Welcome to the first virtual show from Dodo Modern Poets. My fellow Dodo Pete Murry came up with the idea when we were forced to suspend performances. The response has been impressive with 26 poets sending in material both on video and manuscript.
After my filmed introduction, including a new poem, the show proper begins with three poets who were intended to be our featured performers on 26th March at the King and Queen in London.
KAUSHUIKI SARASWAT - a fresh new voice making her Dodo debut
CHRISTINE EALES - a practised haiku specialist who keeps it short and exquisite
SUE JOHNS - a fine London-based Cornish poet, reading new and published work
We hope you enjoy the show
All the best Patric Cunnane, PR Murry
DODO MODERN POETS 01303 243868
Patric Cunnane - 1 poem and introduction of show
Open mic poets (videos)
url : https://youtu.be/UpCvntoiKZY
Kate B Hall
'Our show concludes with some manuscripts. Hope you've enjoyed it'.
Open mic spots (manuscripts)
Door Gods’ Day, 5th February
By Yan Li
Set a hundred fires. Escape disaster. Run from plague. Keep demons out.
Door Gods. Two life-and-death friends. Red and Red. Freshly painted. A large snow-flake on mouth, they are face-masked.
Virus breaks in. Brutal, Cruel, Ruthless, Cold and Indifference follow. Demons have their way.
Loved ones, grandma, grandpa, mother, father, sister, brother, son and daughter, are dragged out. Forced apart. Pushed into vans. Sent away to isolate.
Screams break our ears-drums. Door Gods no longer hear.
Demon Gate is long lost. Ghosts are no longer contained.
Spray keyhole. Sanitize door-handle. Pointing peach-swords at plague, Door Gods fight on to delay its advance.
Now demons, big and small, are at everyone’s door.
I see it coming. I hear it. Agony. I feel it. I kneel at stove. Fire burns. Water is boiling. Hands over heart, I pray.
shell shocked outlaw headed home.
Cold Mountain calling,
love lies waiting,
warm heart nestled in the pines.
Dark angels stalking,
the sky splashes red,
twilight beckons, the shadow of death.
Cold Mountain calling,
love lies waiting,
warm heart nestled in the pines.
The poem was inspired by the 1997 novel of the same name by Charles Frazier and the associated 2003 film directed by Anthony Minghella. A wounded soldier absconds from the Confederate army close to the end of the American Civil War and makes a long perilous journey home to the woman he loves.
Knock your ankle against mine or scratch my scalp.
Wipe a fallen eyelash from my cheek.
Speak with your fingers on my forearm.
Do that thing where you come up behind me while I’m cooking and go DZZ-DZZ! on my waist and I go ARGGGH! then STOP IT!
Squeeze my shoulder.
Body-check me as we pass between these rooms.
Pull out a single hair when I’m not looking.
Give my ear a nasty-ass wet willy. Press against me.
Lay your head upon my lap.
Tickle my neck or flick me on the temple.
Push me. Pull me. Pat me on the head.
Sit with all your weight on me until I beg for mercy and cry out.
Poke my fucking eye out.
Slap me hard across the face or punch me in the stomach.
Force my mouth wide open, bite my tongue.
Drag me along the landing by the wrist.
I’ve not been kissed, not had an arm around me, not an affectionate chin chuck, fuck all since this, since this…
Yes, touch me any which way.
Love me, scare me, I honestly don’t give a shit how we connect but fucking touch me. I can feel my skin retracting, drying out. My joints are seizing up, my heart is slowing down.
Sit down beside me, here, just here, and have a lean.
Don’t let’s get used to this. Don’t let me not need anyone again.
It took an age to understand how much I do, and God, I really do!
When this is over, I am going to get arrested.
I will sidle up to strangers on the buses, hold their hands.
Hover in the playground pecking children on the forehead.
Hug pensioners, (survivors), in the Nisa Local.
I will run my fingers through the barber’s lovely hair, force neighbours to dance salsa with me.
And lick other people’s partners’ elbows.
And when I get to prison, I’ll start fights, insult whoever’s in for GBH.
And maybe even drop the soap…
For now though,
if you’re next to someone, sharing germs and fears and dinners,
count your blessings.
They might comment on how fat your ass is getting every time you go to grab a snack,
or kick you in the shins while screaming ‘YOU’RE SO MEAN! I HAAAAAATE YOU’
when you won’t allow them that tenth-hour-in-a-row on Disney Plus.
They might ask you when you’re going to get yourself a boyfriend now that it is armageddon,
or incessantly remind you that you still owe them that twenty quid
or that your bed won’t make itself or that you really ought to get a mortgage, silly, but believe me, the alternative is hellishly unnatural.
So grab whichever dickheads you’re holed up with,
see that there is goodness in them, in us all,
in all our fallible, annoying, loud, inane humanity
and kiss them, hug them hard, from you,
and then again once more from me.
I killed a pigeon today. I was cycling along the towpath. Way too fast. I’d already pissed off a mother and her kids. I didn’t care about that. I was hoping that if I went fast enough the bike would lift off into space and I could get away from all of this. I thought that maybe I could be a different person too. The type who really doesn’t give a shit about my impact on society. Because the sacrifice required to do the right thing for the human race all day is making me pay such attention to the set of knives I bought when I moved house and I’m not sure I’ll see the day when all the front doors open and my neighbours dance together in the street.
It should have flown away, they always do, they always move. Its mates did, and the cloud of flapping wings obscured their little straggler until it was too late. I wheeled right over it and felt its body pop, then skidded to a stop, ran back. Knowing full well the sight would be horrific. It was twitching. In a lot of pain, I guess. My hands covered my mouth, the mother and her children fast approaching to continue hating me but so much more now.
I have seen sad farmers shoot their horses dead compassionately. I’ve pulled a chicken’s head off. At Boy (and me) Scout camp, I’ve skinned an eel. I’ve eaten burgers, nuggets, pigs in blankets, though that’s all behind me now. I’ve stepped on spiders and been praised by frightened friends much girlier than me. But I never was a monster ‘til today. When I decided to stop trying, to give in to selfishness, to do just what I wanted, fuck the rest of you. And now there’s one less pigeon in the world. And that, it matters.
A kind man from Albania, (potentially), came to my rescue. I was trying to work out how to stop the pigeon’s pain. Whether to drown or stamp on it. This man, he came along and gently lifted the poor bird onto the grass where somebody had planted daffodils. We watched the life go out of it, almost immediately thank god. It even closed its little eyes. He placed it in the flowers and instructed me to buy some cake and bread for all the other pigeons, to make up for what I’d done. And I just can’t figure out why he was nice to me, I don’t deserve it. I am making this pandemic about me and all because I’m quarantined alone when there are people losing aunts and uncles every day. I’m dirt.
But I am reassured that I cannot stop crying. I have cried for seven hours and counting. Counts for something, right? I’ve eaten five small bars of 85%, can’t concentrate on Netflix, and I didn’t even want to come on Skype to be quite honest.
So anyway. That’s how my day went. How’s you? Got any symptoms yet?
privileged I am to know you
honoured to be called your friend
truly blessed to stand beside you here
and as time passes and experiences are shared
we too can walk this earth with a (knowing) smile
knowing (as we do) that the rains with feed the roots
and tomorrow the sun will alight our sky
at the commencement of another great day
gifted I am
to have heard your music
to have read your great words
and to have seen your eyes alight with passion for life
heartfelt ambition - for a common good
i’ve seen the performance of magical tongue
of sand, stars, bees and hope
we tasted together the nectar of laughter
and danced the dance of communion
and bared our soul into an abyss
revelling in each other’s space
skipping like children
feeling the delicacy of mortality
free, like lovers in warm summer rain
and as the carousel of seasons pushes us towards frailty
our priorities moving with clouds
we rest for a while
under boughs of Birch in majestic autumnal light
that boldly illuminate the charcoal waters in the sky
we take stock
we talk of times past
...the roads travelled
paths have differed greatly and yet have somehow, oddly paralleled
in strange ways we’ve bled together
licked our respective wounds
and have danced the same dance
...at differing times
...at different places
you plant and heal
i reap and heal
we’ve both known the smell of the soil
and the feel of it on our dry splintered hands
we, linked by an elder
written in the dust
and blown together by your better nature
by your love of the other
and that is how I came to know you
and what I most believe in you for
i see your truth
and I truly believe in you
and honour you
fresh Lavender wrapped in silk
a forced drop of blood on an altar
barbed wire around a beating heart
beholden to me as these things
i truly respect
i am honoured just to know your name
i am warmed by your aura
moved by your humanity
i feel blessed