#inktober 31. SLICE


Very late and very tired but a fond farewell to InkTober. Feeling pleased to have made it to the end of the month with so much play and resistance working off each other throughout. My last piece is a sampler from the full month, in Java script form, where a slice is a function to take a ‘slice’ out of a list. For all the non-coders out there what the poem says is that my favourite ‘slice’ is: “stunk and damp that my tongue sings in the dark mind water”


const inktober = [“jolting heart”, “pattern has”, “an hour”, “all flashmob and glare”, “I see my path”, “trust”, “mud is the world”, “disbelief in enamel”, “I think”, “stunk and dank”, “that my tongue sings”, “in the dark”, “mind water”, “All day I have nothing”, “I notice the angular”, “the thinning weight of it”, “pulls my gaze away”, “Laughing glass”, “veil the river”, “a cruelish sort of colour”, “and glacial”, “it must be mapped”, “Small creatures”, “E______”, “over Kevin”, “inside the coop”, “May all your madnesses grow”, “beauty”, “I sweat, drip pale ink”, “make ruffled islands”]

const favourites = inktober.slice(9,13)

//Thank you InkTober ♥️



#inktober 30. JOLT


Eek! I’m fixed on the fast-approaching end of October – only one more day of InkTober (sad face). I’m making a spell to staunch the month so that I can apply a bit of InkTober to the rest of the year. I’ve come to really love this daily word play. I’m thinking about ways to continue it in some form or maybe I’ll just look forward to next October for more InkTober Poetry. Ah, my tea has gone cold again, while I scratched at paper with my inky quill.



This is a recipe for a styptic powder:

Al-Zahrawi’s double needle stitch

Ashmole’s pierced side of a bull

Ortolf van Baierland’s black wine

his red powder his ground mumie

Hartnell’s mundane moment of everyday

an arrow whose shaft is still in place

to stem the flow of blood, Wound Man

to spare the jolting heart, Cupid

“Pound all that together

make a powder out of it

and keep it as needed.”


#inktober 29. DOUBLE


Why did the prompt word DOUBLE send me diving for Anne Carson? I wanted to find Decreation, her opera on forgery. And in particular I must have remembered the duet of Simone Weil and her Papa where Simone mechanically denies the questions with a formula of language to arrive at an impossible sum that her father cannot penetrate finishing with

“Bulbs are not a question.

To accept a void in oneself is a question.

The energy has to come from somewhere else.”

So my double jotting is homage to Anne Carson’s operatic dramatisation of patterning and repetition in the trials of life. I called it My Double. Fitting on the day that my Papa comes to live with us for a while. Genetics must be on my mind!


Double are not the helix

Double are not the decker

Double are not the bind

Double can be the trouble

Double are not the blooms

Double are not the whiskeys

Double are not the question,

To accept the double in oneself is a question,

The pattern has to come from somewhere.



#inktober 27. THUNDER


I could only think in clichés today. Sometimes it’s like that. And they are so sticky! The more I tried to overturn them, the more they stuck to me like burrs. In the end I decided to go into the cliche of thunder being menacing but harmless, it’s his twin lightning that is never far behind him that does all the damage but thunder is full of noise and bluster. Once I accepted that I couldn’t get the cliché out of the poem and worked into it I had some fun with rhyme and keeping the lines rolling like the rumble of thunder until the sudden crack which inevitably follows.


Thunder, in your brontide drawl

I hear the same dump 

hunger that killed my sister thud 

thud in you blunder

all flashmob and glare

dropping that old number 

about sucker runners

following you five counts

ten counts behind always

playing you pushing til 

you holler and crawl how 

you’re only here to warn me 

you don’t want to hurt me

if I let you back in my life

how we could start over, begin 

living — CRACK!

#inktober 26. STRETCH

Well, this is just thinking aloud, literally following a thought of sensuous stretching and how good that feels and following it out of the door. As the month of October comes to an end, I’m grateful for the introduction to writing by hand. InkTober for me has been an exercise in slow phrase making. Having a word ‘on the boil’ each day produces very different types of responses depending on how the word speaks to me (or doesn’t) and the spontaneous something that comes from that background preoccupation.
Stretch, stretch, beautiful stretch
don’t desert me beautiful stretch —
with you on my side, I can reach
the high shelf, take tinned peaches
and rice pudding and fetch in the stool
and bowl, sit at the plain table and spoon
delicious sweetness in, stretching
over the bowl to his last drawing
I lay my hand across the cheek,
his pencil line, flatter under my palm,
close my eyes and miss the physique
of that impressive jaw. I have charm
sure, and at a stretch, an open face
that narrows like a compass
pointing to where his thumb
nuzzled at my chin, saying, where I’m from
we say, I see my path not where it leads.



#inktober 25 PRICKLY


Really mark making – symbols, and thinking about the agreed symbols or marks we call language(s). They have rhythm and stresses and forces. We can be prickly about how language is used, uppity, snarky, dismissive of other people’s use of our symbols, our words, what we think they mean. This must come down to trust. If we agree on a word and what it means and how we can use it, then we can trust the comprehension and agreement of the others who use it the same way. This morning I was making a simple zine story, using carbon paper, another old-tech. I’d forgotten about carbon paper in the digital world I’m used to now where copying isn’t done by hand anymore. Rediscovering the joy of repetition through carbon copy – reproducing, but not exactly, the same image over and over on my zine, making little adjustments to features or demeanour with each iteration. So coming to Prickly I was already thinking repetition and what can occur when you take a word like trust back to marks or sound. TRuuuusst – weighing the word with its front loaded emphasis and long hissing tail and finding ways that my quill pen could make that sound. Play, play, play!







#inktober 24. CHOP


Chop day? Well, again, I’m struck by the immediacy of this page-writing and how the instant the words are written I want to make changes. I want ‘A white onion’ for example, to slow the phrasing into ‘silence’. And I don’t want ‘a chop’ in the second line, I want ‘chop’ – ‘And what knows itself / as chop anyway? Chopped.’ In an economy of space, the page, I can choose to fill it or to make only one mark or to arrange many marks into the shape we call form or lines. I like the little poem that the line-breaks raise: ‘itself chopped down. Pork, paragraphs, rainforests, silence? Quiet now – world.’


And what knows itself

as a chop anyway? Chopped.

Choppy. Chop off. Chop down.

Chop up. Grass? Logs? Pork?

Water? Logic? Paragraphs?

A head? A limb? Rainforests?

Countries? An onion? Silence?

Do you consent? Quiet now.

Mud is the world.

#inktober 23. MUDDY


This morning I was reading Mary Ruefle’s chapter ‘Someone Reading A Book’ in Madness, Rack, and Honey and underlined the phrase, ‘I am a writer, and the next step is inevitable: I used what had been revealed to me in my own writing’. This afternoon I was sent an article outlining how ‘an Artic seabed methane pulse is one of the greatest immediate risks facing the human race’ and the article opened with a story about the sudden collapse of the only golden toad population on earth over the space of three years. And just like a writer, I put it to good use!


Dazzling jewel of the mud

Disbelief in enamel

Explosive spawn mobber

Like most things, you were

Both true and untrue