Sunday Poem – Michael Conley

Evening folks.  This is going to be a disgustingly happy blog post today.  I often go through life having a bit of a whinge – my favorite form of humour is sarcasm and the hubby’s nickname for me when I’m in a bad mood is ‘Sword tongue’.  However this weekend, I have felt ridiculously happy.  Maybe it has something to do with the weather – I love the sunshine and the heat and the long evenings.

Maybe it has something to do with the hubby arrived back from Italy on Wednesday – he had been away for 12 days with friends doing the Via Ferrata.  I didn’t publicize this fact, just in case I had any mad stalkers who would immediately set off for Barrow and sit outside my window, rocking and begging to come in.  Anyway, the hubby is back and he immediately set to work catching up with all the household tasks that I didn’t quite keep up with whilst he was away – laundry and recycling and washing up – he has also been cooking all the meals since he got back – it’s taken eight years but he is now well trained!

Maybe it is also something to do with the end of term is now in sight!  I love my job but the end of term as a music teacher is exhausting – an endless round of concerts and extra rehearsals for exams – but it is starting to come to an end now – two weeks officially left!

Today was the last concert of the year for Barrow Shipyard Junior Band.  We played in Barrow Park with St Pius School Orchestra and the sun was out – lots of parents and families turned out to watch us, and I had the nice job of presenting two of the kids with prizes – one for the Most Improved Player which the band vote for and one for the Player of the Year which I chose.  The two children who won the awards were really taken by surprise which was lovely.

On Tuesday I have about ten children all doing Grade exams from Grade 1 up to Grade 5.  Most of last week I spent whizzing around doing extra lessons but I have done all I can do now.  Most of the schools have done their end of term performance by now, so it’s down hill now!

Maybe my good mood also has something to do with the kindness of strangers – or not quite strangers because I am talking about Facebook friends – some of whom I’ve never met in real life.  I asked this week on Facebook for some advice on putting a CV together for a poetry opportunity that I would really like to apply for.  Quite a few poets sent me their CV’s for me to have a look at – and one got in touch and offered to help me out as she used to do this professionally in exchange for one of my pamphlets…So that is what I’ve been doing tonight – I sent her my first draft of my CV which I didn’t think was too bad – but she has completely rejigged it and made it make sense and have a train of logical thought – and now I’m thinking, really a pamphlet is not enough payment for the amazing job she has done – but not just that – her kindness -we haven’t met in ‘real’ life.    And this puts me in a good mood – but then I think I have often encountered this sort of thing in the poetry world which is one of the reasons why I love it so much.

Anyway, enough gushing! Today’s Sunday poem is by the lovely Michael Conley – another example of poetic virtue – last week he booked me to come and run a workshop in his secondary school and I waxed on in my last entry about what a good teacher he is.  Mike is a 28 year old teacher.  He is currently awaiting the results of a Creative Writing MA from MMU, which he studied part time.  His work has been published in Magma, Rialto, Best of Manchester Poets and Cadaverine.

Anyway, here is an example of him being a good poet as well – and I love the wonderfully acerbic tone of this poem and it counters my happy clappy blog post as well.  I like how dry and sardonic it is.  I love the inclusion of the awful text speak in the middle.  I like the meteors at the beginning representing the endorsements on a well known internet auction site and the fact that we get stardust at the end.  I like that we know what the speaker of the poem thinks of someone who would buy a Bart Simpson watch, but not why they decided to sell it in the first place.

I like to think this poem describes the start of some sort of nervous breakdown – after all, up to this point, the speaker has been very concerned about carrying out perfect transactions and getting good feedback – what has tipped him over the edge – maybe just the use of bad grammar and awful spelling?  Mike is an English teacher after all…

Auction – Michael Conley

I have a green meteor next to my name:
nobody has ever complained about me.
Ten more perfect transactions
and it will be a golden meteor.

I find an old watch. It is ugly
and bright blue;
the ticking hand
is Bart Simpson’s arm.

It sells quickly for £2.99.
I receive a message the same day:
thank you iam realy lukin 4ward
2 gettin my new Bart Simpson watch

I slip it into an envelope
place it lovingly on the kitchen table
and smash it three times with a hammer.

It hits the bottom of the postbox
with the hushed jangle
of settling stardust.

4 comments on “Sunday Poem – Michael Conley

  1. I love your honest and funny blog posts, Kim. My husband is a musician/music teacher so I completely get all the references to end of term exhaustion and endless concerts/recitals/exams to accompany. Great stuff, and may the lovely summer continue.

    1. Thanks Robin. Your feedback means a lot. And the lovely summer is still continuing so far! I have five more sleeps until the last day 🙂

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