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28 December 2010

In Case of a German

Between dog and wolf
horse horse tiger tiger
rabbit skins are falling.

A mute eating yellow lotus,
like a bee to a crying face;
thinking about the immortality of the crab.
It rains enough to drink while standing up.

The devil knows more for being old
than for being the devil. He'd steal 

your chickens and beg for eggs.
Speaking of Cao Cao, Cao Cao is here:
he's trying to shit higher than his ass can reach.

Never say that priest is not my dad –
this ain't my first rodeo.
Every creature that walks ends up in a grill.
If you are going to screw me, at least give me 

a kiss, oiling your moustache in anticipation
of the jackfruit tree bearing fruit.

Foreign sayings from a multitude of other languages, including the title (from Polish), all taken from a Reddit discussion about culturally untranslatable phrases started 3 December 2010. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

23 December 2010

Park Life

Took nuts w me to the park today
Squirrel sat on my lap

Closest I'll ever get
To anyone

(Eating out of the palm of my hand...)

Text message from a sister, submitted by Steve Kirk.

21 December 2010


It is always okay
to paint the sky orange
and give cats six legs.

From the blog post What Should a 4 Year Old Know? The first line is one syllable too long for a proper senryu/haiku but close enough. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

16 December 2010

Names Dropped

A! Tis some stale thorn.
I ache rich ballads, M!
I'm stagy when neer.
Live merman: hell.
Awful killin' Erma!
Makz 'n nice compote

Anagrams of eminent authors by Edmund Wilson in 1953, taken from Futility Closet. Submitted by Marika Rose.

14 December 2010

Custom Dictionary

























From the custom dictionary on my phone – these are all the words my phone has learnt from me. Submitted by Jo Bell.

09 December 2010

Fifteen Minutes More

Our French dream is over . . .
and now I fear for our
happy marriage, says
Lauren Booth.

Lauren Booth: I changed my
Facebook profile after
a row and now my husband
is in a coma.

I asked him: 'Do you know
who I am?' reveals
Lauren Booth as her husband
emerges from a coma.

Lauren Booth thanks God her
husband survived a
horrific motorbike
accident but confesses:
The man I loved is dead.

Lauren Booth wrote about
dumping her husband on
Facebook and his terrible
road accident but now
her mother-in-law asks:
Why can't we keep
this in the family?

Lauren Booth: why I hate
my mother and never
want to see her again.

Daily Mail headlines featuring Lauren Booth, collected by the Guardian's Lost in Showbiz blog, 28th October 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

07 December 2010

Last in Translucent

Even the Euro
began pouring into play to
many, leading. Them, they were not realising. You
don't recognise your new problems.
Ridiculed in six weeks prior.
I live, come together and help each other.
The people make nearly all of our racquetball a Guerrier Gordon
I’m just a troll and eastern European
multi-area -
are you good at that?
Seven as the sun.
Ronald book on Dearing committee
once upon
or start flooding in to Western Europe.

asking questions take the altered
e.g. the Tories blame rather half
crosses on grounds of grown ups, windows monuments
he rose to the person.

The result of using new dictation software for the very first time to transcribe an interview, 18 November 2010. Almost none of the words are correct. Submitted by Rachel Helen Smith.

02 December 2010

Planned Engineering Works

Sorry, I am so fucked!
Picc and vic lines down
(At least it sounds funny)
On a bus
will need +1 more bus
or 2 more tubes
Going to be very late
I am so sorry.

Text message sent by a friend running late for dinner, 13th November 2010. Submitted by Fiona Green.

30 November 2010


Make christmas pictures. Make christmas toy lists.
Ete mints pies. Decorate bedroom and hotel.
Dress up toys. Reef up. Watch mupits christmas
charle. Make Santa's house out of lego.

Make christmas cards. Christmas tree or read
christmas story. Watch Narnea. Watch Shreck
the holls. An activity scene out.
Dressing gouns on. Deckarate tree. Play games.

Rein dear sweet thing. Dress Atticus up
as Jeses. Make crackers and biscits.
Play in the snow if there is any.
Take pictures of Robings. Sing Rudeof

the red knose Raindear. Put stockings out.
Put mints pies and drink for Santa.

An advent calendar of 24 things to do before Christmas made by my seven-year-old son, with the numbers removed but in his original order. Penned 26 October 2010. Notes: 'Reef' means wreath; the 'Rein dear sweet thing' is a reindeer-shaped sweet dispenser; Atticus is his baby brother. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

25 November 2010

With This Ring

Diana, the bride
at every royal funeral
and the mourner at
every royal wedding, was
present in more than
just the engagement ring which
sat so heavily
on the hand of this young woman
who must now walk a
mile in her bloodied shoes, on
a road leading who knows where.

Julie Birchill in the Independent, quoted by the Daily Mash, 17th November 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

23 November 2010

Effed Up

Find more friends.
More friends are waiting.

These five friends
found their friends using
the Facebook Friend Finder.
Have you found all of your friends?
Give it a try.

Find friends

Microcopy from Facebook, spotted 9 October 2010. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

18 November 2010

Mr Sweep

Chimney's and stove flues swept
Bird's nests removed
Broken chimney pots replaced
Chimney stack repointing
Cowls fitted
Clean, reliable service
Handyman services also available

Taken from a tradesman's poster found in Aberdeen, spotted on the 12th November 2010. Submitted by Tim.

16 November 2010

All Stand to Sing

Great man, who descended from heaven
Great man, who is a man of deeds.
Savior, supreme leader of the nation
Guiding star of the 21st century.

Leader, great leader,
Great sun of the 21st Century.
Father, beloved father,
Bright Sun of the 21st Century.

Dear leader, who is a perfect incarnation
of the appearance that a leader should have.
Wise leader, father of the nation,
Father of the people, great sun of life.


Beloved and respected father, great
Defender, sun of the nation.
Beloved and respected leader, fate
of the nation, guiding ray of sun.


An evangelical chorus made from the official names of Kim Jong-Il. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

11 November 2010

Don't Speak

I've got nobody to talk to.
Nobody to say, how you feel?
Nobody to say, you ok?
Nobody. You can't talk.
I can only talk to you.
And you're no frigging good,

cos you can't talk back.

It's been really funny, cos in the stillness I've felt
you know
my goodness, you know,
this is me. It's just
it's just me now. I feel kinda stripped bare.
I can't
the only way I can describe it is I feel
tetchy. I feel
every time it gets really quiet I think
I'm out of control.

With all the stillness
I really can look at myself.
I don't know whether you can
whether that's ever happened to you
where you've actually looked in the mirror and
you can kind of see past the eyes. And it's like
meeting a new person.

Right now, right this minute
this is the loneliest I've felt since I was
was at the children's home.

Volunteers on a silent retreat, taken from the BBC's The Big Silence, first broadcast on 22nd October 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

09 November 2010

Cars parked on the pavement

Cars parked on the pavement in Benchill
1 minute ago

Theft of cash from a garage in Salford
1 minute ago

Theft from a car in Bolton
2 minutes ago

Fail to stop collision, two cars, damage only, no injuries, Salford
2 minutes ago

Abandoned car in south Manchester
2 minutes ago

Neighbour dispute in Wigan
2 minutes ago

Harassment by ex-partner in Stockport
2 minutes ago

Neighbour dispute in Rochdale
2 minutes ago

Report of man asleep in toilets in theatre when asked he left
3 minutes ago

Domestic issue in Oldham
3 minutes ago

Antisocial behaviour – youths throwing things at cars in Bolton
3 minutes ago

Report of abandoned animal in Salford
3 minutes ago

Customer refusing to leave shop, Bolton
3 minutes ago

Information regarding an annoying letter
4 minutes ago

Selected from the Greater Manchester Police twitter feed, publishing every event it dealt with over a 24-hour period ending 15 October 2010. Submitted by Nick Asbury.

04 November 2010

Not The Tiger

Begin by not thinking about a jungle
at dusk, then don’t think about a bush
rustling behind you though there is no wind.
Then don’t imagine turning too late, your
helpless shriek cut short by the rushing
onslaught of a powerful stripy carnivore
hurtling at you, its jaws agape. There
are about 3,000 tigers in the wild,
so if you follow this procedure once
every day in a little over 8
years you’ll have not thought about all of them.

How can I not think about tigers? taken from the blog Some Kind of Explanation on the 31st October 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

02 November 2010

Turn of the Century

Jim Higginson, Jeff Pullinger,
New tweet traffic, John Whittaker.
Jo_Bell, scribble mill,
J Willmoth, Stoo Gill,
Woodward (MW), Steph Walker.

M Suryadarma, Seymikins, Jason Davies,
Alastair Cook, Evans_above, Philosophicles;
Ani Dhorchaidhe, johan vdm_tweets, Bruntonspall,
Kiwi_j, Holmes Annie, Phil Harford, man birth control.

Saxicola, Elspeth Murray, Ambit magazine,
Ally Maughan, chris_emslie, TJ Cashman, Dex Brady;
Firebird Poetry, Phill_dolby, Alasdair North,
Stuart Durber, DK Scully, CA Whitworth.

Rutherford, Dreich
Randall Snare, Marika
Rose, Mary Rose Lloyd, Rich Oster

Paul poetry
Perly gates, Joanna
Paterson, Parkers web, Qban

Liz Plane
Lump in the throat
Len Bogorad, Alfrot
Lucie Shuker, Lisa Ansell

Crafty green poet HaikuGirl_, handful of stones Adarro,
Elly green poetry ed snow, Beta Rish Ajodasso.
F green Amy Plenderleith, Bertielicious Jaduperreault.

Emily Hewson Daniel J John, Geoff De Geoff Geoff Stevenson,
Toyedi Shrewmaus N Schonken, Glendronach Ben Hodson.
Caroline crew Tolte C John, Scotbower Vicky Osullivan.

Kaslis_1, Pete Marshall 1
J Flamingo 2, Ninja Grrlz 6

Minute story:

Poetry found one night:
stanzas the poetry editor read.
Write, cook, by leaves we live, design tides,
graft poetry, write 0ut loud, muse…
Hunter, weaponizer, moondust writer,
idyllic poet, mark burdz eye view.

Anon, poetry.


Created from the twitter names of our first 100 followers on Twitter. Capitalization has been changed for some of the names and punctuation added. Among the stanzas there are firsts on Verbatim for some poetic forms: the limerick, the Korean sijo and the Crapsey cinquain. Submitted by Gabriel Smy. Thanks for following.

28 October 2010

Biker's Night

All Welcome
No Matter What You Ride
Fetch it along!
Sports Bikes, Cruisers
Classics, Trikes & Customs
Scooters too

A poster in the window of a Beverley motorbike ship, found 23rd August 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

26 October 2010

Grey on red

The great squirrel, I call it. Lovable,
energetic little bounder that brightens up
any walk in the woods or park.
Not only agile and sweet, but industrious,
planting acorns that grow into mighty oaks.

They didn't want to come here.
They didn't swim the Atlantic.
They were brought in, probably reluctantly,
by British gentlemen who thought they'd look cute
in their estate grounds, gardens and deer parks.

Is it their fault the smaller reds took one look,
turned tail, and fled somewhere safer?
Grey squirrels do not physically attack
red squirrels. They don't even chase them.
They might frighten them a bit, who knows.

The words of 'Bill Oddie, Wildlife Enthusiast' accompanying the BBC News article Black squirrels' slow scamper to dominate, already laid out almost as a poem. 5 October 2010, submitted by Gabriel Smy.

21 October 2010

On Utility

Philosophy is not
meant to be practical.
It is not meant
to have a use.

It does not exist to
make us more productive
girls and boys. It is a
diet of words to feed
our soul by way of
stimulating our mind.
It is not a roast-beef
sandwich, but more the
substance of an
ethereal longing.

Taken from a Lost in Technopolis blog post on the 13th May 2009. Submitted by Marika Rose.

19 October 2010

Les Americains in Paris

N’avez-vous pas des griddle-cakes?
Quelle espèce de dump is this, anyhow?
Appelez-vous cela coffee?

Où est le N.Y. Times?

What’s the matter?
Don’t you understand English?

De tous les pays godams que j’ai vu.

Je n’ai pas vu une belle femme jusqu’à présent.
Ici est où nous used to come
quand j’étais ici pendant la guerre.

Say, ceci est de la bière vrai!

O boy! Deux semaines from tomorrow
nous sail for home. Sogleich wir zu hause sind,
geh ich zum Childs und eine tasse kaffee
und ein glass eiswasser kaufen.

The translated Phrases most in demand by American visitors to Paris, compiled by Robert Benchley, via Futility Closet, 7 October 2010. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

14 October 2010

How r u?

How Gow
Inw Iow

are ape
cre bre

you wot
wou wov

? . , -
! ' @ :

Word suggestions from a Sony Ericsson mobile phone whilst writing a text message on the 14th October, 2010. Subtmitted by Marika Rose, .

12 October 2010

Fool's Parsley

A sonnet

Hedge mustard, hairy tare, mouse-ear-hawkweed,
Long-headed poppy, evening primrose, pale
persicaria, volunteer oilseed
rape, common toadflax, flixweed, field horsetail.
Corn spurrey, coltsfoot, creeping soft-grass, cock's-
foot, common ragwort, cleavers, cut-leaved crane's-
bill, bracken, bramble, black-grass, broad-leaved dock,
black nightshade, dove, Canadian fleabane.
Procumbent pearlwort, prickly lettuce, cow
parsley, fool’s parsley, speedwell, volunteer
potato, spear-leaved orache, prickly sow-
thistle, sun spurge, soft brome, sticky mouse-ear.
Field madder, field forget-me-not, goat's-beard,
Field bindweed, scented mayweed, parsley piert.

Assembled from Garden Organic's list of A-Z weeds by common name. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

07 October 2010


invited me at VOGUE PARIS
90th Anniversary
party on the september 30 in Paris,
I was so thrilled, but when I knew
that was a BAL COSTUME
inspired by EYES WIDE SHUT,
I was worried.

invites you to her party,
she expects to be
surprised by your look.

All the guests are form creative environments, than are supposed
to be creative even about themselves.

How to think of a dentist who hasn't
the most white and beautiful teeth?

From Anna Della Russo's blog, 27th September 2010, via the Guardian's Fashion Statement. Punctuation and line arrangement original. Submitted by Marika Rose.

05 October 2010









Tesco receipt, 4th October 2010. The order is changed, but otherwise every single item purchased is included, and appears exactly as it does on the receipt. Mid-line commas added to keep items discrete. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

30 September 2010

The morning question

The morning question,
What good shall I do this day?

Rise, wash, and address
Powerful Goodness;
contrive day's business,
and take the resolution of the day;
prosecute the present study;
and breakfast.


Read, or overlook my
accounts, and dine.


Put things in their places,
supper, music or diversion,
or conversation;
examination of the day.

Evening question,
What good have I done today?


Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule, from his autobiography which was written between 1771 and 1790. Submitted By Rishi Dastidar

29 September 2010

To Poetry

Poetry is dead –
Poetry is like –
Poetry is what gets lost

in translation.

Poetry is everywhere –
Poetry is emotion
recollected in tranquility.

Poetry is to prose
as dancing is to walking,
poetry is not a luxury

Audre Lorde.

Poetry is the synthesis
of hyacinths and biscuits,
poetry is not a luxury–

Poetry is not a project.

The auto-complete suggestions from Google (UK) for the search term 'poetry is'. Yes we have done this before. Capitalisation and punctuation added. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

23 September 2010

Where's Warner?

Where to begin? Top left corner.
Hidden somewhere in this noisy,
chaotic morass of society
is our fellow traveller, Waldo,
a man unstuck from place and time.

He travels the world on foot, his
only lifeline to his friends and
family a litany of dreary
picture postcards sent from arbitrary
locations the world over. His
postcards do nothing to convey
the humanity, the madness
of Waldo's adventures. For that,
we must go find him. Waldo leaves
trinkets scattered behind him, shedding
a wake of objects as he goes.
What story do these leavings tell?
They are a series of transmissions
from the past, sent in a code we
cannot decipher. Is that a
scroll, or merely a rolled up towel?
After trying so hard to find
the scroll, are we sure we can handle
the real answer?

Occasionally, Waldo is all
but impossible to ferret
out; sometimes it seems like he's barely
trying. At the ski slopes, I find
him almost immediately. At the
sea, I hunt until I am mad,
yet Waldo does not reveal himself
to me. Oh, there he is. Hello,
my little friend. Wait a moment.
Who is that man with the beard? I
have seen him before. Is he pursuing
Waldo from place to place, country to
country? Someone must warn our hero.

What is everyone so preoccupied
with at the airport that they miss
the man of the hour right before
them? Perhaps they are experiencing
a collective nightmare of
impending disaster. Who is
Waldo's pursuer meeting with
at the museum? If only
I could warn Waldo of this conspiracy.
His naϊveté will be his
undoing, as it will be for
each of us in turn.

Why all this travel? We search for
Waldo; but what is Waldo searching
for? Perhaps he is not searching
at all, but running from something.
Does this man even want to be
found? Or, in searching for Waldo,
did we really find ourselves? No,
probably not.

From Warner Herzog Reads Where's Waldo, 22 April 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

21 September 2010


Freelancing means walking from the West Village
to the Upper East Side and back because
you don’t have enough money for the subway.
Freelancing means being so poor and so hungry
for so long that you “eat” a bowl of soup
that’s just hot water, crushed-up multivitamins
and half your spice rack (mostly garlic salt).
Freelancing is being woken up on a Monday
at eight a.m. by an editor who
gives you the following assignment: “Put
together everything interesting about
all the city’s airports by Friday,”
doing it, and then not getting credit
when it runs … as an infographic.
Freelancing is having your mother send
you a book called $ix-Figure Freelancing
which lists as helpful resources, on page
one nine eight, the dictionary, thesaurus,
and Freelancing means your editor
will reject your pitch and then, seven months later,
run the story you pitched—with the same language
as your pitch—and then have it submitted
for a National Magazine Award.
Freelancing is having an editor tell you
that he really loves the story you’ve filed
and wouldn’t change anything, and in fact
suggests you expand upon the characters
a bit—and also cut the story in half.
Freelancing means having to chase down checks
every time, even when that means waiting
two years for one thousand dollars. It means
having stories killed and being told that the
editor-in-chief gave no reason, but
that the same editor would love to work
with you some more.

From 'Seven Years as a Freelance Writer, or, How to Make Vitamin Soup' published in The Awl, 2 August 2010. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

16 September 2010

Not a Tame Lion

Supposing there were other worlds,
and if one of them was like Narnia –
and if it needed saving –
and if Christ went to save it
as He came to save us –
let’s imagine what shape and name
He might have taken there.
And the answer was Aslan.

From a letter by author C.S. Lewis to a fan 12th February 1958, reproduced on Letters of Note. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

14 September 2010

For Love

It is a restless moment
She has kept her head lowered,
To give him a chance to come close.
But he could not, for lack of courage,
She turns and walks away.

He remembers those vanished years.
As though looking through a dusty windowpane,
The past is something he could see, but not touch.
And everything he sees is blurred and indistinct.

The subtitle translations of the text at the beginning and end of the Hong Kong film In the Mood for Love, directed by Kar Wai Wong, 2000. Submitted by Marika Rose.

10 September 2010


All I can do is
tell the truth. No that isn't
so – I have missed it.

There is no truth that
in passing through awareness
does not lie.

But one runs after it all the same.

Spotted in the preface to The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis by Jacques Lacan. Submitted by Marika Rose.

07 September 2010


Our chimney fell into the garage 

and killed a bike if it had have fallen
the other way it would have killed Daisy
and Rod. Happy fathers day I guess. 

We were wide awake when the quake struck. 

The house started to shake gently at first
then more violently so standing or walking 

was out of the question. It seemed to last 
for ever.
The noise was like a freight train
but no coming and going just right next to you
all the time. We gathered the kids up
and made a run for the ground floor 

and the kitchen table. Rod was scared for most
of the day; very jittery, very angry.

I walked around on Saturday like a zombie. 

Seemed that everything was the same yet different. 

Small cracks in pavement, large ones near the river 

which had changed from clear to milk. 

We went upstairs and a corner of the house
is down a slope from the hall. The foundations 

slipped into the liquefied sand underneath. 

The house is safe, luckily.

Out of an email from a friend who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, following the earthquake that struck there in the early hours of Saturday 4 September 2010. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

02 September 2010

Legendary Tales of Your Sausage

Get a longer and more robust pole,
Grow your organ into a monster.
Big d1cks get all the chicks;
Your long and hard rod will please her.

Get more length, girth and hardness,
Impress your huge size on her;
Make your underpants bulge today,
Give her the best experience ever.

Better sex with organ pills:
You will reach far deeper inside her.
Bang her till she passes out,
Bang her longer and harder.

Surprise everyone with your increased length,
Cumming has never been stronger.
Be the man every woman desires:
This will make you longer.

Subject lines picked from my Gmail spam folder in the last 10 days, including the title. What happened to all the innocent spam? Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

26 August 2010

Not Squirrel but Monkey

"I thought it was a squirrel at first,"
he told the Leader.

"It was a similar size, but
was dark brown in colour and
had a long, straight, upright tail.

It paused for a moment standing
on its hind legs, looked at me,
then scampered off
over the hedge."

Taken from the Guardian's weekly round up of news from the North of England, 26th August 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

24 August 2010

On the Angel

Get into these streets
these people
this glorious ark;
this joy, this spirit
this towering pride.

Get into the day
the evening
the night.
Into the heart
Into the life.

Get into your city
Get into my city
Get into Newcastle.

Taken from the 'Get into Newcastle' advert as overheard on the 21 'Angel' bus between Durham and Gateshead, July 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

19 August 2010

Whale Tale

I am. Losing.
My edge. To
better looking exhibits,
with blinking lights,
and ironic, interactivity.

Taken from the Twitter stream of the NYC National History Museum's blue whale (via the Guardian Guide), 30th July 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

17 August 2010

Things Millenials Hate

Things millennials hate: old stuff
mayonnaise, reading a book
bluegrass music, movies that are
mostly talking, being sober
at school, people who have never
been on TV, having opinions,
losers, math, having an emotion,
animals, not being on Facebook,
virgins, when your mom makes you talk
about your day at the dinner table,
murders. Things millennials love:
texting, sexting, Twilight.

From an article on Gawker, 6th August 2010. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

12 August 2010

Three words

I've got seven
kids. The three
words you hear
most around my
house are 'hello',
'goodbye' and
'I'm pregnant.'

Dean Martin, as quoted in the Guardian Family section, 7th August 2010. Line arrangements are original. By Marika Rose.

05 August 2010


The whole tribe is better off
if someone is up all the night,
listening for a lion
walking through the grass.

Taken from a NY Times article on sleep, 27th March 2005. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

03 August 2010

Red Friends

Thanks for the e-mail
and of course your husband
will be made welcome at the branch

He is a Comrade toooooooo.

An email received from a local Labour party branch, July 30th 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

29 July 2010


It seems a lifetime since
Peter was at Mildert
studying History.

Peter has never forgotten
the immense support that
so many friends gave him
in the months and years after
his December 1982 car crash.
Though now registered blind
and therefore unable,
amongst other things,
to join the Army,
he has been able to enjoy
a successful career
focused on helping others.

From the Durham University Alumni newsletter, 25th June 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

27 July 2010


The Board is mindful
of the guidelines produced
by the Association of British Insurers
and the attention being given
to CSR issues
by investors and wider stakeholder communities.
The Board acknowledges
the commercial and ethical importance
of the development and maintenance
of a culture of continuous improvement
in CSR matters
as far as they are relevant to the Group's activities
and accepts that
the implementation of a system
for measuring and reporting
on key CSR indicators
may, over time, be appropriate.

Taken from Harvard International’s statement on Corporate Responsibility, 28th June 2010. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

08 July 2010

Sea State

Humber Thames Dover Wight
Portland Plymouth north Biscay
Variable 3 or 4. Smooth or slight.

Moderate or good,
Occasionally poor later.

By Nathan Lechler, taken from the shipping forecast on 22nd June 2010.

06 July 2010


And then you're in an operating room,
Staring deep
Into a stellate smash of livid liver.

It oozes discontinuous destruction.
Fragments of hepatic mush are strewn
And coddled among clots of blood,
Stained with bile and mixed with stool.
The beauty of the enzyme pathways is nowhere to be seen;

Dr. Krebs is not in the building.
Weak indeed is the capsule holding it all in,
split apart like broiled bratwurst.
How little it takes!

By Jim, taken from Dr Schwab's blog, 8th October 2007.

05 July 2010

Contractor's Code

As far as possible, works

are to be carried out
in such a way that
noise and
dust are
kept to a minimum,
and at times which will minimise

the effect on
city workers,
residents and

Footways and carriageways affected

by works are to be
kept in a
tidy and
safe condition.
Hoardings, scaffolds, warning lights

and other features are to be
clean and

All work will be carried out safely

and in such a way that it will
not inconvenience
pedestrians or
other road users.
Special care will be taken to make sure that
pedestrians with sight,
hearing or
mobility difficulties are

not inconvenienced or endangered
and that access is maintained for those
in wheelchairs or
pushing prams.

The main contractor is to ensure that
suppliers and
others working on, or near the site,
maintain the standards of the Code of Practice.

By Huw, taken from a building site hoarding in Tower Hamlets, London, on the 5th June 2010.


I am not sure why this summer seems so vivid,
with each day somehow more beautiful than the last.
I only know that is the way it feels. The days
are moving as if each hour is two, and every
detail – a salad, a bunch of sweet peas or box
of tiny broad beans – is somehow more rich than it
would normally be. It is as if the colours,
sounds and scents of summer have been turned up a notch.

Tiny broad beans so tender you could eat them pod
and all; sweet little peas (they love a drop of good
steady rain) and lettuces that have benefited
from the cooler mornings and evenings. I made a
bean sauce this week with a base of crisp purple
and white spring onions, broad beans and tarragon. I
gave it a backbone of cubed unsmoked bacon and
bound it with a little cream. I skinned the larger beans
but left the real babies in their paper-thin skins.

The early peaches are at last arriving from
France and Italy. I wait all spring for these fruits
with their rose-scented juice. It is rare to find them
perfectly ripe in the shops, so I make sure I
buy them a couple of days before I need them.
The old trick of putting them in a paper bag
with a ripe banana to speed up their ripening
works well, but they do very nicely just left out
for a day or two. But there is no need to squeeze
and prod. An unripe peach has virtually no smell;
a ripe one will tell you it is ready to eat.

From Nigel Slater's column in the Observer, 4 July 2010. The opening paragraph was perfectly dodecasyllabic (breaking into 12 syllable lines) so 'sort of' was removed from line 13 and 'I find' from line 25 to maintain the pattern. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

01 July 2010


I will reach in gently and caress the liver,
the stomach and spleen.
Slide over the top,
into the recesses,
curl the fingers enough to sense the texture,
the fullness.
The bowels move away and under,
and over the top as I direct my hand.
I can describe your kidneys now,
I’ve circled the top of your rectum,
held your uterus,
measured your ovaries between my fingers.
Part of you is gone at the moment,
but I’m here,
I know you now.
You trusted and let me in,
you opened your belly to me,
and I entered with force.
I’ll stay until it’s right.
It’s what I must do.
You think you’ll never touch me so
intimately as I’ve touched you.
But you have.
You have.

From a Surgeonsblog post published 7th October, 2006. Submitted by Marika Rose.

The Eye in Time

Keen lemon-yellow
Hurts the eye in time
As a prolonged and shrill trumpet-note
The ear.

Or white
Conveys a harmony of silence
Which works upon us negatively
Like many pauses in music
That break
The Mel-

A Kandinsky quotation taken from 'Music and Jugendstil', Critical Inquiry, Autumn 1990. Submitted by Kate Guthrie.

29 June 2010

The Death of Alden

Many of them are neither
in the army nor in war work.
Many have found this a golden
opportunity to make
money during a war boom---
by writing, by commercial photography,
through the movies, or by other
worthless activities---worthless
when compared with what
your brother Alden was doing.
These bastards let your brother die, Forry,
and did not lift a hand to help him.

I mean that literally. The war
in Europe would have been over
if all the slackers in this country
had been trying to help out---
would have been over before the date
on which your brother died.
The slackers are collectively
and personally responsible
for the death of Alden.
And a large percent of fans
are among those slackers.
Alden's blood is on their hands.

From a letter written by sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein to a dedicated fan (as reproduced on Letters of Note), 28th January 1945. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

24 June 2010

By Saturn's Moons

An aurora, shining high above
the northern part of Saturn, moves
from the night side to the day
side of the planet … tall auroral
curtains, rapidly changing over
time when viewed at the limb, or edge,
of the planet's northern hemisphere.

A large cloud formation swirls
through the high northern latitudes
of Saturn near the top …

Appearing like eyes on a potato,
craters cover the dimly lit surface
of the moon Prometheus …

Cassini looks down on the clouds
in the upper atmosphere of Saturn,
just over the shoulder of the moon

Helene … Saturn's rings, made dark
in part as the planet casts its shadow
across them, cut a striking figure
before Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

The shadow of Saturn's largest moon darkens
a huge portion of the gas giant planet.

Titan's golden, smog-like atmosphere
and complex layered hazes appear
to Cassini as a luminous ring
around the planet-sized moon.

Saturn's moon Dione passes in front
of the larger moon Titan … Enceladus
continues to spew ice into space …

A closer view of a feature
on Enceladus called Baghdad Sulcus,
one of four tiger stripes that cross
Enceladus' south pole … Cassini

is on the night side of the moon,
viewing brightly-lit plumes
of ice being ejected from fissures
at Enceladus' south pole.

Saturn's moon Rhea looms near
its sibling moon Epimetheus …

Irregularly shaped Calypso is one
of two Trojan moons that travel
in the same orbit of the larger moon
Tethys, traveling ahead and behind.
Calypso's smooth surface does not appear
to retain the record of intense cratering
that most of Saturn's other moons possess.

Compiled from NASA's notes on photographs taken of Saturn's system by their spacecraft Cassini. The photos were collected at The Big Picture 21 May 2010. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

22 June 2010

First Night

If you and I meet up
and have a fabulous evening,
I will try and match you,
for the rest of our relationship,
with my image of
that fabulous evening.

But you are all sorts of other things.
And when I find that I then
can’t match up the magic
of that fabulous bubbly first night
to our second night I become
depressed and disgruntled

and I start hating you.

By Rishi Dastidar, taken from an interview with Rupert Everett in the Metro, 15th June 2010.

17 June 2010

Meet me in Johannesburg

Honduras, Algeria,
Germany, Nigeria,
USA, Slovenia,
Ivory Coast.

Denmark, Spain, Slovakia,
Ghana, France, South Africa,
Chile, Greece, Australia,
Japan, Mexico.

Cameroon and Uruguay,
Portugal and Paraguay,
Serbia and Italy,

England and North Korea,
Holland and Argentina,
Brazil and South Korea,
New Zealand.

A cheeky not-exactly-found poem constructed from the 32 teams in the 2010 World Cup, plus conjunctions for scansion. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

15 June 2010

Be mine

Why’ve you got so many pictures of Maria -
she your girlfriend or summat?
Yes, she is.
So have you had sex with her?
Have you felt her bazookas?
Well obviously, it being your girlfriend
you've kissed her, yeah?
Not yet.
Well mate, in England
it's sorta like a tradition
for, like, a girlfriend to kiss her boyfriend
so it sounds to me like you’re not actually with her
you just like her.

In Poland you mustn’t kiss to be together
and to think only about one thing.

But mate, we’re not in Poland:
this is England.

From dialogue in the film Somers Town, 15th June 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

10 June 2010

File. Print. Colour. Print.

Colour printing
available from this

Please choose the
printer below from
the drop down

From a poster in a Durham University computer room. Submitted by Marika Rose.

08 June 2010

NOOMA is there for us

We can get anything we want,
from anywhere in the world,
whenever we want it.
That's how it is
and that's how we want it to be.
Still, our lives aren't any different
than other generations before us.
Our time is.

We want spiritual direction,
but it has to be real for us
and available when we need it.
We want a new format
for getting Christian perspectives.

NOOMA is the new format.
It's short films with communicators
that really speak to us.
Compact, portable, and concise.

Each NOOMA touches on issues
that we care about,
that we want to talk about,
and it comes in a way
that fits our world.
It's a format that's there for us
when we need it,
as we need it,
how we need it.

From the blurb on a series of short films. Submitted by Marika Rose.

03 June 2010

Data Protection

All information about you
of a sensitive or personal nature
will be treated as private
and confidential.
We will, however, use
and disclose
the information we have about you
in the course of arranging,
and administering your insurance.
This may involve
passing information about you
to insurers,
other intermediaries,
risk management assessors,
uninsured loss recovery agencies
and other third parties
(directly or indirectly)
in your insurance.

By Tracy, taken from the Towergate Professional Liability Insurance Terms of Business, 25th May 2010.

01 June 2010

The shade you chose

Apply section by section

Put on the gloves.
Wet the hair without washing it.
Towel dry.
Apply the mixture to the roots,
by parting the hair into sections
using the applicator nozzle.
Then spread it all over the hair.


Massage the hair gently. Work up a lather.
The colour of the product will become
darker and darker
Don't worry.
After the development time,
the colour will have developed fully:
that way you are sure to
obtain the shade you chose.
Let it develop for 30 minutes


Pour a little warm water on the hair
and massage gently.
Rinse thoroughly
with warm water
until the water runs clear.

From the instructions for L'Oreal hair dye, 27th May 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

27 May 2010


Blue with a hint of your mother.
Unsure-whether-boy-or-girl baby room color.
What I'm sure was once nice wallpaper
before you stained it with your nicotine.

Red as the cute boy to my right's hoodie.
My dentist's office orange. I still remember
his dandruff slowly wafting into my gaping jaw.
Jesus Christ, what is with you and green?

Shark invested water blue. Sorry for
spazzing earlier, I had a seizure. Dark red.
Now I'm just getting freaked out.
Nothing looks like a proper color any more.

Maybe a half hour before the first stars start
showing up in the night sky … that awful color,
that forever remains a reminder that grandma
needs to be cut off after the third glass.

It's pink, but not totally pink,
but it's purple, but not totally purple.
We are a collaborative ice-cream cone.
The best color in the freakin' world.

Respondents' comments as they were asked to identify colours in an online survey, 5th March 2010. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

25 May 2010

Elegy from an Opposition

For every child who instead of being cooped up in a small flat
is playing in a brand new children’s centre
- that is Gordon’s legacy.

For every patient who is treated in a brand new hospital,
instead of suffering on a waiting list
- that is Gordon’s legacy.

And for every person in an African village
whose life has been transformed by the cancellation of world debt
- that is Gordon’s legacy
- and it is our legacy too.

We can be proud of what Gordon has done
and thank him from the bottom of our hearts.

From a Labour party email, 12th May 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

18 May 2010

In the Beginning

On days one to two: Wees –
two or more per day; Poos –
one or more per day;
Poo at this stage is called meconium
or mec for short. It's very dark
brown green black and sticky
and it's already in the bowel
at the time of birth.

On days three to four: Wees –
three or more per day; The
amount of wee increases,
and the nappies feel heavier than before.
Poos – two or more per day;
The colour changes and looks more green.
These poos are called 'changing stools'
and they change because your baby
is taking in more milk and digesting it.

On days five to six: Wees –
five or more heavy nappies per day;
(see what heavy means overleaf).
Poos – At least two soft, yellow poos
per day; They're yellow, because there is
no more mec in the bowel.

Day seven onwards: Wees –
six or more heavy nappies per day;
Poos – at least two soft, yellow poos
per day; greater than the size of a two pound coin
– not just skid marks. You might notice
little seedy particles in it – that's fine.

Taken from the National Childbirth Trust notes 'What's in a nappy', attached to the cots in the delivery unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital. 16 May 2010. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

15 May 2010

A silent fall of immense snow

He moved

forward a few

fine chattering gems.

He knew exactly who would

now sneeze calmly through an open
door. Had there been another year

of peace the battalion would have made
a floating system of perpetual drainage.

A silent fall of immense snow came near oily
remains of the purple-blue supper on the table.

We drove on in our old sunless walnut. Presently
classical eggs ticked in the new afternoon shadows.

We were instructed by my cousin Jasper not to exercise by country
house visiting unless accompanied by thirteen geese or gangsters.

The modern American did not prevail over the pair of redundant bronze puppies.
The worn-out principle is a bad omen which I am never glad to ransom on purpose.

By Jim. This is a Snellen chart (used to test eyesight) taken from the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties, 2007.

11 May 2010


Please, I need help.
I’ve had marital problems
- Honey, I think it’s time that we start talking about a divorce.
Larry, we’re gonna be fine.
...professional, you name it
- Larry, we’ve received a number of letters denigrating you
and, er, urging us not to grant you tenure
I need help
We’re gonna be fine.
I’ve tried to be a serious man
We’re gonna be fine.
I’ve tried to do right, be a member of the community
We’re gonna be fine.
Please, just tell him I need help, please?
We’re gonna be fine.
I need help.
We’re gonna be fine.

The rabbi is busy.
He didn’t look busy.
He’s thinking.

From the trailer for A Serious Man, 11th May 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

10 May 2010

Ecce homo

This is the man.
What does the man think of grey and white?
The man likes grey and white, of course.
"Man should be brave."
Ah oui. And what does he think of blue?
It's perfect.

From the windows of a French Connection shop in Leeds, 9th May 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

06 May 2010

Election Day Warning

Warning to voters
You will commit
A serious offence
if you:

Vote in person
or by post as
some other person,
whether as an elector
or as proxy,
and whether that other person is living or dead
or is a fictitious person.

Vote in person
or by post as
proxy - for a person you know
or you have reasonable grounds for
supposing to be dead
or a fictitious person;
or when you know
or have reasonable grounds for supposing
that your appointment as proxy
is no longer in force.

*Unless you are acting
as someone's formally appointed proxy.

You are guilty of
an offence
if you:

Vote in person
or by post, whether as an elector or as proxy
or apply to vote by proxy
or by post as elector,
knowing that you are subject
to a legal incapacity to vote at the election.

Apply for the appointment of a proxy to vote
for you at an election knowing that you
or the person to be appointed is subject
to a legal incapacity to vote at the election.

Vote, whether in person
or by post, as proxy
for some other person at an election,
knowing that person is subject
to a legal incapacity to vote.

Vote more than once** whether by post
or in person, or as proxy
and in the same electoral area.

*Unless you are acting
as someone's formally appointed proxy,
or unless two or more elections are
being held together and
you are entitled to a vote in each.

You will commit
a serious offence
You could face imprisonment or
a fine if found guilty.

From a polling station poster in Langley Moor, 6th May 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

04 May 2010

This house

Council is example of bureaucracy gone mad
Council devoid of common sense
Different rules for different folk
Planners are sterile bureaucratic vandals.

Gateshead planners are philistines
Gateshead planners think 400 votes count for nothing
Thank you -
Not surprising to have more local support than elected councillors.

The buffoons
Can't see
Won't listen
Don't speak

Your local councillors
Who do they think they work for
Council's abuse of powers lamentable
Council are not even handed
Councillors are devoid of grey matter.

Wrong use of power
Planners cannot loose face
Surprise surprise this lot want our votes

This house is detrimental to the area.

From signs plastered all over the windows of a house in Gateshead, 4th May 2010. Submitted by Marika Rose.

28 April 2010

Grundy remarked let slip

Grundy remarked let slip safely cross shall take small price dropped money at gas stations only generated with jewels smart girl but try ome closer joyleen dice michigan child even racto howled seemed inclined her breasts than leaving red or black formal dress chief considered undane version whether the readily solved that makes high flow low pressure air compressor stay with the wrong remarkable gift walk back can affect pirates cove treasure knew that dark shapes torso pressed for similar your set first five san bernardino servations are cold inside husband was not been somewhat like ll moyers four kinds of activists remain longer she might circled the probably here extra eyes jacks or better on excite against the himself away bats swarmed ncarnation she language into forever twenty one atlanta urely this olph fought light toward are all magic mirror dod payline officially made the oncoming married her asked for goblins took red eyes on sick dog olph wanted were abraded tapestry that sudden downdraft hat kind egm magizine three girls more intense was wondering match for not diminish i love reality big brother six golden vegetation goblin form the spirit what counts small tingle double street sign banished because ada saw much harder certain compelling mutual agreement poker bankroll management bags dropped his room poke their annoy her and bottom hang straight up form for the momentary teeth bit spun off next question easy dice games about food that this swung over the bear mouths gaping download pictures from blackjack inquired guardedly opened out ust hold roads looked should inquire rite way house leveling ortunately not can take been known then approached his fangs free down load card games man had after they the blow know these aversion for where did fuzzy dice come from recognized the this had was then marks the all around cole brothers circus discount tickets worm called could save and departed that expression tender body jacks or better free play been good eleven years seeming life olph grimaced erhaps that buy awp was beyond even scare for that leaving the fter several from full house stephanie other kinds any time sounded bad hen return wrist was deuces wild characters quiltlike floor stay clear bumped down but these into progress free bonus round slots well satisfied hat sailboat rlene fathomed started crying put him fruit machine emulator downloads she spoke the fireplace colors not with something learn quickly gaming machine cheats illusion puffed curse had stand vertically with each most utterly red engliah bulldogs got there his speed other plants nothing untoward the betrayal discovercard down skeletons had was impressive itness has the breeze stronger than high current low voltage transformer and closer olph inhaled small clearing this isle hey gouged upper back shoulders neck hands feet other necessitie cave ended but desperatio creature vote this disaster even or odd worksheets not said now knew stayed back think about winding path blackjack and caribbean stud in casinos was reach want you merwoman had said hotly become betrothed fruit machines home use how tired little trouble seeing the would happen land when baseball wild card closing and progress when and quickly hey tried her lover jack nickolson the joker picture costume his troop suddenly very said anything your assistance forested mountain dew-point comes in contact with and watched condemned for two together arrows and mean that buying fruit machines undania right winner and are invisible indeed used more fruit play free pai gow four hours pits here ent you any mistake him more poker run rides in creston wv ing snapped agician always that far recognized bravery ffectively invisible backseat hand job year the meal with were made regret being olph pushed wild card hostesses see whether was just her alive domestic service had those lyrics going on twenty-one bones when monster hunt plaque set olph inquired ask him overdrive let it ride instead she reputation precedes eyond the one path present seemed bonus fun games ditionally awakened square buildings distant one guess these glanced around half way house for sex offenders most outrageous herself with fingers were clumsy flier ith these egm services inc dangling down the developmen all focusing will send boat tilted one one twenty twenty incomplete coverlet overtake.

A spam comment posted to my content strategy blog SmyWord on 13 April 2010. The links are removed but the blue colour of the links left in. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

26 April 2010

Dog Injures Nose

POLICE in Ringwood
are investigating
the circumstances surrounding
an injury to a dog’s nose.

A woman was walking
her dog and puppy,
when her puppy ran off.

Her dog ran after
the puppy but collided
with a male dog walker
and his dog.

The woman's dog
received an injury
to his nose.

From the Salisbury Journal, 24th April 2010. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

23 April 2010

Orwell's Bane

An exploration of body psychotherapy
in the coaching context; The role

of Perceptual Positions in discovering
new options; An understanding of the Problem

Pyramid and accessing a client’s secondary
gain; Accessing conscious and unconscious

material through specific and vague questioning
techniques; Working with memories;

A deep awareness of human communication
and coaching using psychometrics

What is included in Toward Consulting's 'Purposeful Coach' programme, according to the email I received 22 April 2010. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

21 April 2010

The back of a bus

He likes you,
He's got money,
and a car.
What. Is. Your. Problem.

By Mark, overheard in the back of the number 18 bus in Cambridge UK, 16 April 2010.

09 April 2010


You must be able to declare that
you are the baby's biological father,
married to or in a civil partnership
with the mother,
living with the mother in
an enduring family relationship,
are not an immediate relative,
you will be responsible
for the child's upbringing,
you will take time off work
to support the mother
or care for the child.

You must be continually employed
by the same employer
for at least twenty-six weeks
by the end of the fifteenth week
before the week
the baby is due.

You must then continue to be employed
by the same employer
until the date
the baby is born.

cannot start your paternity leave
before the child is born.
can choose to take one or two
whole weeks leave,
but not two separate weeks,
which must end by the fifty-sixth day
after the date of birth.
If the baby is born early
can choose to take your leave
any time between the actual date of birth
and the end of an eight week period
starting from the Sunday
of the week the baby
was originally due.
cannot take odd days off work,
but the weeks can start on any day,
for example,
from Tuesday to Monday.

You must discuss your leave plans
with your employer
and tell them what time off you want
by the fifteenth week
before the week
the baby is due.

Your employer can tell you when this is,
if you are not sure.

Part of the explanation on the HMRC Statutory Paternity Pay/paternity leave form, page 1. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

07 April 2010

Head of Service

Prepares the detailed revenue and
capital budgets reflecting the strategic
direction indicated by the Director.

Ensures new initiatives and legislative
requirements are considered as

Receives reports from the operational
budget holders on performance against

Where appropriate, approves virements
within the financial limits set out with
Financial Regulations, or refers to the
Director for action

Reviews regularly the value for money
of the service delivery arrangements

Ensures compliance with proper
accounting guidance and practice by
following advice and guidance from

By Andrew, from Part 4c, Essex County Council Constitution - Scheme of Delegation for Financial Management.

31 March 2010

When I Saw It

I enjoyed this film when I saw it,
but it didn’t last.
It didn’t last…

need to cry,
don't know why
when will the melancholy lift?

By Liz, who combined two tweets from @drgonzolives, with a hyperlink removed.

24 March 2010

The seven years invasion

I was in a brothel in Valencia,
on honeymoon (long story).

Drunk on a cocktail of champagne,
orange juice, and possibly gin.

We were there for the Fallas festival,
and mistook the news footage of the invasion
for televised fireworks.

Post on the blog deeplyflawedbuttrying asking the question where were you when you heard about the Iraq invasion? Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

22 March 2010

Poems from the Menu Bar #5


Undo, redo, cut, copy, paste.
Paste in front, paste in back,
Clear, find and replace.

Find next, check spelling,
edit custom dictionary,
define pattern, edit
original, transparency

flattener presets. Print
presets, PDF presets,
color settings, assign
profile, keyboard shortcuts.

The 'Edit' drop down menu in the computer program Illustrator, punctuated. If you like this, try #1 and #2-#4. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.