Before the month ends, have a read of my 3 poems in December Quadrant magazine: ‘Survival’, ‘White Ibis’ and ‘When the New Boyfriend Nearly Died’. Big thank you to Literary Editor, Professor Barry Spurr.
My poem ‘Quarantine’ was first published in Quadrant magazine in September 2020.
Have a read. Hope you enjoy it.
But there still are the other things –
water’s rhythmic tumble
the gentle hush of wind through leaves –
Copyright © 2020 Libby Sommer
My prose poem ‘Amber Puppy’ was first published in Quadrant magazine in September 2019.
I do enjoy writing prose poetry. Prose poetry is a cross between a poem and a prose piece, although, according to Wikipedia, prose poetry is poetry written in prose form instead of verse form, while preserving poetic qualities such as heightened imagery, parataxis, and emotional effects.
Have a read of my poem and tell me what you think:
What can an amber puppy mean in a world of Siris and driverless cars?
I was older, one of the Baby Boomers. Life was a series of warnings: Don’t fall over rugs or loose cords, don’t overeat, don’t go to bed before nine, drink coffee after midday, watch too much Netflix. When the new puppy arrived one birthday, rich brown as a raisin, I heard it shadowing me: Don’t trip on the dog’s lead.
There was much to be anxious about. One day, walking through the park – the rain had eased, spring waterfalls spilled into the creek, soon we would cool off under the trees – I lost my grip on the lead. Into the bushes he fled, disappearing into green. Since when did parks swallow small dogs? I drove home in a frantic car. My best friend. I’d loved him and he’d loved me.
The days staggered past like drunks. I prayed silently, absorbed sunshine, climbed steps, wrote Letters to the Editor. Don’t panic, don’t shallow breathe, don’t think the worst – you could hear it all around. A reclining Buddha could show you how to deepen the breath. A bird call at first light could tell you when to get up. A storm could remember to fill the dams and the water tanks – I was meandering between the trees when I saw him scampering through the creek. Splashing around then shaking himself dry. A muddy escapee. A barking survivor.
Where had he been these three long days? I could wash him, wrap him in a towel, take him home. Unexpected good news could still happen. Dogs off-the-leash need to stay close to their mistresses. Trees shed their leaves in winter and dogs run away, but find their way back. Seventy-two hours later, what can an amber puppy tell you in a world of Botox and identity theft?
See the difference between holding on and losing your grip.
Copyright © 2019 Libby Sommer
Have a read of my latest prose poem, Someone I Don’t Know Side-Swiped My Car, first published in Quadrant magazine April 2021, Hope you enjoy it:
Someone I Don’t Know Side-Swiped My Car
Bad luck recently, you could say, after surviving some extremely unfortunate luck. For hours I sat across from you in the Emergency Bay: your face dripping with blood. They gave you a compress to stop the flow of red from your cheekbones and your nose. Every time you touched your face, it opened up the wound. Punched in both eyes and the nose. A robbery as you walked home, I hear you tell your girlfriend on the mobile. And then you’re telling the emergency nurse you can’t wait any longer to see a doctor. ‘You may have concussion,’ she cautioned.
Did you find your way home?
For days I wonder how you are. I sniff the first spring jasmine hanging over the fence and your girlfriend whom I’ve never met crowds my thoughts, till one day, peering out my bedroom window, I notice someone has side-swiped my car. Not exactly what I’d expected to see but, man, the wisteria are showing their purple blooms. A nervous possum balances on the telephone line above the road and there’s a newspaper article about an elderly cyclist who died after a freak bike accident caused by a swooping magpie. Bad luck that a second vehicle crashed into my car while it waited at the smash repair place. Look up, take care, someone or something you don’t know may sideswipe you or punch you in the nose.
Copyright 2021 Libby Sommer
Have a read of my prose poem, ‘The Cellist’ first published in Quadrant September 2020.
Hope you enjoy it.
I was grudgingly ancient. Not older, wiser and ancient. But easily recognisable as ancient. Skin was the culprit – the human body’s largest organ. I had his mobile number and he had mine, the cellist from the seniors’ dating site. I examined its configuration. Was there a pattern I needed to decode? I hated initiating, but he needed reassurance. It might take him forever to ring. Composing a text, my palms sweated. My heart thumped. Was he okay with texting? I hated my impatience. I hated my unexpected fragility. I sent the text. Yesterday’s meet-up was fun. I’d like to go for a ride on your motorbike sometime, although the helmet will squash my hair.
Then I worried I’d gone too far. My legs wrapped around him on a bike? I sounded like a whore. A desperado. A woman too long without a man. His reply was immediate. Had he been holding the phone in his hand? We can start with a short ride around the block. I’ve got a large helmet. Everyone gets hat hair.
I don’t want you to go on his motorbike, my daughter warned. I’ll go for a ride on his bike, my granddaughter offered. What sort of boat’s he got? A tinnie or a sail boat? asked my grandson. I googled: ‘what to expect when riding pillion’. Hang on. Brace for braking and acceleration by holding on to the rider’s waist. Bikes must lean to corner. Relax. Tyres provide plenty of grip.
We had dinner, exchanged silly jokes, leaned towards each other, went back to my place – and had incredible sex. The sensitivity of a stringed instrumentalist was really something else. If I knew how, I would have burst into song.
Copyright 2020 Libby Sommer
Have a read of my poem ‘His Coriander’, first published in Quadrant magazine September 2020.
Hope you enjoy it.
Flourishing above the planter box, it’s ready for harvesting.
I snip the curling tendrils with their skinny stalks,
hearing the clean snap of stem from dense green foliage.
At the end of a rain-filled night, the earth smells heady.
He took his suitcase, his cello, and his sheet music.
He left the fragrant coriander seeds,
said, Tending a relationship is like keeping a plant alive.
So I’ll take this herb
inside to the kitchen and chop it.
I’ll disperse it piece by piece with my hands,
the longed-for exotic spice of citrus and curry.
I’ll be forever grateful for escape,
from my infatuation
Copyright © 2020 Libby Sommer
Have a read of my poem ‘Renewal’, first published in Quadrant magazine September 2019. It’s a very short poem, but relevant today in tough twenty-twenty. Hope you enjoy it.
with a heavy step.
a credit card can buy
but wanting to be
Seeing the same old things
you’ve explored to death.
a new perspective.
A regenerated self
could see differently.
But what would that do to
the old self still following
in its own footsteps?
Copyright © 2019 Libby Sommer
Hello everyone. Hello to all you fellow quarantiners hanging-in-there.
I’d like to share with you my poem ELSEWHERE, first published in Quadrant magazine in December 2017. Hope you like it. The poem is relevant to today’s situation, in many ways.
Hair remembers how dark a room becomes
when hair is not let loose, straw fallen from the head
of a broom, drifting onto a path,
crunched underfoot by someone who never realised
it was straw. Hair drank, jogged,
ate by itself, knew how to tick ‘Like’
on Social Media. But hair felt
out of touch with itself
unable to distinguish the difference between
fear of the unknown, and fear of something
bad. Hair remembered the ultramarine blue of sea and sky
and the hundred varieties of tuna, calamari and squid.
Hair has dreams, that’s what hair does.
Covers over a shiny scalp, frames the face.
Adventure means exploration and discovery.
And hair remembers—blankets of humidity, harsh light,
residing there in the brain’s temporal lobes.
Even now, when hair is back home,
it remembers the wanting things to remain the same
but gives thanks for faraway places
where you can untangle and restyle yourself.
© Libby Sommer 2017
Stay safe and be well.
During the pandemic I find myself turning more and more to poetry, the reading and the writing of poetry.
Here is my poem Lying On A Harbour Beach At Noon, first published in Quadrant magazine January 2017.
Hope you enjoy it.
Lying On A Harbour Beach At Noon
There is an opening out of the self which happens
when the sun is high in a cloudless blue
and its warmth sinks into the body.
It occurs on a gentle beach.
It is a slow opening,
like waking up in
your own cosy apartment.
When all the tenants wake up
and the blinds snap
the windows open wide.
If you are in bed you struggle to open to the bright light.
If you are elsewhere, feeling your separateness, alienated,
you long for home and think you’re falling apart.
You are not falling apart.
You could open into your own particular self,
feel your skin move away from the bone,
your belly like an open wound tightening
then opening with everything exposed.
You know you can stop the empty grasping if you want to
because you have a deep knowing,
you open to it, and for now
it holds you gently.
Copyright 2017 Libby Sommer
Stay safe everyone, and be well.
My prose poem THE CELLIST has been accepted for publication in Quadrant magazine.
And another prose poem THE LADDER AND ITS DANGERS was recently longlisted for the 2019 joanne burns Microlit Award. It will be available for inclusion in a range of multi-platform activities organised by Spineless Wonders including #storybombingNWF20, podcasts, live performance and the Microflix Awards.
I love the short short form: prose poems, microlit, flash fiction. I’m putting together a new collection of my published short form stories and prose poems. The working title is SMALL FICTIONS. What do you think?
Prolific widely-published flash fiction writer Meg Pokrass says on Facebook that:
‘The more I become involved in the editorial side of the microfiction form, the more it becomes mysterious to me. The more it seems like some kind of freaky magic. After reading thousands of stories for Best Microfiction, all I can say is that there is no formula. The other thing I can say is that we must use who we are when we write. Trying to perfect a “style” is useless. Making something that feels like you, something only you can possibly see that way, works wonders. The secret seems to be in revealing who you are through the life of a character or two, which somehow mysteriously makes us see something unusual about the world itself. Finding your own expression of something we all have felt before, in some sly and startling way that hooks us.’ – Meg Pokrass
Great advice. Agree?