A Brush of Hot


In a recent and overdue clear out I came across my old art folders and sketch book. Whilst flicking through the mass of artist studies (a worryingly obsessive mass) I stopped on my study of Jean-Michel Basquiat, I stopped because my inspired piece gave me a sudden urge to write. I didn’t know what was going to come out, a story idea, a poem, or just a few dead end sentences but I had to write! (evidently) I ended up producing the slightly surrealist poem ‘A Brush of Hot’ (with a coincidently appropriate name for the heat of the moment nature in which it was written).

A Brush of Hot
Acrylic based, I love the
hungry egg white glare, look
right there, waving his arms at me
a red sky morning in his three finger warning
oh, there it goes
fire fire glow
oil based veins must hurt, tears surely leak
let that pain stain into the background
give in, be weak
Wave, wave, wave
but no one wants to hear you
ever so clear, why the smirking halo?
you know you should be fuming
at such a contradiction, fuming
because disproportion was just decided
that’s it, no consent
oh dripping mess,
look at you, waving around pretending
you’re hell bent!

Shaking Still

If you asked me,

What is a shaking still?

I would say,

it is a seagull in love with an eel.

It is angelic like a threat to kill,

two enemies at peace with one another,

a sisterly man and a brotherly mother.

Genuinely not afraid to die,

It is a spider too naive to eat that fly.


After I failed to tell you,

After I failed at why

You would say I’m mad, so wicked, so bad

I would point,

because now you know

A shaking still,

is leaking through my lashes,

Vibrant, yet subtle

 like a buttercup glow

Fatal Man

With the possibility of a mere crack,
Fatal man is on his way back.
He is the wind he changes direction.
A flea lands,
laughs, bites, and my body
she dissolves with infection.
His face is sure to make me cry, I’ll leave
As soon as he arrives.
With a six foot descent
My greed for us should fade,
And for the first and last time,
Fatal man will hand me the spade.

Let Me Be Your Death

Let me be your death, let me

be the filthiest clean you know.


Let me be a dream-stopper,

wake up, time to be rehomed.

The middle of the equator, you and me

sleeping safe in God’s acre.


Let me be your breath, let me kill

every almost dream.

Give birth to a definite, to nightmares,

breathing clear, supreme.


Let me kill night time parasites

for they prey paralysis upon my legs,

legs that wake every day ready to coil themselves around you

and mimic some affectionate python.


Let me be your death, let me

be the loudest hush you know.

Poetic Meter, Feet, and Rhythm (basic notes)

Although rhythm is a natural occurrence when words are strung together, in poetry, rhythm and meter is deliberate, a conscious choice. The decision to employ any given meter and thereby create a certain rhythm is a pressure for the poet to make their work the best they believe it can be.

Thus, rhythm in poetic context becomes a form of measurement, with each unit of measurement being called a foot. A foot can be thought of as a building block in a line of poetry. English poetry applies five basic rhythm structures varying in stressed (/) and unstressed (-) syllables. These five basic meters consist of iambs, spondees, trochees, anapests, and dactyls.

Rhythms with two syllable feet:
• IAMBIC -/ (example word: excite)
• TROCHAIC /- (example word: deadline)
• SPONDAIC // (example words: true blue)

Rhythms with three syllable feet:
• DACTYLIC /– (example: Frequently)
• ANAPESTIC –/ (example: to the park)

Each line of meter contains a certain number of feet, or a certain amount of building blocks. A line containing just one foot is therefore considered as ‘monometer’, two feet ‘dimeter’ and so on.
(1) Monometer
(2) Dimeter
(3) Trimeter
(4) Tetrameter
(5) Pentameter
(6) Hexameter
(7) Heptameter
(8) Octameter

Meter can also be described in overall terms. A poem containing feet that end on an unstressed syllable is described as falling meter. Consequently a poem with feet ending on a stressed syllable is rising meter.

Other means of describing meter:

According to how lines end…

Masculine lines: individual examples that end with a stressed syllable
Feminine lines: individual examples ending with an unstressed syllable

According to line breaks or punctual pauses…

Caesura: a break or pause that occurs within a metrical line
Feminine caesura: a pause that follows an unstressed syllable
Masculine caesura: a pause following a stressed syllable
Enjambment: when the syntax carries over across a line break

My Favourite Poem?

I struggle to believe I will ever be able to single out my ‘favorite poem’. There is a sentimental part of me that desperately wants to , I love that romantic concept of having a ‘favorite poem’ and remaining faithful to it, always bringing it up in conversations’, referring to it in times of great joy or sadness. Unfortunately my scholarly rational is just too overbearing and I just can’t do it. I just don’t think it is possible or fair to choose one poem and place it on a permanent pedestal, It seems everything but progressive. As English scholars the whole point of our work is development, enrichment, substance. Holding onto one poem is holding back. Anyhow surely unless you can say you have read every single poem ever written (in our dreams) how can you personally know what your favorite could be? I like to think of poems that resonate with me, or poems that I passionately despise, but, love them for that very reason as ‘contenders’. I refuse to place any poem on a pedestal out of reach of the grit of criticism and the sound of their reader’s voice. Contenders for favorites elicit discussion rather than imposing recommendation, which may as well be considered as ignorance or stagnation.

Not Waving but Drowning
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.
Stevie Smith, 1957

Some men never think of it.
You did. You’d come along
And say you’d nearly brought me flowers
But something had gone wrong.
The shop was closed. Or you had doubts —
The sort that minds like ours
Dream up incessantly. You thought
I might not want your flowers.
It made me smile and hug you then.
Now I can only smile.
But, look, the flowers you nearly brought
Have lasted all this while.

Wendy Cope, 1992

In an Artist’s Studio
One face looks out from all his canvases,
One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans:
We found her hidden just behind those screens,
that mirror gave back all her loveliness.
A queen in opal or in ruby dress,
A nameless girl in freshest summer-greens,
A saint, an angel — every canvas means
The same one meaning, neither more nor less.
He feeds upon her face by day and night,
And she with true kind eyes looks back on him,
Fair as the moon and joyful as the light:
Not wan with waiting, not with sorrow dim;
Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright;
Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.

Christina Rossetti, 1896

We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly!–yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost forever:

Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings
Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no second motion brings
One mood or modulation like the last.

We rest.–A dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise.–One wandering thought pollutes the day;
We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away:

It is the same!–For, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free:
Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability.

Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1824

A woman’s face with Nature’s own hand painted
Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion;
A woman’s gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women’s fashion;
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue, all ‘hues’ in his controlling,
Much steals men’s eyes and women’s souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created;
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick’d thee out for women’s pleasure,
Mine be thy love and thy love’s use their treasure.

William Shakespeare, From Sonnets

Harmless She

Peachy clean
naïve as hell
new born arms
on a docile, moldable body
although it agrees, the she inside is never quite sure

her voice still in utero
silently it struggles
to win its first fight
to ask
If her first step can be a run
If she can take her first cruise
If it can be a trip down South

desperate for the pain of peachy skin pierced by gravel
running the whole way down, down
South where her skin wants to be bruised
grazed to infection
by that grey hot sand
notoriously prehistoric

Empty Glass

Empty glass denied of skin
Out of date design
Poison on the shelf

Conditioned to crave just one ration a day
Weak basically disabled
You could be useful
For one minute or three

Not allowed to be musically inclined
With a desire to learn the vocal chords
Suffering supposedly blind and unwilling
Listening? Oh so forbidden

Their opinions are coherent and true
They decide
Them not you
Mother and Father the bias Jury and illegal Judge

Empty glass you look like me
Useful for one minute or three
Unwillingly mimicking the deaf and blind
For like an out of date design
I too have no need to be

Cliché in Poetry?!


To a poet the fear of creating a page full of clichéd phrases is enough to incite a huge, inconvenient bout of writer’s block. However, avoiding Cliché really isn’t all that daunting. In some instances it can simply be a case of changing or updating the modifier or using unusual lexis. For example “it was a scorching hot day” may become “tiny heated hands of sand scorched burns onto the bottom of our feet”. Yes, I admit that sentence may be a bit out there; however, what it does exemplify is how quickly a cliché can be eliminated. Keeping in mind one golden rule SHOW DON’T TELL will distance you further and further from cliché as you progress writing I (almost) promise! Aim to show the reader your point as oppose to merely telling them, even if that does mean endless nights re-writing wordplay or unexpected descriptions until you are satisfied. So long as they are consistent with each other and actually do articulate a coherent image, the guesswork will keep your poem in the company of your reader for longer.

Techniques to avoid cliché:

  1. Unexpected descriptions

  2. Unusual lexis (words that may not be the first point of call when describing an object, place, emotion etc.)

  3. Use of wordplay or puns

  4. Using the conditional (could, would, should)

  5. Compound adjectives

  6. Concrete nouns

  7. Subversion of scale (cue Lewis Carroll)

  8. Personification

  9. Dismantling cliché (facing it head on)

  10. Describing something through its absence

  11. Fluctuations  

  12. Dissonance

  13. Estranging

  14. Form (unusual line endings)

Think of crafting poetry as being a discipline similar to a surgical procedure, whereby laziness is simply unfathomable. Whilst using a stereotype may fit initially and provide a temporary cure for the body of your work. Ask yourself whether in the long run will it be healthy and substantial enough to continuously evoke strong emotions, opinions, reactions or whatever your poetry may compel from your reader?

Image cited from lameezmohd.blogspot.co.uk

Spring Reminds One

Spring reminds one,

Of cotton trend chanting,

Fields of faceless mohair strands.

Of a violet wafer runway

A six inch bluebell slap, so sore.


Spring reminds one,

Of a skeletons stance,

Of her delicious delicate shoots.

And of her disgusting daffodil grave;

Vomiting emerald rot.


Of a prison bakery,

Of its iced bun suffocation,

And water logged pathetic puddings.

And of little lemon drop eyes;

Protruding in sour shame.


In Spring

A new collection is revealed,

Behind a Pretty pastel mucus,

Two front cover eyes are glued gross.

A Sunshine delusion

A sequin sublimation.