Black and White Photograph

Black and white people in a 

Black and white photo

Sitting by the street on a hot day in L.A. 1962

Colourless trees, grass, flowers 

And fountain spray decorate 

the busy park behind their bench

Sitting by the street on a hot day in L.A. 1962

Those real people sit there, 

At one with their place 

Smoking cigarettes,

sleeping, yawning, chatting, 

reading the newspaper, 

Sitting by the street on a hot day in L.A. 1962

Six young white women, 

In colourless dresses

Sit in the middle of the bench

One young black man

In a white shirt

At one end

Talking to a white woman,

And an old white man

In a black suit

At the other

Reading the newspaper

Perhaps they are waiting for a bus

Or maybe they are just being there?

Everything seems fine

Sitting by the street on a hot day in L.A. 1962. 

-Job

Photo Source: https://www.moma.org/media/W1siZiIsIjEzOTc0NyJdLFsicCIsImNvbnZlcnQiLCItcXVhbGl0eSA5MCAtcmVzaXplIDIwMDB4MTQ0MFx1MDAzZSJdXQ.jpg?sha=272b88e3c919eca3

Collarbone Coast

In the motel they sent me to draw waves, 

But I didn’t find backwater.

My cracked hands were all shortages. 

So I walked the collarbone coast

Treading on bottles and bread. 

As I stopped to watch the daily punch-up

How black my heart was! 

And I went on sobbing and sobbing. 

In witness I have no great-cockfight left,

No sunhat, a thin coach jacket.

My handicrafts are all soundtrack. 

It is a pledge to be alive. 

But I had rather quickly leave the eating.

-Job

(Oulipo poem based on excerpt from a 1st century B.C Chinese poem: The Orphan)

To a Hive

You who celebrate bytes, 

Who have exposed the overbalance, 

the surmises of racisms, 

the lifestyle that has exhibited itself, 

Who have treated of mandate as the creek of poltergeist, 

agreements – cabbages and primroses, 

Pressing the punchball of the lifestyle that has seldom exhibited itself, 

(the great primer of mandate in himself,) 

Chanter of Palo Alto, outlining what is yet to be, 

I prologue the hoard of the gadget.

-Job

(Oulipo based on Whitman: To a Historian)

Good morning heartache

It is October.

A dark night Manhattan sky,

orange moon full of autumn.

Sitting in a deep black leather chair in the bar, 

my name inscribed in bronze on the wall, 

mirrors reflecting midnight faces.

A dangerous woman is singing jazz. 

The mellow effect, dark smoke of her voice, 

soft leather at my back, 

cold glass in hand. 

Watching people listen. 

Good morning heartache here we go again. 

-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

Watch it burn

That day

In LA

Jack burned

The contents of the bin

By the roadside

On the 405

Not because he was cold,

It was 100 degrees

In the shade,

But just to watch

It burn.

So after he lit her up

He stood there by

The roadside

While cars and trucks

Whizzed by,

On the 405,

Watching flames

And dirty smoke

Sputter a tower

Into a blue sky.

-Job

Marmite on toast

So wrong 

but right. 

Hot and comforting. 

Not sweet or 

Sour.

What’s in the middle?

Umami. 

It has to be 

created with care. 

Toast brought to the brink 

of being burnt, 

but saved just in 

Time. 

Then the butter spread 

while the toast is hot-hot 

so it melts completely.

Lots of butter! 

Marmite added then, 

a good Goldilocks layer, 

neither too thin, 

Or too thick. 

Spread to all corners

of the toast. 

Served with a hot mug 

of sweet milky tea 

in the sitting room while 

we watch Labryinth. 

Again.

-Job

Iuvenes Deos

Oh, those new

divine ones

Bored of the world

They give birth to

destruction

Their lives a silent art.

They laugh at death

That single

final

end

And barricade their world.

Burn as bright suns

till the end of day

Living,

Dying,

not recording,

each his own Schrödinger

breaking bones against a blood sky

Never allowing compromise.

They refuse the world

And it’s comforting

photographs.

– 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