February 21, 2011

莊周夢蝶, or Zhuangzi Dreamed he was a Butterfly

莊周夢蝶, or Zhuangzi Dreamed he was a Butterfly

Is it a dream

when startled wings scatter livid dust

across an infinite sky?

Or is it when sticky lids unslick themselves,

exposing the midnight impotence

of some starless dark?

I cannot say; I can only hope

that delicate feelers,

softened by some rich fuzz

of dust or delighted fur,

might someday belong to me, again.

It is a Poem About Batman.

I am Batman’s apolitical elbow, restless-Lee

high-kicking to the beat of the Krakatoa dragon Heap-ing

hannibal piles of miscreants on the Gotham city floor-Ring

tossing with Robin for the rebirth of Marvel-Louse

picking the remnants of King Kong’s mane Concerned

about the barefoot vested ecstasy tablet discount-Less

than a thousand feet from ordinary; but I’ll jump.

Cause in the incandescent bat light of Gotham City Station

I'm a monstrous human construct or a misappropriation

Of the million million heartbeats sucker-punching expiration

To the underbelly innards of some mafia affectation

I'm no crystalline avenger or arachnid radiation

I'm a capitalist metaphor for phallic masturbation

I'm the wet-dream of geeks, check my bat-ejaculation

Or just subscribe to my blog, it's got all my information.

I am Batman’s apolitical elbow, shuttered in my bat cloak

Folded round a bat-ladder, practicing my tennis stroke

Brooding batlike vengeance in the gloomy batlike dark

Punctuating violence with my exclamation mark

I am Batman's apolitical elbow

I am Batman's incurious shin

I am Batman's black and grey basque

I am Batman's bat-rolling-pin

I am not walking home from a party at nine

Wishing I hadn't thrown up on the spice rack.

February 11, 2011

Miss Remiss

I've been a little preoccupied with having an actual life as well as a blog life in the last few weeks (hence the lack of quality obsessive blog posts) but I have also been a BIT productive. In terms of my webcomic plan, I've been teaching myself to use a tablet.

In case anyone was thinking of buying one of these tasty little dealies, which allows one to draw on the computer using a pen-mouse with the accuracy hitherto never reached on MSPaint, I would like to say that Bamboo, the somewhat ubiquitous brand which operates both on PC and on my (delicious gorgeous goddess of a machine) mac, is OK.

The programs on offer with the cheapest version of Bamboo (which of course I had to opt for, being a trampy student with an expensive sushi habit) are not, however, marvellous- although you can download LiveBrush on their website, which can give good results. Here's an example of what has so far been achieved on LiveBrush, my stand-in until I can figure out a way to steal PhotoShop from the ether:

Wolf by Kirsty Judge

February 03, 2011

Crouching Sniper, Hidden Flagon

His trouser tips just hovering

a hesitant five inches

above the parquet floor,

not quite touching, even


over trainers,

I think

he will stand too close,

Pisa-towering over;

and tuck his shirt into

his camouflage


I generally like to fantasise about the social behaviour of strangers-  I find the gap between the exterior appearance and actual personality really fascinating, so I like to spot people who seem a little out of place and imagine how they got there.

Uhhh basically I saw his man in an elevator, and I bitchily wrote this little description of his tiny trousers. It's supposed to sound a little nasty? I've turned it into a poem because that's the module I'm struggling with right now. So that was my today.

February 02, 2011

Sucking at Sonnets

A sonnet(ish) for an assignment, I can't really do the iambs but I've managed the rhyme scheme, good for me. I don't think much of it, but the story is at least vaguely interesting? Thoughts?

Wife! I Am Risen!

Having quit the business of living, and
With little else to do, Mr Gapdear
Boldly left for the undiscovered land
Wearing his best suit (though rather austere)
Sailing in his coffin, he reached a plateau
A lone pimply youth sat in a hotel
Spluttered Mr Gapdear: "Where did they go?"
"So sorry sir, but they all left for Hell-
Heaven's the dullest place to volunteer:
Hell's got fighting, sex, breast augmentation?"
(Thus Hell-bound softy swept Mr Gapdear.
Landing at what looked like Clapham Station)
"Oh" said his wife "What time do you call this?"
"Dinnertime" he said, bestowing a kiss.

I dislike the sonnet, even if the word sounds like a cross between sun and bonnet, two things I currently crave (I want some sun, but being fair I crisp up from ghostly to lobster in a matter of seconds- thus the bonnet). More bad poetry next week.

January 19, 2011

Poetry Session Extravaganza

Today marked my first ever poetry seminar, and it was beautiful. Here are the results of some of the workshop type things we did, to peruse at your (nobody reads this) leisure. 

Our first task was to write a poem with three stanzas about a word we liked; the first of which would be an alternative definition of the word, the second being a synaesthetic interpretation, and the third a question to ask of the word and its reply. I chose "fastidious" because a) I really like it and b) I've been thinking about some lines from a Tony Harrison poem: "Paging angels set down this/ Fastidious and human kiss" which I have a little crush on. Fastidious kisses are beautifully tangible. But I digress.


n. The officious assistant of a catholic priest

whose lack of an acknowledged title within the clergy

leads him to deploy

unwarranted "h"s in his speech.

For example: "I saw the fastidious today

and he said 'Hit hwas quite the hevent of the hyear.'"

A sizable sticky lemony toffee-

or a kind of velvety purple.

Fastidious, where are you going?

To the river in Paris

where I will brush the leaves

from strangers' coats.

I like the last three lines and the word "sticky" for some reason. The second task involved hacking up an existing poem and rearranging the words to make a shiny new one. I'm not sure about the results of this one, but physically the cut-and-pasted poem looks pretty cool.

the great bay


against the flames

tongueing glass

with spiteful eyes,


The sudden World.

I really don't like this. It sits inelegantly on the tongue however you say it. But I might mess around with hacking up some other poems because it is refreshing to use a new vocabulary. It's possible to become too attached to certain sounds or images so this kind of restriction shakes things up a bit.

I am making a resolution to do a bit of reviewing and non-fiction work on here because a blog wholly about me and my "development as a writer" is the most boring thing I've ever heard of. So no more poems that aren't assignments unless someone pays me, which seems unlikely. Furthermore I would like to blog less. That's all for now.

January 18, 2011

Draft Baby, Yeah

The Absolutely True to Life Undeniable Real Life Story of the First Diplomatic Address Between the Great Nation of China and the Underground Panda Executive.

It so happened that in his fourth year as a giant panda Tuan Tuan was elected ambassador for Pandakind after a somewhat lazily held meeting of the Underground Panda Executive. It was an unfortunate occurrence for him, because as a panda he had very little energy, and everyone knows that being a politician involves a lot of paperwork and scandalous behaviour. But Tuan Tuan was elected anyway, because of his handsome looks, luxuriant downy fur, and his ability to urinate on trees higher than any other panda, which is a very important attribute in any politician, but especially in panda ones. And so it was Tuan Tuan who was coerced into delivering a stern message from Pandakind to Man, and a diplomatic meeting was arranged with the Chairman of the People’s Republic forthwith.

This is the absolutely true to life undeniable real life story of the First Diplomatic Address Between the Great Nation of China and the Underground Panda Executive. I will attempt to be faithful to the way it was told to me, but you will forgive me if I embellish a little. So. Let’s put ourselves in Beijing, China.

Beijing from above looks like a shattered Christmas tree, thousands of lights looping and dancing in the smog-red night. When the sun rises across Beijing, it drags its yellowish burden of smutty cloud across dormant skyscrapers. Across the city street sellers scuttle out into the heady dawn, hobbled with wagons of sticky baozi in wicker baskets and scarlet reeking peaches. Cicadas stretch their spindly legs and begin their endless trilling, greeting the day before the raucous call of traffic can drown them out.

[Along Sanlitun the street lights dim and sputter into nothing, and the last of the drunks tumble irresolutely into the broiling heat of a Beijing summer. And in the West of the city, past the melancholy willows of the defunct Summer Palace, Beijing Zoo sweats in expectation of voyeuristic hordes.]

It was in the slick armpit of a Beijing summer’s day such as I have described that the meeting took place, and the boardroom was fetid with the hot breath of both panda and man alike. Outside, the Yangtse sang with fractured sunlight, speaking of cool water and the sweet breath of the mountains.

“Listen,” the panda said. “The other pandas and I have been talking, and we all agree that enough is enough. The Underground Panda Executive have voted and we unanimously decided to request that you desist with this conservation business.”

[The Zoo appears to be built on the site of an invisible vortex that inevitably sucks tourists and locals alike into the centre, where they are devoured by the Panda House. The crimson flush of paint on the faded artificial cave mouth makes the enclosure resemble a giant open wound.]

Tuan Tuan sniffed delicately and stripped a splint of bamboo with a graceful clawing gesture. The room was draped in silence for some time before the Chairman replied:

“Forgive me, sir, but I do not think it is a request which we can grant you. In fact, it is greatly within both our interests and your own that we do not. Why do you ask?”

[Tuan Tuan asks because it is festering with the teeming bodies of countless jabbering tourists of all persuasions. But it is still preferable to the home of the Ling Ling the Grizzly Bear, which is a large concrete pit surrounded by a high balcony from which children pour Fanta into her open mouth.]

“Because we have never requested conservation to begin with, Chairman, and because the Panda Nation as a whole has decided to call it quits. It is a miserable existence being a panda, and we decided a long time ago that it would be better to die with dignity than cling on in zoos or laboratories.” With this, Tuan raised his great head and stared at the stocky, boxlike man across the table.

[The rarity of the Giant Panda (or “cat-bear” as Tuan Tuan and his kind are known in their own country) has reached such legendary heights of repute that money haemorrhages from them, a fact which has been readily exploited by the Chinese government for the good of the Chinese people for many years. It means the pandas are very well treated.]

“Do you know” Tuan Tuan said heavily, a soft growl meandering around his pointed teeth, “how much bamboo I must eat every day to survive? Thirty pounds. Do you know how much energy I retain from all this bamboo? I have to avoid walking up any slopes in case I get tired! I have the digestive system and capabilities of a carnivore, yet I spend most of my time chewing on minimally nutritious sticks! I have to excrete forty times a day! Forty! My life,” snarled Tuan Tuan “is not worth living.”

[Chris Packham, naturalist, nature photographer, television presenter and author claims he would “eat the last panda if I could have all the money we have spent on panda conservation put back on the table for me to do more sensible things with.”]

“But you’re doing so well! There are more conservation programs underway for pandas than any other animal in the world. Honestly? I think you’re worrying about nothing. We recently analysed some of your droppings, and DNA coding sugg-”

“You analysed my what?”


“You rummaged through my excrement.”

“Yes… When you put it that way…”

“This is exactly the kind of thing I am objecting to. We don’t want you stealing our droppings, organising our love lives, and artificially inseminating our women. We really don’t enjoy sex.”

With this the Chairman snorted, unexpectedly spattering tendrils of brown saliva across the table.

[Outside the expensive Zhaolong hotel Zheng Wei deposits his maimed daughter so that her incandescent burns can attract the sympathy of rich and bloated tourists, and on the emerald banks of the Yangtse five businessmen sprawl in brash white trunks, hesitant toes flirting with the hungry river.]

I do not know,” said the panda doggedly, “If you are familiar with the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, but the Fourth Truth dictates that in order to achieve enlightenment it is necessary to sacrifice all cravings or insatiable desires. We pursue a strict program of spiritual renewal through abstinence. This continual pressure to procreate is absurd and rather indicative of some unhealthy fixation on your part. And I do wish you would stop feeding me Viagra. It is most uncomfortable.”

Once again there was a long and awkward silence, broken only by dust motes throwing themselves across the boardroom with helpless abandon, glimmering in the dreamy half-light, a small water cooler lolloping water through obscure internal systems, and the quick breaths of the elderly Chairman.

“You are doing wonderful things for your country, though.” The Chairman finally rasped. “Have you not heard of “panda diplomacy”? We gave two pandas to Taiwan quite recently.”

“Yes, you relocated them. You called them “Re” and “Unification”. Very subtle.”

“We thought so.”

The panda eyed the Chairman speculatively.

[He reflects that technically as a member of the ursine community it was within his rights to savage the man horribly. As a highly prized “stud panda” it is unlikely that there would be any substantial punishment.]

“And to think of all the money you make for the people of China! You must be proud,” continued the Chairman, stretching his wicker basket face into a broad smile. Tuan Tuan adjusts the suffocating suit that he wrangled on to attend the meeting, shredding it slightly in the process.

“Pandas are not interested in money. We are mostly interested in bamboo, avoiding sex, and euthanasia.”

A disagreeable frown shudders across the Chairman’s face.

[Military police straighten out and strut from the Forbidden City to Tiananmen Square and back again under the benignly winking eyes of six-dozen cameras and one giant portrait of the late and ever-modest Mao.]

“Look. The truth is-“


“The truth is, you’re too cute to die. Do you understand? We will inseminate the entire world with baby pandas if we have to, but you will not be allowed to die. Frankly, you’re the most adorable thing in China, and therefore you’ve become very important for public relations. Too important.”

Pandas do not sweat, but abruptly the thick soup of Beijing summer air seemed to clot on Tuan Tuan’s fur. From the soft sylphian shadows of the boardroom emerged two heavyset angels of the Republic.

[The most popular and famous of all the Zoo’s celebrities at that time were Tuan Tuan, the devastatingly charismatic Giant “stud” Panda, and his mate, Yingxin. The two exuded the effortless, insolent charm of intelligent performers dedicated to the intricacies of their art. They looked suspiciously like people in panda suits, and cost over $1,000,000 a year to hire from the People’s Republic.]

Clearly this is a shameless work of haphazardly diluted fiction, but I am going to argue that it can be termed under “creative non-fiction” because it is also my somewhat eclectic attempt at representing the exploitation of natural resources which is part of the expansion of all would-be expanding nations. I also attempted to tie in hints of current and past conflicts between large nations and smaller ones suffering under them. I feel I was a little too ambitious to further stretch this by reversing the usual situation (small nation begs for restoration to former glory) by having Pandakind beg for the unhindered extinction of pandas, but I suppose it could be argued that by achieving death pandas would then at least have found a kind of freedom from oppression. I also wanted to point out the hypocrisy of people who wish to support the (arguably unsalvageable) panda but are then unwilling to donate towards the survival of more ugly endangered species.

My personal interest and a further non-fiction element comes through in the setting, Beijing, because this is as true an account of what it is like to suffer through a summer there as I can recount from memory. If it comes across as a little harsh, I felt this was necessary to balance put the overwhelming twee-ness of a story about pandas. The name Zheng Wei is that of a real person, and Tuan Tuan is a real panda, although he is not currently residing in Bejing Zoo, but is in fact one of the pandas given to Taiwan (the other is called Yuan Yuan). All facts about pandas and their digestive systems are also true. Zheng Wei is actually a rather nice man who once bought me lunch, but the story of the disabled girl left in front of the hotel to beg every day is true, as is the story of the grizzly bear being fed Fanta from a balcony (I even have a picture). I appropriated his name to make sure the name used was appropriate.

Although what has emerged from this attempt is a little unwieldy at times I wanted to fracture the vivid and descriptive from the matter of fact dialogue to heighten the contrast between what is truth but has the elaborate language of fiction, and what resembles real reporting but is obviously a pack of lies. I tried to use pleasing words to describe even the banal or horrible aspects of Beijing because my real intention was to inflict on the reader a real sense of the contradiction of beauty and exploitation that really smacks you in the face when exploring Beijing, and the kind of declining beauty implied by the “reeking peaches” (reddish for China) and the white trunks of the businessmen (white is a mourning colour in Chinese culture and as such is generally avoided). I didn’t want to enforce my own interpretation by rubbing an obvious moral around in the mess of it, rather present the facts in a descriptive, vivid way and allow anyone reading it to draw their own conclusions.

January 17, 2011

Abort Abort

The result is winking at me through the pinkened narrow slitty eyes of the test window. It has a kind of conspiratorial malevolence, it is glaring with the slickened eyeball of Fate. You and I have a dirty little secret, it says. The pink lines are darkening to an inevitable, undeniable red.

I think of the iChing my father taught me as a child, the lines casting their own webs across the floral tabletop. I think of stealing his Tarot cards, and staring at the gothic eyeless Death card for hours until the skeleton transformed into white holes in a black cloth, consumed by the velvet dark. I imagine disappearing in the same way, by some trick of the eyes, until I am not longer a girl but a girl-shaped gap in the universe.

Umm so this is a fragment thing. I was thinking of turning it into a poem but I'm not sure how to break it up. I am supposed to be doing an essay. Erghhh.

I am so unmotivated. I was talking to a maths student yesterday and he somehow managed to make maths sound cool and edgy. I wish I were doing maths now. It seems to be full of terrifying unknowns and dangerous numbers and mystical coincidences (and I really love mystical coincidences). When I was at school it was mostly full of my maths teacher lounging on top of my desk asking me why I hadn't done the homework whilst we all tried to ignore that his fly was open. Those were the days.

December 12, 2010

Escaping For Christmas.

In order to excuse a certain amount of laxness in posting over the next few weeks, I'll just say now that mostly it will be because of Christmas, but I'll also be working on my non fiction assignment which I'm not really supposed to make visible to all and sundry. Not really sure what to do this assignment on yet, I find it highly likely that whatever I find interesting will inevitably bore the socks off anyone marking the damn thing. I am already referring to the project as "that damn thing" on a daily basis, which doesn't bode well for its completion.

Having spent some time puzzling over my feedback for the last assignment, I have worked out that the one bit which doesn't seem to make any sense only fails to do so because the photocopied version has chopped off the end of a sentence. Unfortunately the only bit which has been chopped off is the bit telling me what I would need to do to improve it? Mysteries are pretty fun. It seems such a small thing to bother Maureen with an email during the holidays for.

Other things I will be working on:

The fragment I thought of the post before last,

A short story about a deer,

Practising poetry in preparation for the poetry module, which I'm already terrified of,

Building up some healthy writing habits that don't involve obsessively posting blogs at 3am,

And eating my weight in sushi (just can't find a sushi bar in Coventry, I have a massive craving so if anyone knows of one, please post a comment).

That is all. Here's a fun picture of a magician:


December 08, 2010

Non Fiction Is Not My Forte

It is 10.20pm in London on the 24th of November 2010 and the first reports are spattered across the Internet. There are pictures: Student, face smothered in a black balaclava, kicks in a white police van. Teens snicker and disfigure the van with obscenities. Head shaven snarling boy accosts police shielding themselves behind plastic sheets. Headlines mourn in words like riot streets policeman injured mob policewoman injured Facebook duty youths damage protect riot riot. The street is clotted with broken glass, burnt ground and abandoned litter. Cigarette butts and water bottles.

It is 9.38pm in London and the protest at Whitehall is dying down. As more protesters are carefully filtered away, students spit insults at police officers. It is bitterly cold. One policeman has been knocked unconscious and one has had his arm broken. 32 protesters are being arrested for violent disorder and criminal damage. Others are set loose on the dark streets.

It is 7.05pm and police begin to set students free from the barricaded area. A number of fellow, unhindered protesters are gathered outside the blocked off areas. They are mostly university students, but among them are school children, mothers come to collect children trapped behind the cordons, and a pregnant woman. They begin to throw missiles at the police.

It is 7.10pm and mounted police charge the assembled crowd. They advance 100 metres, scattering protesters and panicking the crowd who are running away. Some fall over; one will fall to the ground and be trampled by frightened students as she curls in a foetal position on the tarmac. This is the second time the horses have charged on the crowd. Rumours of crushed protesters spread amongst the students, graduates, mothers and schoolchildren. 11 people will be sent to hospitals this night; only two of these are police officers.

It is 6.17pm and dark has fallen on the kettled streets. Away from the edges of the cordon, fires are lit against the invasive cold. Police provide portaloos and water. The protesters burn their banners to keep warm, and some are seen to read textbooks by firelight. A Guardian reporter watches as students gather and begin to sing. She will later compare them to the Children’s Crusade.

It is 3.00pm and “youths” notice the white police van in the midst of the kettled area. On the fringes of the cordon protesters are lying beneath the police officer’s feet in an attempt to preserve the space given to them. Elsewhere others are ramming the line of riot police with metal fences, poles, and they are throwing objects. London schoolchildren attempt to protect the white van from vandalism. They fail, and the police vehicle is daubed with insulting slogans. The boy in the black balaclava takes his place on the roof of the van, and brings back his foot.

It is 12.05 and protesters march through London. They sing songs, shout slogans, and wave banners. There are drummers, people in costume, and children with school ties knotted around their heads. There are anarchists clad in black and red, there are university tutors and girls in short skirts. Disorganised, they stream closer to Whitehall, and someone from the NUS tries to turn them back. It is too late. Those that turn find a line of riot police blocking their exit, and the kettling begins.

It is dawn in London and the cold air leeches feeling from exposed skin. There is only the low, sweet calling of pigeons of the roofs of Whitehall, the quiet hum of police vehicles parked, and the click of riot helmets descending over faces. Light seeps across the clouded London sky. Identity badges are carefully hidden by police officers. We do not know who they are. A lone white police van is abandoned in the street, waiting.

Too tired and snuffly to bother with fiddling with it now. It's a bit melodramatic, but I feel a bit like that whenever I think about law enforcement, the legal system, and anything to do with Tories or the Liberal Democrats, the dirty traitors. Originally had some bits drawing parallels with the Porteous Riots, but I had to cut them out as it became a bit long, blunt and clumsy. Plus with a lack of library book space on my account I had to get my information on Porteous from the internet (i.e. wikipedia) which is very bad for me. I should be on a wikipedia diet.

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