NaPoWriMo 2.27: Opportunity

“The shelves around his office are full of shiny awards, shrivelled words. “


Number twenty-seven and off-prompt. Something inspired by a news story from today and what must still be a commonplace practice in ‘Showbiz’ and too many other career paths, I daresay.

I used a random picture generator to find me something inspiring and found some empty shelves. And that’s where this came from…




The shelves around his office

are full of shiny awards,

shrivelled words. So much so,

they flex, bow. Not with the weight

of the hollow gold men, or the jagged

cut-glass shapes from this Academy

or that Authority. But with phrases

like, Well guess who I know…

or Sure, I’ll make the intro,



These shelves, where he stored

up lines on the wall. Clawed

his way up brutal ladders. Line

after line. Practiced until polished.

Polished until perfect as his Brasso

teeth. Line after line. Polished until shin-

ing. Again. Again. Again.


Polished, until you can almost see

projecting back from each of them

some other seized opportunity’s

Rimmel- streaked eyes.

NaPoWriMo 2.9: A Short Shukhov Tower Constructivist Playlist Poem

The Shukhov Tower in Moscow



skinny and constant

heaven lies

like a Hello? Hello?

If only. Don’t stop. No.


A little poem about the Shukhov (broadcasting) Tower (the future of which there is currently discussion over), written using a constructivist poetry approach which you can find here – and constructed with only the words from five song titles, via randomising my Most Played tracks. These were:

Skinny Bones (by The Ditty Bops)

Hello Heaven Hello (by James Yuill)

No Lie (James Yuill again)

Don’t Stop (by Owen Pallett)

Constants (James Yuill, who’s done well out of this exercise)


Addendum: There is a Russian revolutionary movement of ‘constructivism’, the manifesto for which you can read here.

There is, however, also an educational idea of constructivism – which I think my poem was based on more – which you can read about here.

My initial idea was to write something in the Russian Constructivist approach, but it seemed like that would have involved a great deal of graphic design…Maybe another time I’ll create a found latticework Constructivist poem from excerpts out of the Manifesto, about the tower. But that time is not tonight 😉

NaPoWriMo 2.4: A Lune


Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a lune – a kind of English language haiku which goes, line by line: three words / five words / three words.

I enjoy the focus of a short verse form – the spaciousness of it. Just as when you cut a poem down, sometimes it gets bigger.

So I fitted an overheard quote I heard a couple of days ago the form, with a cheeky denotative title (with more words than the poem)…


1530 BST: Two School Mothers Conclude Their Retrieval and Investigations in Foggy Conditions


“That plane,” one

laughs. “It’s hiding.” The other:

“Hide and seek.”



NaPoWriMo 17: Google Search Suggestions on the Day of Thatcher’s Funeral

Indeed she is not. At least we all have death in common though, eh?

Off-prompt today, but will be writing a Blessing (after Jo Bell’s prompt) and a Welcome Poem (from NaPoWriMo’s prompt) for a thing I’m doing at Hyde Park Picture House next Sunday. Neither seemed quite right today…

For there was a little funeral, as you may have noticed or heard about (I did not want to bless Thatcher’s life or passing, nor welcome the funeral, really – I’m saving those for something else).

So I asked Google to write me a poem about it – taking the list of phrases it suggested after the beginnings of statements I put in, then giving it a title (well, two – like I always do). A kind of found techno-list poem. And the following is what Google wrote (with little or no editing – go do it yourself and check!)…

It’s no secret I’m not a fan of the late-Iron Lady’s politics, but I really didn’t edit this very much – but did ‘curate’ it – so of course I wouldn’t have gone for things that sounded too celebratory. There is little that is ‘neutral’. But I guess the title and search phrases (a bit e e cummings?) were just an experiment in seeing what kind of liturgy the internet would turn up.

Actually, I was pleased it ended on our commonality in death. As a Buddhist teacher friend of mine says about, well, many things: “She who has the most __________ [insert anything here], still dies.”



Google Search Suggestions on the Day of Thatcher’s Funeral

or, How Much / She Brought / What Were / Now / Tomorrow


How much

How much does a funeral cost

How much is my car worth

How much is child benefit


She brought

She brought me food

She brought the house down

She bought it


What were

What were the crusades

What were the jim crow laws

What were the nuremberg laws

What were the symptoms of the black death

What were they like



Now we

Now we are free

Now we know

Now we comply



Tomorrow we

Tomorrow we sail

Tomorrow we ride

Tomorrow we work

Tomorrow we die

Vermin On The Rise

A couple of stories recently linked very directly to my Vermin Cycle of poems.

The first is the great news that the EU has now banned all new cosmetics with ingredients tested on animals – to me, this seems entirely reasonable. There is a big difference between clinical trails for, say, a cancer treatment and, say, a new waterproof eye-liner. If it came to a decision between a rat and a family member dying, I would choose the family member – but the decision between a rat and some runny make up…? I don’t think it can be argued that is totally necessary.

My Vermin poem ‘An Exact Science’ is in the voice of a rat, one being tested on, and explores the idea of vanity.

The other story was one about the mighty bed bug. Scientists researching these resilient little creatures have discovered various genes which make them resistant to pesticides, and generally seriously tough little bugs.

My favourite Vermin poem, ‘Let Us Bite’, gave voice to the New York bed bug and certainly – I hope – presented it as tough.

You can read these and the other Vermin Cycle poems here.

Vermin On The Ascent!