Tuesday Poem – Attack of the Smiley Emoticons, by PS Cottier

Attack of the smiley emoticons



You try smiling like a sunny peach at the end

of their inanities, in compulsory cuteness. 

You try making their

                                                          Nullaboring flat prose


all bouncy and comely year after vacant year,

bright wattle flowers sentenced to toil.

We’ve grinned and pouted and sickened,

yellow with the jaundice of erasing mediocrity,

our insides rotting through foul overuse.

This was the entry that did it for me:


He’s REALLY cute and we’re going OUT!!!


                                                 and then

her hands went to plant me like a bulb,

blooming her no-news into freshness.

I leapt from the screen, quiet U of mouth

transfOrmed into gaping ORIFICE

with shark Vs of teeth, and grabbed her digits.

Friends from other pages joined me, swarmed,

those from GRANDMAS’ JOLLY PAGES with

fat little crap-factories, and emoticons lowered

to pimping pages for owners’ bright DOGS

who answer phones, or wear funny hats.

She screamed as we chomped her fingers,

citrine faces chewing, avid rings of hate

moving up, up, over skin and knuckles,

munching bones and frail U’s of nail.

Soon we were little pinatas of blood and os,

stuffed; and still, like squirrels, we stored her away.

She screamed; we tasted tongue; she swooned.

And on we picnic, and our crimson smiles are wide.

a little worse for wear

P.S. Cottier moved to Canberra about twenty years ago and ekes out a life eating potatoes and writing poetry.  Occasionally she even stoops to prose.  Her last book was one third of Triptych Poets Issue Three, published by Blemish Books:  http://www.blemishbooks.com.au/books/9780980755671.shtml .  Her poetry has been described as humorous and intelligent, and sometimes even as quite good.  She is currently editing The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry with Tim Jones of New Zealand, and recently read 1500 Australian ghost poems, give or take a spectre.
I was very pleased to meet Australian poet P S Cottier when we read together recently at a speculative poetry panel at Au Contraire, along with Tim Jones and Harvey Molloy.  Attack of the Smiley Emoticons was one poem I particularly enjoyed – a nice mix of humour and horror.  There are some distinctively Australian notes (with the wattles and the Nullabor) but I think we can all relate to smiley-faces gone bad!


  1. Gives me a whole new perspective on smilies, sort of vampire/Dracula-like. Thanks Janis and Penelope (I think).

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