Poetry Blog by Jo Mayers

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Guess what this one's about...

NB the title is undetermined as yet. Something about getting the glow, or taking the edge off, or both.


We’re having fun.

The collective mood must be

a good one, because there’s

a laugh after each phrase.

Also, the drinks seem to be

going down. Invisibly soft,

not by increments.

Sly levels of spirit; getting

into our systems and upping

our little ga...

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Between the Page and the Day

If you have ever done things –

walked home, watched the stove, sang –

as if from the bottom of a pond;

you’ll know this already:


It starts when you look up from thick text.

Raising a sleepy yet also thrumming head,

coming out of a word-pressed coma

into recovery, a strange room, a waiting.


This is the short time following time spent

with the best-...

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The Elephant Dance

This is part of a new thing I'm quite enjoying; writing poems that children might enjoy. Not children's poetry as such, because I think there's a massive crossover, and I would never alter my semantics for the sake of genre. Anyway, have a look.


The beat can be heard before they arrive,

because they’re very heavy

and coming in droves.


Doom-bah, doom-bah. They seem to...

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On not writing

If I haven’t called

it’s due to trauma.

Some foot or other

came through my window

and I’m still picking

glass out of my hair.


And this silence might

be dull to you but

to me it’s colour.

Full blown sheets

on a line, dyed like

real life, but quiet.


Remember, I tried it

once before, the talk.

We had long, taut

conversations i...

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A three-part poem about having a cold


                Don’t tell anyone. Just regret each moment, each turn

                to the other side and breathe reluctantly through

                your mouth and wait.

                There is a heat that takes its time, almost as much

                as getting to sleep, before it stakes full claim.

                Once there, it’s like tar. Thick, non-cha...

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More Mammy Wata, hopefully better now.

I've done some work on a previous blog entry, entitled 'Mammy Wata'. I hope it's now a little more complete, and makes more sense. I've a feeling it's going to be one of those projects that NEVER really feels finished.


The Yoruba verses


I - Constance


Who comes to visit me,

when the sea is fat with breath

and streets are quiet?

Who is it hangs, one-hande...

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Just some object verse

 I am a Pritt Stick (tm)


I love your hand.

The way it encloses,

and folds, it's perfect.

Designed, it seems

for my purpose.



I am a plastic keyring


Pride in my own ability

to hold and to keep.

Acceptance of my

constant, buffetted

and pocketed life.  



I am a rug


Supporting all kinds

of step. No judge


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Another third person relationship poem; as yet untitled

You’d best shoot the messenger

if you like flowers in clear plastic coats,

or sugary hearts. This story contains

bleeding, dripping engine parts  and gears

repaired by an English mechanic in May.


He has a thick tongue and something

big to say. And it’s bound to be tricky.

Today, he’s bending his will around;

bullying it to get this great lump

past his t...

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The Waiting

It's been a disgustingly long time since I blogged! I'm not quite sure why I've been so remiss. But I HAVE been writing, so I'll share something now. This is a little mini-narrative I concocted, when asked to write a poem on the theme of either 'violence' or 'silence'. I think that the following falls into both categories. But see what you think...


“I’m not waiting for you”.



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Permutations (OR Death and Syntaxes, I can't decide)

Ever observed this phenomenon?


A language thing, simply done

that can make people stop, mid-step

and mark the page they’re on.


And that’s right, I did say phenomenon.


It’s two words together.

Arranged, or rather allowed to fall

recklessly like rain

onto a page, or a sign,

or some aggressive lips.


There must be two, more than one.


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Time to Wake Up

It’s a shame to waste strands of hair

on a hard-backed brush. No.

Strew them across bus seats,

let them career across canyons

while you dance –perhaps violently

in the dusk.


And let your skin elope,

if it must.

Take it to fairs, show it

to the fans and allow each

cool touch from a cotton sleeve

to fill up your day.


They will say that y...

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fun hedonism life

Mammy Wata

To explain: This is the entirely fictitious story of an African woman, who becomes pregnant by a man she loves, but does not marry or even know very well. She comes to term, but in childbirth she loses one of the twins, a boy. It is stillborn. In the Yoruba culture, the term ibeji means a totem which represents a lost twin, so after several years, this woman prays to the water goddess, Mammy Wa...

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Boot blood tastes the worst.

It’s like licking pure metal ore

from a hole in the ground.


We got him home, took off

his sodden shirt and had to peel, slowly

each sock from his engorged

and pulsing feet.


By the way, this wasn’t

the follow-up to a tragic night.

There’d been fun, twiglets

in bowls at one point,

and gentle fondling

of some ...

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This poem is from my new pamphlet, Yes, I have Laid the Table, which is all about FOOD.


I made cake,

nearly six minutes ago now.

It rose carefully, safe

in a greased embrace.

A car backfired.


I put the tin down

on a wire mesh. It needs

to cool or I’ll burn myself.

So I climb the stairs to wait.

Sit on the landing,

bite the rough skin


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Theme of Light, or Why I am Not a Painter

Sometimes I like to try and be Frank O'Hara. This is just one of the various outcomes:


It seems that some have a

sparkling, nearly sinister

ability to guess at tones

and immediately know their colour,

in an instinct, as though they

were born with the lesson

I got from Lisa the painter

who had brown hair

in a bandana and also

a small tattoo of a crow


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A couple of things to do with ANGER

I may read one or both of these at next month's Freed Up.


We talk, all the time, about annoyance.

I cannot understand yours.

While it’s true that a clerk

favouring the phone customer over you,

loyal you in the bloody queue,

is a problem,


how about when a tree has to grow

its trunk around a wire fence that’s

been strung too close. Folding metal


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The Adult Season: with thanks to BBC3

It is faulty logic

to sit on a

sequined cushion.


But we do,


to be polite.


It is churlish

to find new snow

a chore.


But we don’t

need to build our

own men anymore.


We always have

that anonymous sense.

Oh I want.


And we stare at death

like a cat

at the washing.


But it’s funny how


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Autumn poem

This is something I wrote during a 'funny few months' in my very early twenties (perhaps some of you have experienced the same). There is LOADS wrong with it, but it seems pertinent at the moment, so I thought I'd post it.

Here is my seat.

Small leaf carpet moans forever.

Broken limbs.

Autumn slips away in a trance.


You can have cake.

Feet in a circle endless bothe...

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Since y'all were so nice about my Meleager poem, here is another tale filched from Greek myth. This one's about Phaedra, whose older sister Ariadne ran off with Theseus, the Minotaur slayer. When that all went pear-shaped, Theseus came back and helped himself to Phaedra (well, you know, he married her). I always thought that sister dynamic was interesting. After all, Theseus didn't love Ariadne...

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I've been wondering if this poem has got legs for a while. It's worth clarifying that Meleager was the one from Greek Mythology who fancied Atalanta, and organised the Calydonion Boar Hunt. When he was born, it was prophesied that he would only live as long as a particular brand remained unburnt. On the hunt, Meleager managed to kill two of his uncles, who took issue with Atalanta claiming the ...

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This is very new. I'm thinking of reading it at a 'family friendly' poetry event next month. The title is very much provisional.



Yesterday was ordinary.

 I went in search of you

wearing a mail-order rocket suit

complete with little toggles

to control the flight.

And a cape.

It didn’t take.

Halfway across the divide

the engine gave up (...

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