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30 December 2013

What I'm drinking

Last month, I was invigorated
by an 11 a.m. restorative Vieux Carre
at the Courosel Bar
in New Orleans.
Fill a shaker with ice and add
a dash each of Benedictine,
Peychaud's and Angostura bitters
and a shot each of rye whiskey,
cognac and Punt e Mes. Shake,
then strain into a glass
filled with fresh ice and garnish
with an Amarena cherry --
then let the late-morning voodoo
do its work.

Taken from an interview with Mario Batali in The New York Times Magazine, December 1, 2013. Submitted by J. R. Solonche.

18 December 2013


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What happens when you accidentally leave a keylogger tracking your keystrokes while you compose a Facebook message. March 2012. Submitted by Jacob Dodson.

16 December 2013

In no great hurry

In order to build
a career
and be

one has to be
One has to be

A window
with raindrops

interests me

Seeing is
a neglected

Taken from the New York Times article, Saul Leiter, Photographer Who Captured New York’s Palette, Dies at 89, The New York Times, 27th November 2013. Submitted by Howie Good.

11 December 2013

Melody pitfalls

I KNOW – I Can Write a Hit
I – KNOW – I Can Write a Hit
I Know I CAN – Write a Hit
I Know I Can WRITE a Hit
I Know I Can WRITE a HIT

Straight from The Top 5 Melody Pitfalls—and How to Avoid Them, BMI, 25 November 2013. Submitted by Mark Dzula.

09 December 2013


Traumatic images,
queer looks,
dangerous texts.

African slave trade: introduction to proof.

Environmental disasters,
face of the land:
terrorism, intelligence and war--

Games and simulations,
advanced taxation,
cyberinfrastructure (the language of medicine)

Shakespeare the dramatist
(art of dying)
Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler.

discrete mathematics: prostitution and vice
major issues in criminal justice.

American deaf history,
human centered requirements,
special populations -- thinking about making

power and influence,
options and futures,

sounds of protest,
vibrations and waves:

introduction to intelligent systems.

Course titles from the course catalog of Rochester Institute of Technology. Submitted by Rebecca Charry Roje.

06 December 2013

Taxi driver

I like
to imagine myself
as the lion of the road,
the streets
for prey.

In the pecking order,
taxi drivers
rank pretty

are like chickens,
are the monkeys

and buses
are wildebeests,
grinding along
in packs.

From What I'm really thinking: the taxi driver, Guardian Weekend, 16 November 2013. Submitted by Ailsa Holland.

04 December 2013


Extremely elderly Benedictine monk
Irrational predilection for performing surgery
Of, like or pertaining to lava
One who habitually enters many competitions

Local judge among miners
Provisional name for a plant whose flowers are unknown
Expression of joy among Arab women
Muscle by which the testicles are suspended

Government by superior firepower or by cannons
Part of a bullfighting arena where the bull makes his stand
Ancient syrupy medicine that is licked off a spoon
Doctrine that the wicked are utterly destroyed after death

Some definitions from The Phrontistery, a free online dictionary of obscure words. Submitted by Howie Good.

02 December 2013

Praise Yeezus.

And it works.

It works because it's beautiful
You either like it or you don't
There’s no reason why it's beautiful.

Either it moves you too,
Or it doesn't,
And that's that.

It's all the same shit,
It’s all music —
If you like sound, listen.

Taken from a review by Lou Reed of Kanye West's album, "Yeezus", published by The Talkhouse on July, 2 2013. Submitted by Charles Githua.

25 November 2013

One of the things about working on capital cases all your life is that you keep things in proportion.

you've got
an execution date,
it can damn well wait
until Wilf
has had
his bedtime story.

If there is
an execution date,
will understand.

Taken from an interview with Clive Stafford Smith, ‘My Family Values,’ Guardian Weekend, 16 November 2013. Submitted by Ailsa Holland.

18 November 2013

The Rules

Trust no one.
Keep something back
Not everyone is subject to rules
Don’t walk away
Don’t let go of the cliff
There are clues everywhere
All rumours are true
Trust no one, least of all yourself
Don’t look back
There is no such thing as truth.

Taken from Meg Rosoff's What I Was, 2007. Submitted by Angi Holden.

13 November 2013

Of the farm

The shrubbery
in the terrace gardens
has so many
great contrasting colors.
The yellow barberry
has turned a russet shade,
the boxwood is browning a bit,
and the teucrium remains dusty green.
Most trees have dropped their leaves,
but there are still some holding on.
The orange trees in the distance are gum,
whose leaves stay on quite late.
All of the boxwood will soon be
covered over
with burlap
for the winter
to protect them
from damaging winds
and heavy snow.

Photo captions from the blog post More Stunning Shots Of The Farm by Martha Stewart. Submitted by Kelly Jones.

11 November 2013

Making a mental pro-con list about winter

You can get a cold drink of water from the top,
without waiting for it to run cold.
When it snows you can pretend it's Narnia.
Putting the heating on,
feeling like you're defeating winter!
Soup, hotpot, stew, all those slow cooker meals
you don't make when it's warm.

Dark nights, running in the rain,
moonlit walks up Shining Tor
(best with frost or ideally snow on ground),
sitting in the warm playing music
watchin the 'weather' outside,
wrapping up warm to go out,
drying out again when you've taken the dog out,
cold winter days up in the hills
with views across Cheshire.

It is acceptable, nay encouraged, to eat meals
that consist entirely of carbs and cheese.
Boots + woolly tights.

Snuggling by the fire under a duvet
with a baileys hot chocolate
Your winter festival of choice.
Scarves and gloves. Snow.
Snowball fights with people who are too nice to play evilly.
Building snow creatures.
The snow silence. The icing look of it.

Hot chocolate. Marshmallows optional.
Haw frost on spiders' webs.
And on the edges of leaves. And coating long grasses.
Oh, and the return of geese from warmer climates.

Moaning about the weather.

Taken from a Facebook discussion about the onset of winter. Some points omitted. Submitted by Angi Holden

08 November 2013

Breathing deeply

Buy dishes at a thrift show
and break them in a safe place.
Or put them in a paper bag
and hit with a hammer.

Draw a face of someone you’re mad at
and jump on the paper,
or tear it up. Scream.
Scream in the shower.
Scream into a pillow.

Stuff a pillowcase with grass,
draw a face on it,
and hit it. Chew gum —
imagine you are biting the person.

Do an angry dance to music.
Growl into a mirror. Make faces.

Throw a wet washcloth against the wall
in the bathtub. Squeeze a towel.
Punch a pillow. Hit a mattress
with a tennis racket. Pound clay.
Tear magazines. Tape
the bottom of your shoe
with the name of person
you are mad at and walk around.

Sometimes the body feels very tired.
Write all the bad words you can think of.

From a list of Things To Do to Express Anger Safely from the Violet Solomon Oaklander Foundation. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

06 November 2013


Twenty-fourth of May
Vesak, the Day
of the Full Moon,
Twelfth of June
World day against child labour,
Tenth of December

Human rights day,
World sight day,
World book
and copyright day.

Third Sunday in November
World Day of Remembrance
for Road Traffic Victims, First of October
International Day of Older
Persons, Eleventh to twelfth of May
World Migratory Bird Day.

International migrants day,
International women's day,
International mountain day,
International widows' day.

International Day of Forests and the Tree,
International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

From the United Nations list of international days for observance. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

04 November 2013


Retardate worm
Clown of the House

Idle vapourings of a mind diseased
I would cut the honourable gentleman’s
throat if I had the chance

His brains could revolve inside a peanut shell
for a thousand years without touching the sides
Kind of animal that gnaws holes

Member not fit to lick
the shoes of the Prime Minister
Energy of a tired snail returning
home from a funeral

Shut up yourself, you great ape
Snotty-nosed little boy
You are a cheap little twerp
Ridiculous mouse

Could go down the Mount Eden sewer and come up
cleaner than he went in
Dreamed the bill up in the bath
Frustrated warlord

Phrases deemed 'unparliamentary language' and banned from New Zealand parliamentary debates, as listed on Futility Closet, 30th October 2013. Submitted by Marika.

31 October 2013

Ghost Moose

Some people call them “ghost moose.”
A team on call rushes to the scene by car or helicopter.
So may wolves in Minnesota and the West.

Something’s changed.
That can lead to exhaustion and death.
And no one is sure why.

“If the heart stops beating,
it sends a text message to our phone that says,
‘I’m dead at x and y coordinates,’ ”
said Dr. Butler.

And moose contribute to the economy.
In Smithers, British Columbia, in April,
a moose wandered into the flower section of a Safeway market.

The next few months may provide insight.
“It’s up to the public,” said Ms. Rines, the biologist.
“We could kill more if we want healthy moose.”

Lines selected from Moose Die-Off Alarms Scientists, The New York Times, 14 October 2013. Submitted by Howie Good.

28 October 2013

Anonymous Caller

You you you
and and and and
and you can
in in in
in in in in
in in in in in.

A voicemail recording sent to a work computer and translated from a series of caller busy beeps into words by Microsoft Speech Technology, 21st October 2013. Submitted by Ross McCleary.

25 October 2013


A beverage consisting of
A decoction or infusion of
The roasted ground or crushed seeds of
The two-seeded fruit of
Certain coffee trees
The seeds
Or fruit
Themselves any tropical tree or shrub of
The genus Coffea of
The madder family
C. arabica
Cultivated commercially
Compare Arabian Coffee
Robusta Coffee
A cup of coffee
We ordered four coffees and
Three doughnuts
A social gathering
at which coffee and
Other refreshments
Are served

The definition of coffee at Submitted by Christian Smith.

23 October 2013

Most unusual

It was the most unusual inquest
since the Tory MP met his maker
trussed up like a boil-in-a-bag duck à l’orange –
with a noose round his neck
a bin-liner over his head
and a satsuma
stuffed in his mouth.

From So that’s why they’re called the Funny People, Mail Online, 3 May 2012. Submitted by Tim Benjamin.

21 October 2013

News of the day

Shutdown ends
default dodged

Dodgers refuse
to go quietly

The front page and sports page headlines from the Times Herald-Record, 17th October 2013. Submitted by J R Solonche.

20 October 2013

Picasso's cats

I don't like those high-class cats that purr
on the couch in the parlor.
I adore cats that have turned wild,
their hair standing on end.

They hunt birds, prowl,
roam the streets like demons.
They cast their wild eyes at you,
ready to pounce on your face.

Have you noticed that female cats in the wild
are always pregnant?
Obviously, they think of
nothing but love.

From Conversations With Picasso, Brassai (University of Chicago Press, 1999). Submitted by Amy Schreibman Walter.

17 October 2013

Found confessions

my husband tiptoes
through life

afraid someone
might ask him
to leave


i fix my lover's typos,
grammar mistakes
before i send his emails

to my friends
to read


this summer
i will teach my children
a few tricks
on the trampoline

in hopes that they
will run away
and join the circus


my wedding song
was meant to be
Take My Breath Away
but we didn't play it
he wasn't
the one


at my fortieth
when i blew out the candles
a room of people
watched me
silently wish
for my husband
to die


i like my dog
way more than
i like my cat

i should probably
never have kids


i cry in my office
when my colleagues
go out to lunch
and don't invite me


he calls himself
my boyfriend

i call him
my current boyfriend


i root for the hurricanes


every time
my boyfriend tries
to pronounce french words
i think
he is the reason
why the french hate us


i wear frumpy pajamas to bed
so he won't get any ideas

i wear short skirts to work
so somebody else will


i am



Confessions posted online at CAVE canum.. Submitted by Michael Haeflinger.

14 October 2013

The Heart Doctor

I enjoy my life
I enjoy my children now
particularly they’re grown up and
not squawking
I love being with them all
perhaps not at the same time

I’m fairly hopeless grandmother
I like them when they grow up
You don’t leave small children with me!
I’d always got, as my oldest son said, ‘staff’
someone who looked after their nonsenses

I don’t like this repetitive
‘Please do this’
‘Please don’t be rude’
I can’t be dealing with all that!
Actually I tell them
I like the dog best

Transcribed from an interview with Jane Somerville, cardiologist, on Desert Island Discs, Friday 12th July 2013. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

12 October 2013

Poetry. Please.

My wife died last month

and she loved this poem;

my son is getting married
and I want this poem
to cheer
for him and his bride;

I am sad
and nothing makes sense,
but these verses still manage
to lift me up;

I half recall these words
but can you finish the couplet for me
and help me to get it
out of my head;

I am ill and old
but give me some John Donne
to remind me that I was once
young and in love;

I am young and in love
and please don't use my name
but play this poem
for my heart's desire.

From Poetry Please: the poetic pulse of a nation, The Guardian, 26 September 2013. Submitted by Ailsa Holland.

07 October 2013

Dear Professor,

I have been feeling dizzy and lightheaded this morning
and want to let you know
that I will not be making it to class.

I am currently in bed with a migraine.
Unfortunately, they happen from time to time.

I'm really not feeling well again today
so I think I have to miss class again.

I'm in a class right now where I'll be taking a test,
but I've been sick for a while (coughing, throat,
headache, etc.) and don't know if I'll have the energy
to sit in a classroom for three hours.

I'm currently experiencing bad wheelchair problems
that will, as of now, render me unable to get to class tomorrow.

Just reminding you that I am missing class Thursday
to attend the SUNY Model EU summit
in New York City as a part of the Press Corps.

I had to miss today's journalism class due to heart palpitations.

Please excuse my absence tomorrow,
a family friend committed suicide and I rushed home.

I will get the notes from a classmate.

E-mails received from students during spring and fall 2013 semesters at SUNY New Paltz. Submitted by Howie Good.

02 October 2013


Judge Mario Cantone of "Sex and the City" fame
Asked Miss Oklahoma
What she thought of Miley Cyrus'
Recent twerk-filled VMAs performance.

Judge Lance Bass of N*SYNC
Asked Miss Minnesota
Whether political candidates
Were carrying "Stand By Your Man" too far
By supporting their spouses.

[PHOTOS: 50 most beautiful female celebrities]

Violinist Joshua Bell
Asked Miss California
If it was the United States' responsibility
To punish Syria for using
Chemical weapons on its own people.

TV chef Carla Hall
Quizzed Miss New York
About what message was sent
By Julie Chen's revelation
She'd had plastic surgery to look less Asian,
To advance her career.

Miss America 2005 Deidre Downs Gunn
Asked Miss Florida
About what the country should do
About minorities having disproportionately low income
And disproportionately high rates
Of unemployment and incarceration.

Miss Florida's answer was actually cut off for time.

From Miss America crowns first Indian American winner, Nina Davuluri, LA Times, 16 September 2013. Submitted by Mark Dzula.

30 September 2013

American Portraits

Arrested by the Seattle police
for shooting a car’s tires.
Enlisted in the Navy Reserve.
Spent two days in jail
after a bar fight in Georgia.
Investigated for shooting a gun through his ceiling.
Honorably discharged,
despite “pattern of misbehavior.”
Contractor security clearance re-approved.
Told the Rhode Island police
he was hearing voices.
Twice went to Veterans Affairs hospitals
seeking treatment for insomnia.
Killed 12 people at Washington Navy Yard.

One morning she flew
to an early analyst meeting
and realized too late
that she had left
her dress shoes on the plane.
So she eyed women
in the baggage claim area,
spotted a suitable pair
worn by one of them —
and approached
with a $120 cash offer
for the emergency footwear.
The stranger said no
but offered a second pair
from her suitcase. Done.

The tail fin of a sockeye salmon
caught in a net in Bristol Bay, Alaska.

Matthew Sullivan releasing a gull
that crash-landed on the deck of the Rollo.

New buoys sit aboard a crab vessel.

Billie Delaney, a fisherwoman, holds
a dead seabird at Graveyard Point.

Stanza 1 is taken from the New York Times article, "A Troubled Past”, 19th September 2013. Stanza 2 is taken from a Forbes article, "A Real Amazon", about a woman who died on 19th September 2013. Stanza 3 is taken from“Eat, Fish, Sleep, Click”, 21st January 2013. Submitted by Howie Good.

27 September 2013

Educating Yorkshire Three

It is said that most men live lives of quiet desperation.
The same could be said of most schools too;
by far the majority of your day,
like an atom,
is space.
Not free time, but routine;
a metronome of the anodyne and the commonplace, punctuated by the tattoo of the lesson bell.

From Educating Yorkshire 3: bad boys, bad boys- what ya gonna do? by Tom Bennett, TES Connect, 20 September 2013. Submitted by Rachel.

25 September 2013

We make, methinks, a mistake

we do not enough
with our affairs, and
pretend to
duct t
n appertains to us

From a section of Montaigne's essay On Physiognomy. The finished layout comes via the freeware text-generation program JanusNode. It was set to 'eecummingsfy'. Submitted by Chris Westbury.

23 September 2013

This dress checks your movements

with that wasp waist,
your lungs, stomach, liver, and other organs
squeezed down out of place,
into one half their natural size,
with that long trail dragging on the ground,
how can any man of sense,
who knows that life is made up of use, of service, of work;

how can he take such partner?

He must be desperate to unite himself for life with such a deformed,
fettered, half-breathing ornament.

If I were in the matrimonial market, I might marry
a woman that had but one arm, or one eye,
or no eyes at all,
if she suited me otherwise; but
so long as God permitted me to retain my senses,
I could never join my fortunes with those of a woman
with a small waist.

A small waist!

I am a physiologist, and know what
a small waist

Taken from the 1871 book Our girls by Dio Lewis. Submitted by John Rodzvilla.

16 September 2013

Delineated Invitation

You may come whenever the library is open.
No prior contact is needed.

You may use any open computer in the library.
No log-in is required.

You may use your own laptop, if it has a wireless card.
However, you will have to go to the Plaza level

to register for walk-in permissions.
A login window may pop up.

Please log in as GUEST.
A guest has access to all resources.

Monday through Friday, between 7 AM and 5 PM,
you must use visitor parking.

After 5 PM, and on weekends,
you may park in any non-restricted lot.

Instructions for library usage provided on the website of librarian and educator Susanna Cowan, September 2008. Submitted by Dawn Corrigan.

13 September 2013


You, hear me! Give this
fire to that old man. Pull the
black worm off the bark
and give it to the mother.
No spitting in the ashes.

Ancient words, according to Linguists identify 15,000-year-old ‘ultraconserved words’, The Washington Post, 16 May 2013. 'And' removed from last line to satisfy tanka form. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

11 September 2013

The Empty Bell

No spring this evening
It is indeed autumn that returns
Face diluted in water

The lights are all out
Nothing stays anymore
Not a footprint
Nothing but blue spots in the corner of a sheet
The color which night decomposes

Rise up carcass and walk

Index of first lines in Pierre Reverdy: Selected Poems, translated by Kenneth Rexroth (New Directions, 1969). Submitted by Howie Good.

09 September 2013

They’re not grateful any more

It used to be a very unique and
blessed experience to be able to
experience theatre and to go to
see it and only the most highest-class
people in Shakespearean times would be
let into the theatre and everyone
else would have to watch it in the square.
Nobody feels that way any more. It’s
so easily accessible on the
Internet it’s treated like McDonald’s,
it’s treated like trash...

I’m not a French fry,
I’m foie gras.

Taken from the transcription of an interview with Lady Gaga posted on How Upsetting, 2nd September 2013. Submitted by Marika.

06 September 2013

I, Emily Dickinson

I am afraid to own a body
I am alive I guess
I am ashamed, I hide
I asked no other thing

I bet with every wind that blew
I breathed enough to take the trick
I bring an unaccustomed wine
I came to buy a smile today

I can wade grief
I cannot be ashamed
I cannot buy it, ‘tis not sold
I cannot dance upon my toes

I cannot live with you
I cannot meet the spring unmoved
I cannot see my soul but know ‘tis there
I cannot want it more

I can’t tell you but you feel it
I cautious scanned my little life
I could bring you jewels had I a mind to
I could die to know

I could not drink it, sweet
I could not prove the years had feet
I could suffice for him, I knew
I counted till they danced so

I cried at pity, not at pain
I cross till I am weary
I did not reach thee
I died for beauty, but was scarce

I dreaded that first robin so
I dwell in possibility
I envy seas whereon he rides
I fear a man of frugal speech

I felt a cleaving in my mind
I felt a funeral in my brain
I felt my life with both my hands
I fit for them

I found the words to every thought
I gained it so
I gave myself to him
I got so I could take his name

I groped for him before I knew
I had a daily bliss
I had a guinea gold
I had been hungry all the years

I had no cause to be awake
I had no time to hate
I had not minded walls
I had some things that I called mine

I had the glory – that will do
I have a bird in spring
I have a king who does not speak
I have never seen “Volcanoes”

I have no like but this
I haven’t told my garden yet
I heard a fly buzz when I died
I heard as if I had no ear

I held a jewel in my fingers
I hide myself within my flower
I keep my pledge
I knew that I had gained

I know a place where summer strives
I know lives, I could miss
I know of people in the grave
I know some lonely houses off the road

I know suspense – it steps so terse
I know that he exists
I know where wells grow, droughtless wells
I learned at least what home could be

I like a look of agony
I like to see it lap the miles
I live with him, I see his face
I lived on dread

I lost the world the other day
I made slow riches but my gain
I make his crescent fill or lack
I many times thought peace had come

I meant to find her when I came
I meant to have but modest needs
I measure every grief I meet
I met a king this afternoon

I never felt at home below
I never hear that one is dead
I never hear the word “escape”
I never lost as much but twice

I never saw a moor
I never told the buried gold
I noticed people disappeared
I often passed the village

I pay in satin cash
I play at riches to appease
I prayed at first a little girl
I read my sentence steadily

I reason earth is short
I reckon when I count at all
I robbed the woods
I rose because he sank

I saw no way – the heavens were stitched
I saw that the flake was on it
I saw the wind within her
I see thee better in the dark

I see thee clearer for the grave
I send two sunsets
I send you a decrepit flower
I shall keep singing

I shall know why, when time is over
I shall not murmur if at last
I should have been too glad, I see
I should not dare to be so sad

I should not dare to leave my friend
I showed her heights she never saw
I sing to use the waiting
I sometimes drop it, for a quick

I started early, took my dog
I stepped from plank to plank
I stole them from a bee
I sued the news, yet feared the news

I suppose the time will come
I taste a liquor never brewed
I tend my flowers for thee
I think I was enchanted

I think just how my shape will rise
I think that the root of the wind is water
I think the hemlock likes to stand
I think the longest hour of all

I think to live may be a bliss
I thought that nature was enough
I thought the train would never come
I tie my hat, I crease my shawl

I took my power in my hand
I took one draught of life
I tried to think a lonelier thing
“I want” – it pleaded all its life

I was a phoebe, nothing more
I was the slightest in the house
I watched her face to see which way
I watched the moon around the house

I went to heaven
I went to thank her
I worked for chaff and earning wheat
I would distil a cup

I would not paint a picture
I years had been from home

All the lines beginning with the first person pronoun 'I' from the Index of First Lines, The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, Edited by Thomas H. Johnson (Little, Brown and Company, 1960). Submitted by J.R. Solonche.

02 September 2013

Fall in love, or be asphyxiated

At certain points, reading
the work can even be said
to resemble the act of
making love to a
three-hundred-pound woman.
Once she gets on top,
it’s all over.

Fall in love, or
be asphyxiated.

Taken from Norman Mailer's 1998 New York Review of Books review of Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full, posted on Futility Closet. Submitted by Marika.

23 August 2013

That was a woman

The other day I saw a woman in an omnibus
open a satchel and take out a purse,
close the satchel and open the purse,
take out a penny and close the purse,
open the satchel and put in the purse.

Then she gave the penny to the conductor
and took a halfpenny in exchange.

Then she opened the satchel and took out the purse,
closed the satchel and opened the purse,
put in the halfpenny and closed the purse,
opened the satchel and put in the purse,
closed the satchel and locked both ends.

Then she felt to see
if her back hair was all right,
and it was all right,
and she was all right.

From The Windsor Magazine, November 1907, via Futility Closet. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

21 August 2013

Blue Sunday

When I look in the mirror
Who is there?

Shadow kisses, shadow love.
Time like glass.

Nobody but me
Can know the sorrow
That wrings me.

The lightning does not go out.

I wish I could be
The cherry
As spring comes on.

From the index of first lines in Kenneth Rexroth, New Poems (New Directions, 1974). Submitted by Howie Good.

19 August 2013

Smells Like Team Spirit

Mountains are the earth’s muscles.
If your lady friends ever summit
the actual Matterhorn, they’ll think,
“This mountain smells just like
(insert your name)’s armpit."

Is there a better image

than one of those landlords
that live in outer space

and never just “stops by”
to make sure the refrigerator
has been cleaned?

It’s a rhetorical question.

You can send your armpits
to where they will smell
like palm trees and sunshine,

the exotic islands of Fiji
walking off into the sunset
with live Komodo shoes.

While other men
may choose

to transport
via minivans, bikes
or filthy taxis,

you choose
to turn invisible,

both hands
raised triumphantly
in the air.

Compiled from phrases found on the Old Spice website. Submitted by Howie Good.

14 August 2013

Watched the Tour de France then went for a walk on Cotswold Edge

Cinnabar Moths as
exuberantly coloured
as cycling jerseys.

From a Tweet by @DomForestry, 21 July 2013. Submitted by Ailsa Holland.

12 August 2013


I am going to be a bit of a crush on you
and your lovely email address and
password for the first time today
and get a different thing to do it
for you to the gin bar in the UK who
are you a call on the anti-Russia
LGBT backlash the UK and Ireland
and the other day and night and
I am a beautiful person to person
who is the best address to to
the café now and then you came to
the the the the the the the
the the the the the the the
the the the the the the the

Text created by accepting all the predictive text suggestions made by the Swiftkey typing app, 11th August 2013. Submitted by Marika Rose.

09 August 2013


Cambodian rival parties probe Michelle
Knight held captive for a decade 6 Children;

suicide-attack Doctors treat world
police, standoff merchants press, twist settlement;

pre-Islamic Bahrain filming Al Pachino movie,
Chicago building nears completion in Shanghai;

Giant octopus hunting Puget Sound World;
New York selling Boston, Globe; John Henry

deals to buy Boston, Globe, woman, voices, sons,
New Zealand, botulism, the sun set, a northernmost city;

Hollywood baby abandoned; inmates strike against California
archaeologists looking to begin again might be too late.

From the Twitter stream of the Associated Press, 2 August 2013. Some punctuation altered to recreate the ambiguity of a rolling Twitter feed. Submitted by M.K. Sukach.

07 August 2013

May the punishment fit the crime





A Yahoo! news headline. Submitted by JR Solonche.

05 August 2013

Deep Blue

To my shame, I prefer playing chess
against a computer than a human opponent.
It’s less risky. There is no shame
in defeat. Cheating is not unethical.
Attention to it can be sporadic.
You can simply suspend
a game or start over if
you think you are going to lose.
Even when I am beaten soundly by
a computer opponent, I don’t feel
outwitted; instead I take away a
feeling that my thinking has not become
sufficiently machine-like to compete,
which is more reassuring than anything else.
I get the gratifying feeling
that being lousy at chess is
a mark of my indelible humanity.
This despite the fact that I
am playing computer chess because
I can’t bear the pressure of human interaction.

Taken from En Passant, a blog post published by The New Enquiry, 27th July 2013. Submitted by Marika.

02 August 2013

Forty miles

Christ I remember this.
I was living in Leeds
And had the tidiest girlfriend
In York you could imagine.

I used to wake up
On Friday mornings
And put this on;
I was only forty miles away.

What days.
What beautiful proof of God she was.
Beautiful, smiley,
Shapely beauty.

I’ll never forget.

Comment on Youtube video 40 miles by Congress. Submitted by Ben Mellor.

29 July 2013

The year of living (dangerously)

It was the year I came out
and had a fling with a gay Maori
the year a friend nearly died of Guillain barre syndrome
the year I met a man who had
a decidedly unsavoury relationship with his dog
the year I saw waterfalls streaming down the sides of Uluru
the year I had a fight with a wild kangaroo
over a $1 box of out of date Pokemon cereal
the year two of my best friends had their lesbian wedding
the year I tried special K (nudge nudge wink wink)
provided by a Welsh drug dealer called Elfed
the year I travelled around with friends in a van
(named bubbles after a local drag queen at the Imperial Hotel
the starting point of Pricilla queen of the desert)
It was all madness but pure gold
Everyone should keep a journal
I’d like to turn it into a book
but no one would believe me

Taken from the comments section of a Guardian article on keeping a journal, 18th July 2013. Some punctuation omitted. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

22 July 2013

What Goes Wrong With Poems

Tom once told me
a poem had to capture
his attention
in the first four lines.

Or perhaps it wasn’t four.
Perhaps it was within
the first twenty words.
Or perhaps I can’t remember
precisely what he said
and am wilfully recreating
the memory.

But I am sure he spoke
about our shared expectation
that poetry (Poetry),
that finest form of writing,

should do something
dynamic early on.

Taken from a blog post on the Happenstance Press website, 14th July 2013. Submitted by Angi Holden.

17 July 2013

Broken bones

Baby chicks hatch out of eggs
Smoke goes up a chimney
Chess is a kind of game

Spilt ink makes a splotch
Broken bones can be set in a splint
Rain splashes into puddles

The lamb has a woolly coat
The carving knife is long and sharp
A wren is a small brown bird

Sentences out of my homework book from when I was six. We had to put words into sentences three at a time; the resulting stanzas were haiku like and a little sinister. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

15 July 2013

Blessed be he

His frame is new,
his breast is new,
his penis is new,
his head is of tin,
his teeth are those of a lion,
his eyes are (those) of an eagle,
and he sees like an eagle.

A benediction composed for Hattusli II, King of the Hittites, taken from Stalin's Moustache. Submitted by Marika.

12 July 2013

Let's do it

Brian Roberson

Since I have already said
all I need to say
to all my loved ones,
I'm not going to say anything to y'all at this time ...
So this is my statement.

To all of the racist white folks in America
that hate black folks
and to all of the black folks in America
that hate themselves:
the infamous words
of my famous legendary brother, Matt Turner:
"Y'all kiss my black ass."

Let's do it.

David Long

Ah, just ah sorry ya'll.
I think I’ve tried everything I could
to get in touch with ya'll
to express how sorry I am.
I never was right after that incident happened ...

I was raised by the California Youth Authority,
I can't really pinpoint where it started,
what happened,
but really believe that's just the bottom line,
what happened to me was in California.
I was in their reformatory schools and penitentiary,
but ah they create monsters in there.
That's it, I have nothing else to say.

Thanks for coming, Jack.

Dennis Dowthitt

I am so sorry
for what y'all had to go through ...
if I was y'all, I would have killed me.
You know?
I am really so sorry about it,
I really am.
I got to go sister, I love you.
Y'all take care and God bless you.

Gracie was beautiful
and Tiffany was beautiful.
You had some lovely girls and I am sorry.
I don't know what to say.

All right, Warden, let's do it.

Charlie Livingston

You all brought me here to be executed,
not to make a speech.

That's it.

From Last words of prisoners on death row, The Guardian, 2 July 2013. Submitted by Ailsa Holland.

08 July 2013


‘beautiful’ changing to ‘good’ after thirty
to be kept busy
capacity for sex
escaping from men
locking up; but who will guard the guardians?

Taken from the subheadings under "women" in the index of Michael Montaigne's The Essays: A Selection (Penguin: 1994), p445. Submitted by Jenny Williams.

03 July 2013

The Judicial Reasoning Behind My Uncle’s Two-Year Sentence

The reason I hesitate to give you the full maximum
is that although there is a charge at Fergus Falls against you,
I must consider you are innocent of that until you are
proven guilty, and these crimes that you have committed,
outside of this juvenile crime, you haven’t used aggressive
you haven’t used a gun,
you haven’t hit a man over the head.

Also, I am going to consider that you have plead guilty
and have saved the State some money in trying you
although the County Attorney is of the opinion that he would
just as soon try you and all the rest of them.
He doesn’t think you have a chance in the world
of ever getting out of it.

I am going to take into consideration the fact that
I can’t say that you have committed an aggressive crime;
if you had, I would give you the very limit I possibly could,
because I don’t think the court should monkey around
with a man that hits anyone over the head.

Court Report, Hennepin County, Minnesota, Fourth Judicial District Court, October 23, 1958. Pages 23 & 24. Obtained through the Minnesota Historical Society Library. Submitted by Kelly Nelson.

01 July 2013

Perfect Parents

You know the sort.

He's baking organic vegetable snacks
while she's teaching the two-year-old
how to count in Catalan.
They organised the right school
moments after conception.
They know everything,
you know nothing.

Their baby has never cried,
never thrown up on the hire car,
it never even really seemed to be a baby at all,
more like a middle-aged Archers' fan
hidden in a macrame shawl.

A glass of white wine the size of Greenland
has been poured, it's late in the evening,
they're coming across the room to share
some of their worldly wisdom,
to pass on the secrets of their special way.
They want to give you the benefit of their expertise.
You don't want to do it like that…

And they just can't resist giving you
that little special bit of advice
picked up from an old French villager.

Just learn how to say non.

Taken from a BBC article, 10 types of irritating advice for parents, 28 June 2013. Submitted by Angi Holden.

28 June 2013


When I was young, there was one kind of prosciutto.
It was made in the winter, by hand, and aged for two years.
It was sweet when you smelled it.
A profound perfume.

If it's too warm, the aging process never begins.
The meat spoils.
If it's too dry, the meat is ruined.
It needs to be damp but cool.

The summer is too hot.
In the winter—that's when you make salumi.
Your prosciutto.
Your soppressata.
Your sausages.

An old Italian butcher talking about making prosciutto, via Bill Buford, according to Wikipedia. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

26 June 2013


Magnetic Boys Talk

boots glue monster scary bones
racing moon helicopter aeroplane
tractor money lorry wizard conkers
frogs sticks mud dirt spiders snails
stones bubbles sweets flags magic
pond string grass rugby bug dogs
caterpillar cobweb worms dinosaur
dragon bike scooter forest treasure
climbing swinging skeleton running
ghost trees swimming lawnmower
treehouse blue football chocolate car

Magnetic Girls Talk

clothes hairband heart love sparkle
perfume beads necklace furry lipstick
ribbon handbag wand glitter fairies
fluff candy flowers wings sherbet
bubbles sweets pink make-up skipping
magic dancing ballet bunnies rainbow
ladybird lemonade stars sky shoes
chocolate doll party secret diary hair
jewels princess queen tiara ice-cream
teddy music sunshine birds butterfly
sugar angel diamond cooking friends

'Favourite Boys words' and 'favourite Girls words' as found on fridge magnets, via The Kraken Wakes. Submitted by Simon Williams.

24 June 2013

A Pet Rock

You can look at the rock

and call it a pet,
even though it does nothing.
God does not have to live up to prayers.

He does not have to
solve world hunger, war, poverty.
He just has to sit there

and you are content.

Taken from "God, The Pet Rock", a blogpost on Submitted by Tanya J. Reed.

21 June 2013

German Undershirts

Just the way they feel against my skin
it must be some special kind of German cotton
I don’t know
I put one on
it slides over my skin
and immediately I see a whole world
that city where I lived
where I did so many things
like Oz, a strange place
but most of its was beautiful!
I see my flat where I used to live
staying up all night with music
and dancing and crazy things
I smell the coal again
and the snow
just from this undershirt
I bought the child’s size
Germans are much bigger than I am
they’re really big ladies
they’re like beautiful Walkyries
I missed my German undershirts
then I found them on the internet
made in Germany
the quality is unbelievable
they last forever

From a product review on German Amazon. Punctuation removed. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

19 June 2013

Birth of the Suwannee

Cypress trees,
bottle-shaped, grotesque,
reach from the wine-colored water,
form a canopy. Light is weird and green.

Banners of
Spanish moss hide
the feathery foliage of
living trees, cover up dead stumps.

Through the vast
drowned swamp two tiny
streams creep sluggishly to join
at last before a spit of quaking land.

From Suwannee River Strange Green Land, Cecile Hulse Matschat (1938). Submitted by Dawn Corrigan.

17 June 2013

Fundamentally Curious

It’s an act so
immense, so apparently monstrous and yet
deeply personal that it’s
impossible to judge.
He erased himself, and all
those 8,000 souls, for

one woman.

Because he loved her.

There’s something
in that kind of love, something that asks
for so much
it can’t possibly be returned,

or ignored.

Taken from an AV Club review of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Children of Time". "Possible" has been corrected to "possibly" in line 14. Submitted by Wesley Brown.

14 June 2013


fructose sugar
ascorbic acid
citric acid

and more!

From Semen Health Benefits: It Really Does Have All The Nutrients Of A Protein Shake, Huffington Post, 5 June 2013. Punctuation changed. Submitted by Richard Eno.

12 June 2013

Advice from Metta World Peace to Jeremy Lin

Yeah, we talk
about him. We think
he needs a better
haircut. I don’t
like that style.
You’re in New
York, the fashion
capital. Change
your haircut, OK?
You’re a star now.
Wear some
shades. Shades,
OK? Put down
the nerdy Harvard
book glasses. Put on
some black shades,
OK? With some leather
pants. Change
your style.
You’re Jeremy Lin,
for godsakes…
You’re in New
York City. Put
your hat on
backwards. Come
to practice with
your pants sagging
and just tell
them, I don’t feel
like practicing.
You know? Practice?
And wear
an Iverson jersey.
Come to practice
with a cigar. Lit.
I’m Jeremy Lin.

From Metta to Lin: Get some swag, CBS Sports, 10 February 2012. Submitted by Brett Foster.

10 June 2013


I want better for Tai
I want just a normal life
Just where I can get up in the morning
Get Tai off to school or whatever
Get about my housework
Do you know what I mean?

Do things with Tai at the weekend
Save up for holidays
Do you know what I mean?

I want it to be where eventually
I’m off the methadone and everything
Maybe even go back to college
Do a counsellors course
I’ll get a little office job or summat

Just normal
Do you know what I mean?

My partner died
He was thirty-seven years old when he died
To see him come off heroin
get his life sorted out
and then to go on drink
and then to die
through drink
it’s hard
It’s really hard

Life throws some things at you sometimes,
don’t it?
And you’ve just got to get on with it
You’ve got to be strong
And if you’re not strong,
and you’re weak
you fall apart,
don’t you?

Yeah, but it’s because I can
because I can do it
and I wanna do it
I can
so I don’t give a fuck
Do you know what I mean?

Do you know what, yeah?
that’s sticking up for your mates that
She’d booted her in the stomach
and winded her
so I just went over
I was just like

Dropped her
Banged her
Fucked her up
Stamped on her head
and everything

Since I’ve lost me kids
I don’t care anymore
What else have I go to lose
apart from my head?
I regret the prostitution
and not fighting a bit harder
for me kids
but you can’t turn the clock back,
can you?
If you could,
we’d all have perfect lives,
wouldn’t we?

Taken from episode 4 of the Channel 4 series Skint. Submitted by Lisa Oliver.

07 June 2013

All Correct

We anthropologists
have to be
as gender neutral
in our language
as possible.

That's why I say critters a lot.

From a college classroom lecture, overhead in the hallway. Submitted by J.R Solonche.

05 June 2013


House to which the high tide comes
House unknown
Fort house
Grizzly bear house
Grizzly bear’s mouth’s house
House making a noise
House of dishes
Box house
House unknown
House of contentment
House unknown
House of the stormy sea
Grizzly bear house (again)
House unknown
House unknown
Thunder and lightning house
Shining house
Dugout house - Chief Skidegate’s house
House in which people must shout to be heard
Eldjiwus’s house
Chief’s house
Raven’s house
House chiefs peep at from a distance
Mountain house
House on which storm clouds make a noise
Killer-whale house
Always wanting more house
Mosquito hawk house
House people are ashamed to look at - it is so great
Fin house

From a diorama in the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa, noted around 2000. Translations of house names from the original native American dialect of the Haida people. Submitted by Simon Williams.

03 June 2013

I hope...

I hope you always get your squash to water ratio wrong;
the new carpet in your office means that you constantly get static shocks;
you approach someone in the street and you both move to the same side
and the top comes off your salt pot and you get too much on your chips -
not loads, just too much for them to be nice.

I hope you’re offered a Revel and get the coffee one;
the next delivery you’re to receive between 8am-6pm arrives at 5.59;
in the middle of the night you need a wee, and in the dark end up standing on a lego brick
and you make toast one day, really looking forward to toast and jam,
and don’t have any jam.

I hope you accidentally get given a foreign coin in your change;
you discover the milk is off only once you’ve added it to your tea;
you can’t play your favourite pentatonic song because you’ve removed the black keys
and you ask for The Wicker Man on dvd for your birthday
and get the Nicolas Cage remake.

I hope your tattoo artist can’t spell Britain.

Selected from tweets with the hashtag #Edlmisfortunes. Semicolons have been added to the first two lines of each stanza; 'and' has been added to the beginning of line 4. Submitted by Angi Holden.

31 May 2013

The Shape of a Dead Man

I have the shape of a dead man
on the wall of my cell.
It was left behind by the last occupant.
He stood against the wall
and traced around himself with a pencil,
then shaded it in.

It looks like a very faint shadow,
it’s barely noticeable until you see it.
It took me nearly a week to notice it for the first time,
But once you see it you can’t un-see it.

I find myself lying on my bunk
and looking at it several times a day.
It just seems to draw the eyes like a magnet.
God only know what possessed him to do such a thing
but I can’t bring myself to wash it off.

Since they executed him,
it’s the only trace of him left.
He’s been in his grave almost five years now,
yet his shadow still lingers.

He was no-one and nothing.
All that remains of him is a handful of old rape charges
and a man-shaped pencil sketch.

From the diary of Damien Echols - an inmate on death row for 18 years. Via How to Survive Death Row in The Observer magazine, 26th May. 'And' omitted from the eighth line. Submitted by Lisa Oliver.

29 May 2013

Hello for people

Hello for people
who play music
because it feels
so good
and is very fun,
but also
want to share it
live a lot
and get free french fries
Let's play your
front yard.

From a Craigslist ad for musicians, 4 April 2013. Submitted by Cathy Barber.

27 May 2013

It will soon be dark

Writing is
excessive drudgery. It
crooks your back,
it dims your sight,
it twists your stomach
and your sides.

As the harbour is welcome
to the sailor, so is
the last line
to the scribe.

Marginalia from medieval manuscripts, posted on Wesley Hill's tumblr, 13th April 2012. Submitted by Marika.

24 May 2013

Autoverse 2

More than iron, more than lead,
more than gold I need electricity.
I need it more than I need lamb
or pork or lettuce or cucumber.
I need it for my dreams.

More poetry from the output of RACTER, an early 1980s computer programmed to write English prose at random. Via Futility Closet. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

22 May 2013


Bill sings to Sarah.
Sarah sings to Bill.
Perhaps they will do
other dangerous things together.
They may eat lamb
or stroke each other.
They may chant of their difficulties
and their happiness.
They have love
but they also have typewriters.

From the output of RACTER, an early 1980s computer programmed to write English prose at random. Via Futility Closet. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

20 May 2013

Cry me a rainbow

Down by the Fairway waterfront
where all of those artist
studios are the surge
broke into the first floor studios
drawing out paint and chalk across
the whole walkway, splashing
it back up against
the side of the building,
wave by wave,
making this insane rainbow
colored splatter paint all
across the Red Hook
shore. There must have been
mostly red paint
because the ocean in that
little alcove has turned a deep maroon.

Taken from a letter describing the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Submitted by Marika.

17 May 2013

The Wisdom of the East

The face
of nature

all of

life’s ups
and downs.

Carve your
name on

your heart,
not in

You are

the center
of attention

you go.

Three slips of paper inside fortune cookies from a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, New York City. Submitted by J.R. Solonche.

15 May 2013

Cold hands

Feel me 'ands.
Go on, feel em.
I've got gloves in me bag,
can't wear em.
Make me 'ands cold.
Got em off our Mandy for Christmas.
I'll wear them next week though.
Going down to see our Mandy.
Look at me fingers.
Blue wi' cold they are.
Feel me 'ands.
They're freezing.

A customer in my place of work, January 2013. Submitted by Pauline.

13 May 2013

Life With Only Its Head Out Of Water

Why should we
a diet of
weak poisons, a home in insipid
surroundings, a circle
of acquaintances
who are not
our enemies, the noise
of motors with
just enough
relief to prevent

Who would want to live in a world which is just not

Taken from Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (Houghton Mifflin, 1962), p 12. Submitted by Wesley Brown.

10 May 2013


You haven’t forgotten
have you?
i hope you stay well.

will you be my valentine?
there are no
no fee to pay

this chance comes just once
in a lifetime
this chance comes
just once
in a lifetime

Svetlana is waiting.

A compilation of various subject lines from my Spam box. Submitted by Mr. Wilson.

08 May 2013

Kinship and Community


In our turning we do this, that or the other. I’ve lived in this turning for fifty years,
and here I intend to stay. They’re new here they’ve only been here eighteen years.

I’ve got friends at work and friends at sport and friends I have a drink with. I know
all the people around here, and I’m not invited into anyone else’s home either.

It doesn’t seem right somehow. Your home’s your own.

They’re all related in this street. It’s awful, you can’t talk to anyone in the street about any of the others,
but you find it’s a relative. You have to be very careful.


It’s friendly here. You can’t hardly ever go out without meeting someone you know. Often it’s someone you were at school with.

Since we’ve had the children I’ve got no more friends – outside the family I mean.
I don’t see my best friend much. She’s married too, and she’s always round

her Mum’s like I’m always round mine. Since we’ve had the baby, I’ve got no men friends – outside the family, that is.

Direct quotes from the research commentary in Family and Kinship in East London, by Michael Young and Peter Willmott (Pelican Books, 1957). Submitted by Peter Raynard.

06 May 2013

Mythologise Anything

A recent exhibition of the work
of American artist Jeff Koons was
called Everything's Here. I subscribe to that
worldview: you can live on "lipgloss and
cigarettes". There are more references to
TV shows and showbiz entertainers

in my songs than references to the
Greek myths but it's all valid. You can
mythologise anything if you put
your mind to it. In a way it's more fun
to look for profundity in something
that's not designed to have it. Or maybe

that's just awkwardness on my part – I do
have a tendency towards that. When I
was nine years old, we were learning how to
draw bar charts at school when the teacher
decided to construct one based on the
times we got up in the morning to get

ready for school. For some reason I was
determined to have a bar on the graph
all to myself and so claimed to rise at
6am every morning (which was an
obvious lie as I was usually at
least five minutes late each day). The teacher

was sceptical but let it go and, much
to my satisfaction, I got my own
exclusive bar. I don't know why I was
so determined to be different from all
the other members of my class, but it
felt important to me. Perhaps it still

is. But I'd like to think that it was more
than mere cussedness on my part, that it
was the start of a sensibility,
a desire to look in the less obvious
places – less obvious because they were
right under your nose. Pulp was the perfect

name for the band because this was an attempt
to find meaning in the mass-produced and
throwaway world that was, after all, what
we were surrounded by on a daily
basis. To sift through and find some beauty
in it all. Take a look – it is there.

Taken from Jarvis Cocker: the secrets of Pulp's songs, The Guardian, 16th October 2011. Submitted by Marika.

03 May 2013


fo shizzle ma nizzle
is a bastardization of

fo' sheezy mah neezy
which is a bastardization of

for sure mah nigga
which is a bastardization of

I concur with you whole heartedly
my African american brother

Definition 3 for 'fo shizzle ma nizzle' in the Urban Dictionary. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

01 May 2013

I was playing D&D when I Came Out

and I don't know if
I would have
been able to

had it not been
for the positive influence

that the game had
on me.


it taught me
to be self-reliant.
It taught me to not

stand around


for some man to rescue me.

It taught me to always,

check the ceiling
before entering a room.

From the LiveJournal blog of wyrmwwd. Submitted by Veronica.

29 April 2013


Easy Work! Excellent Pay!
Must be able to service the greater Northwestern area
Must have ability to climb poles
Must be willing to work varying hours and days

Must be a highly motivated, honest and aggressive self-starter
Must be able to service the greater Northwestern area
Must be clean, reliable, good with people, and have good morals
Must be willing to work varying hours and days

Must be hardworking and have own truck and tools.
Must be a highly motivated, honest and aggressive self-starter
Must be a skilled, "hands-on" person with a desire to create quality product
Must be clean, reliable, good with people, and have good morals

Assemble products at home.
Must be hardworking and have own truck and tools.
Must be fun, and energetic with a customer-service attitude
Must be a skilled, "hands-on" person with a desire to create quality product

Must be an aggressive, motivated, enthusiastic, retired military officer
Assemble products at home.
No experience or training required.
Must be fun, and energetic with a customer-service attitude

No phone calls please.
Must be an aggressive, motivated, enthusiastic retired military officer
Must be bondable and know federal regulations
No experience or training required.

Must be familiar with procedures and equipment
No phone calls please.
Must be trustworthy, dependable and possess leadership ability
Must be bondable and know federal regulations

Prefer high school graduate
Must be familiar with procedures and equipment
Earn money at home reading books.
Must be trustworthy, dependable and possess leadership ability

Must comprehend English well and be in good physical shape
Prefer high school graduate
Must be an ambitious, level-headed problem-solver
Must be trustworthy, dependable and possess leadership ability

Must be friendly and zippy
Must comprehend English well and be in good physical shape
Must have a neat and clean appearance.
Must be an ambitious, level-headed problem-solver

Will train.
Must be friendly and zippy
We want some hard working, clear thinking, basically good people.
Must have a neat and clean appearance.

Must be outgoing, ambitious, patient, and work well with children
Will train.
Must be dependable, enthusiastic, reliable, highly motivated, articulate and well-dressed
We want some hard working, clear thinking, basically good people.

$4.50 per hour (depending on experience)
Must be outgoing, ambitious, patient, and work well with children
Must be well-groomed and able to drive a stick-shift.
Must be dependable, enthusiastic, reliable, highly motivated, articulate and well-dressed

Easy Work! Excellent Pay!
Must have ability to climb poles

Taken from the want ads in the San Francisco Chronicle, 1991, and arranged into a pantoum. First published in Trade Trax, the newsletter of an organisation called Tradeswomen. Submitted by Lita Kurth.

26 April 2013

Hanging Lie

Looks at the ground
So little light left
No wind at all
It has to happen now

Avenue of humanity
Red, clamouring together

What have I done?

All words taken from commentary of the final day of the US Augusta Masters golf tournament. BBC Radio 5, 10.30–11.00pm BST, 14 April 2013. Submitted by Winston Plowes.

24 April 2013

More Pigs Occur


The first thing we see
is a plastic trash bag
with some paper chains spilling out.
A man
in a green t-shirt grabs it and deposits it
in a dumpster.
A boy
on a bike watches him.
A man uproots
some plants in a greenhouse
and harvests the squiggling maggot-y worms in the potting soil.
He puts a couple of them into medicinal capsules. Mirrors figure

something happens to Kris.
The man
puts her under a spell. She sees, tastes, feels
and does whatever he tells her to, but she can't
look at him because he says

his head is made of the same substance as the sun.

Her mind records
entire conversations, and the complete text
of Henry David Thoreau's Walden.
Another man collects, records
and plays sounds
and performs synchronous surgery on Kris
and a pig, apparently transferring a parasite
from one to the other, establishing
an indefinable psychic link
between them.

Kris encounters Jeff
on a train.
They connect. Their thoughts
get mixed up, which is to say that they're both convinced
that some of their memories have been
appropriated by the other. Their conversations
in several different places at once, or perhaps
at different times
in the same place.

Or different times at once. Some orchids growing
on tree roots
by the edge of a stream
change color.

More pigs occur.

Some association
is evinced between them, Kris
and other somnambulists.

Kris is
and afraid.

From a review of the film Upstream Colour,, 11 April 2013. A few subclauses left out. Submitted by Wesley Brown.

22 April 2013

The new wasteland

This is how Americans live today
drinking coffee made from snow
and living in tents and
buying guns to kill each other
especially children
some people complain about the guns

These trees are full of snow
You’ll see there are no birds
they’ve been eaten by the people
who live in these tents and corridors
this man awaits heroin
their houses blow down very easily
and they have to live in tents like these

Again, there are no birds in the trees
apart from these
which will be eaten on Tuesday
they are yummy
You can also eat the snow
of which there is plenty

These people lie huddled together
with their dead friends in blue body bags
drinking coffee-cups full of local snow
They are very good friends
They are together in adversity

In other parts of America
often disguised as foreign countries in Europe
people live the same terrible life
This man, a former Republican candidate for Oregon
is now having to get coffee made of snow
from these trucks
Many Americans have to live like this daily
and are entitled to one cup most days
The weather is freezing
but the hot snow tastes nice
They enjoy it immensely

Meanwhile in the major offices
factories and railway stations
people sit around
under expensive adverts for Dell computers
drinking snow from plastic cups
People pass by, not caring
for they are all in the same situation
These telephones no longer work
There is no one to call

This is how they live in modern day America
Huddled together – the poor, the cold, the lonely
and the homosexual
Mean time these people queued up for handouts
from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
and were each given a cake

Taken from a North Korean propaganda film. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

19 April 2013

Commuter Chat

I have a vision of the universe
– because nobody can find the end of it –
as stuffed in a glass jar
on someone's desk,
maybe God's desk
but a desk, anyway.

I think the white noise on TV
is the leftover noise
from the Big Bang.

Overheard at Macclesfield station, March 2013. Submitted by Ailsa Holland.

17 April 2013

The Secret Life of Daniel Craig, Poet

Awake at dawn with nothing to do.
I don't want to think about it.

Aung San Suu Kyi.

Travel. Home.
It all depends on how you interpret them.

Answering questionnaires.
I don't know if I do.

"Fuck off."
At a free bar.

Opposable toes.

My knees.
Oh, they're just perfect.

Krill. Ink.
Where I live now.

My third nipple.
A good mustache. A good mustache.

E.E. Cummings and Kurt Vonnegut.
Maggie and Milly and Molly and May.

Blisters. Quickly.
"Breathe in... breathe out. Repeat."

Daniel Craig's interview answers in The Proust Smackdown: Three Kings and a Questionnaire, Vanity Fair Magazine, February 2012. Submitted by J.R. Solonche.

15 April 2013


And finally the storm recedes.
Insects begin to stridulate,
just a few at first -- then in their thousands
and countless exotic birds
starting to call out to one another,
their cries reverberating
as if in a giant cathedral.

Taken from episode 3 of BBC Radio 4's Noise: A Human History, written by Berni Krause. Submitted by Stevie Ronnie.

12 April 2013


I miss you. I hark back to the friendship
we used to have, impromptu adventures,
knowing the everyday details of each
other's lives, nights in watching trashy TV.

I've been there at 3am when you've clutched
my hand and explained he's dependable
and he'll make a great father. I want to
tell you that it's the 21st century

but you don't listen to me any more.
I am impeccably polite. I put on
a rictus grin when you spend an hour
discussing your wedding plans. I am

becoming a souvenir of your past life,
to be gradually discarded for
women you can play doubles tennis with.
I'm happy for you. But I wish you'd call.

From What I'm really thinking: the single friend, The Guardian, 26 January 2013. A few words omitted: 'that' (line 6), 'I know, 'really' (9), 'something' (14); and sub clauses removed in lines 8 and 12. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

10 April 2013

I do like a pleasure every now and again

Sometimes I eat that 'plastic' ham or cheese singles.
I've also read some really (so-called) trashy books.
I have a fondness for Harry Styles and quite like Cheryl Cole.

I must be pretty thick and uneducated,
or so it would seem, despite the fact that
I often eat in 'high-end' restaurants,
read (so-called) literary fiction
and regularly go to the theatre.

I don't want to read 50 Shades,
but don't give a monkey's poop who else reads it.
Read what you like I say, just accept that maybe
I don't want to read it. I have no interest
in reading Austen, Trollope, Eliot or Dickens either –
so my disinterest crosses many boundaries!

As yet, I have not watched Gogglebox,
but I expect that if I do, I may be hooked.

My cranberry sauce usually comes from B&M.
I have cider in the salad drawer,
and I also like my red wine cold - yes, cold –
and usually the bottle has a screw top!

There are loads of books that I don't want to read,
things that I don't want to watch
and places that I don't want to eat in.
However, lots of people do - and surely that's fine?

I like my life, my food and my books to be diverse.

Text from a friend's facebook status, and from her responses to other people's comments on it. Submitted by Angi Holden.

08 April 2013

Four Trees Quartet

Eastern Hemlock

The leaves fall upon drying.
A poor Christmas tree.
Poor quality of wood.

Stonelike hardness of the knots
will chip steel blades.
Lumber taken for pulp.

Useful for railroad ties.
Holds spikes exceptionally well.
Bark rich in tannin.

A tea was once made from leaves
and twigs by woodsmen and Indians.
As fuel, the wood throws sparks.

Japanese Honeysuckle

Fruits eaten
by birds and mammals

and the dense cover
is much used,

but generally speaking
it is a weed.

Smooth Blackhaw

Fruits eaten
by foxes,

and several

Some people

also like them

Bullbrier Greenbrier

Some twigs
may be


Taken from George A. Petrides, A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs (Houghton Mifflin Marcourt, 1973). Submitted by J. R. Solonche.