07 March 2014
there is a car
and in that car there is
a person and a person and a person
far in the distance
From the New York Times crossword puzzle, 27 January 2014. Submitted by Peter Valentine.
05 March 2014
People tend to fixate on the common
use of an object. For example, the people on the Titanic
overlooked the possibility that the iceberg
could have been their lifeboat.
Newspapers from the time estimated the size of the iceberg
to be between 50-100 feet high and 200-400 feet long.
The Titanic was navigable for awhile
and could have pulled aside the iceberg.
Many people could have climbed aboard it to find
flat places to stay out of the water
for the four hours before help arrived.
Fixated on the fact that icebergs sink ships,
people overlooked the size and shape of the iceberg
(plus the fact that it would not sink).
From Why We Can't See What's Right in Front of Us, Tony McCaffrey, Harvard Business Review, 10 May 2012. Submitted by Emma Rae Lierley.
03 March 2014
1. Arrival in London
Boy have you been a lucky girl
new in town and everybody’s
darling: love, desire and a tender
touch always has the boys high
for candy kisses, little miss.
Beware the late night
luxury love, enjoy the
good times - for a day.
2. Quarrel with her protector
Introducing a girl in a million.
A young mistress, tamed and trained
with a luxury new apartment
and a wardrobe full of fun and games.
She’s fresh and lovely, a cherry ripe
English rose. Fresh and green
she must be seen.
3. Apprehended by a Magistrate
Come on gentlemen
She’s a genuine siren
talented and in control.
Urgent, be warned – your afternoon
fun just got sensored:
it’s playtime with visiting
4. Scene in Bridewell
So, a total transformation for
the country girl – complete captivation
caged amd reduced to tears. A taste of
no mercy, a broken sentence.
Bow and show repentance.
5. She expires while doctors quarrel
Great, she’s back!
In town, in pain. Feel
the sensation – it’s agony
she has friends: caring,
friendly and understanding
a lifetime too late. Ouch!
6. The funeral
Demonstrate respect for the
pleasure princess. This is not
a love thing, she’s heaven bound –
it’s judgement day for all.
and enjoy the rest.
Taken from a series of 'tart cards' found in London phone boxes. The poem is a take on The Harlot's Progress by William Hogarth, using his original titles and featuring the found text to tell the story of each print. Submitted by Victoria Bean.
28 February 2014
St. John's is
gnawing on my bones.
You can't take it in
with tiny sips; you have
to choke it back, you have
to swig it down. You have
to wheeze about and stagger.
In St. John's,
the houses tumble uphill
if such a thing is possible
and the entire place-
the streets, the squares, the alleyways-
seems to have been laid out
without the aid of a ruler
(and possibly while
under the influence of screech).
From Hill O'Chips to Mile Zero,
from Water Street to the colourful homes
lined up on Jellybean Row:
the city is full of angles that
St. John's is, as the Irish say,
"a great place to get lost in."
Wander around long enough,
though, and you will
eventually end up
at the harbour
as surely as water flows downhill.
Great ships lie tethered, bleeding
rust into the bay,
and rising and falling
on s l o w exhalations
of water. From the pier,
the bay looks like a landlocked lake,
the Narrows sealed off by
perspective and distance.
The very air
I am homesick for St. John's,
and it isn't even my home.
I miss the city and I think of it often,
the way one wonders about
a boozy uncle who comes crashing
into your life every couple of years
and then charges off,
leaving a trail of tall tales
and laughter in his wake.
It is a good city, this fishing village
on the eastern edge of
It gnaws on you.
From The City on a Rock, Will Ferguson, Macleans.ca, 21 July 2003. Submitted by Megan.
26 February 2014
I doubt it.
Year man, hope so.
I’ve survived on ice cream.
It’s all good in the hood
I’m gonna get cained and wash-up
In the bath. Ahhh
The new terms will take effect from
with balls and like a man.
Start your year helping someone else –
Just destroy the toilet and leave non alive.
Lines picked at random from recent text messages received by class members of the year 2 Music Practice Degree at UCLAN (Preston University). Submitted by Winston Plowes with contributions (in order) from DF, TF, AL, BE, JH, KM, JH, MG, SO, LG, JL, CE, NW, CH and MM.
21 February 2014
When people have something to say
Every second counts
Like a record player
Screaming at a wall
Die, die my darling
Wide awake on Lake Street
Black heart broken
Where are they now
Where we’re going we don’t need roads
You’re all welcome
The first 20 songs shuffled by my iTunes in the Punk genre. Submitted by Ryan Falls.
19 February 2014
I needed a new car
as my old one was so unreliable
it kept breaking down.
I couldn’t see any way
that I could afford to get one.
After I prayed the way you said,
I not only got a better car
but it was bright red.
A testimonial on the website More Than Life, retrieved 4 February 2014. Submitted by Howie Good.
17 February 2014
Across a nation long captivated
By Western classical music,
People reacted with remorse, outrage
And even the rare threat of a lawsuit
After Mr. Samuragochi’s revelations
That he had hired a ghostwriter since the 1990s
To compose most of his music.
The anger turned to disbelief
When the ghostwriter himself
Came forward to accuse Mr. Samuragochi
Of faking his deafness,
Apparently to win public sympathy
And shape the Beethoven persona.
The scandal has brought
An abrupt fall from grace
For Mr. Samuragochi,
A man who looked the part
Of a modern-day composer
With his long hair,
Stylish dark suits
And ever-present sunglasses.
Taken from the New York Times article, In Japan, a Beloved Deaf Composer Appears to Be None of the Above, 7 February 2014. Submitted by Mark Dzula.
14 February 2014
Names have power,
so let us speak of hers.
Her name is Sharbat Gula,
and she is Pashtun,
that most warlike of Afghan tribes.
It is said of the Pashtun
that they are only at peace
when they are at war,
and her eyes—then and now—
burn with ferocity.
She is 28, perhaps 29, or even 30.
No one, not even she, knows for sure.
Stories shift like sand
in a place where no records exist.
From 'A Life Revealed', by Cathy Newman, National Geographic, April 2002. Submitted by Angi Holden.
12 February 2014
People simply empty out.
They are bodies with fearful
and obedient minds.
The color leaves the eye.
The voice becomes ugly.
And the body. The hair.
The fingernails. The shoes.
Charles Bukowski in a letter to John Martin, Reach for the Sun, Selected Letters, 1978-1994, vol. 3. Submitted by Howie Good.
08 February 2014
As a way
of getting over the Atlantic
it may have sucked
but as a beautiful thing
to look up and see
and the Thames Valley
at 6pm every afternoon
it was worth
A friend's Facebook comment, 22 January 2014. Submitted by Ailsa Holland.
03 February 2014
A morning kiss between two consenting adults
will lead to drizzle on higher ground.
An area of blame will move in from the east
before drifting away and settling over Brussels.
Dark clouds are forming over the Midlands
following voluntary sexual intercourse
between two unmarried persons.
Temperatures will plummet as a result
of a man in Cumbria enthusiastically browsing
through a home furnishings catalogue.
The early sunshine in the Cotswolds
has been replaced by cloud after a man
spent a suspiciously long time grooming his facial hair.
The sun makes a brief appearance
after John Barrowman stubs his toe
on the corner of a wardrobe.
Compiled from tweets by @UkipWeather in response to UKIP Councillor David Silvester's remarks linking bad weather to same-sex marriage. Submitted by Angi Holden.