Napo Corner, 2022: A place to park your poems for Napo 2022.

Started by Gyppo, April 01, 2022, 02:42:03 AM

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Napo27 - 2022

The Supremacist

He looked the part,
a stereotype fat white slob
with mad blue eyes.

He'd collar me on his doorstep,
quoting local news headlines,
spout about 'bloody foreigners',
'taking our jobs', etc.

I, delivering his 'skivers' benefit,
just smiled politely,
let it wash over and away.
Royal Mail's guidelines suggest
'Polite neutrality'.

Some days he answered the door,
stripped to the waist,
wearing elasticated trousers,
and swinging a sabre around.

Despite my interest in edged weapons
I chose not to ask anything,
preferring not to engage.

One day he fingered the edge,
and said he'd been practicing,
ready to 'dice some niggers'.
Swung it close enough to annoy.

Funny how the scales can tip...

"Shut up!"

Instant 'arena persona',
projecting raw aggression,
feeling his jolt of surprise,
and, I'll cheerfully admit,
loving every second.

"Didn't think you'd side with them."

"Well, I'm not exactly English myself,
And stop waving that bloody thing around,
or I'll take it off you,
and ram it up your arse."

He slammed the door in my face.
I expected an irate phonecall,
and a bollocking back at the office.
Maybe even the sack.


He never made the call,
and never answered his door again.



April 26, 2022

Infinite Possibility

I visualize streams and banners
threading their way past the boundaries
of human imagination.

The ultimate abstraction,
a language of vibrations, shifts from major
to minor and back, soars beyond words
beyond images into the mystery dimension.

Poets and painters defy the limits
of capturing concrete things of existence
to make icons that bridge to an infinity of ideas
only hinted at and yet to be expressed.

And here is one make-up poem:

Comatose in Florida

Soldiers in the Disney wars bear signs:
Stop Woke
behind their victorious leader

Stop Woke:
Gaybanned in the Magic Kingdom.
King means king
what don't you understand about that?
We demand that Goofey
be re-masculated.
Please note: those damned mice are black
wearing whiteface.
Let Sleeping Beauty lie
until her only path
to happiness--a man--comes along.
Make the world of make believe
great again.
To arms!


Napo 27a -2022

My busy day was cancelled, so here's an extra.  A more pleasant person from my 'postal encounters'.  Balkan vintage rather than Ukranian, but the parallels are inescapable.


The Gardener

She was an alien presence,
with a palpable aura of 'other',
a displaced Central European,
taking shelter with her son-in law
and his semi-exotic wife.

A quiet lady with black robes,
heavy sandals, broad toes,
and a willingness to talk.
One who sensed a receptive ear.

In the year she was with them,
she never wore anything different.
But she dug a wide patch,
sacrificing a third of his lawn
to her 'cooking vegetables'.

Delivering their mail most days
I would see her kneeling there,
running the soil through gnarled hands,
casting aside stones,
nurturing rows of tiny plants.

She dismissed his precious lawn,
with a wave and a shrug.

"Is ver' pretty, but no good to eat."

His talk of supermarkets,
their well-filled freezer,
and her 'right to rest',
to 'a bit of peace and quiet',
failed to reassure her.

Whilst the men in Cammo,
rampaged over her homeland
planting destruction,
and ethnic cleansing
in a ragged coat of religion,
she planted for the next season.
The habit of a lifetime.

At conflict's end she went home,
and he sprinkled grass seed,
reclaiming his very English lawn.
But for years a few defiant beans
and the occasional squash persisted,
fighting their way through.



Napo 27b - 2022


He signed for his package
as a dog barked somewhere,
deep inside the house.

"Postman, could you wait a minute?
Just until my dog gets here.
He's very old and slow now,
but he takes his duties seriously."

So we waited in the open doorway,
the skinny old man and I,
as the barking closed in,
still powerful.
and the dog appeared.

An ancient Bull Terrier,
waddling on stiff joints,
eyes milky with cataracts.

He circled me slowly,
sniffed my legs,
gave me the all clear,
and ambled slowly back inside.

"Thank you, Postman.
He likes to feel useful."

"No problem, Sir."



Napo 28 - 2022

Dark Apples

There was a girl at school,
one who knew too much,
too soon, too young.

She had a dark glow in her eyes,
and was an obsessive 'toucher',
her body sending a message
which made most boys uneasy.

Her brother was a simple soul,
easily led, coaxed into trouble.

When teenage boys bragged,
many of them doubtless lying,
he spoke casually about his sister,
how she came to his room,
secretly taught him things
he wasn't truly ready to learn.

"But she was careful,
wouldn't let me make her pregnant."

It made us uncomfortable,
so we avoided them both.
The other girls largely shunned her,
as if it might be 'catching.'

Now, two generations later,
his grandson, only eighteen,
is in the local court news,
his computer filled with,
perhaps inevitably,
indecent images of children.

He seems utterly bewildered,
posing on the court steps,
talking to journalists,
openly asking why it's illegal.

Dark apples also fall close,
around the tree which bore them.



Napo 28a - 2022

The talk of painting in another's thread teased out this memory.

Girl at the Cathedral

Girl in a hippy skirt,
sat in a pool of dark blue fabric,
dried paint stains on her blouse.
An obvious art student,
part blocking the pavement,
back against a cool stone wall,
shadowed on a blistering day.

Sketch pad, on her lap
a selection of brushes,
a handful of colours in tubes.
Water in a Marmite jar,
drinking bottle on the opposite side.

She's right handed and I wonder if,
in a distracted moment,
she once drank the rinse water,
and now keeps them apart,
separated by shape and location.

The cathedral looms before her,
towering spire, sturdy tower,
fluttering flags,
the shimmering green line,
of verdigrised copper
as sunlight plays on the lightning rod.

She ponders, paints, ponders again.
Small dabs and neat strokes.
Passing in front I murmur an apology
for blocking her view.
She smiles, but her eyes are far away,
holding the image she seeks.

I look as I go by,
capturing a snapshot image
as we writers often do,
to decode later.

Nothing of the soaring majesty,
or even the green shimmer
which briefly entranced my eyes.

Just one small tight corner,
weathered stone,
crumbled contours,
many hues of grey,
and a thin line of light
spearing into the darkness,
and a speckle of moss.

I now wish I'd walked back,
spoken with her,
even if only briefly,
but I simply couldn't intrude.



Napo 29 - 2022


Talent finds its own private places,
an accommodation of sorts,
and the mundane swirls around it.

Diane, a tall introverted lass,
a 'last year senior girl',
with 'privileges'.
She dreamed through other lessons,
sometimes just walked out,
quietly, drifted to the art room.
Like iron filings to a magnet.

Often empty, it  gave her a choice,
She'd set up her easel,
wherever the light suited her,
and subsequent classes, trooping in,
swirled around her, unnoticed.

She painted abstracts, in oils.
Using a short-bristled brush,
with a 'proper' long handle,
to produce a stippled effect.

In thrall to her imagination
she would stand motionless,
eyes almost blank,
for minutes at a time.
Brush held low by her hip,
angled upwards.  Waiting.

Then, with short sharp flurries,
like an amateur knife fighter,
she'd step into the zone,
stabbing paint onto the canvas,
almost too fast to see.

Disengaging she'd step back,
sometimes knocking things over,
briefly clumsy,
disorientated after that sharp precision.

Occasionally she'd look around,
clearly bewildered,
surrounded by mostly reluctant artists
who saw 'Art' as a skive class.

If she'd finished for the moment
she's clean her brushes,
always thoroughly,
look at her watch,
drift back to the timetable,
to the world of regimented order.

I suspect, to her,
it seemed utter and pointless chaos.




Napo 30 - 2022

I was seriously beginning to think my 'ghost' wasn't going to turn up this year...

I'll finish this year's napo with a gentle canter.


Sally, arriving late

The young apprentice,
resigned to a plodding day,
looks up from his workbench,
sees the flash of a blue overall,
dismounting from the delivery van.

Sally smiles as she enters,
reddish hair glinting in the doorway,
feels his gaze, and smiles again.
He smiles, shyly,
then dips his head back to work.

A new lightness in his touch
as he rolls out puff pastry,
yards of the damned stuff,
then wields the cutter
with a craftsman's exuberant flourish.

And the older ones, saying nothing,
glance at each other, smiling too
as the staccato rap reveals all.



I loved the characters that peopled your NaPo offerings this year--well, loved the way you presented them though not all were loveable. And it was wonderful to hear you read. Great year, wasn't it?


Cheers, Indar.

It was one of the best years.  I've always enjoyed Napo, but this year had an extra something.  Possibly because we're coming out of two years of Covid, during which it was easier to just shut down and survive on a muted 'tick-over', rather than looking too far ahead.  A shut-down writer tends to be a solemn and quite often miserable soul, but with spring in the air and the mask finally off - in more ways than one - I could feel the more normal me emerging.

I am instinctively wary of Zoom, but Tracy initially made me feel welcome, as did the rest of you.  I know I, without a webcam, was a 'disembodied voice', but in subconscious 'people watching mode' I was intrigued to find myself behaving as if you could all see me.  The gestures were there ;-)  Hands mirroring the words.  It's a Storyteller's trait.  Words can be miss-heard, or misunderstood.   But gestures were around long before spoken language.

I will also say most of you looked pretty much the way I'd imagined you from reading your work.

It was a great experience.