February 27, 2010

Response to comment

Follow-up to Coles to Newcastle from Nicholas's blog

Many thanks for reading my piece Sue, and for your comments. This was an experiment with voice and character rather than a comment on any actual situations or real people. I'd rather leave those comments (and the reading of them) to the people who wouldn't agree with your statement.

February 26, 2010

Coles to Newcastle

Disclaimer: The following piece is fiction based on an issue in the press and needs to be read in a high-pitched Geordie accent. I understand that it could be seen as a cheap shot at people in the public eye, but I actually do feel for the person it's based on. Although she would feature in most of those ridiculous 'Most Beautiful' lists, her husband can't get enough of other women. It just goes to show that there can never be enough when you're chasing vanity and it's trappings ... blah blah blah.

There were always difficulties with my marriage. Looking back, a black gay footballer probably wasn’t the ideal match for the racist member of an all-white girl band. But these conditions had been agreed, they were in our contract. He could continue to see his six foot six centre-half while I could smack whoever I liked in the face and I’d still be able host my telly shows.

In the end, it was his fault. Everyone was telling me to get rid of him. The Sun, the Daily Mail, the Star, even the Mirror: everyone. I phoned Adriana, my solicitor and she said that he didn’t have a leg to stand on. That was quite funny at the time, because he was injured with a broken ankle.

It was the women that did it, that destroyed the wonderful life we had together. And there wasn’t just one; you needed two hands to count them on. I didn’t mind that they were pretty; he’s got to keep have standards. And a couple of them were OK. Like Sophia the glamour model, and Laura the air hostess. But Julie was a hairdresser and Jacqueline worked on a market stall. I thought he’d broken into a TV soap. How he could touch me after being with them, I don’t know. Good riddance. That’s what my mam said, anyway.

February 01, 2010

Dear Lolly,

This is inspired by (our very own) George Ttoouli.


Dear Lolly,


I plucked up the courage

to send her a message

using a networking site –

the type you hate.


It’s not like going to a door and knocking,

more like slipping a note under it saying:

‘I called but you were out,’

but without calling first.


I’m in a great place creatively,

but after a week I’m still trying

to open my fridge from the wrong side

and my pears all ripened at the same time.


I know you how much you like your metaphor,

but I really love a ripe pear.


Thanks for the advice.

It was a stroke of luck

that I got a washing machine drum

and, you were right, it makes a perfect furnace.


I left her my best wishes

then wrote a bear into my next piece.

It didn’t attack anyone

but, psychologically, the damage was long-term.

(Inspired by Static Exile, George Ttoouli, 1979 – )

January 06, 2010

Snow draft 1

Writing about web page http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MM7LrsIhWqc&feature=related

Today I wrote a first draft of a poem inspired by the recent snowfall. I first thought of this while travelling on a train from Coventry to Newcastle before Christmas. The fields were white and silent, and we went past a power station in Yorkshire (not Drax).

Also check out Wallace Stevens reading his 'The Snow Man' on YouTube. I hope you can see some similarity.

Again, the formatting's a bit rubbish. Each sentence starting with a capital letter signifies a new verse.


Snow, draft 1


Shadows frozen in amber

on a canvas of seasons

fringed in barbs,

laced with transparent brilliance.


Towers sigh in globes,

crowns grow and fade

on angelic giants

resisting Winter’s blockade.


Radiant berries, proud beaks

defiant of snow and frost,

fanfares striking out

at life silent and lost.


Fur of fire

fuelled by hunger,

patrolling sleeping skeletons

shrouded in moon blue.


Echoes of a presence

disturbs the darkness

and agitates shadows

before returning again to stillness.

December 04, 2009

Car poem

This poem is about my car. It stopped the week after I arrived in Coventry and it cost me too much to fix (it was the fuel injector pump). Last week I sold it on ebay as a broken car and got 500 notes for it. I'm still not sure about the word 'farts' in the poem, but it does make me laugh. My academic George told me it was purile. That's probably fair.


Soft Focus


With the slightest of commands – a turn

of a key, no drama, just a touch

behind the ear – you choke and churn

out a growl, and a phlegm-filled smoking cough.

Bellowing boisterous black farts from your rear,

oil gushes and fossilblood floods into aged

organs, driving limbs of cranks and gears,

and muscles grind under skin rusted and faded.

Your ninety horses smell freedom and run loose,

gallop through leaves yellow and red, fallen.

Library – poem inspired by Lorca

Writing about web page http://www.poemhunter.com/federico-garc-a-lorca/poems/page-2/

This poem is in the style of Frederico Garcia Lorca as a reflection on his poem Song. I can't find it on the internet, but I've linked other Lorca poems for your interest. Song is about a diligent girl picking olives outside her village. People come to try to distract her but she ignores them and continues her work. I've chosen a contemporary setting for the girl and tried to copy Lorca's style as much as possible. (Top B is a university night out.) 




She is cultivating knowledge,

roaming erudite heights

under the unwavering glare

of the fluorescent library lights.

Four course-mates arrived

with bags and books,

whispered secrets

and knowing looks.

“Come to Top B lass.”

The girl ignores their plea.


Three young footballers passed,

well-defined and lean

with branded polo-shirts

and kit bags bursting at the seams.

“Come to Leamington lass.”

The girl ignores their plea.


The bold blue afternoon

rescinded to an amber glow.

A hall-mate approached

with clear liquids and Redbull.

“Come to pre-load lass.”

And the girl ignores his plea.


She remains cultivating knowledge,

roaming erudite heights,

warmed in her library

by the unwavering fluorescent lights.


(Inspired by Song, Frederico García Lorca, 1898 - 1936)

Luke Kennard–inspired poem

Writing about web page http://www.argotistonline.co.uk/Kennard%20&%20Loydell%20poems.htm

This is a poem directly inspired by Luke Kennard. He's a writer at Birmingham University and is a couple of years younger than me. Having inspiration from a younger writer is a bit like looking up to a Premiership footballer. Only he isn't 19.




I sit on cracked brown leather and drink from a round tankard. My beer tastes of seaweed and fresh air. I think of bold waves rolling small pebbles on the shore like a giant prospector hunting gold.

“What would the sea do with gold?” I turn to ask you but you’re looking in the opposite direction and my lips tangle with your damp hair. I’m enveloped in coconut-flavoured shampoo vapour.

“Sorry?” Your reply catches me still mouthing the word ‘gold’, but now I’m lost in thoughts of crumpling waves and your warmth after one of your baths.

“I think I’ll order the Full English,” I reply, keeping my eyes closed.

Continuous writing exercise

Writing about web page http://www.argotistonline.co.uk/Kennard%20&%20Loydell%20poems.htm

We had a session with David Morley the other day and ran through two exercises. Starting with a given phrase, we wrote continuously for two minutes. We then wrote for two minutes while counting down from 100 (out loud). From each of the exercises, I mined an interesting phrase from the drivel I had written. These were:

'all is naught when we are trying to come to the final of a sports event'

'pencil for the lolly'

DM gave us ten minutes to write a piece linking the two phrases. This is how I did that.

The Event

All is naught when we are trying

to come to the final of a sports event.

We chase the crowds and weave

side to side picking a route

through the hustle and bustle.

Shouts for one team, then the other,

groups of lads whose excitement bubbles over

into playful spats,

decorated in bold team allegiance.

Clouds of animal fat soar from burger sizzles,

even the sky radiates with potential

for something never before experienced.

And possibly, wanting some sustenance and sugar,

coming with little more that the clothes in which we stand,

with little to be had or made,

a trade or exchange and possibly a

pencil for the lolly.

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