About eighteen years ago a chance remark from a colleague at the Chronicle-Herald, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, sparked off a buzz that has now eventually found expression in a collection of fifty poems that I’ve titled Corpoetry.
We were discussing an ad concept, when we heard that extra boisterous forced laughter that one associates with laughing to please. “Ah!” my colleague and friend said, “Corporate Laughter”. I found the phrase amusing and apt. But it entered that odd space that exists inside our minds where tunes get trapped, phrases beep-n-bop around, lyrics of songs we don’t even like buzz and we can’t get rid of them. So ‘Corporate Laughter’ bumped around inside my head.
I tried to dislodge it by listening to old music. Next I recited old nursery rhymes. Nope. It was still there. Grinning like a gremlin, ‘Corporate Laughter’ it said and hooted into my sleep, my dreams, my quiet space. Nothing helped until I sat down and wrote the first poem in what is my now published collection: Corpoetry. Then, like a deflated balloon it shrank to nothing.
The ‘thing’ didn’t disappear. But, I had found its weak spot – to write it out of my system in a poem – please understand I use the term: poem, loosely. These poems aren’t your highly artistic, searching-for-the-meaning-of-life poems. They’re just fun.
After that, every so often I’d see a situation that gave rise to another poem and then another. During my lunch hour, I’d sometimes use the clip art available and mix and match it with word art to create doodles to complement my poems. I had so much fun doing these that I soon began to see more and more situations, office dynamics, gossip, etc. that gave rise to ever more poems.
And that, dear friends is how Corpoetry began. You can find out more on my Facebook Page.
This is a fragment from something else I wrote some time ago…
Especially across the hush of the desert and the sand-coloured villas and high-rises standing like silent sentinels, you can feel it. That pre-dawn stillness when, for a brief instant, the ‘night life’ senses a shift that is not of the sands or the stones and it starts to turn in to sleep for the day. This is just before the ‘day life’ begins to awaken. The very stillness rings out like a clarion. Unbeknownst to themselves, the creatures of the day respond to it. They stir in their sleep, they mutter. The denouements of dreams culminate and bid farewell to sleeping minds still enwrapped in their tales behind closed eyelids.
An almost imperceptible warming of the chill night air is counterpointed by the chill of the night air that is not willing yet to surrender its lower temperatures to the balm of day. They are poised mid-step – Night and Day, Light and Dark, yesterday and today. The dance of their two winds is halted for a moment, captured in the tapestry of pre-dawn, the warp and woof of life. And they make a brief exchange in silence. The merest kiss of a farewell. And then the deep velvet of the bowl of night is tinged at its very edge with a lighter shade of dark.
It is at this time that the muezzin sitting in the minaret of his mosque can just distinguish between two threads and his practiced eye informs him which one is white and which black, when it is day and no longer night. Then he raises his clear melodic voice to the skies and chants in his pure tones, “Allah hu Akbar! Allah hu Akbar!” God is great.
The sound reverberates through the as-yet dark streets and alleys, up stairs and down narrow lanes, past shuttered windows, through richly carpeted hallways and equally over mud-smoothed stairways. It floats over sack-covered spices in the souk, caresses the dates and figs in their baskets and stirs the flies. It sends mice scuttling for their warrens and cockroaches for their drains. It wafts past curtained chambers and beaded blinds, closed eyelids and the last cobweb wisps of dreams and nightmares alike. Pushing all away. Announcing to every ear in this island of Islam, Bahrain; the miracle of the birth of a new day.
I was thrilled when I learnt that my 50-word story, based on a poem I’d written, has been selected as the winner in a competition on Oapschat.
It is based on a real event that took place in the souk several months ago. First it was a poem, then it became a pithy story. Believe me, writing flash fiction – of any length – is quite a demanding exercise.
I’d love to feature anyone else’s 50-word stories here, do share. Sorry no prizes but if, in my opinion, your story merits it, I shall feature it here.
If you don’t want to follow the link here’s the winning story:
“You know Kite Runner?”
The Afghani salesman asked.
“Yes,” I ignored him, “How much?” indicating amethyst earrings.
He opened his lacerated hands.
Ashamed, I looked at him. “I loved the book.”
His hand on his heart, “I have more stories will you write them?”
“A thousand times.”
“Tashakor,” He smiled.
Over to you…
And here I am, holding my prize: “My Gentle War” by Joy Lennick the judge at Oapschat the publication that ran the competition.