Recent Posts

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.