Sunday, 28 December 2008

I want to be the sort of teacher who smiles at the children and tells them, 'all ideas are good ideas'.

Then they might become murderers, or brilliant creatives with nothing to sell. Or maybe they'd become these things regardless.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Sometimes a piece of my nail polish gets stuck to the stickers I use when wrapping gifts at work and strangers get some of my DNA for Christmas.

But they don't know it because the stickers are not see-through. I guess some other people or maybe the same people also recieve some of my skin cells for Christmas.

Customers come to my shop and buy Christmas gifts and I wrap them in tissue paper and put them in gift boxes. The shop actually belongs to someone else, so I have to compliment the customers on at least one of the things that they buy. That is a rule. If I don't do it I could get fired. Sometimes they buy some really disgusting beige pvc bag or like a set of 4 leg warmers for dogs. I could also get fired for wearing flowery skirts and being late from taking my Nan to lunch. It didn't happen yet though because I am actually very good making customers more happy and more calm than before they met me.

I sell some cheap metal jewellery to a woman. The jewellery has gold glitter stuck on it, on purpose. I talk to the woman about her plans for Christmas and about my mum's job as a travel agent. I pretty much just talk about whatever. In real life I am very quiet but at work I chat because I want them to feel calmer and happier from making a human connection. I ask the woman if she has many gifts left to buy and if she likes the ones she already got. She is worried that her neice may not like the gold glitter jewellery. I tell her that I would be happy if I recieved the gold glitter jewellery. I have no idea if this is true. She asks me where I got my hat. I got it in Canada and I am meant to lie to her and say I got it in the shop I work in. I don't want to lie to her.

The woman really wants me to meet her son. She says, 'I really want you to meet my Son. He works in the o2 shop. He's the one with the afro. Do you know him?' I tell her I don't really live in this town, and I haven't been to the other end of the shopping centre where the o2 shop is, not in 4 years or so. She tells me I should pop along and have a chat but not tell him that I know his mum. She tells me that I seem really nice. She tells me again to pop along and chat with her son.

A few days later I go to the other end of the shopping centre and I see the guy with the afro in the o2 shop. He is laughing. He looks friendly. He is sixteen, maybe seventeen. As I walk past he looks at my flowery skirt and maybe my face or my glasses. I pretend not to see him. I don't know why I do that.

Thursday, 18 December 2008


Dear UEA,

I love you.

Please stop emailing me.

It just makes the seperation more painful.



Friday, 31 October 2008

Poem by Suzanne Catlin

Here is a fresh poem by my friend and coursemate from Kingston's Creative Writing programme, Suzanne Catlin. I think the poem is good, the language at times lovely. Thanks, Suzanne.

Atheist Ashes

We are gathered through unwavering resolve
To walk through these heavy iron-wrought doors together
Strengthened by the people we’ve known,
Weakened by the people who’ve left us.

And as I sit I realise something akin to gravity,
The maw of realization becoming a chasm
So wide I cannot see the teeth only the deep void;
Only the nothingness behind my own eyelids.

Hymns echo in awe around the rafters but I can’t breathe.
So I sit there lips tight with eyes dry and burning
Leaning against the cut lilies already wilting;
And I’m scared but not enough to be fooled.

There is no God, no metaphor, only silence;
A thrilling crescendo of imagined noise,
A puff of cold air along a prickled nape,
A play of coloured light on pews and stone.

I stay long after the people are gone,
Down by the crumpled bibles and prayer cushions,
The chill settling into the sinew and bone,
And beyond the doors the sky tears itself open,
Becoming a thunderstorm.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Make your own Nun- a poem

Felt, 20cm by 10cm light pink
20cm by 15cm grey
15cm by 14cm white
Lightweight yarn, beige
2 black beads
Silver chain
Silver cross

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Boxing Day

The paper, the absence, the necessary ornament:
No. Today, you in new Nike, white and Alaska,
Drive me to the trailers, your Marine friends-
Their holiday selves are weaker, unprepared,
Wrapped in two pairs of sweatpants.

At the ice rink, you promise to help me forget.
I’m cautious against the white cleanliness.
You push me forwards ‘til I’m flying, safety-swung,
Your thumbs pressed to my shoulder blades:
My skates skim and our cheeks form blushed rounds.

Your house, our cheeks not yet calm:
Your mother asks if we feel better now. Our brother
Is still dead. The boxer dogs wag their tails regardless.
Come evening, my house is like I never left:
The eight I live with lie atop made beds, as earlier.

Men and women are not alike.

'I think we should break up', he says. He calmly drinks his beer, pays, and puts his jacket on. Then, 'I think I'm making you unhappy'. She cannot see through the tears.

I'm working in infant schools. This is what I learnt on day one.

All parents love their kids the same amount. Some love them by helping with thier spelling, or by being on time to collect them. But others don't. It doesn't mean they are 'worse' parents. It is just a reflection of personal priorities.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

The glove.

My friend, who shall remain anonymous, told the following secret:

It is New Years Eve. He goes to a house party. A lot of people are outside, on the deck. He too is outside. It is very cold, and he wears gloves. He sees a guy he knows. The guy introduces him to his brother. They shake hands, but my friend does not remove his glove for the handshake. A gloved hand shakes an ungloved hand.

My friend felt bad about not removing the glove for around two years. For those two years, he thought about it every day. Now he now only thinks about it sometimes. I'm not sure if he still feels bad about it. Maybe a little.

Does anyone else have something tiny that lasted for years in thier head? When I was thirteen or so I lied about having seen a Southpark episode. A boy asked me if I'd seen it and I said yes because I wanted to talk to him and I wasn't sure how else I could. I told him I thought it was great. I felt bad about lying to him for... maybe a year. When I think of it now, I still feel a little bad.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Friday, 19 September 2008

I just find it so weird that MTV would have a poet laureate.

So. Ashbery is the MTV poet laureate. I can't decide whether I like it or not. I guess I ought to. The more people that read poetry the better. But its so weird having poetry interspersed with TV commercials. I find it strangely offensive.

I don't really know much about Ashbery, aside from that he is famous. I have read some of his poems. And now, thanks to mtv, I have read some more. I think I'd be more likely to read them all if they animated the whole poems. It's nice to watch, even though the animation has an in-class presentation feel about it.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Today I hid books in my house.

I gathered all the poorly written books I own into one pile and hid them at the back of a wardrobe, behind my father's shirts and work jackets. I feel happier now that they are there. I really didn't like looking at them. I felt they were discouraging me from writing well. But throwing them out would have felt like I was letting them win.

I keep writing poems for my class with John Haynes. Poems with ten syllables per line, and beginning with the phrase 'today i must', and in the style of arthur waley, as per the exercise. I cannot take them to class because they are just not appropriate, even though they are some of the best poems I've written. Every time I sit down to write a new one, I think, right, now I must write something suitable for class. And I just don't. I don't know why.

Things I'm grateful for.

When the cutlery is clean and in the drawer.
My 4-page CV. Hats. Sunscreen.
The rise in the price of petrol.
Tulips. Jews. The Chapman Brothers.
Graffitti. Buttons. My 65L rucksack.
The Irish. The Brazilians. Shadows.
When my Nan tap dances.
The continued existance of the Queen,
Jay Z, and my brother. Carbohydrates.
Certificates. Les Miserables. Zoey 101.
Not having to be a prostitute.
Orange. Yellow. You.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

You Should Be Sleeping

As a child I was scared of cover-girls.
I thought they'd leave the magazines
To stab me while I slept.

To minimise the chance of being stabbed
I turned them over.
If there was one on the back as well,
I was truly doomed.

My mother was a cover-girl.
I didn't know it at the time.
I am still a bit scared
Of their sharp arched eyebrows.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

michigan nights

john's shoes, my shoes, larry, matt (john's brother). drinks, music, midnight meijer raid.

i miss john

i posted a poem of his earlier this year.

here's a picture of he and i on the beach in chicago, where he now lives with his beautiful girlfriend, Puff.

here's a poem.

I miss the way you never vacuumed your hair
From my floor after I cut it. The way you'd always
Bring me 9p bagels and slice them in two,
Then tell me I had to put them in the toaster myself.
The way you'd share your frozen blueberries
And your Digestives, but not your potato croquettes.
The way you woke me early on Sundays
Because you wanted to go to car boot sales and laugh,
And the way I woke you in the night
Because I wanted to walk and photograph the moon.
Most of all I miss your room with you in,
When everyone was sleeping but us.
I'd paint the pictures in your comic books all wrong,
Wear your socks, and tell you things which felt enormous.
You'd listen, really listen, then tell me
You really weren't the best person to talk to
Because you didn't know the answers.

costco on a sunday

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The Giant Squid- a poem, after Bishop's 'The Fish'.

The Giant Squid

Meant to capture the monster,
haul it in; got instead a twenty-foot
tentacle, red and white and alive.
It curls narrowly at the closer end,
sticks a single white sucker
to my finger. The whale watchers
are excited in a Japanese way.
The sucker is rubbery and would slip
I watch the ring of teeth not close
against my flesh. Shivers, shivers rise
as waves to the gum-like warmth.
Twenty feet below sea level
my camera captures 550 stills
Of the monster- it loses a limb
freeing itself from my trap.
The tentacle moves like an ‘S’
And flays against the deck:
I cannot tell if it is attacking
and don't know why it's living still.
The Squid Expert from New Zealand
would like to jar a giant squid,
this tentacle; he says stills
are not significant, even history's first.
He must rear one from infancy,
that it may not know the rugged sea.
But I'll take these stills
and analyze until they make sense;
May the voiceovers call me science,
say I penetrate the deep.

Saturday, 5 July 2008


I'm living in Michigan for the summer.

Lunchtime, outside.
Me - Something just bit my leg
Sam- Oh. Horsefly.
Me- What?
Sam- Just a horsefly. They're everywhere.
Me- Why do they bite?
Sam- Oh, they feed on living flesh. You want more juice?


Culture, huh.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Poem I wrote, Age 9

Found this on an old disk today and thought I'd share it with the world.
Franky the Phonebox

My name is Phonebox Franky
And I’m very tall and swanky
People often notice me
When they want to phone their wife,
To say they’ll be late for tea.

They open my door,
Step onto the floor,
And in me put 10p.
They pick up the receiver
And wanting to please her,
They say, Don’t mind if I’m late,
Do you Dear?

After a chat
They say, Goodbye Pat
And put the receiver down, gently
They step out my door
Think they’re wife is a bore
And was she really worth that 10p?

Resisting Accumulation

So I went to a beautiful wedding on Saturday. I think they will be happy together, despite being so young. It was very multi-cultural and international.
A= me, F= russian guy at wedding

F- What are you going to do after you graduate?
A- Oh, you know. Move to Michigan for summer. After that, hang out. Write stuff. Be a poet in New York. I suppose come back, get some sort of job that doesn't use up all my brain power, write some more.
F- You can make a lot of money from writing.
A- I'm not interested in making a lot of money.
F- But you will need a good house, a good car, good holidays.
A- No
F- Okay, well you will at least need a nice house, and a nice car, and nice holidays.
A- No, not really
F- You can make a lot of money from writing, you don't have to go into international business.
A- But there's no point... Desire is unfulfillable, its like energy. It can only ever be transferred, not used up. So essentially, it doesn't matter what stuff you have. The amount of desire will not diminish, you will always want to acquire more. Therefore, having stuff bears no relation to happiness.
F-... You are like one of those... hippies. But not with the environment. With life. That's weird. I'm going to go into my dad's business. But I'll be more successful than him. I'm going to drive a Bentley. He doesn't drive a Bentley.
A- I hope you will be happy.
F- I am happy. You'll need a well-paid job, though. You need to think about that.

He wasn't all bad: he had a habit of folding his cigarette butts in tissue and putting them in his pocket, so as not to leave litter.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Dating? On a Wednesday?

So a man called today and asked me to go on a date with him, today.
Today is Wednesday.

An extract from my diary, May 2003:
''What kind of guy dates on a Wednesday?''

I have, since May 2003, dated on Wednesdays. I've even enjoyed dates on Wednesdays.

But every time a guy invites me to go on a first date, on a Wednesday, I think its sort of weird. The rest of the days of the week are fine. Wednesdays feel so... exposed, right there in the middle.

Monday, 14 April 2008

So tell me John, Why are you leaving?

Find below a poem by the infamous John Wilson. He's my BFF and doing MA poetry at Kingston. I thought this poem was awesome. In fact, it still is awesome. But, he says its not done yet. I am sad he is leaving! But he is leaving for happy reasons, despite the poem.

This is Why I’m Leaving

Amy laughing, taking pictures
smearing thick fingerfulls
of color on my face

I look serious,
use a thumb, write

green and yellow,
a white exclamation
a blue dot
a woman with a stroller
looks up and smiles

a phone call from the neighbours

standing at the window
paint dust scattering
in the wake of my scraper

Saturday, 5 April 2008

World Beware...

Tonight, around 1am, I met with a man who was angry. His bulldog, not more than a puppy, was running away. The man wanted to hit me.

I was sprinting because it is nice to sprint when it is late. The puppy was sprinting too. I stopped because I didn't want to collide with it. The man was behind, shouting at the puppy that he was going to kill it. I believed him.

The puppy was scared, and friendly to me. Perhaps he wanted me to do something. I did not know what to do. I carried on walking. The puppy didnt know what to do. It stayed where it was. The man was very angry, that he was not in control of the puppy and was hitting things on his way.

He stopped right next to my face. I looked him in the eye. His eyes were brown and his eyebrows quivering. I thought, maybe he wants to kill me, too. He raised a fist and I didnt have time to think anything.

His fist glided close by my face and hit the fence next to me. I was surprised. And relieved.

His hand was not bleeding. The puppy ran on. He shouted some more at the puppy and followed it, confident that he would catch it without rushing too much.

After that I sprinted very fast, for a very long time. I am scared and sad for the puppy, and it's version of normality.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

resisting other people's dreams

M= boyfriend, A= me.

M- morning
A- mmm
M- did you have dreams, i was dreaming
A- dont think so
M- i dreamt about x men figures. I thought you had dreamt about x men figures too
A- why would you think that?
M- i dont know. i thought it up until this moment. i thought you just couldnt be bothered to say
A- why would x men figures permeate my conscious?
M- i thought we'd had the same dream
A- really. i really didnt dream of x men figures
M- okay.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Resisting Commuters

Today I went to Golder's Green and sat opposite two fat tired men. Both were well dressed and had faces that just hung there.

It occured to me that my boyfriend might be like that one day, if he becomes a businessman (his father is), but that didn't make me like them any more.

What's the point in making oneself so tired and fat, just to be a bit richer? It won't make you enjoy life any more. Better to be a tradesman, a builder or a chef, a traffic warden, better to use up your physical energy, and have time to hang out with your partner, friends, kids. Better to be hard up and enjoy.

They were at once depressing (people live like this) and life affirming (I don’t, I won’t). I wonder if as young men, they looked at businessmen on the train and thought the same.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Daniel Handler, will you marry me?

You are already married? Oh well. She must be lovely.

You are brilliant though! My favourite things about you:
- you were a poet first
- you say bad things about the film on which your own books were based
- you like babies
- your motivation for writing childrens books is that they are rubbish
- you wrote an incest opera novel and don't care too much whether people want to read it
- your only writing advice is to write, and get a job with access to free photocopying
- your life philosophy is to never refuse a breathmint
- when interviewing jack black, you asked him only questions pertaining to weddings.

You are really very good, and borrow novel formats for your children's books from great french literature. You make everyone laugh, and play the accordian on proper records because no one else does.

This collection of things about you strikes me as rather wonderful. I am glad you are successful, even though The Basic Eight got rejected 37 times.

Embracing 'Ways to Live Forever'.

I spent most of today reading this book. I was astonished by how good it was, by the ease and honesty with which Nicholls wrote about death in a form suitable for children and adults. This is what I am aim for in writing my novel. I like to read debut novels because the style is not too polished and as a new writer I find that inspiring.

Nicholls has a style which is her own and she employs a lot of techniques which I also employ, such as short sentences, dark humour and a loose sort of structure, interspersed between memory and the present.

My favourite thing about this book was that it was written by a twenty-three year old. I read it and I do not feel intimidated; I feel like I can do something similar within the next few years. I like that she studied at MA Creative Writing at Bath Spa, and I like that managed to convince people that reading a book from the perspective of a dying child would not be too depressing. I like that she has a degree in philosophy and this obviously informs what she writes. I like that her influences are Hilary McKay and Frank Cottrell Boyce. I even like her picture. I would like to be her friend. I left a nice comment on her website.

I am very excited by this book, and feel invigorated, and empowered to write more about child death in a way which is not wholly depressing or solely about how everyone heals and forgets.
The format is obviously such that she put it all together at the end. And it works. And it does not drag and nothing in it is boring. What brilliance!

Rock on, Sally Nicholls. I look forward to reading your next book, also about death. I hope one day, you will read mine.

(Note: you can go to the website and download the beginning of the book, and also read more praise which i wrote in the guestbook! )

Thursday, 7 February 2008


I recommend chrome-a-zone, number one for all your chrome joke needs. It is also coming in paper form to Ripple Magazine, in perhaps a couple months from now. A Chromance feature is coming to chrome-a-zone online, in time for Valentines...

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Lost Girls: A Review

Lost Girls is a three-volume erotic graphic novel depicting the sexual adventures of Dorothy Gale (Wizard of Oz), Wendy Darling (Peter Pan), and Alice (of Wonderland). The three meet in an Austrian hotel before the outbreak of WW1. Many retailers refuse to stock it through fear of being accused of child porn trafficking, despite the fact that it involved no children in its production.

It is not true to the texts it draws from, but has obviously read them closely. It sexualises the texts at the expense of the original stories. It seems an agenda of the book to explore and expose every fantasy. In doing this, it's not very sexy; everything is rendered explicit and nothing is left for imagination.
Peter Pan has sex, though he gains no pleasure from it. For Wendy, Neverland is a place of sexual freedom which she moves through progressively, from desiring the lost boys, to Peter and finally the pirates, thus realising her sexuality.
The ‘shadowy and wild’ time before Wendy is fully grown is the time when she can realise her sexuality, and objections of sexualising children are anticipated and challenged by Moore, when he says, ‘Your child is real. These, however, are only real in this delightful book... They are fictions’. He attempts to legitimise, even encourage, fantasising about them. When Wendy tells Peter to ‘grow up’ it is because her fantasises are no longer compatible with this. But to say that Peter has sexual fantasies at all is a difficult claim to withhold, and one which I find little conviction in. The underlying theme of Lost Girls is not sexuality so much as how un-destructive sexual desire is, and the idea that nothing is that bad compared to war.
Hook is presented as a crippled paedophile, who desires both Peter and Wendy; when he tries to rape Wendy, she becomes aware that she does not have to consent to his desire, and tells him, ‘You can pretend you’re still young, like them... that’s why you fuck children... you’re afraid of women. And you’re afraid of getting old’. There is a clear difference then, in the presentation of the fantasy and the reality of penetrating the child.

Lost Girls contains something for everyone. In this, it is not ideally suited to any individual reader. It set out to do something different and create a better name for porn. But somewhere along the way, it got really repetitive. Perhaps three volumes were a bit much; I challenge anyone to remain aroused by page after page of the same women, same interactions, same bed, same strap-ons. Porn has a fairytale relation to reality, making Alice, Dorothy and Wendy, three fantasy figures, an ideal medium for the exploration of how far porn can go. It is the execution which is problematic. But not very. I expect the next collaboration between Moore and Gebbie’s to produce exciting results.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

It's not clothes you're looking for

Tonight at Monsoon...

I'm tidying the dresses. 'I need a dress', she says, by way of introduction. She wears blue feathers in her hair.
'Oh', I say. 'What's the occasion?'
'I have to attend my opening night', she tells me proudly.
'That sounds exciting', I say. 'What's it for?'
'The opening night of my musical. It is being put on my the same man who did The Lord of the Rings musical'
'You must be so excited!', I say. 'Which theatre is it at?'
'Well. I don't know if it's being put on yet. I put it in the post yesterday, so he's probably read it by now, so I'm waiting. But I think if I buy the dress it will send positive vibes into the world and help him to enjoy it, so I will get a response sooner. But I'm sure it will get put on. It's the best one.'
'The best what?'
'Musical. So I want something with a lot of sequins. I can't believe I've gained so much weight recently. You don't think I'm fat, do you? You don't think I'm a silly old fool for getting the dress before I know when the opening night is? Because I might lose weight. But it's good to be prepared.'
'... It is good to be prepared. But perhaps you should wait. Because musicals take a long time to produce. It will take over a year, between now and opening night, if it is accepted. In that time, fashion will change'.
'Well I can always pull the sequins off if necessary'
'... Yes.' I do not know what to say.
'I'd like ones with big sparkly bits.'
'Oh. Well. Shall I help you find some?'
'It has to be in the sale. And in size fourteen. And I need some stars for my hair. I'll wear feathers at the back and stars at the front'.
'Okay'. I do not know what the ethical thing to do in this situation might be. So I fetch stars for her hair from the children's department. She puts them in, decides she does not like our dresses ('very nice but not really that red carpet factor') and leaves. Wearing hair stars she has not payed for. I do not tell the security guard.

What continues to surprise me with this job is how people do not want clothes from me but security. They want me to tell them they are not old, not fat, not crazy. They want me to tell them that they look good. But more then that. They want me to tell it them in a way that makes them believe it, makes them see it in themselves.

I rarely serve happy people: they wouldn't be shopping aimlessly if they were satisfied. I want to tell them that new stuff will not make them happy. But they know that already. They come to me because they seek an alternative view.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

delicious babies

Dear World,

Mathew and I would like to formally announce the names of our forthcoming babies:

1/ Shadowcat Azumi Liontamer McAwesome

2/ Lemony Lucas Zap Thor **** ***** Magee (other names to be announced at time of birth: they are surprises)

3/ Wolverine

4/ 011101000110111101101101 (tom in binary)

5/ Beardy Parrot-Shoulder Silverhook

In addition, John's firstborn:
- Ham Sammich

And Katie's:
-Mildred Margarine Magnetic Chess Sucker Smith

We hope you will look forward to welcoming them into the world as much as we do.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Storytelling on the London Underground

I'm scared of the underground. But when travelling with a five-year-old, it's best to hide such fears. So to distract us both on the way to the science museum, I read 'Green Eggs and Ham'. 'A' loves it. She joins in on the 'Sam-I-am's. And while we are reading, something amazing happens. Every other person in the carriage turns off their Ipod or folds up their newspaper and leans in to hear the story. The nearby people look at the pictures, also. The busy carriage is transformed from a place of hostility to a place of friendship. The usual isolation was broken by something as simple as a storybook.

The value of friendship

I found an American copy of Cosmopolitan in my lounge recently. It rather troubled me when I read the following:

Don't Be BFFs

Being pals with your man is great in theory. But that kind of connection actually can kill your sex life. You could wind up having a roommatelike bond with each other rather than a hot one if you let yourself lose track of the masculine-feminine tension that excited you at the beginning of your relationship. Save the gab sessions for when you hang out with your girlfriends and your sexy energy for connecting with your guy.
—Lana Holstein, MD, director of sexuality and vitality programs for couples at Miraval Resort in Catalina, Arizona. Source: Cosmopolitan USA, December 2007

I disagree. Not talking to one's partner would surely bring more distance, thus making sex less intimate, although perhaps sexier because of the unknown. But I don't think its worth it. If a couple don't talk, after a while, they are going to become bored of presenting only thier 'best' self; the secure, rounded self. The false self. Rather like the image we are given today of the fifties housewife, it will lead to isolation and unhealthy repression. Consequently, the relationship will not be the best, the healthiest.

Maybe I say this because I find the idea of having a roommate-like bond with my man appealing. It seems rediculous to me, to marry someone who isn't already your best friend. I'm aware that I am addressing Cosmopolitan, advocate for frivolous dating. And if you're dating casually, then sure; there's probably not enough between you (or not enough between you yet) to merit in-depth discussion of one another. But relationships are about respect. Refusing to discuss emotion for the benefit of sex is not giving one's partner the respect they deserve.

I wonder whether Holstein's opinion differs from that expressed above when it comes to married couples.