As usual I’m writing this from my home in Liverpool where the temperature reached an un-British 27 degrees and I’m not really a Summer person so I take cold showers after long 10-hour shifts in work and get back to sitting in front of my laptop, writing my novel and reading over poems.
Hamish Mack, one of our editors here at Poetry24, was the first poem we put up on Monday. The Arms of America was based on the story that was heard over the world of the aquittal of George Zimmerman, the police officer accused of shooting dead Trayvon Martin who was unarmed and had only a bag a Skittles. The news story is of Obama calling for calm as protests began calling for Zimmerman’s imprisonment. I enjoyed the way Hamish wrote the poem with a sense of paranoia, judging and labelling young people as criminals.
We carried on the story to Tuesday with Lesson by Steve Pottinger. The same story of Zimmerman’s aquittal was a strong with a lot of you. Lesson was again about the paranoia and fear that exists in America, treating young people as if they are ‘all the same.’ There was anger in this poem as well as a sense of futility: ‘Poor and black and young / are up to no good anyway.’ I particularly liked the line: ‘Dead kids tell no tales.’
We had something different on Wednesday with Carolyn Cornthwaite’s Ganika, Rupajivas and Pumsachali (the Courtesan and her Missing Muse). Possibly the largest title we’ve had at Poetry24. This was about Scotland’s debate on prostitution, whether they should be tough or tolerant towards it. This was a very interesting, visually, which flipped between a normal existence and that of a prostitute (in italics). What I found interesting was the final line: ‘The / man who never features / in this never ending / tale.’ Purposefully, the first time a man was mentioned, meaning this is all about woman and her choices as a woman and her life and her body.
David Mellor wrote Dating in a State which went up on Thursday. This was more light-hearted than the previous poems, which was about online dating and if it’s a marriage-maker. The speaker stays ‘in control’ and soon, as Carolyn Cornthwaite commented, it ‘slides in and out of control.’ David commented that the internet has not always been a ‘virtual togetherness.’
On Friday we had Our Hero by Luigi Pagano. The shot Pakistani schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai who addressed the UN, urged education for all. I liked the line: ‘The efforts to silence her / were bound to fail.’ It’s a strong subject, full of power and tenacity. Malala is quoted as saying: ‘I am here to speak up for the right of education of every child.’
And Yesterday was Asef Hossaini with the modestly titled poem, Poem. I thought this was a particularly provocative piece, which is why I chose to go with it. There seemed to be a number of news stories to go with it, so I chose the Edward Snowden story (as well as the Muslim Brotherhood story, which was mentioned briefly). Whistle-blower, Snowden, applied for asylum in Russia as the US renews the surveillance program that Snowden exposed. I liked the last line which was reminiscent of previous locations were protests and demonstrations and sources of public outcry existed: ‘Let’s just find a way / to Tahrir, Taksim, Azadi, Tiananmen Squares....’
I hope you have enjoyed the poems this week. I noticed last week that we reached over 200 Facebook ‘likes’ on our fb page and we are happy this number is rising. Please spread the word about us and continue to send us your work to firstname.lastname@example.org and our Facebook page at Poetry24.
Enjoy the English Summer (or whatever Summer you have).