Friday, February 12, 2016

I Wish I'd Written This

Red Collar
By Tanya Delys Mandorla

I taught my dogs to live in the moment.
Both of them were standing in the pound’s cement cells
thinking ahead to grass.
Both wishing they had smokes to barter for marrow split bones
a tin can to rap along the bars and howl the blues, so moonshine rich,
those cute girls in overalls…
them cooing, patting, pretty girl volunteers
who cleaned up desperate shit every day and hosed their workplace tears
filled with wolf croons, away…would let them out.
My dogs watched me come along
with my siren’s song
a lush life of tax check and a car full of juice, the windows rolled down.
They watched me stop, block to block with the cool eye of a killer,
my red collar warning I was dangerous around babies
I required a big fence, a choke chain collar and desexing.
They watched me arrive at their bars and sat like good boys
I said “Get in the car.”
They sat perfectly straight, two old lawn bowlers out for the day, torturing p platers
with over braking and ten k’s under the speed limit
they just needed their white bowling hats.
I couldn’t stop laughing at them in the rear view mirror.
My car kingdom smelled of hair conditioner, ashtray, triple J and petrol receipts blowing into their vulpine eyes.
They were too grateful to ride the wind then
both sat real straight and learned fast when I yelled “stomach muscles!” meant brace, or wear the dashboard.
I took them home to home one, home two, home no dogs, home no fence, home five outside dogs, home six inside dogs/outside person basking on her verandah.
My dogs learnt to lie in the moment.
They learnt to get real apologetic and distract authority when I hackled up.
They made soft brown, beaming eyes and upside down clown mouths at my den mother threats.
They got fat with me
and we all clipped our nails together in afternoon pyjama parties on the outside person verandah.
I reminded them, to go back, go way back to their ancestors
back to when life was laying in the winter sun of a morning
eating baked dinner scraps, enough to last for the future famine
raising howls as a toast instead of a protest.
We live safe in the smell of each other’s shit
I taught my dogs to live in the moment
and when they die, if they die before me
I shall strap on my red collar
and go and rescue two more.

Notes:  p platers are new drivers on probation.

Triple J is a radio station. (As Wikipedia says: 'Triple j is a government-funded national Australian radio station intended to appeal to listeners between the ages of 18 and 24. The station places a greater emphasis on Australian music and alternative music compared to commercial stations.)

I know there are plenty of dog lovers here, so there is not much I need to say to recommend this.

Tanya lives in the same geographical region as me, but not so close that we get to meet since I stopped driving to night-time poetry readings in other towns. However, we are connected on good old facebook.

The bio notes she supplied are brief and to the point:

Tanya Delys Mandorla is a radio presenter on River FM Lismore.

She has one book of poetry, Burn The Brunette and is currently working on a second collection.

I'm the lucky owner of a copy of Burn the Brunette (which unfortunately is only available in paperback, not ebook) and I can tell you it is all as wild and wonderful as the poem I've shared with you; it positively sizzles. Her poetry works equally well spoken aloud or on the page – which I guess is what most of us aspire to.

Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ The Inanimate & The Non-Human


Midweek Motif ~ The Inanimate & The Non-Human

"The place of the worst barbarism is that modern forest that makes use of us, this forest of chimneys and bayonets, machines and weapons, of strange inanimate beasts that feed on human flesh."---Amadeo Bordiga

"K2 is not some malevolent being, lurking there above the Baltoro, waiting to get us. It's just there. It's indifferent. It's an inanimate mountain made of rock, ice and snow. The "savageness" is what we project onto it, as if we blame the peak for our own misadventures on it."---Ed Viesturs

"We are all collateral damage for someone's beautiful ideology, all of us inanimate in the face of onslaught."---Benjamin Alire Saenz

"We cannot justify treating any sentient nonhuman as our property, as a resource, as a thing that we can use and kill for our purposes."---Gary L. Francione

For today's theme use the inanimate or the non-human as your subject. Build up an emotional connection with it.

You may give a fresh look to something very ordinary and uninspiring.

You may also write about something you care about, depend on or even afraid of.

Your poem may either be objective or from the perspective of your subject.

Let's check out the following poems:


by Sylvia Plath

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful,
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But if it flickers,
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.


by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

A Bird Came Down The Walk

by Emily Dickinson

A Bird, came down the Walk -
he did not know I saw -
He bit an Angleworm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,

And then, he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass -
And then he hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass -

He glanced with rapid eyes,
That hurried all abroad -
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought,
He stirred his Velvet Head -

Like one in danger, Cautious,
I offered him a Crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers,
And rowed him softer Home -

Than oars divide the ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon,
Leap, plashless as they swim.

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community.

                             (Next week Susan's Midweek Motif will be Marriage)

Monday, February 8, 2016


This week, my friends, we are visiting with one of our newer members, Carol Campbell, who writes at  Writer's Dream 9. I love doing these interviews. They allow us to get to know each poet better, so when we read their work, we can picture them in their setting. Also, in each interview, I find a story that knocks my socks off. Without fail. Carol's is such a one. Pour a cup of tea, pull up a chair, and you'll soon see what I mean.