New Poem: written on the Chester train from a collage

A mystical prize to the person who guesses which film I nicked the title from and the nicked song lyric in this poem, and thanks to whoever graffitied ‘palmstruck’ in Withington. Groovy compound word graffiti makes me hot. This was written after John G Hall’s picture poem workshop, written from a collage we made in sandbar which was great fun but got us many strange looks. We even had blue pritt stick, whoever heard of such a thing!

There is so much to gain from that kind of regression, when you are just handed materials and asked to create something,  anything and just forget all the ”I can’t”s and ”I’m no good at art”s although you will notice I avoided actually drawing like the plague, even I can’t stifle the inner critic completely. I did an art gcse because I knew I could do the bare minimum to pass and got to muck about with art materials, I specialised in papiere mache, it took ages and looked industrious, with lots of drying time and no drawing! I have no idea exactly when this anxiety about drawing happened, unlike Antoine Saint Euxpery and his elephant eating snake.  It probably goes hand in hand with my handwriting problems, it is impossible for the untrained eye to read, someone commented recently that it looks like I have done what Da Vinci did in his notebooks i.e writing backwards to encode it. I could never colour inside the lines.

I blankly wrote down all the text (some of it ripped from The Guardian) but it was lacking something so I rewrote it on the train yesterday with added images and lines. I like writing on trains, its like a poetry exam, you have to sit in a certain place and do something with the time while rapidly altering scenery and colours blur past you. There is even a train track in the collage but it didn’t make it into this draft. I will redraft this again when it has had a chance to settle, I am someone who believes a poem is never finished, only the current draft.

This was a really interesting and unusual way to work, a sort hybrid between a cut up/found poem and an art collaboration with yourself. I am a great fan of found poetry techniques I love coming across uncommon language and the way you can make even the dullest text poetic with a little work. Also what I like about it and well any other writing exercise is the way that it tricks your subconscious into pulling out language you could never have thought of if you were concentrating and it takes away the fear of the blank page. You may have a muse or whatever but I am not someone who believes that inspiration just flies in the window and divines itself through your pen, you have to find ways to surprise your mind.

p.s I am rubbish at punctuating poems.

I’ve got so much love to give I just don’t know where to put it

You are ready to notice something

you offer all

while guarding close

you want our bodies to buck, bite, give in.

You’ve got to care

We merge interest,

I ‘ll wear that polka dot dress

and you know I always fall head over heels

for boys with holes in their converse.

You illuminate me, cherry lips

when you forsake your vision,

you are my vacancy.

Palmstruck as you were

you caught me, contained me

palm to palm an arm wound round my waist

you might even reach my high anxiety

which performs it’s lies

paid out in transformed flesh

my head is in a bitter whorl

you can sweeten me honey

I know about the snowdrop in your suit pocket

next to the parker pen and your spring leaf tie

you shout your dilemma to appear:

”how to write the stars you know while breathing dust!”


The Stirred quad is formed of Rebecca Audra Smith, Anna Percy, Jasmine Chatfield and Lenni Sanders.

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3 comments on “New Poem: written on the Chester train from a collage
  1. Fat Roland says:

    I stumbled across this blogpost as a result of constantly seeing the ‘palmstruck’ graffiti and then googling it to see if anyone had used it in a story / poem. So it was a bonus to see you’d used my favourite film Magnolia for the title. Huzzah!

    • Trio says:

      Hello! Thanks, so few people have got that Magnolia quote, what films have they been watching? its actually one of my favourite films to put on when I have load of writing/editing to get through as well.

  2. Fat Roland says:

    Oh fancy that, I’ve just realised whose blog this is. Hello!

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The Stirred team at Reclaim the Night Manchester 2015
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