Poetry round-up – April 2016

Below you can find a few of the Twitter poems I’ve posted over the last month.

I’ve been hard at work revising the second volume in The Fallen Mythos, but I’m taking some time to refocus on my science fiction novel in progress, which happens to fit the bill for the Geek & Sundry Hard Science Contest. Starting April 4 (or 5, local time) I’ll be spamming you all with plenty of info, and I’ll create a separate post once that’s up and running.

When writing poems for Twitter, the character limit doesn’t often leave space for a title (or I’m just greedy) so the poems with single-word titles are titled with the prompts themselves, whereas I cheated and posted the remaining poems as images.


I string the tinsel
on a branch
without a tree –
or a tree without
a bough –
and wonder where
it glimmers now?


What strikes
me the least –
aside from my wife,
she says –
is the blow
that foiled expectations
are meant to land.


To touch
the fuse
then stand
in silent mastery –
or subtle self-deception –
as the flame ignites
and your eyes

Of your former self

Tap, drop, sear
me and I will shatter
shards of viscous
potential broken
exposed and raw

but when you hit
that singular
solid place
the one
that will not be moved
the one
you always find
your fiercest blow
is but a breath

Ethereal verse

The sidewalk slick with druken dreams
– or sick, look out – don’t stand in it!
While poetry caresses scenes
your feet can tread in real shit.

So what’s the humble scribe to pen,
or arsehole, if we’re being fair?
Retire your lofty muses, then,
and let the shit be the idea.

There must be more, your instincts say –
the world a radiant, hopeful sphere,
and pretty words can still convey
the miracle of being here –

Yet even now, your shoes are stick,
and wiping reaffirms the smell;
So see the beauty in the muck:
Aim for heaven, but speak from hell.

Consensual text

“It wasn’t defiance my dear
when I said I’d prefer to wait.
If a no is so hard to hear
that you have to negotiate –
your rhetoric urging me try
and unpacking your need to mate –
then I’d better revise my reply,
’cause I’m now in a passionate state:
Go fuck yourself,” she said –
but her tone made the means

They call it torture

When the droplet


over and over
charting illusory impressions
on your face

So why is
your memory the illusion
that draws these droplets
from my eyes?

And where is the torture,
if not in our grief,

the dropping,

and the late that
forms below?

So far so good

I’ve achieved a few little milestones since my last post:

  1. Published the electronic omnibus edition of The Fallen Shepherd Saga.
  2. Revised the series title, since the characters demanded a sequel – the continuing series will be called The Fallen Mythos.
  3. Started typesetting the paperback edition, and scheduled time to complete this over the next couple of weeks.
  4. Started rewriting the sequel novel.
  5. I haven’t started any new (non-work) projects. This is a pretty major achievement for me (which is probably a sad commentary on my writing process), so I’m comfortable counting something that didn’t happen as a milestone.

I’ve also been using Twitter prompts to write at least one short poem each week, which I’ve found useful for keeping the language alive while sticking to a single main project.

One month on, having a few defined constraints seems to be working well, and I’m increasingly optimistic about this approach.

That’s about it for the month… back to the re-write.

Resolving 2015

I’m not big on new year’s resolutions, given how transient they tend to be (that probably says more about my perseverance than anything else, but the studies support my case). So instead, I’m starting 2016 with a plan, charting specific, quantifiable objectives.

I took most of December off work and writing to complete an urgent renovation project on the house, because it turns out everyone wants to schedule scaffolding, builders and glaziers around the Summer break, and I’m obviously a masochist. Working outside in the sun (and rain, this is Auckland) gave me a little space to consider my works in progress, and – more importantly – to count them. Aside from those shown in the blog sidebar, I have several short stories, novellas, novel drafts, two podcast outlines and a screenplay in my “active” folder, and the “completed” folder was barely touched in the latter months of 2015.

So the plan is essentially this: complete shit. Erm, I’ll rephrase that. The plan is to complete all of my pending projects before I begin any new ones. I’ve got a shiny new timeline, a list of priorities, and as part of my accountability I’ll be posting more regular updates on this blog.

So, when we meet up for the more regular social interaction that probably does fall into the Resolution category, you can help: don’t ask me what I’m working on. Instead, ask me what I’ve finished this week, or when my next deadline is due.

Longer writing exercises are a frequent outlet for procrastination, so in 2016 I’ll be making more use of Twitter prompts for short bursts of poetry (and the always fun six-word stories), so follow @PeterRavlich if that’s your thing.

Finally, Initially, I hope that your 2016 brings with it plenty of opportunities to create, share, reflect and live. Globally, 2015 was a flawed creature in too many ways to list – but it has been put to rest. 2016 begins. Let’s make it better.


So, my determination to post updates throughout National Novel Writing Month waned a little as I got stuck into the novel.

NaNoWriMoCert2015November brought with it my now traditional late start to the challenge, as mentioned in the last update, and I compounded my risk of failure by taking the weekends off. However, the characters would not be denied, and I now have a shiny new first draft of Bad Habits, the sequel to my Fallen Shepherd Saga.

There is still a lot of rewriting, expanding and polishing to be done, but the characters knew what they were doing – more or less – and the story came together into a shape I’m really happy with.


Remember, remember…

… the month of November
The characters, setting and plot;
When scribes of all ages put novels to pages,
Or (at least) give the challenge a shot.

However, whomever, you write this November,
It all boils down to the text:
Though resolve may diminish, you’ll get to the finish
With one word preceding the next. 

Two days in, and I spent yesterday returning from a fantastic holiday and wedding in beautiful Queenstown (I should probably reverse those, but they’re chronological, not in order of importance). So I’m playing catch-up today, after working through a week’s worth of client enquiries and jobs (all done, clients!) collecting the dog and running errands.

This year, I’m breaking the rules if not the spirit of NaNoWriMo: I’m writing a novel that I’ve already started, the sequel to my Fallen Shepherd Saga. However, I won’t cheat, i.e. the first 6,314 words won’t be going toward my total.

That’s it for now, better get back to the characters, and hope I remember where I left them.