The Living World Workshop Part Two

The following are poems that I wrote during yesterday’s workshop. They need further editing/line breaks/punctuation but that will happen.Full workshop will be available on the Stirred Blog soon.


12th September 2016

I take up the knitting I put down months ago and am surprised my hands remember the action unfaltering  my eyes return to the film without looking at them the simple way I spool out the black yarn like a good writing day when I wake and can find the words in bed without my stopping them it will be a headband the hair shorn by myself needs it always a late decision to take up the scissors in the bathroom in the moon mirror I can’t see the moon from there the door is open as I live there is only a street lamp visible in the window I am taking up knitting, a small project to be finished quickly a sense of accomplishment as it gives my hands something to do other than chew them worried at by my lack of employment and deadlines If I had forgotten how to hold the yarn create the tension it could be unpicked mistakes can be undone by my own hands unlike outside and regrets like poetry it can be picked up at any time I think of the roads outside their potholes that are never fixed and the drivers who are all haste and no mind when I am on my bike this city is anxious making the road is often all I can focus on shards of glass and laughing gas canisters are puncture fears I get agitated by the selfishness of those drunk on the obvious and summer who fling these items on tarmac and forget what heavier vehicles and sunlight will do I want to ride on smooth roads and look up at the changing tree canopies like spooling wool into scarves like writing on a good day.




















August a Month Riven

I spent half of August travelling to an office in Bramhall

to talk to strangers on the telephone about things I know nothing of

nearly an hour to kill before my shift I riffled charity shops, new shoes

in the box donated by a richer woman smart/casual that rubbed raw my heels

hefting my bike on the short journey to have it there at both ends get home fast

the small sainsburys where I parked it, the kind where people buy meals deals

on their break had half price cherry brandy I drank alone with coke grey-bored

the rest in Norfolk I camped by the sea the wind on land was intolerable it blew

clouds fast across on the often empty beach we carried a bucket with cava and

chambord there was smoke and plastic flutes of bubbles were raised in toast

to unbothered seals and the ever changing sky scape the dog-walking waterproof

from my step-father was whipped on and off left a bottle opener and sand in the pocket


















Girl Takes Photographs


the weather changes in minutes

sun largely persists


I am wearing a long dress

I will only wear it here


in my city life

it would catch in the gears


of my bike it’s digital

snake print scrambled by oil


I load a camera older than I am

with film clumsy


mum remembered it when I packed

but not the shutter saw


if it was Dad or her who clicked

more than thirty years ago


when I make the film spool

back on itself


my friends are spooled back

by the analogue sound of it


I don’t know when I will develop it

or where anymore


I had a thought while looking at

the endless sky through the viewfinder


I took these only to

anchor myself in the memory


not to see the prints

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Sculpted Poem Flim Nite Titanic

You can find out more about Flim Nite here

It is a monthly cabaret where performers of all stripes retell a film.

Last month was Titanic I did my usual routine of using a review or interview and deleting words in order to create a new poem.

December 19, 1997   | Roger Ebert Five Star Review ‘’It is flawlessly crafted, intelligently constructed, strongly acted and spellbinding’’


Like a great iron Sphinx on the ocean floor, faces still toward the West, interrupted forever on its only voyage. We see it encrusted with the silt of 85 years; a remote-controlled TV camera snakes its way inside, down corridors and through doorways, showing us staterooms built for millionaires and inherited by crustaceans. Calls from its grave for its story to be told, smoke and mirrors. She was “the largest moving work of man in all history,” neatly dismissing the Pyramids and the Great Wall. until an iceberg made an irrefutable reply.We know that certain things must happen. be convinced we are looking at a real human story–probably a romance-. a subplot involving arrogance and perhaps courage and dignity. Everyone had time to know what was happening, and to consider their actions. pistons as tall as churches, He seeks precious jewels but finds a nude drawing of a young girl. “I can still smell the fresh paint”). the story can focus on the characters. How everyone behaves The image has haunted me, ever since I first read the story. The night sea was quiet enough so that cries for help carried easily across the water Still dressed up in the latest fashions, hundreds froze and drowned. What an extraordinary position to find yourself in after spending all that money for a ticket on an unsinkable ship.

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Fear Before the Storm

So I have already written three poems about the EU referendum here is the first written during the women beats Stirred Poetry workshop. I include the exercise below.

  1. Free Writing from a line from Janine Pommy Vega ‘’I could travel around the world/sending you postcards’’


And the poem:

After a Line from the late great Janine Pommy Vega

I could travel around the world/sending you postcards


21st June 2016

I’d lose all my stamps or royal mail would lose the cards or a man drunk from the closing down on the corner (the king’s head there’s always a king’s head) would piss on all my missives and my want of you would all be wasted I could write you postcards frommy home city the ironic crap tourism ones from Norwich with puppet man who still lives and dances with his balding hand puppets and marionettes with a tape deck I could send you postcards from Manchester I would make my own show you the beautiful graffiti Bowie with a secret in the northern quarter the remain posters in the windows how the whole area was thronged by vote labour signs before the general election and I felt hope today I am worried I will struggle to send you postcards from anywhere but England after tomorrow there will be no more postcards shaped like the Eiffel Tower the Leaning Tower of Pisa and I will not be able to drink champagne kir royals eat reblochon and the borders will all require vias and I could no longer decide to pick up a copy of the rosetta stone and live among the light and eat red peaches in the Loire Valley.

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Stirred A Forest

Stirred last night was wonderful and very leafy. The zine is available online and you can do the writing workshop for free here:

I include two of my poems from the workshop below:

Thetford Forest


May and it is boiling

my partner for orienteering

has the map upside down

insists it is the right way up

as a result we are dead last

later the headmaster has to

find us on his mountain bike

the pine trees are very tall

at their height and concentration

they block out the sun for

large distances we are running

in shadows into clouds of fat

bodied may flies it is too hot

and the map is upside down

I am trying to enjoy being lost

the searing injustice of knowing

the map is upside down is filling

my eleven year old mind

at this age being away from adults

is thrilling we are so supervised

that any time to wander in

places that are green and feel safe

is welcome this day there are

thick clouds of fat bodied mayflies

that I have swallowed and

the map is upside down.





There is the fact that the silver birch

is closer to paper in its natural form

reminder of all the trees decimated


by me in the name of poetry

and maintaining my sanity


I would peel them when I was small

I liked to mark things with my fingernails

open them up touch


I have killed cacti

and chopped down trees

to give reed banks a chance


I have planted trees a handful of times

how it feels to have roots in your palm

not enough


I have no land of my own

to plunge my hands in


I plan a later garden sometimes

the fat leaves of magnolias

their decadence

and the unreal silver birch.






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19th April 2016

I smoked a cigarette last night it burned I felt unfamiliar large and wanted/unwanted half way down the burn.

Today I saw clocked and unclocked dandelions cracking concrete curbs.

The sky was unclouded and the air was warm in my throat.

The daffodils are crumpled already the blossom is lines the streets in all the palest shades of white and pink the tree outside my house shed its blooms in one windy day and I did not see the petals fall.

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Napowrimo day 12 prompt

So today’s prompt was to use an index:

So I made a poem using text taken from the notes from the journals of Sylvia Plath I wentb through the notes in order typing words and phrases sometimes cutting words and adding nothing.

I cannot and I cannot and enough heartbeat and warmth enough and you won’t see him if he asks again would no doubt be shallow the lady or the tiger encouraging letter I met a man I moved to a new house at midnight excerpt bronze boy night after night screaming only listen to me this last once I thought even dreaming of being strewn with starfish and shells we also had trouble yesterday the rejection girl thought she wanted each wrapped why don’t I write? So the headlines blare the two of them in an unidentified hand

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Day 11 Prompt

Here we go prompt was write a sensory poem with a philsophical end:

12th April 2016

The chill is off the air despite my bicycle being blown sideways leather jacket becomes bat wings and my trachea closes my breath is raw and ragged my wheel dips the whole tyre and more into a pothole at speed and as I rise up out of it wavering without falling my breath stops and my heart badums badumbdadumdadums blood in my ears I am grateful for the navy leather gloves returned to me by a friend my bones have been chilled for weeks thrusting fists in pockets at traffic lights near my door the blossom is out uneven on the trees they have not recovered from the early false start spring made in December I can tell the temperature has risen because I can smell the stench of the wheely bins kindness outshines the cold today my heart is warming up

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