling from the surf to clandestine shore,

paying forth the brine from our lungs,

the island gifts rotten breath,

we arrive in debt

to a ledger writ in abyssal hand.

 

Nightshade

By Craig Hallam

 

 

 

Nightshade

 

Pale ankles buried in the brine,

the sand washing against your roots,

you were timeless there,

the hem of your skirts

floating on the ebb tide.

O, let me never see the ocean again

if it does not caress your sweet self.

 

The wind gave birth to the sea breeze

that it might play in gentle fronds

loosed from your tress.

The scent of wood smoked fish

comes on the wind.

O, let me never breathe again

if your scent is not in the air.

 

With dulcet command the horizon obeys,

the midnight ocean bows.

Blade summons your rich blood,

and shocked arousal

from this onlooking thrall.

O, Nightshade, strike me down.

This life is lived at your behest.

Gary Death by Poetry

“It was undoubtedly the poetry that killed him.” So said Edgar Melon Foe, the infamous blind poet of Hopeless, Maine.

(It is to be noted that Infamous Blind Poet of Hopeless, Maine, is Edgar Melon Foe’s official title at this time.)

Sources close to the recently departed Mr Gary Death have suggested to me that it might have been because he recently tried to set up a rival poetry event. Or it might have been because of the satirical pamphlet he printed last month. All three copies of it, because that was all the paper I could spare him. Perhaps it was his insistence on driving rhythms and the use of rhyme, suggested another observer who wished to remain anonymous. Edgar Melon Foe supports unstructured, free verse and is staunchly opposed to anything that smacks of traditionalism.

I have always said that it is better if what goes on between poets, stays between poets. It seems that most of the island agrees with me, as in the days since Gary Death’s death, Edgar Melon Foe has continued unimpeded in his business. I can’t say I’m surprised – although it seems to bother the newcomers. This island has a fine tradition of treating murder as a personal, private sort of matter so long as a person doesn’t make too much of a habit of it. And while Edgar Melon Foe has smacked a few people around the head with his cane, he usually considers it sufficient to cause a few bruises.

Gary was, on the whole, quite a popular islander and his humour and helpful inclinations will be much missed. But not missed sufficiently for anyone to consider a revenge attack, by the looks of things.

It seems fitting to end this obituary with the elegy written by Edgar Melon Foe who insisted I also mention that the elegy is a specific poetic form that he has entirely ignored.

I did not like him

He is gone

We do not need poetry obsessed with rhythm

And I find rhymes annoying.

Free verse triumphs again.

Because sometimes the cane is mightier than the pen

And you have to stand up

For what you believe in.

I was merely the instrument of fate.

The hand of the universe.

It was undoubtedly the poetry that killed him.

 

Gary Death brought this upon himself by being an early bird funder of the Hopeless Maine kickstarter. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/countrostov/tales-of-hopeless-maine

Those of you who have been following the Vendetta for a while may recall that Gary wrote us a poem about the blind poet of Hopeless, Maine… https://hopelessvendetta.wordpress.com/2018/06/08/the-blind-poet/ 

Why Do I Paint Monsters?

 

They say I am veiled as the paintings in my attic

that I keep my life concealed like skeletons beneath white sheets

that only hair pins hold me together and a spinster’s habits

that I am pale because only tentacles touch my heart.

How little they know what goes on in my secret place,

my haven, where I keep my paintbox, my paints, my easel,

which always tells the truth whoever steps from behind the curtain

into the frame and by the steady brush of my hand coalesces.

Why do I paint them? You ask. Why do I keep their faces

emptied out with a candle above as a nod to their puttering souls

lit without a single match by flames that grow ever brighter

as this island gets more hopeless and I grow wiser?

My life has not been easy. Read this in my downturned lips –

this would not have been my first choice, but now they want me

to oversee the rules of a new game I am hiding my damp brushes

and paints away and smiling a small smile like a masquerade.

 

Words by Lorna Smithers, who we welcome to the island with this piece. I have had the honor and pleasure of doing the art for two of her book covers- The Broken Cauldron and Gatherer of Souls. It is beautiful writing of the sort that will change your internal landscape.  Please visit Lorna here.

 

Art- Tom Brown

The Jester

 

Riddle me this, riddle me that
What am I sowing under my hat?”

Gifting hallucinatory dead flowers
at the Bridge of Bottles underpass
The Jester bites his teeth
and swirls his swanky walnut hourglass
Jabbing japes and swastika shapes
he slinks the serried lanes
and covets nocturnal landscapes
with those knotty sweat-soaked veins
residents pass scornfully dumb
he amuses dogs and orphans
laughing and trustingly they come
as lambs to the terrible slaughter

“Riddle in laughter, riddle in tears
What am I knowing between my ears?”

Playing imaginary dead reality
at the cold and broken children’s home
The Jester tastes his tongue
and masks his manic antique metronome
Flaunting flouts and swiping clouts
he sinks the barley wine
and communes with gnarly snouts
with motives of ill design
naked and torn willingly shoved
the dispossessed son and daughter
hurting like they’ve never been loved
as fish out of turbulent water

“Riddle your heart, riddle your brain
Where are you going in Hopeless, Maine?

Here we welcome, bus driver, poet, artist, photographer, ponderer of the imponderable, worker of miracles- Derek Dohren to the island. We very much hope to hear from him again soon, as this is a brilliant addition to the lore of Hopeless, Maine.

 

Art-Tom Brown

Hopeless Tourist Officer

Thank you, dear people Now let me explain

That if on Hopeless
You wish to remain

I am the chap
With whom to converse

The truth you will hear
For better or worse.

You have probably formed An impression so far

Of darkness and fog
Of the world left ajar

And while it is true
That things can look drear

There are many joys
To be found living here.

Uummm!
Ah!
The landscape is stunning

When viewed through the murk Which lends it a grandeur

And hides things that lurk On the edge of your vision

That watch as you pass That rustle the bushes

And slither through grass Behind you

Speaking of which
If you’re into your plants

The flora is…nice
Though some of it chants

In dialects dead
The language of dust

It whispers to both
The true and unjust

Constantly

Errr!

The animal life
Is completely unique

And whether it has
Toothsome grin or sharp beak

Tentacular grip
Or glowing green eyes

There are certainly habits To keep, it is wise

Lock your damn spoons away

We have many graveyards Really – a lot

So we know where our dead are As often as not

It’s not just the fact
That the corpse can up sticks

But the graveyards themselves
Are not geographically fixed

And the dead wander

The truth is, dear friends
To survive here you’ll need

A guidebook, a reference Something to read

That will tell you the rules Of this Island so odd

And give you some help
On the paths you have trod

And so we have made THIS…

A game, it is true
That will guide you

Prepare you,
And give you a clue

How best to endure
On this island of mist

To visit this land
And put up a fist

That cries NO to the demons Which infest our dreams

And wards off the vampires Who suck at our seams

To give us some hope
That out of despair

Something less Hopeless Can take to the air.

Written by the rather brillaint Keith Healing (Creator of Travels in Hopeless-the impending Hopeless, Maine RPG and all around lovely chap) Illustrated by Jacinta Haden-Newman who was our work experience student for a week. I see a bright future ahead of her! (DO look closely at the detail of the lighthouse)

The Blue Emperor

A patchwork of bricks undulate in smog

the houses and inns connected by arteries of alleys

Walls sag like tired frogs sat in grime and bulge from years of swallowing

In between the amphibious buildings that eat people whole is a man a cobalt dragonfly

his hood up a hole and no face sleeves connected at a chest no outline of legs when he glides

A rag child said two claret dots inhabit the dragonfly’s shroud

This the only statement that was said aloud but whispers chatter in cupped palms and over drinks

since shutters sealed when patrons leave as a weary bird calls and light wheezes through sky

In the darkest blue speckled with stars streets are glossed black and cherry

as human-flies pop no fists connected or intoxicated braying just echoes of thick snoring

In the grey when fish fill noses port stains dry on the road tasting like rusted pig salt

Investigators finger the outlines squatting in corners writing a profile on bleached yellow paper

Children push at thighs to spot guts but there are no gizzards no sliced hands or spoiling innards

just a spattering of puddles saturated in stonework crannies that insects stick to like seeds in jam

No victims just a switch of people to pools on mouldy cobbles

The Blue Emperor flutters on a headline before being washed down gutters

Handymen scrub watching every seagull shadow stains not cleaned just passed to skin

The thin and sick vagabonds that don’t know tricks chant and pray in warped corners

Ankles poised to kick a bolted hatch when the dragonfly hovers and silk flows

On a pub door fingernails dig and oak is scratched and split

Watch at two for a dragonfly

If it stops in front say goodbye

To loved ones embrace and sound a bell

The Blue Emperor is where you dwell

Pray Pray Pray

For a light to mark the day

and a good sea wind to take his wings away

The Blue Emperor by performance poet Ziggy Dicks (welcome to the island, Ziggy!)

Art by Tom Brown

The Blind Poet continued

In anticipation with the misty aura precipitation falling on the wet cobbled streets,
footsteps echo, echo.
The blind poet’s back straightens; shoulders awkwardly flex, fingers and fist clench with intense momentary anxiety around the long black cane. Will it ever be the same?
Ten years is a long time to wait, sit, think and debate with fading colours of her midnight black hair.
From the homeland he remembers too painfully a saying –
No man is an island
Except for the Isle of Man.
Will he know how to talk to her?
Can smiles run together?
A grin starts to fill his wet stubble skin, and then within seconds the echoes vanish.
No trace, no return, no smiles.
Silence
Damp, cold, empty, nothing.
She could light up a room on arrival,
turn a glance to a gaze, thousand yards of staring bearing all beauty can behold
with confidence many never possess.
He was hooked, drawn in and now many full moons later gutted,
sitting alone in the mist and rain on the harbour side of Hopeless Maine.

 

 

Words by Gary Death

Art by Tom and Nimue Brown.

The Blind Poet

The Blind Poet
Hopeless, Maine
If only you could see it.
Through the mist bursts forth the ferry’s bow.
No flicker of a smile, without hesitation or concern he steps confidently ashore.
The Blind Poet has arrived.
Carving visual thoughts through orange glowing streets he pauses to reflect on heady days of old.
The gambling, the addiction all now conflicting into each stride taken in this new location.
The black cane, the stick a weapon or an aid to defend or project for safety or status.
All of these are debatable.
He trusts no-one.

Once well-read ‘til his eyes swelled and bled, those secrets kept deep within his head – tilts to listen for footsteps on the wet cobbled stones….he waits for news.
Memory holds many chambers of hope, love, regrets and pain.
He knows that her beauty will never be seen again.
But maybe…
The voice a touch can rekindle a flame on this misty evening in Hopeless, Maine.

Galleries of oil paintings, landscapes of old forest trees.
Sitting viewing, holding hands.
All spin through his ageing head.
The good days the easy times.
Thoughts of warmth wrap themselves around him tonight in the lampposts’ glow.
A seagull cry breaks the silence and thoughts of the past.
Echoes of steps drawing nearer and nearer fill the quay side street.

Words by Gary Death

Art by Tom and Nimue Brown.

To be continued.