NaPoWriMo 4.23: My Hitman

A quick and very-first-draft one today (which may remain so) – written in response to a prompt in Helena Nelson’s book How (not) To Get Your Poetry Published.

I won’t share what the (clever) prompt is, because you’ll have to buy the book too 😉

My Hitman

We meet somewhere outside, somewhere not-an-office and drink
fancy coffees. She (for they are unlikely to be ‘male’) will ask
difficult questions, smilingly – a disagreeable helper –
challenging my choices, to move the work on.

We will talk not only about the words, but also the style,
the paper, the print, it will be a complete
aesthetic consideration. There will be laughter, some
of it lewd, but the focus will always return.

She will be older than me, perhaps five to ten years,
able to say difficult things in a way I trust.
I will seek her advice, largely accept it,
until I find confidence in my own.

NaPoWriMo 4.21: Entrance Only

We were at a funeral yesterday and I wrote something about waiting to go to such a ceremony at a crematorium – and also touching on them as spaces (hence the title above).

There’s certainly something there I’d like to develop: funerals are of course an intense, shared, human experience – but there’s also the curious nature of the edge-of-town hinterland quality of crematoria.

It’s a peculiarly Victorian industrial process, even though this one was very well designed (much less of a sense of being ‘processed’ than some).

So again NaPoWriMo-wise: There Are Currently No Animals in This Enclosure. They’re off elsewhere, being preened and fed up, to be released into the Wilds of journals, magazines and competitions.


I’ll continue sharing elements of the process of writing – just to affirm that I am writing every day and this year (perhaps more than any other) finding that discipline immensely rich.

NaPoWriMo 4.20: An Omission in the City

It appears I’m writing more that I might submit elsewhere this year – which makes for a less interesting blog, but a more hopeful prospect of publication…

I wrote something on Tuesday about a ‘gap’ near me, which I pass every day: it’s a square of brick, with a couple of small trees in, which has – for the year we’ve lived here – also had a ragged chair in one corner, and an unplugged TV in the other.

It’s a very strange image (not unlike an art installation), and one which I think many people will walk past without noticing – but that’s the joy of being a poet/writer: noticing is part of your job…

So I’ve written something about it – which contains the phrase ‘an omission in the city’, which feels somehow significant.

That’s all!

NaPoWriMo 4.16: Nut Milk


If you’d like an actual, not silly, article about this subject, go here.

Inspired by a rum-punch hangover conversation:


Mid-shot carton on green screen, labelled NUT MILK.

Narrator: Nut Milk. A common everyday product
for many vegans. But just how
is it made and is it humane?

Cut to wide shot, pastures, slow
zoom, accelerating into individual
blades of grass.

Narrator: Here on the Great Pastures
Of Al-mond, the nuts
are farmed.

General Views of nuts

Narrator: They are tended
the much smaller
peanuts, specially trained
to herd and milk them.

Cut to outside
macro shot

Narrator: The Dairy…

SFX: Ominous music.

Cutaway of carton pouring
into cereal. Slow zoom
onto flow of white, turn-
ing slowly red.

Narrator: But it’s what happens next
that causes
the controversy…

NaPoWriMo 4.15: The Turnspit


It’s very late and I have to work tomorrow, so this is a piece of Uncreative Writing, by turning this article content into a not-yet-very-good pantoum…

(The thing I liked the most about this rather hasty process was learning the word ‘lumpenproletariat’…)

The Turnspit

The downtrodden, lumpenproletariat, turnspit:
Small, low bodied, short crooked front legs
Darwin said, Look at that. That’s an example
Because they were useful as foot warmers.

Small, low bodied, short crooked front legs
They move faster if you throw in a coal
Because they were useful as foot warmers
They were allowed to come to church.

They move faster if you throw in a coal
Not too close to the fire or they faint
They were allowed to come to church
Kitchen Dog, Cooking Dog, Vernepator Cur.

The transition from small boys to dogs
Darwin said, Look at that. That’s an example
Cheap, mechanical spit turning machines
The downtrodden, lumpenproletariat, turnspit.

NaPoWriMo 4.12: Ways of Looking


Yes, it’s very much like this one.

In haste, this morning…

Yesterday, I ran a group with some young people in which we looked at Wallace Stevens’ ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’.

Then we explored looking at something in five ways (no time for thirteen in the session!)…and this is what I wrote:

Five Ways of Looking at the Coffee Grinder

Caffeine sentinel
In the corner, the coffee grinder
Keeps watch, all night.

He buys us very thoughtful
Gifts, like this: a coffee grinder
Which gets used less and less.

Once hand-cranked, now the coffee grinder
Takes its power from the mains.

In the aisle of Tesco, I puzzle
Over the Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade logo;
Which will channel the least
Evil through the coffee grinder.

A man and a man
Are one.
A man and a man and a coffee grinder
Are a family.