Friday, 16 February 2007

She'll Be Right

For me his week's Poetry Thursday is very timely seeing as I have been having this poetry / prose battle of wits - all in my own mind you understand.


* 'she'll be right' is a national kiwi (New Zealander) expression, meaning 'everything will be okay'.

** 'chilly bin' is a white polystyrene box for keeping things (beer or picnic food) cool.


The Most Beautiful Word in the English Language

He should have listened to me, she said, but he's too 'she'll be right'. Always with the 'she'll be right.' Says I'm just being paranoid. Anyway, what I thought would happen did. Of course.
The dog whimpers from the back seat of the car and under the tartan rug, with his groggy, frog-eyes and his face screwed up sad, he looks like a grandfather who can't remember anything anymore. So of course the dog got run over didn't he? I told him but would he listen? I said it wasn't a good idea to let the dog run along beside the car. He said he's seen his mates do it and it'll be all right. Don't worry about it.
I had to carry him like a baby in my arms. He weighs 20 kilos. The vet weighed him. 20 kilos all squashed up into a fat little body is a lot of weight to carry. It's 7 three-litre bottles of milk. Heavier than you, she says turning to her daughter.
The vet said that there's probably a fracture and he'll need an x-ray. Bring him back in the morning. Can we keep one of the pictures? my granddaughter asks.
The turtle in the tank by the front desk swims up to the glass. A grenade with legs - his cake-rack patterned tummy the shade of milky custard, his head a thumb.
The vet called the injured leg his arm, she said.
Over a cup of coffee at 'Rhubarb' that used to be a butcher's, we note the white-tile walls, the band of decorated tiles and the stained-glass window over the door.
And what's more, she says, he hasn't said sorry nearly hard enough. We both laugh and I think about how daughter must be one of the most beautiful words in the English language.
Friday tomorrow, she says. Work again. What is it with these Third World wages?
At the top of the hill on the way to the second-hand clothes shop to look for cardigans,we see the sea. A kidney-shaped piece of blue. She says don't you hate those days when the sky is all white? For all we know we could be locked inside a box. A chilly bin.

30 comments:

ecm said...

I really, really, really like this and it's narrative. This may convince me to like prose poetry. I like the dialogue in it and yet the beautiful images...kidney-shaped piece of sky, chilly bin. Lovely.

Regina Clare Jane said...

There really was so much going on in this... and it all worked together really well. I found myself connecting with everyone- even the dog and the turtle!
Really excellent...

Kamsin said...

Still haven't figured this prose poetry thing out yet, but I really like this.

paris parfait said...

This is lovely - so much going on. I had an Australian friend (he died suddenly at the age of 41) who always said to me, "You'll be right." He was referring to some of my more dangerous excursions in the Middle East. Your wonderful poem persuades me that prose poetry is worth reading - I've had so little experience with it. But sometimes I think prose poetry is a bit like flash fiction - a really short story.

Tammy said...

I'm starting to grasp this and your's really helped. I enjoyed the read very much, especially the turtle;) HUGS

pepektheassassin said...

You are a fine writer, a master of words, whatever you do. I really enjoyed this one--sounds like "prose-poetry" to me!

twilightspider said...

This whole story / string of events is amazing. I just love the whole poem, beginning to end. It flows just like I think life is supposed to, but rarely does.

Verity said...

A gorgeous snapshot with such a strong sense of detail, it felt like I was there.

Carole said...

I particularly liked the descriptions of the dog and the turtle. Not convinced about this prose/poetry thing. To me this is poetic prose or maybe a vignette.

chiefbiscuit said...

ecm - Thanks. I'm not sure I know what prose poetry is myself but this is what came out when I decided to 'see if could.'

regina - Thanks so much. I'm pleased a connection was made - after all, to me, that is what it is all about - the connection in the writing and the connection between writer and reader.

kamsin - You and me! But glad you liked it - that's the main thing in the end.

PP - Yes maybe you're right - I'm the last person to ask what the definition of prose poetry is - to me it sounds like an oxymoron.

tammy - Thanks - glad it helped - I think it may even have helped me to understand. When I was writing it it seemed to flow like a poem ... so maybe that's what prose poetry is ... but I'm a little confused too!

pepek - Thanks for the vote of confidence PP - the reader is always the one who decides!

twilight spider - Thanks so much - actually the way it flowed is what surprised me most as I was writing it. And you're right life seldom does in quite the same way. I jusr love how you called it a poem - no mention of prose - THAT right there, that reader's verification is the proof that this is poetry I guess! :)

verity - Thanks Verity - that's really all I needed to hear. :)

carole - Like I mentioned to other commenters, I'm unsure about prose poetry myself, however, this piece flowed as I was writing, in the same way a poem does ... all I can go by is how readers react to it and perhaps my own experience of the mechanics as I wrote it. But I don't want to mystify it all - de-mystification is always my preference! K.I.S.S. :0

Remiman said...

Cb,
You tell a good story. Title it what you will...I'll read it for the sheer joy of watching your words woven into a tale. ;-)
rel

Dana said...

I adore the description of the turtle. And the ending, being locked inside a box. That's dazzling. I want to follow you around just so you can describe things to me.

jim said...

The crosscutting that takes place in this poem is so dang smart, where you take an associative leap and then you immediately work against it. This is such a huge poem, expansive and tough. Wow.

Cam said...

She says don't you hate those days when the sky is all white? For all we know we could be locked inside a box. A chilly bin. A perfect way to end this.

Jone said...

Wow, this is so amazing. I read and reead it. I really love the last lines.

Catherine said...

I just love this. If I had read it without a "label", I would have described it as a short story. Especially since it has paragraphs - most prose poems seem to be just one continuous paragraph. But who cares? A label is just a label after all.

Patry Francis said...

I love all the sensory detail in this. It really comes to life.

Jan said...

A lovely piece of writing.
It WARMED me as I read it.
Whatever it is, poetry or prose, it succeeds..

gautami tripathy said...

The narrative style is veey good and all the details work rather well. Everything falls into place.


You too can chk my post, Ambrosial.I would welcome critical comments for this prompt.

Shameless said...

Just lovely, CB, and I haven't heard "she'll be right" for ages! Add "mate" at the end for what my friends used to say. :)

split ends said...

I'm bookmarking this to come back and re-read. I've been going through as many of the PT entries as I can, because I really want to get a better grip on this prose poetry thing, and yours seems different--there's too much here for me to figure out what I really want to say (and I think that is a very good thing).

Marvelous!

Rethabile said...

I like this. It must be one of the most beautiful words, yes. Comes from the Persian (Dokhtar).

This reads well.

Avus said...

Prosaic poetry or poetic prose?
I just enjoyed your piece for its "feel".

chiefbiscuit said...

rel - Thanks - I like that - 'woven'.

dana - I like that too - 'dazzling'.

jim - Thanks. I've discovered I rather like writing prose poetry.

cam - Thanks Cam.

jone - Hi thanks for dropping by - and for the kind comment.

catherine - Thanks - I don't really know what I'm doing, but if it works ... ;)

patry - Thanks - it was an easy recall.

jan - Thanks - that warms me right back.

guatami tripathy - Thanks - I'll dash on over to your site in a minute & take a butcher's (butcher's hook = look).

shameless- Choice mate!

split ends - Thanks I'm looking forward to your return visit.

rethabile - Thanks - and the German word is similar too, isn't it? I love how in English the spelling looks like 'laughter'.

avus - Thanks. A rose is a rose? A prose is a prose? A prosaic poem is a proem?? ;0

pepektheassassin said...

My husband, who used to work at the airport, learned about "chili-boxes" from the islanders, the Tongans and Samoans, who brought their lunches in "chili-boxes."

Becky said...

Okay, I'm telling poetry on you now!! No wait, I'm telling prose!!! No wait, I can't tell either because you are mastering both, my friend.

Wonderful.

b

January said...

This is great! Love the imagery with the dog and the turtle. I'm a big fan of the prose poem and you've done it so well here, CB.

chiefbiscuit said...

pepek - So glad someone from out of NZ knows what I mean!

becky - Praise indeed from a writer as fine as yourself Becks.

january - Thanks so much. :)

herhimnbryn said...

I liked this too. Your words took me with you and I was sitting on the back seat of the car, my hand on the dog's head!

GeL (Emerald Eyes) said...

Delightful and well-done prose poem.
(Do you write any prose poems in your book, featured in your side bar?)

Harbour

Harbour
'how this all harbours light'