May '12 1
Mayday Mayday, it's Rescue Tuesday!

I rescued this week's piece from My Life in Advertising by Claude C Hopkins (p 205) and The sea by John Banville (p 143).

Freeze frame

Summer afternoon pocketing thunderous idleness in the dark.
Erotic encounter
covert kiss
black-and-white screen
ghosts of desire sitting in pitch-dark intensity
for hours,
manic fumbling,
twitched satisfaction
deprive primal intensity;
balls for breakfast
conscious phantoms lurch
from joy to grey
approve to disreputable
filled fingers to wanton waste,
picture-house main feature to forgotten poverty.

Posted by Jennifer Liston

Apr '12 23
It's Rescue Tuesday! I rescued this week's piece from Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières (p43) and Sons and Lovers by D H Lawrence (p107).


White-skinned daughter
simple embodiment of profound good
soul scattering naked comfort
like snowflakes in your presence
secretly swallows
your subversive blackberry words
from the black of fallen fruit
to the whiteness of snow
as wet as warm touch
beloved feels
healing faith
scar of peace.

Posted by Jennifer Liston

Apr '12 16
This week's rescued piece is from The true dynamics of life by Mike Robinson (p472) and The pleasure of finding things out by Richard P Feynman (p137).

The observed effect

Listen stillness figured
atomic healer
how arranged life then
human mass
spiritual machine
self-knowledge synthesised
principled pay-off seduces life forces
chemical copies
mysterious physics are forces exactly as I observe.
Violated hidden parasites
inspire silence.

Posted by Jennifer Liston

Apr '12 9
This week's rescued piece is from Notebooks 1970-2003 by Murray Bail (p272) and Mind Lines by L Michael Hall and Bobby G Bodenhamer (p75).

Lines o' the mind

Fingerprint painting meaning-maker
imprisoning metaphors
in small boxes
in hollow palaces;
command your queen
to initiate distinctions,
to understand magic signals,
liberate meaning
from difficult reality,
walls of limitations
determine casual grandeur:
smell your reframing choices
enrich your own box of magic.

Posted by Jennifer Liston

Apr '12 2
This week's rescued piece is from Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane (p105) and Flying the Kite by John Button (p31). Enjoy!

Dark kite

Fifty of the fattest
clumped hands
petals of roses
on sacred rolling waves
in California.

An economy possessed.

Broken spirals
dashed arms
whirling in whitedown waters
clean cheeks
and fuck the flatter father
shocked the children.

Brothers, mothers, sobbing
a million marines marching
Jesus's sacred tabernacle
angrily stripped
in red cement.

In Australia
an array of undernourished millionaires

Posted by Jennifer Liston

Mar '12 26
This little rescue-ee is from Eva Luna by Isabel Allende (p217) and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (p207).

Curious room

Beneath the hoping measured
narrow echoey train
was roar roar
was stutter stutter.

Machines in rows,
silently fluorescent.

Spindle factory,
quota weighed.

Damn bitches
in windowless cubicles
served the silent treatment.

Lipstick, ribbons, makeup, hair creams, boots, skirts
never paper-wrapped gestures.

Unappetising lunchroom leftovers:
beans and custard creams.

Walls that wear eyes.

Posted by Jennifer Liston

Mar '12 19
I rescued this poem from This is not a novel by Jennifer Johnston (p33) and If on a winter's night a traveller by Italo Calvino (p148).

Remember code

perfect pushed-pulled champions of the sea
scorching first;
rinsed towel
squeezed uneasiness

gentle ghost
wiped down dismay
dry half-felt wet
under well eyes
somehow the naturalness of tears drown
rippling recognised
faceless but familiar
watching silent shadow lingered
indifferent to the moment

Posted by Jennifer Liston

Mar '12 12
It's that time of the week again!

I rescued this poem from Disgrace by J M Coetzee (p27) and The Shipping News by Annie Proulx (p193). What do you think? Or maybe I should ask how you feel.


Beer fingers pressed
his face towers
leaning like a lover
whispering wary affairs

        murmurs         no
        whispers         no

raise sweater
rip singlet
kick shoes
slip stockings

        says         no
        repeats         no

wracked forehead, mouth, shoulders, arms, hands, wrists, fists, buttocks, legs, ankles

        snarls         no
        crying         no

clinking movement
honey drinking
warm unfurled crushed will


heavy hands stroke folds
looped to bottles of misery
snake uncurled, hard against belly
intoxicating rock of female
clasped to a basket of heat
perforated prisoner

twitched, transfixed, then flicker
suddenly the idea of ice, blackening, double-towered, in waves
reared storm tilting soundlessly, quickly.

        Repeat         no.
        Meant         no.

Dead-man's-fingers cover absence.

Posted by Jennifer Liston

Mar '12 5
I rescued this short and sharp poem from End of the Night Girl by Amy Matthews (p61) and Mastery by George Leonard (p122).

Mastery of the night

Sometimes we breathe miracles.
Sometimes we thank black larcenous fuck
chewing curiosity on the couch,
lacking dark remorse
strangling charms
peeing persuasiveness;
every phony Einstein
catches nervous villains and depressed psychopaths:
from drunk to superhuman
let's toast the holy hero.

Posted by Jennifer Liston

Feb '12 27
I rescued this poem from Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (p115) and Secret Wisdom – Occult societies and arcane knowledge through the ages by Ruth Clydesdale (p148).

Note: 'jakes' is pronounced 'jacks'. It's an old Irish slang word for 'toilet'.

Asylum renovations

Her alchemy torments the planets,
his philosophy:
sour sweepings
from desperate universal truths pamphlets;
the lunatics, understanding divinity, drink hard.
        teihr wolrd reraangred
their asylum
they throw themselves reality
bake     flour       bake
pints         drink                 pints
now, drinking champion
bring the loaf of science
bring the pint of politics
Copernicus is in the jakes:
you’re the astronomer.

Posted by Jennifer Liston

Feb '12 23
One of our writing exercises in uni last semester (thank you Amy) was to create a collage poem. This was based on exercises from chapter four, 'Writing as Recycling', from The Writing Experiment, Strategies for innovative creative writing by Hazel Smith.

We had to copy a slab of text from a random page from two books into a Word document and print it out. Then we had to cut out each word using a scissors, mix up the words, select words from the jumble and assemble a new piece of text as a poem.

I modified the process to make it more efficient: I found a nice online word scrambler here and avoided the messy, fiddly cutting and sorting part of the process.

I was intrigued by the result. I prefer to call the resulting poem a 'rescued' poem instead of a 'found' poem or a collage. It's more dramatic, isn't it? I feel that the poem is hiding and that it's my job to look for it using this special recovery mechanism.

Some poems are so thrilled to be rescued that they jump out and do a little jig; others are hesitant or shy and need plenty of encouragement and time. (You see, we can make a story out of anything!)

My rescued poems are different from the poems I usually write. They are dense and jagged; I like to think that they are a bit unstable and could freak out at any moment.

To honour my rescued darlings (rather than killing them) I intend to start a 'Rescue Tuesdays' post on this site.

Every Tuesday I will post one of my rescued poems, so bookmark this site and remember to visit each week. Better still, subscribe to the newsfeed to be notified when I update the site.

Tune in on Tuesday 28 February for the first rescued poem.

Posted by Jennifer Liston