Accidental Poet

At the start of the week I had the happy news of the publication of my first ever poem. Today I have the slightly mad news (I woke up this morning to find it wasn’t a beer-induced hallucination!) that I am SpeedPoets ‘call back’ poet for April. This all happened quite by accident and I still feel as though I gate crashed someone else’s party.

Stacey encouraged me to go along yesterday, (she was planning on reading and said I had to do it too!) and Friday during the write-in we read to each other a collection of poems and picked the ones we felt worked best. But I was doing this all as an act of support (for Stacey) and to keep pushing my own boundaries.

The beer flowed, the poems washed over us, it was good to among good friends and it was generally just a brilliant afternoon (after a bit of a shaky start!) The three of us (Stacey, Tom and I) all had a crack. There were spaces in the final set so Stacey and I read a second time.

I had completely forgot about the ‘call back’ component of the open mic segments, so when Simon Kindt (whose poetry absolutely blew me away when I heard him perform at the finals of the call back poets last year) read my name out, I was stunned. To have Simon pick me adds an extra aura of surrealness to it.

Almost‘ is the poem that won me the spot (I say it was the poem because my nerves almost choked me when I was reading). It was inspired by memories of the movie ‘Blue Velvet’ from decades ago (the walk down memory lane triggered by a failed attempt to see ‘Blue Velvet’ on the big screen).

Many thanks to The Hideaway and to Andrew for being the most welcoming of organisers and MC.

So, I guess I will be writing more poetry between now and then. And perhaps have to revise my accidental poetic definitions of self.


We almost had sex.
Almost broke the lounge
as ‘Blue Velvet’ played to itself on the TV.
The gas radiator filled the room with heat
augmented by our lust.
When you slipped out into the cold night air
your calling card was my body,
almost covered in carpet burn.

I almost fell for you.
The man who parked his car a block away
so the cleaner from work,
who lived around the corner,
had no chance to put two and two together.
But still you huddled into my door,
knocking with an urgency
I mistook for me.

You, who moved your girlfriend in
so you could pretend to be
almost faithful.
You, who hissed, ‘Not here’
when I said ‘hello’ in the bread aisle
and later turned up to seduce me
while you were almost getting ice cream
for the girlfriend-now-fiance.

I almost cried that afternoon
as you drove off without saying goodbye.
When I was almost no longer there
and you had already moved on.
It was easy to regret everything,
rewrite it in the diesel fumes,
when I was almost at the town limits
but still so far away
from arriving.