Recent Posts

28 January 2015

Beijing Brush

Brushes the wool smoothly sift,
full is not tightly easy
to fall off wool,
bright, rich, the touch is gentle
may with ease brush the cosmetics
evenly frivolous
naturally has just right.

The color nature easy to stick
to the silt, but sweeps the powder
evenly, lasting durable,
with the flesh close-fitting,
makeup effects on a more refined
and delicate, presents the perfect
tidal current cosmetics.

Blurb on the cardboard wrapping of a retractable makeup brush from China. Submitted by Cathy Bryant.

22 January 2015

Wholesome Nation

Too few countries
in the world
have chosen
a vegetable
to be their national symbol

but Wales chose the leek

From something that came from The Sacred Kitchen by Robin Robertson and Jon Robertson (New World Library, 1999). Submitted by Melanie Barbato.

20 January 2015

In the Shadow of Selene

There’s a thing about being alone
there’s a thing about being lonely
they’re two different things.

I was alone
I was not lonely.
I was very used to being by myself.
I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Far from feeling lonely
or abandoned
I feel very much a part of what is taking place
(I don’t mean to deny
a feeling of solitude.)

It is there,

reinforced by the fact ... I am alone now
and absolutely isolated
from any (known) life.

If a count were taken,
the score would be:
three billion (plus two)
over on the other side
One (plus
God knows what else...)
on this side.

That was the best part of the flight.

From Al Worden: 'The loneliest human being', BBC, 2 April 2013, and Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2009). Submitted by Daniel Galef.

16 January 2015

Like Robert Frost

We have agreed to let the electric company trim some trees.
If they come when you are there

let them
Ensure they leave the wood behind.

Get them to put the small bits
behind the hazel bush

where the rest of the prunings are.
Try and get a card

from the wood cutter,
we have other trees

we’d like him to look at.
Don’t use the pump in the spring

for more than twenty minutes,
and meanwhile remember

to water everything if God
is not doing his fair share.

A note left for new guests by the owners of a holiday cottage in Brittany, 16 September 2014. Submitted by Nigel Lawrence.

14 January 2015


January. The days
are short but dramatic scenes
await the hardy.

From the Great British Year poster, Open University. Submitted by Uschi Gatward.

07 January 2015

Mysteries of Carrados

“Two left shoes" he remarked encouragingly.
"And an equally devastating sight of two practically blind states in America".

Smiling broadly, they were leaving like a airship. The war is
(P20) always exciting.

In a harmless war he had not had time to dig light that is
confidential on Monday afternoon.

I suppose you knew it was not out at sea, took it for granted.
Our submarine is echoing all which was expedient for a well-
(P40) known lady employer.

"What course for the news?", replied the girl. "Can I see who
had been asked out?" The man will tell you anything and rather
gratuitously it seemed.

Carrados could watch them licking. When the answer here
should be paid no attention until this chair is vacant and the
(P71) room without a word; like a shaken hand.

Murder something with one mistake. He will never notice a
strange message of misgiving had no difficulty in finding her.

A little attempt now to hear there's nothing like a good
testimony in a low voice. No photograph possessing
(P95) identification is unnaturally white.

It was the first time an empty chair splashed like a moments
worry. The most difficult alibi forgotten in case you cared and
nothing else at first.

It was the faintest idea to come prompted on the bare earth
(P114) followed through seriously simple explanation.

He would like to see time from just one window. Drink this
garden and assist melancholy admiration before the seal of

And the angel looked at me. A dazzling thing. The lady of
simultaneous voices rising in the dead of night without the
(P133) remotest hope to prick up their ears.

Interment, there in the dark. Unique mothers of the coming generation.

More happened if they could be drawn into the now vigorous soil.

That was plainly so much. So the giant in charge within
(P156) straightened spirits on that heart-throbbed dead weight,

His face was not her husband and children didn't know his wife.
You can hear a very intoxicated man a mile away. You must not
ask him sometime about when the paper said you could give
me an idea.

(P174) I wish I'd known. The blind and the first people who were not a
painting gave him the details of the letters.

Burning the place down was his way to be the victim.
To be spread:

(P189) Afraid to trust silent and deserted streets.

We used to have just coffee and water beetles. The very
opposite of money before our faces of pink.

(P198) A plague that furnished nightmares with quick feeling.

Touching, I appreciate onions...

As we are shrank back into fluency. The dirty appetite too near.

Hard-cased sleeping inside the dynamo to transform
(P212) mechanical force into quiet professional clatter.

The cigar that made the alibi unconvincing and the man it might blind.

To outwit five senses of old. His eyes were open, voice ingenious.

I should advise of traffic mentally described. To get some reason in the five minutes that they had atmosphere.

His mind was an inexhaustible hunger. A dish of water to be left at night. No means of stopping the leak it seems.

(P237) And for god's sake, don't stop there.

From Max Carrados Mysteries, Ernest Bramah (Penguin 1964). A hole was drilled through the book and words taken consecutively from every page, next to the hole. Punctuation and capitalisation added, some page numbers displayed. Created and submitted by Winston Plowes.

02 January 2015

The Eternal One is

Straight, upright.
Right, proper, correct.
Exact, standardized, just so.
Primary, chief, main.
Pure, unmixed.
Placed or situated in the middle.
Just now, right now.
Puts right, rectifies.

Translingual definitions of the character 正 . Submitted by Daniel Galef.

31 December 2014

Monkey Brand is perfect for

Spotless Earthenware
Smiling Housewives

Clean Baths
Happy Husbands

White Marble
Contented Servants

Shining Pots and Pans
In The Parlour

Polished Stair-Rods
In The Kitchen

Bright Fire-Irons
In The Factory

Sparkling Glass-Ware
Simple!! Rapid!!
Clean!! Cheap!!

From an ad in a biography of William Lever: The King of Sunlight by Adam McQueen (Bantam Press, 2004). Submitted by Rishi Dastidar.

29 December 2014


One of life's greatest certainties
is that the ground is solid
beneath one's feet

so the sudden appearance
of chasms, however small,
is unsettling.

From British sinkhole spike prompts warning, David Shukman, BBC News. Submitted by Angi Holden.

24 December 2014

The Famous Squib Case of 1793

Scott v Shepherd

A lit squib
was thrown into a crowded market
by Shepherd

and landed
on the table of a gingerbread merchant.

A bystander, to protect himself
and the gingerbread,
threw the squib across the market

where it landed
in the goods of another merchant.
The merchant grabbed the squib

and tossed it away,
accidentally hitting Scott in the face,
putting out one of his eyes.

From Wikipedia's article on squibs, retrieved 12 September 2014. Submitted by Susan Taylor.

23 December 2014

The Pornography of Everyday Life

Last year,
I woke up
in a hotel room
in Amsterdam.

There was
a woman
in my bed.

I looked
in the mirror
and saw
that my eyebrows
were gray.

I saw
that I was

Painter Alexander Melamid, quoted in Forty-One False Starts by Janet Malcolm (Granta Books, 2014). Submitted by Howie Good.

22 December 2014

My Favourite Fairy

She has very delicate sparkly bright blue eyes
and a red red red red red red dress
That’s why I love her
so much

A small girl talks to her mother. Overheard on the street, 3 September 2014. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.