When a group needs a bit of conflict resolution

As part of an assignment at university, I need to produce a poetry anthology from scratch as part of a group. Everything was going well until recently. After having begged people to submit as many poems as they wanted, since we were worried submissions would be few, the group is now planning to impose a limit on how many pieces a writer can enter.

I’ve given them many reasons as to why I think this is a bad decision, and provided fair counterpoints for all of their arguments, but I get the impression the group think I am arguing for my own sake rather than in the interest of the project. They say that, as many people had only submitted two or three poems, having between eight and seventeen submissions from the more enthusiastic poets is an issue. I say that everybody was given the opportunity to submit as many poems as they wanted to, and some individuals went above and beyond the call of duty to help with out creation. I say that it would not be fair to (what feels like) penalise these individuals who put in more than the least amount of effort possible. I say that readers being able to clearly see that some writers are passionate about verse can only be a positive thing. I also say that having more poems is only beneficial, as readers would get more value for money than if the anthology was just a lazy collection of one or two poems by thirty plus authors.

There were many other points raised but it’s painful to repeat myself when I feel everything I’ve said to my group (multiple times) has fallen on deaf ears. The fact that I’ve submitted ten poems, some of which I wrote to fill imagined gaps in the style of poetry we were to receive, seems to invalidate all I say. I don’t care if I need to choose a small number of my poems to include, it’s just slightly difficult choosing which of my works I dislike least since I’m my own critic. But I genuinely feel that limiting submissions has more negatives than positives. I almost feel like removing all of my submissions before trying to discuss the point one final time tomorrow.

The whole situation is upsetting, especially when I seem to be the antagonist and the group leader told me I would be allowed submit my tenth and final poem. I had asked the group members if they felt I should swap one of my poems for “Prayer”, but my question seemed to be ignored by all in the group chat and upon asking again (though rephrased in a way that assumed/hoped they had read the original question) I was told to just submit it as an additional piece.

I am including the poems I was going to submit to the anthology below. I may remove all of them from the collection so nobody can act as though I have a vested interest. Some of these poems have been shared on this blog before, but as I have no regular readers it shouldn’t be an issue.

 

Prayer

 

Libera me from these ugly feelings,

Free me from my bitter wrath.

 

Libera me from my demon in a bottle,

Break me from this djinn’s curse.

 

Libera me from this inner hollowing,

Help me find my motivation.

 

Libera me from my hopeless dreams,

Drag me from these sweet illusions.

 

Libera me from this fear of action,

Abuse me till I make my move.

 

Libera me from my self-conceit,

Save me from this self-made fall.

 

 

Villanelle for the Wanderlusty

(Terrible, but written because I thought we’d be low on fixed verse)

 

The sights! The food! The History!

Oh, to visit far off South Korea.

Things are so different there. What mystery!

 

I just have to visit boot-shaped Italy,

With that wonky tower in Pisa.

The sights! The food! The History!

 

Think of the culture in Turkey,

A unique blend of vast Eurasia.

Things are so different there. What mystery!

 

Just imagine Oktoberfest in Germany,

Better than Lidl’s treats o’ Bavaria!

The sights! The food! The history!

 

Just picture the rainbows of sari,

On a trip to vibrant, spiced India.

Things are so different there. What mystery!

 

Imagine the wonders of South America,

From Machu Picchu to Atacama.

The sights! The food! The history!

Things are so different there. What mystery!

 

 

Réconfort

 

A mostly selfless desire to please

To bury my face in you

And ignore the world

Since my world faces me.

The warmth, the taste, the perfume

A source of comfort

A debt to be repaid

By bringing you comfort.

With all the power of water primordial

You drown me

I lose myself

And never want to surface

Not for the entirety of eternity, never.

 

 

 

The Jinny Joe of Hatred

 

Shattered

         d

r

      e

 a

          m

    s

Rain down,

Bitter nectar,

On the seeds

Of contempt.



The seeds

Blossom,

Anger

Explodes

Like dandelions,

Scattering,

h

   a

       t

           e 

Throughout the world.

 

 

I’ve Been Thinking

 

I think I might be feeling blue

I struggle to find the why for each do

I want to be a hedonist and just sleep,

bury my face between thighs so sweet

or travel the world over week by week

But life rarely grants any reprieve

it’s a swarm of gogogo busy bees

stinging everyone morning til eve

with harsh truths to urge antifreeze.

 

 

The Life of a Sisyphus

 

Think positive

Practice again and again

Stop sliding down down down

Drink to forget

Tiptoe up two steps

You know just what to do

But you can’t can’t can’t

 

You try to keep your chip up

But get battered by boulders

You try to share the burden

But your lips refuse to open

You try to walk far far away

But you’re chained to the mountain

You try your best to forget

But you’ve an elephant’s memory

 

You want to give it all up

But you’re infected with hope.

 

 

Conversation with a Muse

 

Intelligent Design? Please don’t make me laugh, I just need to look at you.

No god could have reached such perfection with blueprints and plans telling them what to do.

 

You have the beauty of the unplanned – the spontaneous joy of a happy set of circumstance.

Like a mother finding the gift advice she needs from another customer through happenstance –

Or two well-matched lovers meeting in a nightclub when they both wanted to dance –

Yes, as when life began, things are best left to chance.

 

Biology got lucky when it rolled “deep green/brown eyes”, “full lips” and an “ass that just won’t quit”.

And honey, I hit the jackpot meeting you when I needed you most.

None of this is to God’s credit –

Let’s not cheapen it with talk of divine will, fate or the Holy Ghost.

 

 

Home

 

Angel, please tell me what on Earth to call home.

Is it the un-bungalowed family abode

Built when the town was just green grass and one lonely road?

 

Is it that ‘Emerald Isle’ of nigh-perpetual gloom,

Where it rains twenty-five hours each day

And the HSE pushes all its nurses away?

 

Is it the land of the crumpet and the scone,

Where we flew together to go study

With our own space to get a bit more than cuddly?

 

Could it be some grand feeling of matrimone’

Where you feel that comforting link

To your long-sought career that’ll hopefully not shrink?

 

Or, my seraph, is it possibly so?

Has it been here beside you since long, long ago?

 

 

Hughes’ Trickster

 

A crow patrols Westmoorland Street,

looking for targets, his reason to be,

green-brown salvo falls like sleet,

the feathered fucker targeted me.

 

 

Second-year Slump

 

One year gone,

Expectations are set,

The pressure is on,

Can they ever be met?

 

I’m falling so behind from

Stupid ‘keeping up’ worries,

I feel like a dud of a bomb

Sat long forgotten and buried.

 

I see their hopes dashed,

My mind’s dark prophesy,

My fragile heart is smashed

By what my ego dreads to see.

 

My paralytic fear claws to take control,

As I struggle an’ squirm to get out of this damn hole.

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It’s that time for empty resolutions

Another year is coming to an end, and that means half-baked “New Year’s resolutions” are forming across the world. People vow to make some positive change in their lives because of the changing of the calendar, even though there was nothing stoping them from doing so before. Those people will most likely give up after a while. They likely had no motivation to begin with, since they needed that reminder of the passage of time to spur them into action.

These people annoy me. They recognise that there’s something they can do to make their lives happier, but that recognition isn’t enough. They often fail to stick to their goal, despite their happiness (and subsequently that of their loved ones) being at stake. They end up staying in that status quo they aren’t happy with, when those around them would be happier if they were happier.

So I wrote a poem about that sort of person while half-asleep in bed. While it may not be a good one, I hope it at least encourages people not to act like this.

 

New Year, Same You

 

“That’s me resolution”, you grumble,

with your slovely rat king looking mess of hair

and vacant, turkey-coma, catatonic stare.

“New year, new me” you grin,

with your newly acquired septuple chin.

“Ah’ll finally slim down after t’holiday” you say,

much to your tired family’s intense dismay.

“Come next year Ah’ll be a new man”, you boast,

while recycling last year’s New Year’s toast –

ignoring that this procrastinatory wish’ll crumble.

 

 

Happy New Year! Don’t be like the subject of this poem. If you know you’d be happier after a certain change, stick to it for your own and your family’s good.

 

 

The art of losing isn’t hard to master…

But it isn’t fun. Oh well, hubris never suited me anyway.

The finalists have been announced for the Troubadour Poetry Prize, which I entered. Each of the poems selected are deserving of their place in the winner’s list. I recommend them to any poetry lover. But losing means I am now free to share my laughable attempts at poesy online, So enjoy (or offer constructive criticism).

 

Avalanche of Verse Incoming

 

Hughes’s Trickster

A crow patrols Westmoorland Street,
looking for targets, his reason to be,
green-brown salvo falls like sleet,
the feathered fucker targeted me.

 

 

I’ve Been Thinking

I think I might be feeling blue
I struggle to find the why for each do

I want to be a hedonist and just sleep,
bury my face between thighs so sweet
or travel the world over week by week

But life rarely grants any reprieve
it’s a swarm of gogogo busy bees
stinging everyone morning til eve
with harsh truths to urge

antifreeze.

 

 

Obscenely Early Morning

So early the chill from the mid-night de-blanketing has yet to leave your bones and the dark world outside is unpeopled leaving yourself the only wandering soul, when the eerie stillness seems to hint at some secret not for mere mortal hearts and all a lone wanderer wants is to leave with their mind focussed on just themself but in doing so they miss fellow travellers like you or I, icy boned and introspective too.

 

 

Poor Oedipus

He was messed with by the fates
same as us or one of our mates
and had his unbearable mistake
immortalised long after his wake
By some ol’ Viennese doctor snob
that couldn’t stop thinking of knob
(let’s skip the “D” rhyming scheme
so Ghost Freud doesn’t wet dream).
Rex didn’t know what he’d done
and really regretted doing mum
and his suffering properly shows
because he emptied his own eyeholes.

 

 

Oneirophage

Life sneaks in through the cracks,
and slips away with your dreams.

He locks them up, in sturdy safe,
and laughs as you lose your mind.

But Life doesn’t realise, though he
gave no hints, that you can crack it.

It takes a bit of time and effort,
but they are still safely in reach.

When you have them back again,
they will truly be the sweetest treat.

Though Life can make the journey
longer, he has no power to prevent.

 

University has been tough lately

Back in Black Denim

It’s been a while since I’ve posted: I’ve been stressing over assignments and stuff that I felt too stressed to address. But I’m finally moving forward with work and moving on from breakdowns, so I decided to share an unfinished poem I’ve been working on (one of many). I know that this work-in-progress is based on the most ridiculous, senseless worries imaginable but please bear with me while I vent.

 

Second-year Slump

 

One year gone,

Expectations are set,

The pressure is on,

Can they ever be met?

 

I’m falling so behind from

Stupid ‘keeping up’ worries,

I feel like a dud of a bomb

Sat long forgotten and buried.

 

I see their hopes dashed,

My mind’s dark prophesy,

My fragile heart is smashed

By what my ego dreads to see.

 

My paralytic fear claws to take control,

As I struggle an’ squirm to get out of this damn hole.

 

Moaning

I feel like I’m being crushed in a vice after doing well in my first year at university. Lecturers and friends seem to think I’ll do well and be one of the top of the class which really doesn’t seem fair to me. My grades last year mean nothing since they don’t count towards my degree, and the assignments will only get harder. I know I’ll need to work much harder to even maintain my grades but I am one of the worst when it comes to procrastinating.

I have trouble keeping up with the massive reading list as it is without decent essays requiring even more time and planning. The reading takes me much longer than it should (when I eventually get around to it). Lately I seem to default to a slow, close reading of the texts which leaves me with little free time. I feel like it’s all downhill from here since I was struggling to even survive last year.

It doesn’t help that I’m failing to meet my own expectations in other areas. How can I deal with other people’s hopes in me when I’m already disappointed with myself?

Also

I’m encouraged to start using LinkedIn for a practical/realworldy unit, as well as make a “professional” Facebook profile if I want to be a writer. I’m a very private person, I don’t want to share everything about my life with the people I’ve met and added out of obligation. I haven’t properly used Facebook in years because I only like sharing certain things when I feel like it, and only in certain ways like talking to people I like or sharing my feelings here now when I’m still pretty much anonymous.

 

Thanks for bearing with me.

I know that I’m worried about nothing and that every student probably has similar feelings at times.

I know I’m capable of forcing myself to focus, sometimes, and that I can just start making brief plans for essays weeks in advance so I can relax a bit more. I know the right things to do to be a good student, and that even if I don’t do them I’d probably be okay. I know I’m good at working under pressure and that I can still proofread properly when I’m in a hurry. I know I’ve never been late with an assignment or been a dead weight during group work, and produced good quality work at the cost of a few hours sleep.

But I still worry, because I’m stupid like that. And worrying leads to situations that make more worry.

And instead of just taking a few deep breaths and doing a bit of work each day, I avoid my problems and create more problems.

Hopefully I stop that.

 

These are a few of my favourite things

So people can learn a bit about me and what might influence me.

These are in no real order, because I don’t feel particularly qualified to rank these amazing works.

Novels, Plays and Poetry:

  • Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Naïve. Super by Erlend Loe
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
  • Danton’s Death by Georg Büchner
  • Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow by Ted Hughes
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
  • Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Beowulf by Who Knows
  • Falling Awake by Alice Oswald
  • The Rattle Bag: An Anthology of Poetry by Too Many Poets to Count
  • A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  • The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
  • The Fall by Albert Camus

TV and Film:

  • QI (2003-)
  • Dave Gorman’s Modern Life is Goodish (2013-)
  • Gatchaman Crowds (2013-2015)
  • Swiss Army Man (2016)
  • Rick and Morty (2013-)
  • Adventure Time (2010-)
  • The Ghoul (1933)
  • Ghost in the Shell (1995)
  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (2016)
  • The Great Dictator (1940)

Videogames:

  • Dark Souls
  • Warframe
  • 2064: Read Only Memories
  • VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action
  • Ossuary
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  • Pokemon Sapphire
  • Stardew Valley
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
  • The Binding of Isaac
  • Total War: Shogun 2
  • Night in the Woods

Bands and Musicians:

  • Of Monsters and Men
  • Milky Chance
  • The Riptide Movement
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Frightened Rabbit
  • The Script
  • Demi Lovato
  • The Lumineers
  • Mumford & Sons

Other Things:

  • CrashCourse – Educational YouTube channel
  • My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Nagata Kabi – Autobiographical Manga
  • Barry’s Tea – The best brand of tea and Ireland’s best export since Beckett or Yeats

 

Now that that’s out of the way, here is a poem about the game Dark Souls. The poem is from a time when I had to write a love poem, but didn’t feel like taking the task seriously. So I wrote about my abusive love-hate relationship with the game. The title is very appropriate. (The Souls games really aren’t as hard as people make them out to be)

 

A Strange Man’s Ode to Dark Souls

 

I ask myself why I can’t stay away

even though you treat me this way.

After every fight, I read a new item description

And come running back to re-embrace this affliction.

 

Every time we meet

we repeat the same feat.

You always end up hurting me

and sometimes you get beat.

 

I try in vain to break things off,

as when I sever a dragon’s tail –

yet you parry with an off-

hand gesture, and riposte me without fail.

 

You send me away, heart limping like Sif,

after a vicious combo like one off

Manus the Father of the Abyss.

All I needed was one cast to save myself – the spell was a miss.

 

Let me tell you why I’m going to blog

My name is Ryan. I enjoy reading, and I’m quite into poetry. I’m even studying English at Uni right now. It was through a poetry assignment that I found out I possibly have a talent for writing poetry (since my poetry portfolio got full marks without any bribery). So I decided I’d give a career in poetry a go. And having an online presence is meant to be pretty important for writers nowadays.

So I decided I’d blog, and share poems every now and then when I’m not entering some in competitions in the hopes of getting major publicity. Since every poetry competition seems to require submissions to be brand-spanking new, having never seen the light of day before, I’ll probably share a lot of stuff that has either been rejected or just feels unenterable. But here’s one of the poems that got me a good grade in Uni:

 

Carry Your Dead and Walk On

 

Don’t put your life on hold

Stand tall and walk on

For the dead are never truly gone

Those memories still exist to be told

Don’t drown in your grief

Though your life’s gotten tougher

Loved ones above will sigh with relief

When we learn to put one foot in front of another

Don’t give into despair

Be bold even when fate is unfair

Live life enough for two or three or four or more

Take your fallen with you, and charge out the door

Share stories with other friends

Comical ones to make them chortle

To replace the sorrow with smiles

When you remember these important people