Blog of Oonah V Joslin -- please visit my Parallel Oonahverse at WordPress

where I post stories and poems that have not been seen elsewhere - also recipes and various other stuff.

and see me At the Cumberland Arms 2011

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

And so this is Christmas

May it be as Merry or as Peaceful as you wish it to be!

I have several stories and poems up this month and I will add all the links to date by the end of this week. But let me begin with what Nathan Rosen tells me is my 72nd microhorror and one of his favourites of mine.

If you ask me, Santa brought it on himself by embracing the commercial ethos of the late twentieth century and disregarding his 'elf ;) and you can read the outcome in ELF DAY live at Microhorror now.
Poems at Bewildering Stories

A Final Seal 
Department Store

If Ever - Pantoum for the Present - in Parallel Oonahverse

A little unexpectedly, this very short short in Postcardshorts Public Transport You know the scenario - it a familiar one. So glad to be in this little gem of a writing site for the first time. And Crumpled Note - a scenarion familiar I hope, to no one.

The Linnet's Wings has published a very short piece entitled I'd Love a ... and I'll bet anyone my age at least in the UK and Ireland will be able to fill in the blank :) It was the perfect solution to the the Christmas Eve problem of how to be Santa.

Look below and you'll find an intriguing clue to my BOXING DAY story at Every Day Fiction. My Measuring Stick

Apollo's Lyre has just published Nobody in the Room. and while you're there check out this story by my friend John Ritchie

Monday, 31 October 2011

Three Years and A New Poem Every Day

I am so proud of what we have achieved at EDP
None of would be possible without our dedicated staff and entusiastic poets and readers.
Thank you all

Sunday, 30 October 2011


I have a story published at BwS this week (starting 31st)

and there are reading treats for you over at Parallel Oonahverse.

My decorations are up and my apple tart is baked.

Life is good
maybe it takes a Day of the Dead to remind us of that sometimes.
How does she do it?

Saturday, 22 October 2011

LIVE at The Cumberland Arms

Ten minutes of my poetry, read by me at The Cumberland Arms, Byker, 22nd September 2011.

Thanks to everyone there for making it such a great evening.

TAKE TEN is a regular event on the last Thursday of every month presided over by the Poetry Jack and on this occasion I had the privilege of sharing the stage with:

so while you're at it look and see what they all did!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Final few days in Baltimore

I hate goodbye. I just cry - can't cope at all - so much so I make myself miserable before the event! I have this Grim Reaper mentality a kind of morbidity - ever since I was a child. This was Hamilton on Columbus Day 11th Oct 2010. We had Apple Pie which is very American but I have to confess I prefer Apple Tart which is very British and I will be making that for Hallow'en as I usually do. My mother used to put sixpence in the tart, in greaseproof paper. Whoever got it, kept it.

On the 12th Oct we went to the American Visual Arts Museum Follow the link. It's a fascinating place to visit. We had a crab soup in The Rusty Scupper and watched an incredible Mock Battle played out by wonderful ships in the Inner Harbour.
That night we went for our final meal with Nathan and Jenesta at TALARA.

Of course on the 13th we had until 6pm before we had to go to the airport - time to buy some Old Bay Spices and a few last minute presents take a stroll before that 8 hour flight - home.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Maryland Renaisance Festival 2010

10/10/10 He is the real Robin - I just know it! I would trust him with my life! Any man who looks that good in tights and invites you to Buy Your Passport to Merriement Here - must surely be worth better aquaintantance. Robin I forgot to give you my e-mail - "I grow weak in the presence of beauty" - contact Nathan.

And there was Snot and Puke and giant turkey legs and curly fries, Oktober ale and elephant rides and Drown a Duke and Wet a Wench and many other questionable sports and PIRATES - AH pirates that could wring your very bones with song -  and beers that would quench your tears.

If you have a chance to go to the Ren Fest - go! It's the most fun you can have with a toy moose down your boobs! - On me dit...

Nathan, Jenesta - Thank you. That was not the end of the day and thankfully not the last moot - but it was a hoot!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Baltimore and beyond

9th Oct 2010 - Flag House Museum. This is a marvellous place to visit. The story of Mary Pickersgill is completely compelling. She was the lady who designed the Star Spangled Banner - the very flag that flew over Fort McHenry and inspired the anthem. With a group of seamstresses, she hand stitched the flag from English Bunting so fine you can almost see through it. Scraps of the original; flag are still to be seen.
That flag by the way was some 36 feet high! Two stripes of it were the height of a man. Each star was double sided. To give you some idea of the feat - the depiction on the side of the building is the size of the original flag.

It took 20 men to hoist it up the pole at Fort McHenry.
But more than that the woman herself is an inspiration. She was a strong and innovative woman who made her own way in life. She was commissioned to make the flag because she made naval pennants.

and you can see her house, as it was, wonderful original objects - look out for the toaster! :)

We met a few lovely ladies there too who were working there that day. One of them posessed a Bible with the faded word 'Neagh' written in it. She said her family was Irish. I was then able to tell her that they came from Co. Antrim - probably the shores of Lough Neagh near the town of Antrim. I do hope she was able to follow that through.

If you go to Baltimore do not miss this great attraction. Then go to Little Italy (just across the road) for a bite to eat or a cake at VACCARIOS - another thing not to be missed! 

Scariest of all Nathan Rosen

On October the 8th we were rudely awakened at 9am by a fire alarm and had to trek all the way down those steps again - this time in my kaftan and nothing else. I always pack a kaftan :) We were so far beyond tired at this point that my diary is - sparce. But as day deepened into night we found ourselves in the company of Jenesta and Nathan once again - and a lot of other spooky folks who were gathered for a Ghost Tour (pub crawl) in Fells Point. And at this point having expressed it all so well (and in partial verse - I hope you're suitably impressed!) last time, I will refer you to that item in my parallel blog.

The 7th was the day we went to D.C. with Jen Stakes and we viewed the Constitution at the Rotunda, had lunch in the gardens, walked along the Mall and visited the Library of Congress which impressed me greatly.

Mosaic in the Library of Congress, D.C.
 It was great to spend the day with Jen who was a most attentive guide and poetic wif it :)

6th October 2010 This was the day we went to Westminster Hall to visit the grave of Edgar Allen Poe and it was totally amazing - connections with Co. Antrim all over the place. It turned out even McHenry (as in Fort McHenry) was from Co Antrim as am I. Anyway, centre above with the little Raven carving is where he rests, I hope in perfect peace.
(I pay tribute to his work in tomorrow's Editor's View in Every Day Poets.)

5th October 2010 The Mutter Medical Museum - one of the most interesting and saddest places I’ve ever visited

Nathan Thank you for the day X

On the 4th October 2010 we met Jennifer Stakes who took us to the best bookshop in Baltimore - he also sold amber jewelry - cheap :)
                                                                                                 Jen in Book Escape.

and we took her to the best cake shop Vaccarios in Little Italy.

If you are in Baltimore off season the water taxi service is slower. On Sundays it's slower still but there are the Charm City Circualtors - free buses - safe to ride and the drivers are helpful. We discovered they are fewer on a Sunday too - much as you'd expect. However if you are based near the Inner Harbour as we were there are always plenty of things to do within easy walking distance and so on the 3rd we ended up exploring USS Coast Guard TANEY - the last Pearl Harbour ship. I really enjoyed all the history and the oily smell and the video. I didn't enjoy getting up and down that superstructure in a skirt - so if you go there two things:
1. Wear trousers
2. Look here

There are 4 flights like that - two up and two back down.

2nd October 2010 and The Science Centre in Baltimore certainly took us BEYOND. The 3D film - astronauts suiting up, Hubble repairs, nebulae and distant galaxies... We just sat there - silent - awestruck at the end. I want to go again.

I have to say that the winds inside the Hurricane Chamber that Nathan so gleefully put me in, went up to 70mph and I have experienced worse than in nature - but it was a buffetting and tame compared to the recent blasts that hit Baltimore causing structural damage and bringing down many trees (including one just outside Nathan's house, which thankfully only took down the lines and not the roof!).
Anyway - not to reinvent the wheel, you can see photos from the Science Centre here and I thoroughly reccommend you go there and see that inspiring movie for yourself.

Monday, 26 September 2011

A Bit More Baltimore - Nostalgia

Blatant one word advert VACCARIO'S

1st October 2010 The Piratz Tavern.

This place has mixed reviews and I can see how it could vary according to what's going on there but we were there to hear Pirates for Sail.
Fred & Jen and Congratulations on the expected addition to your family X

The band was great, the ambience was great and the food was great. The Steak on a stone was incredible and I loved the decor. We met Jennifer and Fred that night too which was a real joy to me, as I'd known Jennifer on-line for about two years.
It was a pity Jenesta wasn't well and couldn't be there with us.
Flood level
  Normally we'd wait inside Pratt St Shopping Centre in air conditioned bliss unti the water taxi showed up but on the 30th Sept 2010 a tornado tracked up the east coast and we awoke to horizontal rain. I went for a swim and we waited until 3pm before we ventured out and even then it was difficult to walk. Harbour One was under police cordon and the water covered all the way down from where I have indicated with the arrow. Branches had blown off trees outside The Galleries shaopping centre by the time we came out of there and we sidled into PF Chang's for some early dinner that evening to allow the wind to die down then went for a drink in the irish bar just across from the hotel. They do a 16 year old Bushmills Malt - very nice. That was a day with a difference - and it was still HOT

29th today. Well we went to Canton on this day last year.

We just wandered a bit had lunch in Nacho Mama's and came back. By this time we were getting tired as we'd been on the go ever since we stepped off the plane and it was so very HOT. But we a had a relaxing day and the weather on the 30th made sure we got a good rest too! Because........?
28th September 2010 Had a swim in the hotel pool. Wandered over to Barnes and Nobel and met Zeke the zombie who insisted on immediate adoption and later starred in the MicroHorror video. We explored The Constellation, met Jenesta and Nathan for dinner at TALARA where we ate outside and I think everything on the menu - the bread pudding is to die for! Then back in the hotel we did the film in one take! And you can still see us on YouTube What a great day!

This poem was published in Modicum Issue Two

This year's microhorror competition should be coming up soom btw and I hope you'll all join in.

On 27th we set out by Water Taxi to visit Fort McHenry and take in the story of the Star Spangled Banner itself and the events that led to those words being penned.
It being out of season it was quiet at the fort and a lot of the summer activity available to visitors, re-enactments and such were not on but this man gave us a full on performance of the life of a sailor in the early 19th Century despite the fact that we were his only client and he was outstanding. And here is Noel standing near the place where that flag still flew in the dawn's early light.

Every day this week at least one photo from a year ago. On the 26th Sept 2110 we went to The National Aquarium with Jenesta and Nathan. We spent from 10:30 a.m. 'til 5 p.m. explororing the world's oceans and I have about a hundred photos. Ever wanted to see a shark's this close up?  Or how about this friendly fellow?
No? Well there's always the Dolphin Show:

the 4D film show - yes I said 4D and the Australia House with breathtaking views and flying foxes and lots of colourful birds. A great place to spend a day. And afterwards Nathan took us to their favourite Mexican Restaurant, Mari Luna. Good food - good company!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Baltimore Nostalgia

For the next three weeks I am going to take you on a little nostalgia trip to Baltimore MD and if you've never been there, I strongly suggest you visit. Forget NY, forget DC, forget San Francisco and Miami - Baltimore is the place to be :)

This time last year we were in Baltimore. We arrived there on Setpember 22nd straight from 16 to 33 degrees - it was HOT. Luckily we'd booked into a really good hotel and could turn the air-con down to the comfortable 62 degrees we wanted and put the fan on to augment the effect.
Hilton Homewood Suites S. President St. Baltimore. You are COOL.

On September 23rd I had the privilege of meeting one of the poets whose work I have published and she is such a lovely person. She took us to Tea Volve where they sell all manner of teas and tasty food.
Jody Costa - lots of love x

Of course we did other things that day too like taking the Water Taxi to Fells Point and having a cheese steak in a local hostelry - not the last cheese steak nor the last hostelry! In fact we've barely scratched the surface of Fells Point and will have to go back and do it properly.                                     
by Oonah
Platform boats.
The Inner Harbour
peppered with eateries
salted with people
seasoned as its age-old modern self.
It smells like diesel doughnuts
Old Bay and history.

On the 24th we headed over to Lexington Market but it was so hot a day we didn't linger long. We got the Charm City Circulator free bus outside the Dental Museum and headed back to explore nearer the hotel. We discovered TALARA! HUGE MISTAKE! MAJOR TEMPTATION! But in the evening there came the moment I was looking forward to - the reason for my trip to Baltimore - NATHAN ROSEN of MicroHorror. And just as the hour struck - there was a fire alarm and all the lifts went dead so we had to walk down the 24 flights from floor 11.
I just grabbed him! I terrified the poor man! But we all went out for Crab Cakes and - well - love you two very much!
Nathan                                                                                                         Jenesta

Just round the corner from the hotel - Wharf 7 Taxi Point

 25th Sept and we headed over via Water Taxi to the Tourist Center on Pratt Street to take a guided bus tour which proved so informative that we used the information we gleaned from the tour guide Bob, to inform the rest of our visits during our stay. We had three weeks in Baltimore. There's so much to see and do there that three weeks wasn't enough time to pack in all the wonderful  sights but that bus tour gave us an idea of the city's many attractions and it was great just for orientation. We found restaurants that way. We found out walking routes close to the hotel, the Flag Museaum, Fort McHenry, Baltimore screens that we'd never have seen were it not for that tour. I recommend it.
That's Bob at the front

View from Water Taxi looking towards Pratt Street, Inner Harbour 1

You can see our hotel here to the right of that grey stantion, the high rise pink brick building in the background. An easy walk away from the Pick-up point.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

I stood up at the Mega Poetry Slam in Durham

It was on Thursday 1st in benefit of a Mental Health Centre in Waddington St and 30 poets were there to take part so it was MEGA. I came second in my group of 5 and that is no mean feat for someone who has made so few public spectacles of herself.
Thank you to Amanda Baker for cheering me on and for taking this photo.

Amanda has a CHARITY event of her own coming up on
October 4th
8:30 - 9:45
Morpeth Rugby Club

for Pearl of Africa Child Care Ltd. Charity No 1122809

SNAIL LOVE  be there if you can.
Amanda is a wondeful entertainer and Edinburgh Fringe Poet and FUNNY with it :)

Monday, 15 August 2011

Holy Island July and August

The best thing to do is make like sheep - wander about a bit and graze at leisure, find the odd watering hole and stop a while, wander and graze again. I don't think enough people do that. We're all so busy rushing around with scowls on our faces. Even the Island doesn't elicit a smile from some, so busy are they making themselves unhappy - want want want! I even heard some people talking about shopping in the supermarket. W?H?Y? Have we really become so souless? And my wee camera clicked away and took a few visual memories, yes but there were folk with tripods and zoom lenses stacked like dinner plates.

We went back to retrieve the coat that had been left hanging in the wardrobe the first time :) Not that any excuse was needed. It had been too long and visits were well overdue and it was lovely to get reacquainted with our friend and with the island. I'll be back soon.
The Farne Islands as seen from Lindisfarne and Bamburgh Castle on the Northumerland Coast, right.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Armchair Observations - about the poems

The first of these Armchair Observations came on the 5th Dec 2010 with one of the most astounding NASA photos of the day. How can the moon shine through a mountain? It turned out to be to do with and anticrepuscular (ah a new word :) ) shadow. The sunset had projected a shadow of the mountain onto the twilight sky and the moon was rising through that shadow. It is a stunning aspect and immediately brought to my mind the masonry image of the all seeing eye, the pyramids, and how I as the observor seemed almost to play the role of the Sun. When you see something as spectacular as that it is bound to be insipring. The colours and the eerie sight washed over me and so my first reaction was 'O' and with that exclamation came a week of inspriation and to be honest determination to write a poem a day to suit whatever NASA threw at me.

Could I pull it off? Well the 6th December proved no less interesting. The circled shapes of the universe became thematic and this time we had alien life as well - arsenic loving bacteria, DNA that was totally different from ours, living in this volcanic soup bowl like little white beans in blue minestrone. And there I was again looking down from a height, transported from my office chair to another place with other life and yet so far I hadn't left the planet Earth. And I thought WOW this is amazing, what if the human race failed to survive? Would these bacteria begin an evolution of their own? And I began to write.

When it came to the 7th I was well and truly hooked and I could think of nothing more minimalist for a Black Hole than haiku - the perfect combination. So vast/so small and so ver COMPACT :)

And the next day the Rover Opportunity explores the Intrepid Crater on Mars. It could be the opportunity for a poem about sand without picnics, I thought... Mars is so far. I've written about a bottle of water on Mars in "Clear Sailing" also on BwS. It seems so distant and rusty compared to our silvery moon. I wonder will we ever walk there too?

 11.8 million light-years away in the northern constellation Ursa Major lay the inspiration for the next poem. Ursa Major is of course the Great Bear and so Arp's loop in my mind became a swirling soup and so another poem was born and I think it turned out 'just right' ;)

On the 10th December it was the colours mostly that inspired the poem and the net of tree twigs over the moon. I thought of lace and veils and weddings then and from the NASA decription came the line,
"The thin rim of a day-old moon occulting Mars"
occulting - such a wonderfully adjectival verb!

The poem for the 11th Dec was about a spear of green light that streaked across the sky during the annual Leonid's shower. It was like one of those Spcae Oddessy moments. You think how could early man have failed to be inspired by such sights as this? How can we fail to be inspired every time we look up and realise we are travelling through the universe on this small shpere we call home? That sudden flash of light inspired me.
But Oh

that impertinent pointer
streaks the sky


look up, look up,
look at me

Lift your mind out of the dust of Earth
lift your mind out of the dust of
man and see
Oh see what dust can do
what dust can be.

When I saw the Torre de la Guaita with the leonid trails whizzing round it just reminded me of my 'coolest' ever pressy - and LED lights fan that whizzes coloured ever changing patterns round when switched on and so I wrote this last one

I have to admit I was surprised and delighted that this series turned out as well as it did from a spur of the moment exercise and it just goes to show that it pays to write - just write... and see what transpires

Monday, 7 March 2011

Armchair Observatory

An entire series of poems, Armchair Observations, I call them, inspired by a week of NASA pictures of the day is beginning now at Bewildering Stories. I really did write a poem a day for a week beginning Dec 5th 2010, no matter what the picture of the day was, I wrote about it and now the first of these are up at BwS. The others will be published one a week for the next 6 weeks, each poem with a link to its picture of origin so you can see my muse. But whilst the pictures came from way out there, in space, the allusions, themes and language came from within. I hope you will follow the series.

I just love that it coincided with the 700th edition of The Sky at Night. For me, as for so many others, including Brian May and Dr. Brian Cox; whose Wonders of the Universe, (BBC2 Sundays at 9) I am also watching avidly; Patrick Moore introduced me to a lifelong fascination for all things related to the exploration of space.  So in a way I suppose he inspired these poems too.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Westminster Hall Baltimore

This is where Edgar Allan Poe is interred and where his memorial stands


and it is not far from the hospital where he died. I wish I could have gone inside but it was closed for rennovation. The light inside looks wonderful; and the space itself. I pressed my lens to the glass doors and snapped anyway.
The camera lens did not capture the shafts of light spilling into the space and it's a rather narrow angle on this impressive interior but you get some idea. I wanted to be inside testing the accoustics with a rousing chorus but it was not to be. Next time :)

Friday, 28 January 2011

Proud to be an Editor at EDP

The Best of Every Day Poets Volume 1

Buy it HERE
beautifully presented - 100 contemporary poems - something for everyone - a great gift idea