Itinerary poems of 1833, XVII, Isle of Man. William Wordsworth
Friday, 14 December 2007
Tuesday, 4 December 2007
Tuesday, 27 November 2007
The phrases are all short enough and generic enough to be uncopyrightable - except, maybe, the one in this exercise; though you can use it to start a piece and then cut it off the front when you publish what you wrote - and your next few exercises are based on phrases from the card.
Exercise 3 is to write a piece with the title or first line as follows:
Friday, 16 November 2007
Monday, 12 November 2007
the time I would guess I knew it as well as Mailer did, though differently. After 1990 I left it alone so that it would seem fresh when I read it again, and I might not like it now - the Battle of Kadesh seemed less good as an extract in The Time of Our Time, though that may be because it was out of context - in most good writing the words all rely on each other, woven tightly together, and separately they lose impact and emphasis.
Friday, 2 November 2007
The traffic-light-bright yellow of the wooden seat dazzles the eye,
A big bottom torn from a clown's dress.
Four pins of wood underneath, like taken from a bowling lane - the legs.
They are novices to their new task.
Three legs are willingly holding and supporting the seat,
One is rickety, breaking out of the circle, secretly betraying his friends.
A subversive element he is.
He never liked to line up in formation, always wanted to be different.
He is still hesitating.
But one day, not now, one day, he will be a dissident.
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
A police siren chases an ambulance car.
A CCTV camera watches the scene.
People queue up in front of a cash machine.
A beggar calls them names.
The traffic light changes to green.
A taxi turns on the empty road.
A cleaning vehicle collects beer cans and bags of crisps.
And leaflets, wet from the rain.
The 24h Spar across the road has a delivery.
Trays hold bread in plastic bags.
Carton boxes contain bottles with fizzy drinks.
The driver wears a hat.
I go to bed now,
Still time for a wank.
Monday, 29 October 2007
Now I sit in a house made of ice and snow, on a thick layer of sheepskin, in a warm pyjama and drink a cup of tea. The candles on the small wooden table flicker and make our shadows dance on the shiny walls.
It is absolutely quiet and peaceful in the snowhouse. The skin in the entrance hangs still now, doesn't move at all. Only a few hours ago it was thrown in to the room when a strong storm swiped across the peninsula. We had to bring the dogs in to one of the snowhouses. It was already dark outside and there was no moonlight, which could have made our task easier. ...
Thursday, 18 October 2007
When we got there the sun came out, so
and keep writing - loosely and enjoyably and following any changes of subject, and only coming back to your first idea as much or as little as you feel you want to. You can start and see what happens.
Hard and fast
Jolting me out of sleep
To the painful realization
Of being alone,
With the hours
In to the grey emptiness of knowing
That dawn will bring no relief,
Will only gather the clouds of despair
Maybe the moon tomorrow,
Or the day after,
Or the day after that
Will gently tease me free,
Maybe the little red pills
That firm my grip on life
Will need to be shaken
From their hiding place
and follow on from that and keep writing for 10 minutes - or 5 minutes if you want - writing what comes out and letting it happen and enjoying it.
You can leave it and read it later and make it better if you want. It may be beautiful or horrible or anything between; I write pages like this and then only ever use one line from them - though I wrote the bad pages to get to the line I like. Other times you find you've written a piece that works with no or few changes - like rolling the perfect pizza base .... (I would imagine).
You can write something if you want to, and what you've written you can keep a secret or show to some one or to every one, and you can send it as a Comment to this page. I manage comments before they appear, so you can even send me what you wrote as a comment and ask me not to let anyone else see it.
I would like to read anything you write from this exercise - Espresso Shots is not muffins a monologue, it's like coffee and a conversation.
The first line of this exercise is similar to the first line of one of the books in the Have You Read ...? box on the left: have you read it, and do you recognize it?
Thursday, 11 October 2007
Her eyes full of sleep and health from recently left lust
The smell of sex does not linger in the air, but it should.
My lover looks seriously in to my eyes, hers dart
Feverishly they try to stay upon mine.
A half hearted introduction discloses only that she knows no name
And the warmth of soft scents ... morning sun kissed cheeks
Leaves my senses be, and I grow cold.
She'd laid it on the line from our start -
"Sleeping with a girl is only a lustful action,
Like watching pornography, it is not love,
For I only have love for you."
It seemed like fun then ....
Friday, 5 October 2007
You were still asleep when I pressed the cushion on to your face. I tried not to wake you. You moved your head slightly in your sleep when you felt the cushion cover and I pushed my two hands down with all my strength from my shoulders down through both my wrists and held my breath praying.
Thursday, 4 October 2007
Steve Waling wrote a poem, and a few days after he showed it to me I wrote some prose with the same first line. Steve's poem is in his new book Travelator and I appreciate his permission to include it here.
In The Times Ian MacMillan listed Travelator first in his "Five to Cherish" and wrote:
Waling was once poet-in-residence at a chip shop and his poetry has a salty quality that makes you want more. [Steve's publisher] Salt churns out quality books like there's no tomorrow.
Thank you again to Steve for the poem, and to Steve and Ian MacMillan for this opportunity to use square brackets.
as light came in through the curtains.
The first bus crawled up the hill. I made this
from a dream of my childhood.
This is the house on the corner. Bought
by an absentee landlord, kept empty
for when the price goes up.
Not in this town. The garage next door
was arsoned. Mum lives up the hill now,
I don't like going back. Nostalgia's
a type of arthritis for the poor
who live in the present. The future's
a new block of flats in Manchester at
a hundred grand a room. C-cold. Blinds
at the window and the traffic at the roundabout
never stops. You were still asleep and I
had the horn for you.
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
Behind her in the yard her mother was taking the wash in off of the line. A warm breeze blowing in starts and stops blowing the thin smoke flat from the chimney of the sod and timber dugout.
There was the swishing of the breeze and the smell of dry sage brush, and the little girl could taste the milk she had drunk and feel the grass warm and scratchy under her feet, and she looked in the grass for bunnies among red and blue and purple flowers.
Above a hollow was a feather. The breeze twiddled it. The little girl noticed it.
An Indian stood up. The little girl stopped still.
The Indian looked past her, blank. Lifted his bow. Pulled the string back to his chest. He was bare chested - in buckskin leggings with fringes.
The little girl turned ran - toward the homestead - near too far away. Her mother standing in the yard. Pulling the dried clothes down, still in the past moment.
The girl running weak legged on the warm scratchy grass with everything slowing down.
Wednesday, 29 August 2007
All around is the sky with the scratchy branches of the bare January trees.
Wednesday, 8 August 2007
Fast David Letterman-style walking - council houses white with gardens parked car in front yard muddy rubber mud guards smell of ox tail soup from kitchen for lunch seeing through living rooms to back windows and gardens - lemon-coloured leaves piled up against the grass by the wind - newsagent pizza hairdresser solicitors - maisonettes small and narrow and very new and brutally close along side each other - funeral home and a thought of bodies made to look OK but rotting inside faces slumped flabby discoloured head turned slightly against quilted smooth coffin lining mouth funny - groceries blessed Caribbean meat a man on the pavement walking from a large van with a blood-lined carcass on his shoulder a 1/2 carcass hollow curved inside of rib cage - the brewery and giant metal Ms one of them with a billboard on to fund it big Ms to Mpress the Olympic committee and any one with a festival and the smell from the brewery the same as home-brewed beer in the airing cupboard when I was a child hiding. Right turn and left and parked cars along the road and further up a garage cars along the road side near it and in the yard - every where quiet now these streets mostly empty - vistas of factory yards you could photograph - now behind the polytechnic and made it pretty much. No such thing as safety.
Friday, 3 August 2007
Early morning driving delivering all night driving the truck home now in jeans and a jeans jacket buttoned to the neck a norther blowing dust in the cold white-skied horizontal sun light - tense and tight from shivering - slow and sluggish sense of the dusty-fronted stores and offices and cafes and the pool room, working the stick shift and steering automatically and seeing every thing sluggishly from the distance of this side of all the sleep you need and the empty street and store fronts turning around the cab of the truck around you as you go right and in to the filling station - eggs and ham and grits and coffee next and school after - pushed to a distance and not really part of the main business of the day from being awake and up working for that long before hand.