Butter

Every time I butter toast

I think of you

And that morning

In the college canteen

When you taught me

Your secret method

To soften the fridge-cold

Foil wrapped butter tabs

By leaving them under those

Cheap leaky-spout teapots

For a few seconds.

I melted too but

Never told you.

-Job

Writing Prompt: OULIPO Poem

Here is an unusual poetic form to try: OULIPO

OULIPO poetry is written using unique forms of mathematical and textual structural constraints.

It began in the 1960s with the work of French mathematician Francois de Lionnais and writer Raymond Queneau. OULIPO is an acronym of Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle(OULIPO), or Workshop of Potential Literature.

There are many forms but ‘[o]ne of the most popular OULIPO formulas is “N+7,” in which the writer takes a poem [or piece of prose if you want to vary it] already in existence and substitutes each of the poem’s substantive nouns with the noun appearing seven nouns away in the dictionary. Care is taken to ensure that the substitution is not just a compound derivative of the original, or shares a similar root, but a wholly different word. Results can vary widely depending on the version of the dictionary one uses.’ (Poets.org, 2004)

‘Another OULIPO exercise uses the “snowball” technique, where the first line is one word long, the second line has two words, and so on. A snowball poem can also be made up of lines comprised of progressively longer words, in which two lines might read:

     I am far from happy Mother reduced
     A no-fly zone using yellow ribbons.’ (Poets.org, 2004)

You can find out more about it here: https://poets.org/text/brief-guide-oulipo

And here: http://www.languageisavirus.com/creative-writing-techniques/oulipo.php#.YGcX4S1Q1QI

Guardian article on OULIPO: https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2013/jul/12/oulipo-freeing-literature-tightening-rules

I recently tried it to good effect.

Good luck.

-Job

Everyone must have friends?

Would therapy help?

Her mother asked the

agony aunt.

Loner, loser, weirdo.

Billy-no-mates,

Everyone must have friends.

She is twenty-one

youngest of five,

all have active

social lives.

Except her.

Loner, loser, weirdo.

Billy-no-mates.

Everyone must have friends.

She is in college

but has never once had

a night out or

met up with friends.

Loner, loser, weirdo.

Billy-no-mates.

Everyone must have friends.

She says she meets up

with people

during the day.

But spends her time

at home,

on her phone.

Loner, loser, weirdo.

Billy-no-mates.

Everyone must have friends.

She had a difficult time in school.

No one seemed to

dislike her,

but she was

always excluded

and she left school

without a single friend.

Loner, loser, weirdo.

Billy-no-mates.

Everyone must have friends.

If she meets one of her

school friends

now,

they are friendly, but

she will never

hear from them again.

Loner, loser, weirdo.

Billy-no-mates.

Everyone must have friends.

She is not depressed

nor overly anxious.

She has a job.

Loner, loser, weirdo.

Billy-no-mates.

Everyone must have friends.

Would therapy help?

Her mother asked

The agony aunt.

-Job

In another life

In another life I am

a collection of sea shells

Scattered along

an alien shore

Distant light years

Away

I go along my merry way

my day – to – day routine,

Staring at a gold sky

Washed by dry waves

wondering how

I ended up this way.

It is a utopian life

I suppose

where all my needs are met

I don’t have to worry

about things like work

Or school

on my planet of pink penguins

and gold skies.

In another life I am

a graveyard.

Bursting with bones,

some of them very old.

And moss grown

headstones

With faded names

Of long forgotten

loved ones.

I’ve been this place

for a couple of months now

never told anybody

where it is.

I feel safe here

The only other people

here are bats,

two of them.

I watch them at dusk

Their flittering

skin thin wings

Cutting arcs above me.

In another life I am

a boutique,

and my customers

Are professional women

who love my clothes but

can not afford to buy them,

So they try them on

And tell me

their stories,

all about the

pressure

they are under to be

thin and pretty,

So I give clothes away

because they need

something

without

any strings.

But it seems to me

that there is nothing

I can give these women

that they do not

already have

in their lives,

but they don’t want to hear that

So they return

Day after day

I give

And listen.

Until there is nothing left

And they move on.

– Job

Prophecy

Eight hours from now

Life’s simple

pleasures will be

denied.

The mob will rule

The mind police sanction.

Pity the poor

Man who strays from

the designated path.

Eight days from now

We will greet friends by

ignoring them

condemn opponents for

Their secret thoughts

In our new reality.

Eight weeks from now.

The repeated gesture,

the quiet pause,

the attentive and,

encouraging nod,

the gracious thank-you,

and the measured response

Will be banned.

The willingness to stop and breathe

The desire to put the pressing

task aside and help.

That too will be

Gone.

– Job

Heroic Verse

Honest Garda I don’t know how that half
ounce of cannabis was on me, laugh,
me head is wrecked trying to make it sense.
Garda I shouldn’t be in custody
it’s some sort of crazy joke me silly
mates played then ran off when you lot came, no
offence, ha, I’m a good lad really though.
Me mam, bless, she says I’m her pride and joy
apple of her eye, her golden boy
never been in bother with the law, well
except for that time I broke done me girl-
friend’s door but that was just a lover’s spat,
a misunderstanding between me girl
and me, we’ve been fine ever since, she
knows her place. I love her to death. Sure I’ve
never even smoked any weed or gan-
ga or whatever it’s called, I just like
a good night out like the next lad, a few
drinks and a bit of fun, not into drugs
at all, it must be that I borrowed these
jeans from a mate of mine, what’s his name? Well
not a friend as such, more an acquaintance,
a stranger really, what? How did I come
to be wearing this stranger’s jeans? Well that’s
the odd part of this story. Let me think,
but first can I have a drink? I’m quare thirsty
it’s very hot in here, that light is awful bright.
I’m hungry too can we pop out for a
kebab or a pizza? I’d kill for a
battered sausage and chips. I’ve got an aw-
ful hunger all of a sudden, what time
is it? 3 A.M., that’s mad, I should be
in bed. I’m never out this late and I’ve
school in the morning, teacher will be cross.
If I’m too late mam will be up the walls
any chance I can make a quick phone call
on me mobile? No? You’re an awful prick
what’s it to you? You’re some sort of a cul-
chie dick, sorry, sorry, I don’t mean that.
Ha you’re a lovely fella, I’m just feel-
ing quite sick. You look like a lovely guard,
no don’t hit me please I promise I’ll tell
the truth, his name was Pat, or maybe Mick
and he sold me these jeans on Henry Street
mine had gotten soaked with diesel on the
way, don’t ask how, we’ll be here all night, I
trekked all the way on foot after me car
broke down. Yes, he was selling jeans there on
the street, Gucci ones he said, made in Milan
great value they were, I got changed in the
Ilac jacks, didn’t think to check the pockets
wish I had. I’d never have anything to
do with cannabis, sure my brother is
in Cloverhill for a similar offence.
This will break me mam’s heart, honest Garda
I don’t know how that half-ounce of hash got
in me pocket. It’s certainly not mine, ha
I wouldn’t know how it’s used or rolled, as they
say. I’m a good lad doing me Leaving
Cert next week, honest Garda that’s God’s truth.

-Job