All entries for January 2009

January 28, 2009

Notes to Jilly

Notes to Jilly

You know what, Jill? Every time you come around to ask me a vaguely unsettling question you always follow up my answer with the words “Don’t worry, there’s nothing to worry about. Thanks for your help.” And you know what? That always sets alarm bells ringing. And we’re not talking little hand bells on a shop counter to get the assistant’s attention, oh no: we’re talking about standing next to Big Ben at twelve o’clock on a really quiet day. You say something like that and you know something’s wrong.

         Every time you say that I can’t help but worry.

         Every time you say that it means another sleepless night for me.

         And every time you say that, I can’t help but fear, somehow, that it’s all my fault.


So what’s happened then? You came around to my house last night all concerned questions and “don’t worries” and then left without another word of explanation. You don’t even have your phone with you, so I couldn’t call you.

         It’s Timothy again, isn’t it? It’s always Tim. I don’t think he deserves you, Jill. He always takes and takes and never gives anything back. He’s no good for you, Jill. You care for him too much.

         So tell me then, what’s he done this time? Got drunk and fallen into the canal? Got high and assaulted the policeman? Been so out of his head that he’s set fire to one of the local tramps, because, after all, they make such pretty torches? Or has he tried to kill himself again?

         Please, Jill, I wish you’d keep your mobile with you: I hate having to slip these notes through your door all the time. Oh, and you seriously need to get your answer machine fixed; it’s been broken for ages.


I’m really sorry, Jill. I know I exaggerated. I know Tim probably wouldn’t have done all those things I said. He’s not that bad. He’s not good, mind, but… look, I know I’m harsh on him sometimes; I just worry about you. Please give me a ring when you get this note. Thanks.


Hi, Jill. I know you’re at the hospital today, but just dropping a note to say that I think your Mum called round. At least, I think it was your Mum. I mean, it could have been someone else, I haven’t seen your Mum for years. She drove a green car.


Has somebody nicked your mobile or what?


Hi, Jill. Just wondered if you wanted to go for a drink tonight?

         I’ve found my old phone if you want it. I don’t use it anymore and you’d have to delete all the numbers from my contacts list, but it works just fine.


I’ve just told my parents the news! They’ve asked if they can have permission to send round ridiculous fluffy toys in varieties of pink and blue with little hearts embroidered all over them?

         You’ve left your phone behind again, you silly thing. I can hear it ringing in the hallway.


Your phone was switched off.

         I heard Timmy coming in this morning. He seemed in a right bad mood; I could hear him from right across the street. Is everything alright?


You know you came round yesterday and asked if I’d seen Tim? Well, I went out clubbing with some work friends afterwards – it was the Blues House we went to – and I spotted him there in the sea of people. He was with some shifty looking bloke.

         Hope everything’s ok. Please answer your phone when it rings next time.


You’re not really pregnant, are you Jill? I saw you coming home yesterday. You looked ill.


Jill, where are you? I can’t find you anywhere. There’s police here saying Timmy’s been found dead, hanging from a tree. Please, pet, where the hell are you? Your Mum’s here and she’s going frantic. The police are preparing to break the door down. Please, Jilly darling, please answer a phone or come to the door and read the note and answer it or something. Please let us know you’re alright.


Dear Milkman,

         Please stop delivering to this house. They won’t be needing it anymore.

         If you’ve got any problems with anything then just slip a note through the red door across the street.


January 14, 2009

Beyond the Blowfish

This poem was a homework from Peter Blegvad, and it had to be written using these rules/constraints:

1. The poem can be of any length, but each line must contain only ten syllables.

2. Each line must contain one of the words Peter read out when we were doing the free-writing exercise in class: blowfish, cuddle, detonate, Cyprus, destiny, anti-semitism, couch, beyond, convulsive, car, bass, demi-god, convex, Alaska, cypher. A word can be repeated or not used at all.

3. The first word of all the lines save the last one must be I, you, he, she, we, or they.

There was also another rule which was that the poem should contain one or several of the phrases that we underlined in our free-writing exercise, but I forgot about this one, as did everyone else, so this will just have to do for now, and maybe I'll write another version later.

Beyond the Blowfish.

I gingerly prod deflated blowfish —

We wait for the moment — damp — detonate!

We see convulsive inflations — small fish —

I, the demi-god, cannot understand:

We say, why did the bass fish not go bang?


I cast the blowfish onto the old couch:

We see our destiny in Alaska.

We climb into the car — convex — bent — squash…

The blowfish twitches out its life — gone now.

January 07, 2009

Free–writing exercise from first seminar with Peter Blegvad

This is a transcript of the free-writing exercise I did in our first poetry seminar with Peter Blegvad. Basically, we were writing down whatever came into our heads as quickly as would could, whilst incorporating words shouted out by Peter whilst we were writing into the "sense" of the piece. I don't quite think I'm prepared to call this piece poetry just yet, but it does nevertheless seem to have vague kind of sense about it, some feeling of a sort of wholeness, so I'm putting it up here simply because of the curiosity it planted in my head. Anyway, here it is:

metal trees with splintered blowfish sides

an explosion of petals fall like lead

dead men walk in icy shoes

and parrots scream out expletives

orang-utan cuddles cameraman

and twitchers shoot down eagle chicks

detonates with a whisper

flashes with sound

light is buried under heavy Cyprus wood

scent of needles pricking memory

amnesia nothing destiny’s approach

somnambulism’s wake-up call

and dream-death of the forgiven soldier

anti-Semitism running rife around

the eyes of children who play

the tv switching from flame to rose

and back to liquidity

ideas slog and blankness couches on the cortex

society’s weight pushing down beyond the pillows

with a convulsive mutter

and gun-mouth rattles car-sides tinting

bass sound in soprano city

singers crunching under feet of empires

who are in legion demi-god and

not separate like cacti in the desert

water swells and boils and rushes over land

the Moses of our millennia

convex perceptions of a man who isn’t real

vanity’s mirror is full of cracks

and mankind’s use has spotted it

Alaska-like with snow-capped peaks

impenetrable to the feeble mind

a winding scree of loose ciphers

jargon gobbledegook trollish rubbish

all belong on a garbage heap

this is where we long to weather

and moulder here till death we meet.

January 2009

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