February #SmallStone


A day of believing the hype: buds on trees, blue in sky, windows open for fresh air, energy to have friends over for lunch; I will make something of this paper, I will make something new and feel good about it. One day we’ll have a space in the city to dance in.

a gift of a morning teaching young children how to play with words and have fun. I can’t remember a better one. I wanted to go home and tell my mum.

a Gordian knot of resolve and frustration. Is this it? I hope that one day I will pull the rope free of the bind and move on into a new space.

an ancient woman in Frank Thomas bike boots throws chunks of bread at a wall on the corner of a street in Tooting; shouts toothlessly, picks up a scrunched up ball of paper from the scattered bread. Pigeons lined up on the crumbling wall above, look down on her quizzically; I look away, remember my last trip here was to buy material for my wedding dress. Fourteen years passed with no reason to return, till I pass through this afternoon, on the way to somewhere else.

attempt to embrace clods of shit, look at them through kaleidoscope, they disappear into space while you count stars before bedtime.

calm descended on the house this afternoon,  the year starts to form its shape, a few hours removed from worry, watching the storm from a safe spot, for now.

controlled demolition/ invisible construction by sleight of hand/ mute communication of desperation. Concrete boots  contain the gift of a straw to keep breathing. Just.

dog blanket and smoke stink bus, see inflated rain coats billow through smudged windows on the way to the hospital; told to come back when its worse. Walk past the Turnmills site and remember those nights, then- and now move on to cramped, joyous poetry night Wa Dem Do replaced Super Sharp Shooter again.

flash fast blue- the halcyon shimmer lives here in dull space between petrol-choked housing estate and grid-locked no-dream dump. It dives and soars between land and water, brown and grey, never stops its journey; finds fish in the future but now hungry, sight fogged in silt flood churn

homeless at home still bites occasionally, Hokey cokey weather sunshine boy’s bike ride blows away frustrations, surprise marigolds greet me with their seventies upholstery colour scheme. What are they doing here now, in the flood? The river rushes on.

 I could burst like a balloon any moment, cause a flood, ruin a scene, spoil the moment, drained forever, a fool, a failure at making a judgement. I don’t trust my heart. I walked away from home, from a chance of connection. Rationalised away in fear of discovery that: I am right about myself.

increments to normality: rolling pastry, roasting vegetables, appreciate eating. Still no patience with a recalcitrant son; Atlas is holding up my To Do list, but he can’t do it for ever.

 investigating frustrations and paralysis in space; time shifts, un-sticking personal tectonic plates; but I hold onto frustration at the table instead of letting go and trusting you will work it out.

lapping black mood buffered by experience : a mindful voice says in the middle of darkness- there will be a different day, where you don’t feel a mess, a failure, a vague fuddled weakness. Counting the good things in each day is the light to guide along the path.

my body is telling me to rest, all the warning signs are there, thumping wheezy chest, heavy head and grumpiness – these are the times I am desperate to do more – when will I learn to listen to my trusty vehicle, instead of pushing it to breakdown before recovery?

planet rendered to its marrow, assets stripped; inhabitants gleefully minced ; lungs compressed, water putrid.                       Investment mansions, inherited mansions, empty mansions, festooned  mansions, derelict mansions.                                                                 Luxury penthouse apartments built on sites historically reserved for the discounted, decanted and leprotic. Stink of polish, lilies, ordure and meat remain in great halls of tastefully accessorised cannibals; fuck plastic, eat oil.

small stones become cairns, dams, bridges, buildings; given time who knows what we can construct with present pebbles.

ten of Stones. Home . Building minus blocks . Anaglipta walls concave in . This is not my house

the alley became a pine forest, carpeted in burnt needles, rippled over the fractured concrete and sludge. Needles shored up against subsiding pebbledashed fence foundations, pooled in front of the wise woman’s cottage, a patchworkof of greens, moss cavey home for She Who lives at the edge; a  garage door in need of paint.

the invisible pugilist plants another right hook, uppercut, avoid the rabbit punch, least-expected sucker punch; no Tomato Can. Throw in the towel, dancer.

walk of word games; blue angular sunshine; white blossom rockets into the sky. Spend the day on the big push through undergrowth, searching for permaculture; community vision through a telescope to my one good eye.

we wish on the silver sliver of moon – I won’t tell you in case it doesn’t come true – I wish for good health and a return to my regular run – we run alongside the park railings –you point out lines of symmetry-trace them accurately in metal.

what is love for – what does it do? I realise I have no idea any more for myself. Few hours I felt real attraction.  Inhabited Home again briefly, as a person I recognised after a long absence, in a place I recognised as a life, after all those years.  From wandering alone to knowing the coordinates of the whole city, with company. Mutual; I hesitated, mute.

More about #SmallStone

I started the #smallstone project on the 3rd January this year, after seeing a couple of friends had decided to write a small poem every day as part of Writing Our Way Home’s Mindful Writing Challenge. I managed to write one every day after that and was surprised to find I had quite a large collection of lines of poetry by the end of the month.

The idea was to notice something every day and write about it, as a way of being mindful, (for more details see here) but I found myself writing a line or two, aor a sequence of words, which summed up my day in some way. Some of these are literal, e.g. events on the way to and from the school run. However they have also described feelings and memories in more abstract lines, and I wonder if this moves some of the ‘small stones’ away from their original intent, although I understand them, so maybe it’s ok.

It has certainly helped me to feel more rooted in each day and consider what has made an impact on me. I have found myself wondering if what is happening at that present moment will be the ‘small stone’ for that day.

Like any writing exercise it has also been great for flexing some creative muscle, so I’m going to see if I can keep it going for February…

January #SmallStone


I never listen to my body complain until it shouts; lie down, cosy, listen to the storm outside until it abates. Care should not be a rare treat.

Second new moon of January; Lunar Imbolc ; 200% more water; creative flood; sap’s rising. Let’s GROW.

amongst the architectural facelift and regen. stupefication is the Kings Cross loper; peak pulled down over slim pickled features; trainers do the talking. You. ain’t. seen. him.

I stop on Lambeth Walk, and think of my Granddad who ran barefoot through this street, where he grew up. Oi!

flytip-toe through broken glass, old paint pots, garden debris, fence panels- another early morning adventure in the alley; new friendships formed in neighbourly outrage; we are people until Politics.

a series of Countdown Conundrums: constant ticking, no idea what the answer is but a solution is expected. At least I am not consonanting C*r*l V*rd*rm*n 

Every day I returned to Peter Doig’s Reflection (What Does Your Soul Look Like?) because each time I stood in front of it I felt free.

knowledge measured in pleats; master of stitched down folds; parade of killer heels.

Two games of football, three bowling strikes, (inflatable plastic pumpkin; toilet roll skittles) den building, hide and seek. Then breakfast.

lysergic view, sidereal vision, retracing dark holloway, newly weaned Houdini, key in mouth

gulls sketch loose lines on the sky, part of this landscape, changing, returning, remembered since childhood

A Hag Stone. Weighty. For hanging on thoughts which need to be bound.


mudlarks stoop, turn the loosened edges of this compacted city, ragged clues to the past, regulated by the moon

crumble slouch couch slide cut-up slice comb sift collage stick at it

gurn at storage. a morning at Ikea will do that to you. skiffle and biscuits. the living room becomes a battlefield strewn with lightsabers, rifles and samurai swords. paper planes to go.

snakeskin marmalade dessicated sense attempt to form new breathable surface by Imbolc

rummaging in a basement in the smoke. found a dusty review of Never Mind The Bollocks from 1978: “A record that will never be loved”. No Future.

We splashed down the hill laughing, the smell of egg and chips carried through the rain. In an hour we’ll do the reverse. Running up that hill, with no problems.

catapult construction as poem; once materials have been sourced…

Thimble from caucus race, blinded by sunlight; joined the dance home, frozen in starlight.

From Middle English, the word benefit signified a kind deed or something well done. They have twisted it and made it ugly. It represents them.

The back alleys I played in as a child are fly-tipped, sludgy with mud, unkempt with saplings. Front gardens concreted for cars.

Pint-sized raindrops from sky turned too dark to see photos of frozen waves frost a lighthouse on Lake Michigan

waterlogged park hum drum grey light dreams sunk in despond

flecks of luminous colour remade in rhythm from water and night

silver sideways bluster bare branched mistletoe globe silouhettes