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.