Radical Handy-Arms

Oh this was one of my favourite mis-translations, from all the way back at the beginning of this project! Here’s my effort, a little complaint from a bloke with growing political anger issues.


The prompt also inspired Jules Clare, who has donated this poem, also flavoured with politics:

DMs on hardy feet
White socks under Docs
Gathering in circles
Skin head flocks

We don’t need
this Facist Groove Thing
Crushed by the wheels
of British industry

A free trade deal
A Statute of Liberty
Dead in the water
Donald and The Peach

Lest we forget
Iranian arms widespread
A life in arms
Radical, handy and ultimately unseen

From Which Precision, Despite It All, We Are Sentient

I really struggled with this Strange Prompt, and found I wanted to do something that warped and played with language sounds first, and meaning second. Then I was reading Stress Fractures, a great book of essays from Penned In The Margins, and was reminded by Ross Sutherland’s essay about the potential for multiple Google-translations to invoke creative weirdification. So, I

  1. Looked up definitions of sentience
  2. Found a couple of quotes about animals, and race, including one by Jeremy Bentham
  3. Smooshed them together and ran the text through Google translate into several languages (Igbo, Shona, Maori, etc) and back into English
  4. Made the final version into a poem


Big thanks also go to Jules Clare, for this contribution:

Your experienced senses
Have their recompenses
In past and present tenses
Sitting on stable fences

Feathered winded eyes
Deceived by precise lies
Everything and everyone dies
Supermarket Sweep buys

Resplendent incisors taste
Portuguese Paella paste
Fluffy dough to baste
Interlopers lunch in waste

Sometimes I feel your touch
Flagrantly too much
I ignore emotional feelings; I am butch
I am living life, not in a rush

I always listen hard
I’m a poet, a bard
Reading from a scripted card
Placing an audience off guard

I often smell like Hell
I’m saved by the bell
From a personal prison cell
Others find it hard to tell

I am into personal space
Losing it is a disgrace
Winning an indescribable race
Vanishing with a trace

I rely on my balance
Connected to my parlance
I am in the mood to dance
I prance and take a chance

I have experienced senses
They can’t break down my defences
Committing personal offences
They will suffer sensual consequences



Itinerant Line

I have been reading far too many books on poetic form by Penned In The Margins, and so have been forced to write a poem entirely made of anagrams of the prompt (except for the little joining words because I’m not completely brilliant/psychotic).


Luckily, I also have more sensible poems here from Jules Clare

Travelling from place to place
Plane, train, automobile
A Climatic emergency disgrace
Turning down the emission dial

A line is easy to define
Especially if it’s mine
Locally from Newcastle to Scotland
The Lowlands to The Highlands sublime

How will I get on in life?
Will I be in a dream?
Will I proffer a knife ?
Personal challenges unclean

Purple visions and strife
Dressed to kill in Docs
Travelling between Lisbon and Fife
Observing European Goths

And from Jo Colley – thank you, both!

The line between acceptable and unacceptable
The line between here and there
The line between what is mine and what is yours
which shifts like the line of the tide, a salt stain
on the sand, watermarked silk
The line between now and then, ungraspable
like water, like the wings of a hummingbird
Yesterday, today and tomorrow with the light
growing and shrinking on the horizon, the sky
forever an endless bowl without a single line
where we will all fall upwards into infinity